Long Beach ‘Promise’ Fertile Context for Residency

The AACTE Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series continues this week with its focus on the Urban Teaching Academy (UTEACH) residency program of California State University, Long Beach. The latest video interviews feature members of the Long Beach College Promise Steering Committee and several participants from the university, Long Beach City College, and the Long Beach Unified School District.

Five steering committee members participated in a panel discussion, including the university’s Interim Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Studies Nele Hempel-Lamer and Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs Simon Kim; Long Beach Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Pamela Seki and Director of Equity, Access, and College and Career Readiness Robert Tagorda; and Terri Long, vice president for academic affairs at Long Beach City College.

In the video above, each of them shares their perspectives on the remarkable collaborative partnership, which supports Long Beach students from an early age to be college and career ready.

Seki says the steering committee aims to “facilitate the communication between our three institutions so that what is happening in K-12 supports what’s happening at the community college as well as at the 4-year university. Having the ability to check in with each other, to plan together, and to move our agenda forward at the same time really increases the efficacy of the Long Beach College Promise.”

The partnership has endured several leadership changes, helping build participants’ confidence and willingness to take risks and improve together. “The notion that leaders continue to recommit and reaffirm the values of the Promise is very important,” Tagorda says, for the strong support system and culture it sustains.

This fertile context is the foundation for the university’s UTEACH program. With strong school-university-community partnerships already in place, clinical teacher preparation is poised for success.

The yearlong residency program provides elementary teacher candidates two clinical placements, one in the lower and one in the upper grades, in the same school. Two residents are matched with each master teacher, providing coteaching triads that offer peer support and mentoring to each other while providing extra attention to students. University-based faculty teach methods courses right in the school as well, allowing candidates and faculty alike to apply their lessons and reflect immediately in the field.

Candidate Jessica Maston says the program’s cohort model and constant contact with experienced teachers and university faculty amount to a strong support system for candidates–and for their elementary students. “I think the kids really benefit because we all have different teaching styles,” she says.

A core tenet of effective clinical partnerships in educator preparation is that they bring mutual benefits–or as John Goodlad framed it, simultaneous renewal–to all partners. For participants in the UTEACH residency program, these benefits are compounded thanks to the program’s larger context in the Long Beach College Promise.

College of Education Dean Shireen Pavri says the program continues to improve as it matures, now working to establish “anchor schools” for clinical practice with cohorts of specially trained master teachers to build a more structured professional learning community. “We’re trying to make this clinical practice more seamless, more robust, and a better quality experience for our students,” she says.

Listen to this week’s interviews in the videos linked above, which are now posted on AACTE’s Video Wall along with last week’s introductory videos (which you can read about in this article). Stay tuned for more next week!

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