The U.S. Department of Education (DoE) has awarded a $299,695 grant to CSULB for a project that will expand graduate school opportunities for minority students.
The grant will be used to develop and implement a teacher education graduate program at CSULB that will work to encourage increased enrollment in the program by Hispanic and other minority students and will also train its graduate students to be more responsive and aware to the diversity and needs of their own students once they are teachers.
The grant was awarded through the DoE’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), which focuses on projects that will expand graduate-level academic offerings at colleges with a significant number of Hispanic students.
The title of the CSULB project is “Developing Teachers as Instructional Leaders in a Graduate Program at a CSU Hispanic Serving Institution,” and the co-principal investigators for the project are Corinne Martinez and Trini Lewis, both associate professors of teacher education at CSULB.
“As coordinator for the master’s in education degree with an option in dual language development, I’ve had the privilege of working with exceptional elementary school teachers who are passionate about improving their knowledge to better educate culturally and linguistically diverse students,” said Lewis. “This FIPSE grant award provides additional resources for identifying and working with secondary school teacher candidates who are similarly earnest and motivated about pursuing a teaching credential and a master’s degree.
“Our FIPSE grant award projects will also provide our teacher candidates with an array of new experiences and opportunities for inspiring and effectively educating the growing number of English language learners in our secondary public school settings. Elena Macias, special adviser to President Alexander on community and government relations, will also play an important role in working with us on a series of leadership institutes.”
The CSULB project will focus on developing secondary education teachers as instructional leaders in bilingual and English language learner settings. Teacher candidates who have completed the majority of the requirements for a single-subject credential will also complete a master’s degree with a hybrid focus in dual language development and curriculum instruction.
Among the initial goals of the program is to increase the access of Latino and other ethnic and linguistic minority teacher candidates to a CSU graduate program, improving professional growth and increasing teacher candidates’ knowledge relevant to the education of English-language learning students in secondary schools and increasing teacher candidates’ awareness and respect for cultural and linguistic diversity in secondary school settings.
“We’re very excited to receive a grant that will help increase the number of minority graduate students at Cal State Long Beach, and frankly, this grant couldn’t have come at a better time,” said CSULB President F. King Alexander. “More and more students are looking to continue their education and go on to graduate school because of the bad job market that has resulted from the nation’s economic situation. This grant will help some minority students at CSULB make those graduate school dreams a reality.”
Alexander made a note of singling out U.S. Rep. Laura Richardson and expressed his appreciation for her support in helping CSULB land the grant. The congresswoman was the first to notify Alexander of the DoE award.
“In California, in Los Angeles County and in the 37th Congressional District, Hispanics account for 36.6 percent, 47.3 percent and 42 percent of our population, respectively,” Richardson said. “With huge educational challenges often due to language barriers, parental homework assistance and so on, difficulties continue to exist for the often first-generation minority students. This grant makes possible a program that will serve as a gateway for them to enter a graduate school program, which should in turn increase their ability to work and benefit our communities.”