Homecoming Open House

The College of Education invites you to its Open House in the Hazel Miller Croy Reading Center celebrating “Children’s Books for Literacy and Life”. Come visit children’s author Amada Irma Perez and literary specialist Donna Padgett in this free family friendly event. There will be opportunity drawings, a hot chocolate bar, read alouds, mini-talks, book signings and more…

The event is on Saturday, December 2nd, 2017 at the Hazel Miller Croy Reading Center (Education Classroom Building – EC-24) from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Please click here for a flyer

Ed Week 2017

Cal State Fullerton’s College of Education presents Ed Week 2017. Our theme this year is “Rising Together”.

Ed Week is an opportunity for the campus community to learn about the impact of a credential or degree in education has while providing a spotlight for students and alumni to shine. We encourage everyone to participate and visit all of the incredible events we have in store!

For more info please download a flyer

Ed Week Outline of Events

Monday, November 13:
Online Conference – Zoom Presentations
This is a one-day event entirely online that covers a wide-range of topics related to education. COE alumni will present in real-time sessions using a web browser to connect to individual sessions. Here are the times and presenters:

  • 4:50pm-5:00pm – Welcome and Introduction to Ed Week 2017 and to the Alumni Association
    Vanessa Acuña, M.A. ’02, ’03, ‘07
    President of the Cal State Fullerton Alumni Association Board of Directors
    2nd Grade Teacher at East Whittier City School District
  • 5:00pm – Student-Centered Classrooms
    Al Rabanera, Ed.D., M.S. ’07, High School Math Teacher at Fullerton Joint Union High School District
    Are you interested in learning about how to implement a Strength-based Student-Centered Classroom? Investigate the student-centered classroom through the perspective of Professionalism, Pedagogy, and the Classroom. Join the conversation to learn and contribute.
  • 5:00pm – Navigating Your Professional Identity
    Michael Gamez, M.S. ’17, Academic Advisor at Chapman University
    Are you curious about how to establish your professional identity? As a student it is important to establish your professional identity sooner rather than later. This webinar will explore different ways to both navigate and establish your professional identity. At the end of this webinar, students should feel prepared to manage their professional identity development and use it as a tool.
  • 6:00pm – Blending Culturally Responsive Teaching with Common Core and NGSS
    Mayra C. Orozco, M.S. ’04,’05, 3rd Grade Teacher at Corona Norco Unified School District
    Keeping students engaged is a struggle in every classroom. Making sure that we are addressing all the Common Core Standards is another. Now with the New Generation Science Standards, we are feeling even more pressure. This webinar will give you ideas and strategies that teachers implemented through TACIB, a grant funded by the National Science Foundation, in collaboration with Cal State Fullerton and Discovery Cube. Lesson ideas integrate the Culturally Responsive teaching approach with Common Core Standards leading to higher levels of student engagement!
  • 6:00pm – Broadcasting from live from the CSU Chancellor’s Office In-House Studio for Live Online Learning
    David Kervella, M.S. ’17, Sr. Director, Systemwide Professional Development at CSU Chancellor’s Office
    Do you want to create a space for live online learning? I built a Studio, and it was easy! See how the California State University built a studio to serve the professional development of its employees and saved $600,000 in the last five years by doing so. Learn how we built the studio, what technology we are using to broadcast, and best practices for live content production.

Tuesday, November 14:
7th Annual Educational Research Symposium & Student Poster Presentations
From Research to Practice: Responding to Educational Challenges through Engaged Research 
– Titan Student Union Pavilions  4:30pm-7:30pm
By Educational Leadership
Join us for our 7th Annual Educational Research Symposium. Program activities include: Ed.D Alumni Panel, Ed.D Educational Leadership Alumni Research Posters, P-12 and Community College Leadership Research Posters, and invited poster presentations from the College of Education Credential and Master’s students. Reception to follow.

CLick here to RSVP for this event.

