Aug 15, 2020
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Kremen Building at California State University, Fresno.

Program allows students to get hired to local school districts

Fresno State students who are wanting to teach in the future have the opportunity to work with current teachers and students. 

This is thanks to the Kremen School of Education and Human Development’s collaboration with the Fresno Unified School District’s teacher development department, known as the Fresno Teacher Residency Program. This program began in 2013 with the SD Bechtel Foundation Grant.

In this program, students can get a teaching credential through Fresno State, as well as a teaching position in Fresno Unified. 

The department focuses on ensuring, “that every classroom has a highly effective teacher,” according to Fresno Unified’s informational video on the Teacher Residency Program on Fresno Unified’s website.

Heather Horsley, Fresno State assistant professor and teacher residency partnership coordinator, said there are several requirements that students who want to be in the program should have. 

“They need to pass a basic skills test (CBEST) and subject matter competency tests (CSET), which are state-required certification exams,” said Horsley. “Students who graduate from liberal studies at Fresno State from 2016 on can waive the CSETS because our coursework was approved by the state and indicates that our liberal studies students are subject matter proficient.”

Horsley added that students need a GPA of 2.67 or higher overall, or 2.75 or higher in the last 60 units. She also said that, “a certificate of clearance is needed, [and that] fingerprints are taken to check each applicant’s criminal background.”

Also according to Horsley, students are expected to do an interview with admissions, in addition to having a health check and some previous experience in the field.

The program will vary in semester length and units, depending on what type of degree students want to pursue. These vary anywhere from 34 units of coursework in two semesters to 58 units of coursework in three semesters.

According to Fresno State literacy education professor Steven M. Hart, the program is important because students are provided with “extensive classroom teaching experiences, additional instructional support from district coaches, increased employment opportunities and understanding of district practices and procedures.” 

In this program, there is a cohort model that consists of approximately 20 to 40 students. The number of students able to be in this program depends on what Fresno State and Fresno Unified decide on. It will also be based on state funding that will be provided for the residency program, according to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing’s website.

The program also supports co-teaching, in addition to providing financial incentives and creating a culture of collaboration.

According to Jeanna Perry, Fresno Unified teacher development manager, “Co-teaching is a hands-on approach that allows residents to receive relevant experiences with students.” 

“It is when two teachers are working together with groups of students. They share every aspect of teaching including, planning, organization, delivery and assessment of instruction, as well as the physical space,” Perry said.

Fresno Unified also provides financial incentives of $13,000, which covers tuition and state licensure exams for students in the program. If students accept these incentives, they agree to being involved in Fresno Unified for at least four years after they successfully complete the program. 

In addition to providing students with a teaching credential through Fresno State, the program also provides students with the opportunity to learn from professionals, as well as a year-long residency.

When in this program, residents can expect to see a heavy workload. Residents in the program are expected to either do coursework or be in the field from Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Also according to Perry, “Residents shadow a Fresno Unified mentor teacher for an entire year and are to be at all meetings, professional learning opportunities and activities that might add to their repertoire.”

Horsley said, “Over the past seven years, Fresno State has been a committed partner to Fresno Unified School District (FUSD) in the development and implementation of multimillion-dollar federal, state, and private philanthropic grants, which are aimed at strengthening teacher preparation programming while also increasing the hiring of diverse, high quality Fresno State graduates to teach in high priority schools in FUSD.”

“Our collective partnership goal is to produce graduates that are so well prepared that they are effective teachers from the day they step foot into their own classrooms,” Horsley said.

Hart said, “The residency model is a way to develop a synergistic relationship between Fresno State and Fresno Unified, where the knowledge, expertise and traditional roles of these institutions is merged.”

“Fresno State faculty interact more directly with Fresno Unified classroom teachers through collaboration and professional learning sessions. Similarly, Fresno Unified staff interact more directly with professors in designing and delivering courses,” Hart said.

The program was created in order to fill five teaching positions around the FUSD. These positions include special education, computer science, bilingual authorization, mathematics and science.

Perry explained why these teaching positions were chosen. 

“Our program supports individuals acquiring their credentials in areas considered by the district to be high needs, or hard to fill, specifically positions in special education, bilingual authorization, mathematics, science and computer science,” Perry said.

Applications are being currently accepted for the summer and fall semesters, and the due dates will vary depending on what degree students plan to get, and the semester in which the degree will be obtained. Students are encouraged to apply well before the respective deadlines.

In order to apply for the program, applicants who are interested can go to tinyurl.com/fresnotrp

Applicants must then complete the Fresno Unified Certificated online application and attach a resume, two letters of support and transcripts.

Afterward, applicants must complete a teacher insight survey, which will be emailed upon completion of the application. Finally, applicants can apply for teacher residency.

In addition to collaborating with Fresno Unified, the Kremen School is also doing teacher residency programs with Sanger Unified and Clovis Unified.

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