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Preparing Teacher Leaders to Support Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities

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The University of Northern Colorado (UNC) holds a long-standing tradition of developing its future teachers as leaders in the community. Since 1889, the school has taken pride in its commitment to teacher excellence. However, never content to settle, the faculty and staff that constitute UNC’s School of Teacher Education (STE) continue to encourage the next generation of teachers to blaze their own trails and inspire change in their communities.

In addition to delivering the widest array of licensure programs in Colorado to meet the state and national needs, STE at UNC offers specialized licensure and endorsement opportunities within its diversity framework. Programs such as the Cumbres Teacher Preparation Program—an inclusive learning community that has served students at UNC since 1997—and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) endorsements urge teachers to utilize culturally responsive curriculum in the classroom.

Aldo Romero, the director of Cumbres, says the Cumbres program “is a co-curricular, student support services and scholarship program. Over the last two decades, Cumbres has evolved to become a comprehensive program designed to support education majors who want to be English as a Second Language teachers (ESL). The program is grounded in four high impact educational practices: living community, learning community, mentorship, and leadership development.” He also says that Cumbres educators are constantly “acquiring new knowledge and skills to support their development to become not only excellent teachers but also exceptional leaders in K-12 settings.”  

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