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Grant to help University better prepare future teachers
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For California State University, Stanislaus interim dean of College Education Oddmund Myhre, one year of teacher preparation is not enough.

“Historically, we see teacher preparation as a one year program,” said Myhre. “However, what we are looking to do is prolonging the preparation of teachers, while also encouraging good students to go into teaching.”

Myhre’s aspirations are one step closer to becoming a reality with the California State University’s acquirement of a $3 million grant from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation on Wednesday.

This grant will benefit a new CSU initiative, “Preparing a New Generation of Educators for California” in order to support quality teacher education programs that will prepare future teachers for California’s new K-12 curriculum based on Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.

“The S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation is proud to support the work of the CSU New Generation of Educator’s initiative,” said Lauren Dachs, president of the Bechtel Foundation. “We believe that teacher preparation at the CSU is the best lever to advance the successful implementation of the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, and that the strategic work CSU will do in partnership with the K-12 districts that hire its teacher graduates will shape the future of teacher preparation in California—and the success of California students—for years to come.”

Eight CSU campuses were awarded funds for their teacher education programs, which will design innovative strategies to strengthen the recruitment, content preparation, and clinical experiences of future K-12 teachers.

“These eight programs are taking the lead in addressing California’s need for innovation in teacher preparation to address the new standards and prepare world-class teachers,” said Beverly Young, CSU assistant vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “Each has given serious thought about how to transform the whole pipeline—from early recruitment through becoming credentialed—so that each stage is designed to ensure rigorous preparation of every new teacher.”

As one of the campuses to receive funds, CSU Stanislaus will uphold its Teacher Education Partnership, which is designed as a continuum of coherent and meaningful learning experiences starting while prospective teachers are still in high school.

“We have a long relationship with the nearby school districts, but for this grant we are focusing on Turlock Unified School District, Ceres Unified School District, and Modesto City School District,” said Myhre. “We hope that by having a coherent set of experiences starting in high school, we will develop and better prepare new teachers.”

After early recruitment in high school, experience and training will continue into undergraduate, credential, induction, and graduate programs.

“We want to make a clear pathway for prospective teachers. We like high school and community college students who might have an interest in teacher education to get engaged in teacher-like experiences early,” said Myhre. “We want to prepare them as early as possibly to consider if this is something they really want.”

“Our plan is to give them some practical experience with the theoretical things that they are learning in the classroom,” added interim chair of Liberal Studies Katie Olivant. “This will help us produce good quality teachers to go into the profession.”

Along with the seven other CSU campuses who were awarded as part of this grant, CSU Stanislaus will serve as a pilot and demonstration site for the new initiative, as well as be responsible for testing and sharing implementation strategies and outcome data with the entire CSU system.

“The University was established to prepare teachers for this region,” concluded Myhre. “In this area there are some challenges and it is our job to produce teachers that the school districts need and that our students deserve—and we will do it.”