Wednesday, November 15:
“Writing in the Teaching Profession” Workshop – PLN-403  12:30pm-1:30pm
By the Center for Careers in Teaching
Notes home, letters to administrators, and emails to colleagues…there is a LOT of writing involved as future teachers! Get some writing tips for these scenarios, including helpful activities, templates, and handouts!

Reserve your spot for this workshop (and any of our other workshops for future teachers)

Ed Week Future Teacher Boot Camp – Titan Student Union Pavilion A & B 5pm-8pm
Come and learn what requirements are needed to enter a teaching credential program at CSUF. Learn how to become a substitute teacher as an undergraduate, connect with campus resources and gain insights from educational professionals and more! Food will be provided.

Thursday, November 16:
Future Teacher Festival and Club Resource Fair – Titan Walk 11am-1pm
Interested in a career in Teaching? Join us at our Future Teacher Festival and Club Resource Fair featuring information about the College of Education’s programs, services and resources. Meet and greet with COE’S Dean, faculty and staff, while enjoying music, food, and a photo booth!

CSUF staff, students pitch in at Summer Language Academy for newcomers to the U.S.

Cal State Fullerton associate professor Fernando Rodríguez-Valls is training a new generation of bilingual teachers in CSUF’s College of Education, but even bilingualism can only get him and his four student teachers so far in the Summer Language Academy, an English-learners program run by the university and Anaheim Union High School District.

“We have students from 15 different countries, speaking 12 different languages,” Rodríguez-Valls said. “When you don’t speak the student’s first language, that is a challenge, but we try to work around that.”

The Summer Language Academy is held at Savanna High School in Anaheim. Seventy-three ninth- and 10th-graders from across the district participate in the program, which runs for four weeks. Most participants immigrated to the United States in the past three years, but some arrived as recently as six months ago.

The students are divided into three classes, each led by four teachers. This ensures a 1:6 or 1:7 teacher-to-student ratio that Rodríguez-Valls said is crucial to building a rapport between instructors and new English learners.

The program is spearheaded by Rodríguez-Valls and Cynthia Vasquez Petitt, director of English Learner and Multilingual Services at AUHSD. Classes are taught by a combination of full-time teachers from AUHSD and student teachers from CSUF’s College of Education.

Two of the student teachers, Jacqueline Rodarte, 24, and Daniel Miranda, 27, completed their single subject credential program offered by the College of Education this past semester.

Miranda also worked with Rodríguez-Valls last summer as an instructor for the Migrant Summer Leadership Program hosted at CSUF. Sandra Vidal, 26, is on track to earn her credential at the end of next semester, and Veronica Gomez, 33, will begin the program this fall.

The student teachers went through a three-day training period before the start of the program in which they met the AUHSD teachers they’d be working alongside.

“I was so nervous before the program started,” Vidal said, “but the connection with the students was instant.”

AUHSD staff were impressed by the poise and know-how of the student teachers.

“They’re bringing in a lot of the recent research for teaching students who are learning a second language,” teacher Valentin Salazar said. “Definitely they’d be able to teach their own class.”

AUHSD teachers serve as mentors to the CSUF students, but the information exchange flows both ways. While AUHSD teachers can offer insight gleaned from years of classroom experience, the student teachers can offer the latest developments in English-learner research.

“There’s been so much learning from each other – the students learning from each other, the teachers learning from each other, the teachers learning from the students, and vice versa,” Vasquez Petitt said. “It’s very much a learning community.”

In the classroom

Many English-learner programs simply try to replace a student’s native language with English, but participants at the Summer Language Academy are encouraged to incorporate words and phrases from their first languages into their classwork. Learning English shouldn’t mean forgetting your native tongue, Rodríguez-Valls said.

“It’s not that you have to stop being who you are – it’s just adding a new layer, being here in America, being here in Orange County,” he said.

Four books form the backbone of Rodríguez-Valls’ program: “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros, “A Fire in My Hands” by Gary Soto, “American Born Chinese” by Gene Luen Yang and “The Rose That Grew From Concrete,” a collection of poems from rapper Tupac Shakur.

The four texts deal with the same issues confronting Summer Language Academy students – how to form a sense of identity in a new country, and how to communicate that identity in a foreign tongue.

