College of Education

College of Education receives Federal Grant of $4.8 million

CSUMB receives federal grant of nearly $5 million to fund teacher prep program

By TOM WRIGHT | | Monterey Herald, PUBLISHED: October 8, 2019 at 3:08 pm | UPDATED: October 8, 2019 at 3:09 pm

SEASIDE — The U.S. Education Department awarded a $4.8 million grant to CSU Monterey Bay to fund a teacher preparation program and scholarships for students looking to become teachers.

The grant, expected to span over five years, will fund the Preparing Observational Practitioners through Partnerships Yearlong project and CSUMB’s partnerships with school districts in Monterey County.

“It’s really about sustaining partnerships between institutes of higher education and local education agencies,” said CSUMB assistant professor Erin Ramirez, who is principal investigator behind the project.

Ramirez, who is part of the university’s Department of Education and Leadership, said the grant is the fourth CSUMB has received through the Teacher Quality Partnership program at the Education Department.

“We continue to go after this grant because it’s very much grounded in true partnership, true collaboration and the needs of K-12 students,” she said.

A total of $2.2 million of the grant will go to student scholarships.

“It’s super, super exciting to bring in students who might not have ever gone after a master’s degree or thought about the field of teaching,” Ramirez said. “They get the scholarships and then commit to teaching in our partner districts.”

While Ramirez said CSUMB has built strong relationships with nearby school districts, the grant will help the university reach out to districts in the Salinas Valley and South County.

“Our dean, Jose Luis Alvarado, was wanting us to really make some true collaborative partnerships with districts in Gonzales and Greenfield, King City, Soledad,” Ramirez said. “So we’re going to continue to work on and sustain our really strong partnerships and then work on a strong collaboration between CSUMB and South County.”

The Preparing Observational Practitioners through Partnerships Yearlong project, or POPPY, aims to increase achievement among K-12 students by preparing highly qualified prospective teachers through rigorous curriculum reform, a yearlong clinical residency model and sustained intensive professional development opportunities in STEM and literacy fields.

The project’s goals are to recruit teachers from underrepresented populations and high-needs subject areas, provide a residency model that includes a year-long clinical experience with a highly qualified mentor teacher and tightly aligned rigorous graduate level coursework, to provide support to new teachers to aid in retention and professional learning, to sustain evidence-based and classroom-focused professional development opportunities around STEM and literacy integration, and to engage in continuous improvement throughout the duration of the project.

An expected outcome of the project is to recruit teachers from underrepresented populations and high-needs content areas.

“Research has shown that when students see themselves reflected in their teachers in one year it makes incremental growth,” Ramirez said. “If that can happen two or three years in a row, it propels them into wanting to go into college and pursue degrees that they may have never thought they could attain because they can see themselves reflected in who is teaching them.”