Project STAR

Supporting Teacher Advancement and Retention in Early Childhood


Key Personnel:

project starProject Director:
Janice Myck-Wayne, Ed.D.

STAR Faculty:
Melinda R. Pierson, Ph.D.
Vita Jones, Ph.D.
Rosario Ordoñez Jasis, Ph.D.
Suzanne Robinson, Ph.D.

Project Coordinator:
Luz Zapata
Phone: 657.278.7437


  • Recruit, support, mentor and graduate  candidates from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds who seek to obtain a California Educational Specialist Credential in Early Childhood Special Education
  • Develop coursework, curriculum and field experiences with an emphasis on evidence-based practices that include training in the areas of:
    1. Working with young English Language learners, and high need families and children in poverty.
    2. Providing effective instructional and collaborative models in natural environments and inclusive settings.
    3. Providing training to ECSE teachers and general education preschool teachers in social facilitation and joint attention skills in order to promote and support successful inclusion.
  • Revise, implement and evaluate an ECSE focused Clear credential program that includes induction support in order to mentor and retain credential scholars.


Project STAR is a multiyear grant program housed at California State University, Fullerton and supported by the U.S. Department of Education. Project STAR, funded through a $1.25 million U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, supports Early Childhood Special Education  (ECSE) candidates in completing their Preliminary and Clear credential as part of California’s two-tiered credentialing system.  Project STAR provides financial assistance, training, and mentoring support to Early Childhood Special Education Teacher Candidates.  Participants in the program receive financial support for tuition, books, parking decal, and registration to professional development activities (seminars, conferences).

Project STAR fully certify highly qualified ECSE teachers to provide free and appropriate public educational services to young children served by EI and ECSE program in California.  The scholars will complete a high-qualify, comprehensive teacher preparation and induction program to meet the objectives of Project STAR, which include training ECSE teachers to: a) work with young English Learners (ELLs) and high need families and children in poverty; b) provide effective instructional and collaborative models in natural environments and inclusive settings using evidence-based strategies; and c) demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively in general education settings.

Through the induction support provided by Project STAR, beginning ECSE teachers will be retained in the field while becoming reflective practitioners, effective consultants, and successful collaborators who use evidence-based research and developmentally appropriate curriculum and instruction in their practice.  Furthermore, the skills and knowledge they take with them to the classroom will help serve all children and families in all settings, including students in low-performing, high-need schools.

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Page updated: May 22, 2014