Partners in Education (PIE), a coalition of academic and community leaders dedicated to educational development and supporting excellence in teacher preparation, recently recognized 22 teacher candidates from the College of Education and Integrative Studies (CEIS) at their annual awards ceremony at the Kellogg West Conference Center.
As a part of the program, each teacher candidate will receive $4,000 during their clinical practice experience, allowing them to focus on their coursework and student teaching assignment.
“The PIE board is proud to provide these fellowships,” said Sue Johnson, PIE board chairperson. “We can’t emphasize enough what a wonderful opportunity this fellowship is for our recipients. We may never know how many lives we will impact with these fellowship awards, but for those recipients and the children they will teach, their lives will be forever changed.”
The Partners in Education Fellowship was created to support aspiring teachers during clinical practice, which requires them to work full-time in a K-12 classroom under the supervision of a master teacher while attending evening classes at Cal Poly Pomona. For the majority of teacher candidates, this creates a hurdle because clinical practice is unpaid and very time consuming.
For students like Ashley Serrato, one of the 2023 PIE Fellowship recipients, the $4,000 award has been instrumental in providing an affordable pathway into teaching.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the PIE board of directors for your financial support during my 2023 clinical practice,” said Serrato. “The PIE Fellowship has given me peace of mind to make ends meet while I focus on my dream job of becoming an English teacher. The rigorous program will need my full attention since I will be student teaching during the day, taking classes weekly on campus at night, planning with my cooperating teacher and preparing lesson plans. Now more than ever, students need their teachers to provide 100 percent effort and attention.”
For 2023 PIE recipient Andrew Duran, the fellowship meant the difference between completing his education or postponing it.
“I didn’t have the funds to pay my tuition, so I was planning to take a semester off to work and save up money for fall 2023,” said Duran. “However, receiving this fellowship took a huge weight off my shoulders, and I really appreciate the PIE board of directors for choosing me. With my tuition and other expenses covered, I’m able to focus on my student teaching and creating a teaching style that would benefit my current and future students.”
Serrato and Duran are two of nearly 300 students who have received fellowships from PIE since the inception of the PIE Fellowship Program in 2006.
This year, PIE added a new endowment, which was established by donors Bridget Spanier and Mike Beckage.
Beckage is a CPP engineering alumnus and co-founder of Diversified Technical Systems in Seal Beach and Spanier, his wife, is a retired teacher.
“The PIE Fellowship awards make a huge and lasting difference by supporting our next generation of teachers during a crucial time of their studies,” said Interim Dean Hend Gilli-Elewy. “I would like to thank the PIE board for their tireless work and support of our students. I would also like to express my deep appreciation to Mike Beckage and Bridget Spanier for establishing a generous endowment in support of PIE.”
The PIE Fellowship is offered annually to teacher candidates during fall semester. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA upon entering the credential program and working towards their first credential. PIE does not award fellowships to intern teachers or teachers in residency. The fellowship, which is awarded during clinical practice, is disbursed through Financial Aid.
For more information about the PIE Fellowship, visit www.cpp.edu/ceis/partners-in-education.