SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union Supports Students
By Viridiana Ortiz
Thanks to a sponsorship from SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, 20 teacher candidates from California State University Long Beach’s College of Education’s Urban Dual Credential Program (UDCP) and Urban Teacher Education Academy (UTEACH) attended the California Reading Association (CRA) 50th Professional Development Institute in Los Angeles this fall.
The students attended networking events and sessions on brain research, student engagement, collaborative learning, improving listening and speaking skills and teaching English learners. They also met with several children’s book authors, including Virginia Loh Hagan (“Paper Son: Lee’s Journey to America”) and Alexis O’Neill (“The Kite That Bridged Two Nations: Homan Walsh and the First Niagara Suspension Bridge”).
Postgraduate UDCP student Mary Nguyen said she appreciated meeting fellow passionate teachers and learning about how to tackle literacy issues in the classroom.
“Reading is so important, yet many of our children dislike reading,” Nguyen said. “The talks I attended addressed this issue and gave me useful strategies to make reading a fun experience.”
Paul Boyd-Batstone, professor and chairman of the Department of Teacher Education, explained why attending education conferences is so valuable.
“California holds the most diverse student population in our nation,” Boyd-Batstone said. “The CRA conference gives our CSULB candidates knowledge and skills for working with English learners, students with special needs and students who struggle on the margin of society. These are skills that they will be able to take into their future classrooms and create a joyful experience.”
While attending the conference can provide unique learning and career-building opportunities, such events can be costly. The registration fees for this year’s CRA event were as much as $275.
“Our UDCP and UTEACH students are in an intensive program where all classes, student teaching experiences and supervision occur at participating schools. That leaves them with little opportunity to work for income,” Boyd-Batstone said. “The financial support that SchoolsFirst provides allows them to attend the Professional Development Institute. It strengthens the development of quality teachers for the future of our education system.”
Nguyen says she could not have attended the conference without SchoolsFirst’s help.
“As an aspiring teacher, I am so grateful to SchoolsFirst for sponsoring me,” she said. “Being able to meet people who dedicate their lives to teaching our future inspires me to do the same. The small flame that keeps me on the path to becoming a teacher now flickers strongly and cradles a new love for reading.”
SchoolFirst is a nonprofit credit union owned by its members and committed to serving the educational community by offering personal loans, home loans and other services. Since 2015, it has supported the UDCP and UTEACH programs with a five-year commitment grant of $500,000.
For more information on the grant awarded to UDCP and UTEACH, click here.