A federally funded teacher preparation program is well underway at Cal Poly Pomona. This fall, which marked the third year of a five-year grant cycle, students in the TQE/Teacher PREP (Teacher Pathways Reaching Excellence through Partnerships) began gaining teaching experience at partnership sites in surrounding school districts.
“Our objectives are to recruit, prepare and retain new teachers to work at five local, high-need school districts,” says Marvin Klein, TQE/Teacher PREP project director. “We are making progress all the time.”
The approximately $6.3 million grant is designed to create and implement a comprehensive model of reform aimed at significantly improving the preparation of teachers for the challenges of the region's diverse K-12 classrooms.
“This grant would not have been possible without the extraordinary work of Professor Gloria Johannessen,” said University Provost Tomas Morales. “The vision she provided to the formulation of grant and her capable and skilled leadership in its administrative inception provided a dynamic foundation. The university greatly appreciates Dr. Johannessen's contribution to the Teacher PREP grant.”
A change of management structure on the Teacher PREP grant that occurred in March 2005 had no bearing on Dr. Johannessen's abilities or skills as a professor and as administrator of the grant.
In the past two years, more than 15 teacher preparation and credential courses at the university have been retooled to address the growing needs of low-income, English Learners and special-needs students. The courses also integrate the use of advanced classroom technology to enhance teaching techniques. During the grant cycle more courses will be retooled to continue serving the high-need school districts, Klein says.
The partnering schools districts are: Pomona, Rowland, Hacienda-La Puente, Baldwin Park and Valle Lindo. By spring quarter, professional development sites are slated to be in place at all the districts to help support teacher training and retention. The university is also partnering with select regional community colleges and the business community.
Cal Poly Pomona teaching candidates have the opportunity as undergraduates to do field work in addition to their student teaching at these sites.
“Ultimately, we hope our students become a part of these school communities and go on to work there as well-equipped professionals once they graduate,” Klein says.
In addition, the TQE/Teacher PREP program aims to recruit, train and retain paraprofessionals, especially in the math and science fields, to help fill the significant need for highly-qualified teachers in those subjects.