High school is a difficult time for anyone, much less a newly-arrived student with limited English skills. At the start of the program, participants were very shy and kept to themselves.

But later, Rodríguez-Valls said, they talked “nonstop.”

On a sweltering Tuesday morning at Savanna High School, families of the Summer Language Academy’s participants crowded into an auditorium for the program’s open house. It’s the first year for the program, and the open house drew a number of curious administrators from across the district.

On a tour of the classrooms, evidence of Rodríguez-Valls’ commitment to maintaining the students’ native tongues was on display. Vocabulary translated into the 12 languages spoken by program participants dotted the walls. Music played softly in the background – students are allowed to play songs from their home countries over the classrooms’ sound systems, Vasquez Petitt explained, and they rotate music privileges on a daily basis.

Thumbtacks marked home countries of students on the classroom map: Syria, Myanmar, Honduras, Korea and Somalia, for instance.

Five CSUF students attended the open house, candidates in the bilingual authorization program offered by the College of Education. Asked whether he would like to work at the Summer Language Academy in the future, Eduardo Lopez, 26, said, “Definitely.”

Lopez hopes to teach in Garden Grove, where many of the students speak Spanish or Vietnamese as their first language. The methods on display at the Summer Language Academy are not just useful for teaching newly-immigrated students; they’re useful for teaching any student learning English as a second language.

A growing need

A census conducted by the California Department of Education for the 2014-15 school year found that nearly 1.4 million students – 22 percent of total enrollment in California public schools – were classified as English-language learners. Forty-three percent of California public school students speak a language other than English at home.

This is a challenge for educators, particularly those who have never experienced the trials of learning a new language. The four CSUF student teachers grew up speaking Spanish at home, and their own experiences learning and struggling with English helped establish a sense of trust with their students.

“Learning a new language is very difficult, so when they knew that we had very similar experiences, they were willing to go deeper with this,” Vidal said.

AUHSD has a strong history of promoting bilingual and dual-immersion teaching strategies. The district was the first in Orange County to award the Seal of Biliteracy to students who demonstrate speaking, writing and reading proficiency in English and a second language.

The district is a frequent collaborator with CSUF, and the Summer Language Academy is just the latest chapter in a “strong, productive and comprehensive partnership” between the two, Rodríguez-Valls said.

The students have come a long way from their first day at Savanna. They chat amongst themselves and show each other pictures on their phones and listen to each other’s music. They’re more comfortable with the language, and more comfortable with living in America and Orange County.

But the real test will come this month, when the school year begins. During the regular school year, there is no 1:6 or 1:7 teacher-to-student ratio. More like 1:30. They will again compete with native English speakers for As and Bs.

It will be difficult, but Rodríguez-Valls is hopeful that the program has set them on a new trajectory, one that leads to high school graduation and, beyond that, college.

“I think most of them are going towards that path,” he said. “We don’t want to create a summer bubble. Now that they know how to speak, how to write, we don’t want them to go back to school and be quiet.”

Original Article by: Matthew Ormseth, OC Register

Introducing Dr. Teshia Roby, our new Associate Dean

The College of Education conducted a national search for our next Associate Dean for the College of Education. In this process, we have met with multiple candidates over this past academic year. After meeting with the candidates, reading the faculty and staff feedback, conducting reference checks, reviewing the search committee notes, and evaluating the needs of the College, I am excited to share that I have offered the position to Dr. Teshia Roby, and she has accepted.

Dr. Roby brings valuable leadership experience from her tenure at Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Education and Integrative Studies. She currently serves as the Interim Associate Dean for the College of Education. In addition to this position, she has served as the chair of the Education Department, as a faculty member on special assignment leading the 2015 University Graduation Initiative, assisted with state and national accreditation, and served on the executive board for the Ed.D. program.

Dr. Roby earned a Ph.D. in Instructional Design, a M.S. in Education with an emphasis in Instructional Design, and M.B.A. from Georgia State University. She earned her BA in Computer Science from Clemson University.

