Clinical Practice Spotlight Turns to Long Beach

The AACTE Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series continues this summer with a new feature on California State University, Long Beach. We’re excited to introduce this member institution’s Urban Teaching Academy (UTEACH) residency program, which operates in the unique context of the massive public education partnership known as the Long Beach College Promise.

The two videos linked above offer an overview of the partnership through interviews with key leaders and participants from the university, Long Beach City College, and the Long Beach Unified School District–and even the mayor.

In video interviews with AACTE staff, Mayor Robert Garcia and senior administrators from the Promise partner institutions speak to their common commitment to college and career readiness for all of the city’s students.

Cal State Long Beach President Jane Close Conoley explains the access advantage provided to district graduates, who are guaranteed admission to the university if they meet the academic requirements, despite stiff competition for space. But the advantage is much broader and complex than a leg up at admissions time. “Things are always being added to the Promise–you know the Promise is not one program, but it’s a conglomeration of trying to meet needs,” she says. “What we are trying to do always is grow the college-going culture in elementary, middle, and high school, and remove barriers.”

Eloy Oakley, superintendent-president of Long Beach City College, says his institution’s close relationship with the Long Beach Unified School District positions it as “the hub in the education wheel.” In addition to working with high school students on college and career readiness and creating career pathways, his college provides a bridge for students to prepare for transfer to Cal State Long Beach–in fact, each graduate of the district’s high schools is eligible for one year of tuition-free enrollment at Long Beach City College as part of the Promise program. Oakley says everyone wants to “make sure that every child in Long Beach recognizes that they have an opportunity to go to college.”

Willard Elementary School Principal Cassandra Richards highlights the effectiveness of starting early in this work. “All of our fourth graders go to Long Beach City College, and the fifth graders go to Cal State Long Beach, every year,” she says. “It’s not just a field trip; it comes with lessons the teachers teach the kids ahead of time, [and] we want the parents to know that this is part of their culture, kids have that right to go to college.”

The UTEACH residency program dovetails with the Long Beach College Promise by providing high-quality clinical teacher preparation in the district’s schools. Dean Shireen Pavri says the College of Education is proud of its long-standing program, which prepares elementary educators for the state’s Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with significant financial support from the SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union.

“UTEACH is structured to enhance integration of pedagogy and clinical practice for teacher candidates,” Pavri explained via e-mail. “This cohorted, year-long residency program ensures that candidates receive personalized mentoring and support from university instructors and supervisors as well as site-based mentor teachers to develop expertise in meeting the needs of diverse learners in urban settings. This clinical partnership model has proven successful in effectively preparing teacher candidates to enact the college’s mission of equity and excellence in education.”

The video interviews are available on AACTE’s Video Wall, and more will be added in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more information about the UTEACH clinical model!

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