School Readiness Early Learning Program: Enhancing Sustainability
This fellowship will give me the opportunity to continue my work with El Rancho Unified School District’s (ERUSD) School Readiness Early Learning Program. In 2004 the district was awarded an operational grant from First 5 L.A that sunsetted in June 2011. In my role as a literacy consultant to this grant, I trained approximately sixty five early childhood educators in the area of early bilingual/biliteracy development. Professional development trainings and seminars have focused on developing a balanced, research-based, and linguistically/culturally responsive early literacy program for the district. This faculty fellowship will provide the support necessary to continue this professional partnership with ERUSD. The district and I hold a shared vision for capacity-building and developing shared responsibility/decision-making among all program members. Working in collaboration with classroom teachers and College of Education School Engagement Support administrators, I intend to use the spring 2013 semester to create a sustainable professional development program by enhancing the expertise, training techniques, and leadership capabilities of four teachers who would be willing to take on leadership roles within the ERUSD’s preschool program. During the spring semester I will visit one teacher each week in her classroom to provide coaching/modeling and offer one to two professional development trainings with these four teachers on a monthly basis from February-May, 2013. The goal would be to train these teachers with the prerequisite skills so that they may continue to offer on-going professional development seminars for new teachers so that a strong literacy foundation is provided for all children from diverse cultural, economic, and linguistic backgrounds as they prepare for a K-12 education.
This type of applied scholarship clearly connects to the College of Education priorities, including the importance of preparing “professionals who improve student learning, promote diversity, make informed decisions… and become change agents in their workplaces” (College Mission Statement). As a Hispanic-serving institution, a priority for CSUF has been to recruit Hispanic students into our graduate programs. As a direct result of this collaboration with ERUSD, CSUF’s Reading Department established its first master’s cohort in the district. In December 2010, these teachers, most of whom are Hispanic, completed the program and graduated with a M.S in Education with a Concentration in Reading.
By the end of the fall semester, four teachers will be identified and will receive extensive training in the following three areas: bilingual/biliteracy development, culturally responsive instruction, and the facilitation of small/large group professional development workshops and discussions. These “train-the-trainer” meetings will result in an enhanced expertise of a cohort of teacher leaders who can continue with the planning and implementation of the district’s professional development for early childhood educators.