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October 25, 2005
DH 05 RH18
Contact: Russ Hudson,
Media Relations Coordinator
(310) 243-2455/2001
rhudson@csudh.edu



State Hands CSUDH $1 Million Grant to Help Teach Teachers


The Funded Intern Program, administered by Sharon Russell, professor, Teacher Education, has received a $1 million grant from the California Department of Education’s California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

The primary purpose of the grant to is to pay CSUDH students who are earning state teaching credentials for the work they do in the classrooms in the school districts where they are teacher-interns. An internship is a fully paid position in a public school and may be one or two years long. During that time, the interns are the teachers of record.

The state began the program because many had to drop out of student teaching when they couldn’t afford to work that long without pay. The program received impetus when the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB, often referred to as “nickleby”) Act was passed in 2001. It dictated that teachers must be “highly qualified” in the subjects they teach. It was left to the states to determine what constitutes “highly qualified” and, in part, California chose to require credentialing, with a deadline for existing but uncredentialed teachers at the end of the 2005-2006 academic year.

“When nickleby was passed, a lot of teachers were working on emergency permits,” explains Russell. “They had to take coursework to become interns. Interning is required before acquiring credentials. The school districts, the university, and the state saw that this was a bottleneck that a lot of teachers couldn’t get through, so they set up the pre-intern program to get teachers to the point that they could qualify as interns.” Also pushing the need for teachers, she said, was the 1997 decree by California that class sizes be reduced. In addition, there was a high demand for math and science teachers at the same time, “so at that point the state established the funded program for interns … it became clear that neither the school districts nor the university could supply the money for paid internships without additional funding. It was then the state allocated funds to the CCTC to set up teacher development programs, called Funded Projects.

“There were three types of Funded Projects,” Russell explains. “The Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment, the intern program and the pre-intern. We ran pre-intern and intern programs at Dominguez Hills. It was unusual to run a pre-intern program. That was usually done in the school district.”

“It worked well,” Russell says. “It was a good pipeline for the university and it helped the state decrease emergency permits dramatically. With the federal nickleby mandate, the school districts were really under the gun to get teachers who were interns and not under emergency permits. That’s why, when we were working toward nickleby compliance just after it was passed, our number of interns at CSUDH just skyrocketed. We had 661 interns. That gave me a few more gray hairs.”

The internship program this year includes about 350 teachers from elementary and secondary schools getting their credentials. Over the years, Russell said, Dominguez Hills has helped about 3,000 teachers get credentialed.

Three types of internships are available: district, university and individualized.
“A school district may have an approved program where they train candidates to become teachers. At the end, these people will hold a credential good in the state of California. They take courses in the school district that are taught by district personnel. They get salary point credits, but they do not receive a transcript or academic credits. That’s a district internship,” Russell says.

“Whereas, the university internship is through a partnership between the school district and the university, and while that person is teaching in the school district, they are taking coursework in an approved program at the university. They will get academic credit and a valid California credential. An added thing to that, by the way, is we are an NCATE [National Council for Accreditations of Teacher Education] university. If they go to another state that is also an NCATE state, their credential will automatically be accepted.”

The Individualized Internship is designed for those who have already completed some elements of their teacher preparation.

“We have in the last five years in our program here at Dominguez Hills,” Russell says proudly, “a 94 percent retention rate. That is, 94 percent of the interns who go into a classroom stay in the teaching profession. That is compared to the national average of about 50 percent of teachers leaving the classroom by the five-year mark.
 
“Part of the reason for that,” she explains, “is in California we have a Beginning Teachers Support Program, which is now called an Induction Program. You have to do this program to get the last part of your credential, which is called a Clear Credential. In the Induction Program, in the first two years that a teacher begins to work in a school district, they are paired with a mentor. He or she is observed teaching, must prepare a self-improvement plan, and the experienced teacher mentoring him or her gives feedback and helps with learning the ropes. People who go through this program tend to stay. And some of our people are teaching in some of the poorest, hardest-to-staff schools in the county.

“Our internship program here is pragmatic as well as theoretical, and demanding at the same time.” Russell points out. “We teach them what they need to know straight on, but then we also provide a support program for long-term growth. We offer classroom management, for example, as one of the first classes they take. When they get a credential, they tend to come back for the showcases we do, in social studies and others in literacy, which we’ve done through the intern grant. They come back and get their master’s degrees with us.

“What we try to teach them, to show them, is that we’re all rational, problem-solving individuals. So that even our very beginning teachers are told, ‘The power to do this is within you, we’re just helping you to find the answers.’ What we hope is that when our teachers teach their students, they instill in them that same sense of resilience and focus.”

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University Communications & Public Affairs
Welch Hall, B-363
1000 E. Victoria St.
Carson, CA 90747


Dominguez Hills Dateline is produced by University Advancement/ University Communications
& Public Affairs


Media Contact:

Pamela Hammond
University Communications
& Public Affairs
(310) 243-2001

phammond@csudh.edu


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Last updated Monday, October 24, 4:05 p.m.,
by Joanie Harmon