Dr. Roby shares our commitment to Just, Equitable and Inclusive Education, Community Engagement, and Technology. Her appointment began July 3, 2017.

– Contributed by Dr. Lisa Kirtman, Dean of the College of Education

Educator Awarded Fulbright to Study Tibetan Students in India

Nawang B. Phuntsog, associate professor of elementary and bilingual education


Nawang B. Phuntsog has received a 2017-18 Fulbright-Nehru Academic & Professional Excellence Award to conduct educational research in Dharamsala, a city in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh — and home to Tibetans living in exile, including the Dalai Lama.

Tibetans have been living in India since the 1950s, when families fled the occupation of Tibet by China. The Indian educational system has allowed the creation of a separate schooling system for Tibetan children to ensure that it is educationally relevant for Tibetan people living outside their homeland, noted Phuntsog, associate professor of elementary and bilingual education. This educational system has grown from serving 50 children in 1960 to around 24,000 students in 73 schools scattered all throughout India.

“This is an astounding achievement for a community that has lived displaced for over six decades,” said Phuntsog, whose host institution is the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives.

In school, children learn about Tibet history and culture, and recite the Tibetan national anthem to evoke patriotism and nationalism, Phuntsog added. These teachings and rituals are reenacted to ensure that Tibetan identity is “sustained in the hearts and minds of these school children.”

As a research fellow, he will explore dispositions, skills and attitudes associated with the cultivation of a “compassionate schooling culture,” taught to Tibetan children, and how this may lead to “altruism,” described as the need to embrace others “as more precious than one’s self.”

“This study is based on the premise that when compassion becomes the foundation of socialization, social justice matters are addressed empathetically and responsively — from local to global levels,” Phuntsog explained.

Phuntsog leaves July 1 and will spend about six weeks interviewing teachers, principals and education ministers. The second phase of the study, to be conducted in June 2018, will involve classroom visitations, artifact collection, student interviews and additional teacher interviews.

In 2011-12, Phuntsog received a Fulbright award, where he studied the effects of heritage language on math and science achievements of sixth-grade Tibetan children in India.

Original article:




Five Ways the CSU Is Preparing More Great Teachers

California and the nation are experiencing a serious teacher shortage. Find out how you can earn your degree and teaching credential and bring your skills to kids who need them.

Chances are good you’ve already heard about the desperate shortage of trained and credentialed teachers – about 20,000 are needed in California alone.

That makes the California State University‘s Educator Preparation Programs especially crucial right now; the CSU prepares a large percentage of the state’s preschool through 12th-grade (P-12) teachers, awarding about 6,500 teaching credentials in California annually.

“The CSU’s preparation of high-quality teachers is of enormous value to California, its communities, and its families,” says Marquita Grenot-Scheyer, Ph.D., CSU assistant vice chancellor for Teacher Education & Public School Programs at the Chancellor’s Office, in Long Beach.

A key strength for the CSU is making a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degree in education more accessible to more Californians; many campuses also offer the chance to earn your teaching credential at the same time you’re getting your degree. A variety of scholarships and other types of financial aid are offered, too, for teachers-in-training, allowing students to find the program that’s the right fit for them.

If you’re considering becoming a teacher or educator, here are five things you should know about the CSU’s Educator Preparation Programs (EPP):

1. Our students are diverse.

Thirty-seven percent of the CSU’s approximately 9,000 teacher candidates are Hispanic/Latino,  and 12 percent are Asian American. The majority of our students are the first in their families to attend and graduate from college, and many return to their communities to teach and lead.

2. We’re committed to quality education.

The CSU’s EPPs emphasize collaboration, clinically based preparation, deep content knowledge, and instructional strategies that ensure all learners succeed. As a result, more than one-third of our campus programs were selected to receive prestigious federal Teacher Quality Grants, given by the U.S. Department of Education.

3. Our teacher training is personalized.

 If you choose to attend a CSU to prepare to become a teacher, you can expect that your program will take into account your needs and goals and that you’ll have multiple paths to become a teacher, counselor or leader in education.

