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Cal State Fullerton Center Partners With Community Colleges to Increase Number of Teachers

Grant Funds Project to Help Hispanic Students Become Educators

December 17, 2007

By Debra Cano Ramos

One of the challenges facing local K-12 school districts is attracting teachers who reflect the underrepresented student population in their classrooms.

To help meet that challenge, Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Careers in Teaching has embarked on an ambitious collaboration with Fullerton College and Santa Ana College to provide advisement, resources and other support services to Hispanic community college students who want to become educators.

The project, “Milestones Along the Path (MAP), A Collaboration to Prepare Hispanic Students to Become Highly Qualified Teachers,” is made possible through a five-year grant awarded to the Rancho Santiago Community College District from the U.S. Department of Education.

“The overarching purpose of the grant is to significantly increase the retention and successful transfer, graduation and credentialing of future teachers who are from underrepresented minority groups,” said Christine G. Renne, professor of elementary and bilingual education and director of the Center for Careers in Teaching.

Strong partnerships between community colleges and four-year universities are essential to create efficient and effective pathways to the teaching profession, Renne noted.

“This is particularly important in addressing issues of diversity since research shows that 42 percent of all African-Americans and 55 percent of Hispanics begin higher education in community college,” she said, pointing out that the two community colleges and Cal State Fullerton are located within 10 miles of each other, and together, serve more than 54 percent of the Hispanic students attending college in Orange County.

The Center for Careers in Teaching has received nearly $1 million in the last five years, including a recent $177,789 grant award for the period from October 2007 through September 2008.

As part of the project, faculty and staff members from the Cal State Fullerton's center and education departments work with local community colleges and provide outreach to high school and community college students.

“Our staff members also attend college transfer fairs, make classroom presentations in community colleges and work closely with community counselors,” Renne said. “The goal is to provide a seamless transition from community colleges to our campus so students can be successful and earn their bachelor’s degrees, and complete a credential program.”

Renne and representatives from the two community colleges have been invited to present the MAP project at the February conferences of the National Association of Community College Teacher Education Programs and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, as well as at the Commission on Teacher Credentialing state conference in January.


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