CSUF Program Helps Increase Teachers in Local School Districts

Program Funded Through $175,000 Contract

November 26, 2007

By Debra Cano Ramos

In past careers they were airline pilots, lawyers, musicians, event planners and child care directors.

Today, they are middle and high school teachers — thanks to the Single Subject Internship Program that helps adults prepare and secure teaching positions in local public schools.

Supported by a recent $175,000 contract — part of a Commission on Teacher Credentialing grant awarded to the Anaheim Union High School District — the program is a way to assist school districts in meeting teacher shortages and increase the number of teachers in hard-to-staff subjects, such as mathematics, science and English, said Helen Taylor, program director and professor of secondary education.

This year’s grant underwrites professional development training for up to 50 Cal State Fullerton students working toward a single subject credential, as well as funding stipends and release time for teacher mentors, Taylor said.

“One of the goals of the program is to expand the pool of qualified teachers by attracting people into teaching who might not otherwise become teachers,” said Ellen Kottler, assistant program director and lecturer in secondary education.

The university can serve up to 55 school districts in Southern California with Anaheim Union High School District serving as the program’s lead agency.

Currently, 46 Cal State Fullerton students are enrolled in the program at school districts in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Students are accepted into the program each fall and spring semester.

Participants in the one-year program are required to have bachelor’s degrees and be able to work on temporary teaching contracts in public schools. They are paid for their work by the school district while simultaneously participating in the teacher preparation program to become credentialed 7th-12th grade teachers.

Paying students while they work on their credential is a huge incentive to entice individuals into the teaching profession, Taylor noted. “They can leave their old jobs and not even miss a paycheck.”

To qualify for the program, students must pass the California Basic Skills Requirement (CBEST) and other competency requirements. They attend prerequisite courses offered at Cal State Fullerton, its Irvine campus or online, and are paired with teachers at the schools where they are placed. Mentor teacher offer one-on-one guidance and assistance to the intern throughout the school year, Kottler said.

Cal State Fullerton has received grants in support of the program since 2000, Kottler said. To date, 375 students have completed the internship and earned teaching credentials.

One reason the program has been successful in attracting and retaining teachers is due to the fieldwork supervision that takes place, Kottler added. Fieldwork coordinators visit students during the first eight weeks of the program and then subject area supervisors visit the schools twice during the first semester and seven times during the second semester of the program.

In the latest five-year follow-up study, data shows that 83 percent of the 303 students who completed their internships between 2003 and 2007 are still teaching. Moreover, two-thirds of those students are still teaching in their original school district.

“We have a very successful retention rate due to our collaborative efforts with our school district partners,” Kottler said.

For more information about the Single Subject Internship Program, visit http://ed.fullerton.edu/SecEd/Professional_Track_Program/Index.htm.
Helen Taylor
Helen Taylor

Ellen Kottler
Ellen Kottler
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