To teach in California, you must have a bachelor’s degree and a teaching credential. The CSU offers a four-year combined bachelor’s/teaching credential program; a post-bachelor’s/teaching credential program; a teaching credential/master’s degree program; and Doctorate of Education programs. (Not all of these are offered at all 23 campuses, however; visit the Teacher & Educator Degrees & Credentials page to see all your options.)

Depending on the program, you can choose full- or part-time study; many courses are offered in the afternoon and evening to make it easier to attend class while working or holding down other responsibilities.

4. The CSU is a great value.

The tuition and fees to earn a teaching credential at the CSU for the 2016-17 academic year were $6,348 per year; most students complete their credential studies in a year-and-a-half. CSU teaching students have access to both state and federal financial aid and scholarship programs as well.

One-fifth of our students receive federal TEACH grants of $4,000 per year; 10 percent participate in the state Cal Grant Teaching Scholarship Program; 10 percent receive National Science Foundation (NSF) Robert Noyce Scholarships of $10,000 per year; one-half receive federal Pell Grants; and most are also eligible for federal student loan forgiveness.

5. You’ll find a job once you graduate.

More than 95 percent of the CSU’s EPP graduates secure a teaching position once they complete their program. The average starting salary of our teacher graduates is $43,873, which is comparable to beginning teacher salaries statewide. Salaries for highly experienced teachers average $88,403 annually.

July 28, 2017 will mark the third annual statewide “Better Together: California Teachers Summit,” supported and sponsored by the CSU.

By: Angie Marcos, Original story: CSU News – Five Ways the CSU Is Preparing More Great Teachers

Front of the Class

Tackling the Teacher Shortage

In high school, Mark Bibian’s literature teacher, Mrs. Johnston, inspired him to consider a career in teaching.

Bibian recalls reading Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” a novel from 1818.

“She encouraged us to view the world differently and relate it to events that were current,” says the Cal State Fullerton junior. “I want to show my students what makes literature timeless and relevant, just as Mrs. Johnston did for me in my adolescence. Her passion for literature was reflected in the way she taught it to her students.”

In his sophomore year of college, Bibian became an English major and committed to becoming a high school English teacher. Today, he is on an academic pathway to earn his bachelor’s degree, while also taking the prerequisites for the University’s single subject credential program in English. Completing the prerequisite courses will enable Bibian to gain competency in the subject matter and transition into the one-year teacher preparation program after he graduates.

By becoming a teacher, Bibian also will help address the shortage of teachers needed for California’s classrooms. The state — and nation — are facing a teacher shortage, mainly due to the recession, severe school district budget cuts, teacher layoffs and retirements.

School districts statewide projected the need to hire more than 22,000 teachers in 2016-17, yet only about 15,000 new teaching credentials were issued, according to the California Department of Education.

“At Cal State Fullerton, we’re taking the approach of not just filling the need for more teachers,” says Lisa Kirtman, dean of the College of Education. “We want to make sure these teaching positions are filled with strong, qualified teachers — educators who are prepared to be excellent teachers, who believe in just, equitable and inclusive education, and who are skilled in integrating technology in the classroom.”

Addressing the Shortage

To tackle this workforce gap and recruit and prepare quality pre-K through 12th-grade teachers, the College of Education is deploying a range of strategies and innovative programs. These include strengthening recruitment efforts to high school and undergraduate students; promoting a clear academic path to teacher preparation programs; offering professional development workshops to boost teacher retention; providing student-teacher mentorship opportunities; and increasing the number of underrepresented students in the teaching profession.

“We’re trying to identify students earlier in the pipeline — even before they come to Cal State Fullerton — to remove barriers to becoming a teacher,” says Aimee Nelson, director of the Center for Careers in Teaching. “The pathway to the teaching profession is unique in California, so we must connect students early with support and guidance.” Typically, teacher candidates in California must first earn a bachelor’s degree and then enter a postbaccalaureate teacher preparation program — often a five- to seven-year process — to teach at the elementary, middle school and high school levels.

