Fresno State has received a $3.75 million Title V grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help and encourage more Hispanic and Latino students to become teachers in the San Joaquin Valley, according to a university press release.
The objective of the new program is to increase the number of bilingual Latino teachers who will return to teach in their hometowns, by assisting in their education through community college and then into the Kremen School of Education and Human Development to obtain their bachelor’s degrees and teaching credentials, the release stated.
“It’s about growing our own — growing students who mirror children in P-12 schools, whether it be ethnically, linguistically, racially or in terms of overall experiences,” Dr. Laura Alamillo, interim dean for the Kremen School, said in the release.
Fresno State will partner with Fresno City College and Reedley College to recruit students from high school who have a desire to teach.
According to the release, each of these three schools are designated by the Department of Education as Hispanic-serving institutions, meaning at least 25 percent of the undergraduate enrollment is Hispanic.
Nearly half of all Fresno State undergraduates are Hispanic, the release stated. Fresno City College has a Hispanic student enrollment of 53 percent, and Reedley College’s Hispanic enrollment is 71 percent.
The release also stated that the ratio of Hispanic teachers are underrepresented in relation to Hispanic students in the Valley, with only 25 percent of public school teachers being Hispanic compared with the Hispanic student population, which is nearly 65 percent, according to the Department of Education.
“There is a huge demand in the region for teachers, especially Hispanic teachers whose proportions lag the proportion of Hispanic students,” said Dr. Robert Harper, interim provost and vice president for student affairs at Fresno State, in the release.
In the fall 2019 semester, the first cohort of 30 students will begin taking associate degree to transfer courses, and in two years will transfer to Fresno State to pursue their bachelor’s degrees in liberal studies and multiple subject credentials, and will have the opportunity to receive their bilingual certification, according to the release.
Dr. Patricia D. López, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at Fresno State, will oversee the grant. According to the release, López has previously overseen the “Grow Your Own” teacher initiative for nearly a decade, which focused on developing partnerships to increase the the number of Latino teachers nationwide.
“We’re completely strengthening and finding new ways to build the capacity of local communities,” López said. “This is an opportunity for us to underscore the things that we are already doing well.”