October 23, 2000 Vol. V, No. 5

President Jolene Koester and Associate Dean Arlinda Eaton of the College of Education.

College of Education Program Receives $1.2M Federal Grant

Integrated Teacher Education Program with LAUSD to Change the Way Future Teachers Learn

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Cal State Northridge a nearly $1.2 million grant spread over five years to launch a new program designed to better prepare teachers for the urban classroom.

The $1,198,921 grant will support CSUN's Integrated Teacher Education Program (ITEP), which changes how teachers are prepared. The program changes how future teachers learn content, teach and use technology as a tool for improving student achievement in elementary schools.

Arlinda Eaton, associate dean of CSUN's College of Education and one of the program's coordinators, said she was excited to receive the grant.

"I don't think it's really set in yet," Eaton said. "We're especially excited about the scholarship component within the grant that allows us to provide students with financial support so they can participate in a program that requires them to be full-time students."

The grant to CSUN was one of eight awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to programs designed to better train teachers for the challenges of today's classrooms.

"Effective teachers are the most critical link to educational excellence and to creating a lifelong love of learning in our children," said U.S. Education Secretary Richard Riley in announcing the awards.

"The reform movement in teacher preparation is very much alive, and I hope that the promising practices these grants produce will be replicated nationwide and put into practice in classrooms and teacher colleges around the nation."

The Education Department grants support partnerships involving one or more college/university teacher preparation programs, the school of arts and sciences at the institution, and a high-need school district. In CSUN's case, the partner school district is Los Angeles Unified.

A school district is considered high-need if at least one of its elementary or secondary schools has 50 percent or more of its students from families with incomes below the poverty level, more than 34 percent of its secondary teachers are not teaching in the content area in which they were trained, or at least 15 percent of its teachers have left in the past three years.

Eaton, Naomi Bishop, director of CSUN's liberal studies program, and Hillary Hertzog, assistant professor of elementary education, are working with the Los Angeles district in developing the program.

Eaton said ITEP hopes to recruit students "from the very communities that so badly need knowledgeable and skilled teachers."

"Recruitment strategies, scholarship support and academic support will be used to attract high school and community college transfer students from underrepresented communities into a program designed to guide them through rigorous subject matter and content study that will result in a bachelor's degree and a teaching credential," she said.

Eaton said ITEP is designed to feature new approaches to the study of content knowledge and the application of that knowledge to the education of kindergarten through sixth grade students.

The program features blended courses, team teaching, paired courses and early and ongoing field experience in LAUSD classrooms linked to the subject matter course work, with an emphasis on diversity and the literacy needs of urban children.

The program also includes the establishment of a collaborative peer support system and a virtual professional development center focused on the support of subject matter knowledge, best practices and collaboration.

@csun | October 23, 2000 issue
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