To address the challenges facing teacher recruitment and retention, the Center for Careers in Teaching conducts routine outreach and recruitment efforts at local high schools and community college campuses. “This approach gives students a more detailed picture of the teaching profession and the time to make decisions about their future career path,” Nelson says.

It also provides incoming freshmen and undergraduates with information about prerequisites they need to complete for a seamless transition into one of the University’s teacher preparation programs. A new mentorship program also pairs undergraduates across all majors with local veteran educators so students can gain insight and exposure to classroom teaching before entering a credential program.

Finding ways to help students prepare and pay for the state tests required to enter a teaching credential program and offering financial aid options also are some of the solutions the college is exploring to help recruit future teachers, notes Kirtman. Additionally, the dean has started her own personal recruitment efforts by giving informal presentations to campus student clubs and organizations.

“I want undergraduates to know about the great rewards in teaching,” she explains.

Diversity in the Classroom

Another pressing issue facing education is the lack of diversity in the profession, Kirtman adds. Cal State Fullerton is one of 10 U.S. institutions participating in the Black & Hispanic/Latino Male Teachers Initiative, part of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s “Networked Improvement Community” aimed at improving the nation’s schools. The center’s goal is to recruit 25 percent more black and Hispanic men in the University’s teacher credential programs by fall 2017.

“With the number of students of color in California and Orange County schools continuing to grow, we need to focus on recruiting and preparing a diverse teaching force,” says Nelson. “This, in turn, can inspire and draw more underrepresented students into teaching careers.”

Through this effort, underrepresented students like Bibian are receiving mentorship from black and Hispanic teachers in local classrooms to foster professional networks in school communities, as well as deepen their commitment to enter the teaching workforce.

“As a child, I noticed there weren’t very many males in the field of teaching — and in particular, there were not many Latino males,” adds Bibian, who is of Mexican descent. “It felt almost like an obligation for me to step up and enter the profession so students will actually have a teacher who looks like them.”

Equally as important, Bibian adds, “As a teacher, I want to have the same positive impact in the lives of my students as my teachers did on mine.”

Originally published by Titan Magazine:

Fulbright Scholar to Study Return of Student Migrants to Mexico

To further his research on immigrant students, Julián Jefferies, assistant professor of literacy and reading education, has been selected as a Fulbright Scholar. Jefferies will conduct research in Guadalajara, Mexico, focusing on the experiences of adolescent migrants who have returned to Mexico, their reintegration into school, and teacher perceptions of these students.

“I hope to learn more about what these adolescents are experiencing in schools and how they’re adapting to a new life in Mexico,” said Jefferies. “It has been a lifelong goal to be able to collaborate with researchers from Mexico on this topic.”

Jefferies will spend six months collaborating with scholars at the Universidad de Guadalajara, beginning in January 2018. His research also will seek to better understand the consequences of immigration policies in the U.S. and implications for public policy regarding how teacher education can better serve these students in Mexico and the U.S. He also will create curricula, lesson plans and resources that high school teachers in Mexico can use in order to better serve these students.

While in Mexico, Jefferies also plans to strengthen relationships with Universidad de Guadalajara for CSUF’s Guadalajara Transnational Migration Program, which he directs. This study abroad program at the Mexican university offers CSUF students the opportunity to engage in service-learning related to Latino/a immigration issues to the U.S.

Jefferies arrived in the United States as an undocumented student from Argentina, became a permanent resident in 2010, and three years later, a U.S. citizen. His work as a Fulbright Scholar is relevant to the immigration issues at the forefront of today’s national discussions.

“This is an important time for a scientific study of immigration,” said Jefferies, who earned his doctorate in education from Boston College. “We need a more humane and rational description of why immigrants move and how U.S. policy affects their labor and human rights.”

