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When Partnerships Become a Community: Mutual Commitment Benefits All

Four final videos are now available in the AACTE Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series focused on the district and community partnerships of the College of Education at California State University, Long Beach. (View these and others in the series on AACTE’s Video Wall.)

The videos capture interviews with faculty, administrators, teacher candidates, and other partners in the Long Beach College Promise and the UTEACH residency program.

The Promise benefits students through many levels of their education–even supporting their entry into the teaching workforce, thanks to partners’ efforts to strengthen the pipeline and develop profession-ready graduates.

Eloy Oakley, superintendent-president of Long Beach City College, says the state teacher shortage prompted his community college to collaborate on a direct transfer pathway with Cal State Long Beach, which was already a strong partner in the Promise. “I see our role in working with College of Education at Cal State Long Beach really as an opportunity to help more students see teaching as a career opportunity and motivate them to take part in that.”

This supportive Promise community is also the context for the UTEACH residency program, in which elementary teacher candidates spend a full year in one school learning “the complete culture of schools and how they work,” explains Professor Felipe Golez. “It’s the whole package.”

Jessica Matson, a teacher candidate in the UTEACH residency, says she feels well prepared by the program. “My ideal first-year teaching experience would look a lot like what I’m doing now,” she says. “I hope to have a good support system; I hope to be able to collaborate with my colleagues; I hope to have a good relationship with the administration.”

Education Dean Shireen Pavri says this intensive preparation has made UTEACH residents “highly competitive” in the job market, especially in the school where they’ve just worked an entire year. “They get processed as subs while they’re there,” she adds. “They know the school really well, and the teachers and the administrator know them.”

The benefits go both ways, too. Rather than simply placing student teachers in schools, the partner institutions nurture preservice candidates and veteran teachers alike through coteaching residencies fully embedded in an elementary school. Dean Pavri says master teachers enjoy learning alongside their student teachers, including new methodologies, more evidence-based practices, and better ways to address new standards.

“New ideas come into schools through the student teachers,” agrees Professor Golez.

This interchange also provides important lessons for continuous improvement. The College of Education at Cal State Long Beach and the Long Beach Unified School District “feed” each other students and educators and participate in what the university president, Jane Close Conoley, describes as a “continuous feedback loop.”

Teacher candidate Matson says the UTEACH residency creates a well-connected relationship among master teachers, candidates, and university supervisors that transcends traditional boundaries–which is also a common theme in the Long Beach College Promise. Fundamentally a partnership among just three institutions–the Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach City College, and Cal State Long Beach–the shared commitment actually encompasses the entire community, says CSU Assistant Vice Chancellor Marquita Grenot-Scheyer. “The civic community, the business community, the families in this community really are holding our feet to the fire,” she says, noting the value of the annual celebration of the program where students are awarded scholarships and everyone sees the Promise in action.

Learn more about the Long Beach partnerships and programs in AACTE’s previous features in the series:

For complete archives of the Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series, visit AACTE’s Video Wall.

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