The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Got a tip? Have something you need to tell us? Contact the Sundial

Loading Recent Classifieds...

Grant helps students get teacher credentials through college of education

CSUN’s College of Education will implement a program that will help high-need students attain higher education to become teachers.

Along with five other CSU campuses, CSUN will share a $3 million grant that will help students get their degrees. CSUN will get approximately $300,000, which will be shared with the community college and the after-school program.

“The grant is an attempt to grow our own teaching force in the San Fernando Valley,” said Michael Spagna, dean of the Michael D. Eisner College of Education. “We are trying to build a pipeline of potential teachers for the residents of the San Fernando Valley.”

The basic requirement for the program is to have three partners: a community college, a four-year university and a community agency. Having a relationship with an after-school program or a public school also helps, Spagna said.

CSUN is focusing on District 1 and 2 in the Los Angeles County due to proximity.

The pilot for the program to be used was first implemented at CSU Dominguez Hills.

“This is more than a transfer program,” said Cindy Grutzik, the acting director and associate dean for the School of Education at CSU Dominguez Hills.

Instead of simply telling students to transfer from the community college to a four-year university, the community agency recruits a cohort of students and remains with them until they obtain their teaching credentials, Grutzik said.

“The program looks for students who want to be teachers,” Grutzik said. “We want people to declare it from the beginning, not half-way through their coursework because we want to start talking to them early on like they are teachers.”

The target for the program is people who are currently working in after-school programs in the elementary, middle school and high school system.

“We try to seek people already working with kids in an after-school program and give them the support to get an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree and teaching credentials,” Spagna said.

CSUN has established a partnership with Los Angeles Mission College.

“We consider the program a ‘grow-it-your-own’ program,” Spagna said. “We are trying to bring them in to the university setting in a supportive way to further their education.”

The students spend 18 months in the college community, then attend the four-year university (CSUN, in this case) with direct support and obtain their teaching credentials, said Bonnie Crawford, the director of the credential office in the Michael D. Eisner College of Education.

It is usually a three year process, Crawford said. The support specialist assigned to each cohort of students will advise them with financial issues and helping register for class, among other things.

“We are identifying teachers in challenged areas and schools that are underserved and underprivileged,” Crawford said. “The group is a high-need group. The target are the teachers who have not or would not go to college.”

The cohort of students is accompanied by someone who goes to class with them and helps them as a support structure, Grutzik said.

The group stays together as a cohort through the community college and into the first semester in the four-year university, which further strengthens the support system, she added.

“The program goes to the main issue of preparing teachers with the structure and support to be great,” Grutzik said.

The program is currently in the planning stage at CSUN and will most likely be implemented in the spring. People will be recruited for the program, but it is open for anyone entering the teaching profession and those who already work with kids in the after-school setting.

“The purpose of the program is to eventually have teachers working in the local schools that are homegrown,” Spagna said.

Crawford said because CSU Dominguez Hills has similar demographics with CSUN – the same general student population, same residential location – representatives at CSUN are looking to use the CSU Dominguez Hills program as a model.

“One of the goals is to get these students to become the role models and support specialists that helped them in the first place,” Crawford said.

The grant is funded by the Packard Foundation.

More to Discover