Originally published by CSUF News Service:

Titan Voice Lisa Kirtman: Building Partnerships to Close the Opportunity Gap

I grew up believing that education makes all things possible — that through education all students have an equal opportunity to learn about art, science, music, math and the world around them. My teachers taught me how to be an independent critical thinker. I learned from my mother, a teacher herself, that teachers also teach their students about working hard, being self-confident, and believing in their abilities to succeed in whatever path they choose to take. As a result, I’ve always believed education to be the great equalizer, giving me as much of an opportunity to succeed as any other student.

But things changed for me when I began to teach sixth grade in Southern California. The inequalities that I saw at the schools where I worked, juxtaposed against the bright eyes, smiling faces, and eager minds of my students made me want more for them and made me want to fight for them. Serving as a teacher of primarily low-income students of color made me realize that all educational opportunities are not equal.

Since my first year as a teacher I, like many others, have tried to figure out ways to fix the inequities. These inequalities still exist and still drive what I do every day. As I finish my 16th year at Cal State Fullerton and my first year as the dean of the College of Education, I know we have and will continue to address these issues. One way that we strive to close the opportunity gap is through the continual pursuit of a wide array of partnerships.

Together, with our community partners, we are helping to close the opportunity gap in schools.

Here are a few:

The CSUF College of Education partners with the university’s Division of Information Technology and the Placenta-Yorba Linda Unified School District to present the iSTEM program. This program brings science, engineering and technology through the use of iPads to students who would not normally have these opportunities. Since its launch, the science scores of the fifth-grade students participating have nearly doubled.

The iSTEM program also has led to the creation of a STEM Club with more than 75 district students participating, as well as 925 students in various grades spending time each week learning how to write code for computer programs.

The college’s SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union Center for Creativity and Critical Thinking, in partnership with the Sergerstrom Center for the Arts and numerous districts in Orange County, have helped to ensure the arts are offered in our county’s elementary school classrooms. To this end, we have worked with over 400 teachers and more than 400 future teachers in these areas.

Working with the Anaheim Union High School District, we provide a Summer Language Academy to newcomers. Last summer, we provided language instruction to 73 ninth- and 10th-graders. In addition, high school sophomores from across the district participated in a four-week program to assist them in succeeding in school. These students speak 12 languages from 15 different countries. During the end of the program event, students spoke of finally feeling connected at schools and believing that they would graduate from high school because not only do they have a better grasp of English, but they now have friends. This summer, the effort will be expanded to the Newport-Mesa Unified School District to involve even more students.

In addition, CSUF’s Center for Autism — housed in the university’s College of Education and College of and Health and Human Development — partners with Chapman University, UC Irvine and the Family Autism Network to provide an annual social event for adults with autism and their caregivers. One parent commented that this event was the first time she had ever seen her adult son dance. The social offered a day where her son had fun in a community while she was able to network and connect with others. The free event welcomed more than 250 participants last year.

There are many more partnerships that I have not mentioned, and I know that we still have a lot of work to do, yet we are making strides together to make a difference. There have been moments throughout my journey that have made me pause, made me hesitate, made me doubt, but they have not stopped me from taking the next step because of the foundation I received in school. Through our ongoing partnerships with the Orange County community, my hope is that we will close the opportunity gap for students so that all students have an opportunity to succeed.

Lisa Kirtman became dean of Cal State Fullerton’s College of Education in 2016, having served three years as the college’s associate dean, as well as chair of the Elementary and Bilingual Education Department and acting chair of Literary and Reading Education. She taught in elementary and middle school before joining the CSUF faculty in 2000, the same year she earned her doctorate in educational policy from UC Berkeley. She also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCLA.

Originally published in the Orange County Register, please click here to view original posting.

The Emma E. Holmes Faculty Fellowship

The Emma E. Holmes Faculty Fellowship provides a mechanism for renewing faculty engagement in the field, by supporting a 3-unit course release that enables tenured professors to spend time working side-by-side with educators in local p-12 schools, community colleges, or other community agencies. The Fellowship aims to strengthen the College’s commitment to faculty professional development and to our community partnerships by providing an opportunity to collaborate and share expertise that will inform and improve our practices. Priority will be given to work that aligns with college priorities and that is completed in high need schools and communities.

Click here for more information and to view the past recipients.

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