AAQEP Accreditation 2022
Standard 4: Aspect B
The program is committed to and invests in strengthening and improving the education profession and the P-20 education system. Each program’s context (or multiple contexts) provides particular opportunities to engage the field’s shared challenges and to foster and support innovation. Engagement with critical issues is essential and must be contextualized. Sharing results of contextualized engagement and innovation supports the field’s collective effort to address education’s most pressing challenges through improvement and innovation.
The Multiple Subject Credential Program aims to transform its teacher preparation program to address the educator diversity gap by utilizing a data-driven, continuous quality improvement framework (Bryk, Gomez, Grunow, & LaMahieu, 2015). We are working to see how our teacher preparation pathway system produces its current outcomes. Opening up the system so that its components can be understood better is essential because we cannot improve a system that we do not understand more fully. First we looked at our data systems to ensure that we have the demographic data that helps us understand the extent to which we recruit and produce teacher candidates who reflect our local TK-6 system. Although we learned that no educator-student diversity gaps exist for our local Asian, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, and Indigenous American populations, significant gaps for our Black and Latino Tk-6 students continue to exist (see Fresno State Employment Demographic Data). Even though our multiple subject program is performing better in this regard compared to the CSU system as a whole, we want to do even better.
Providing additional pathways to teaching is one way in which the research suggests that recruiting and preparing candidates who reflect the local Tk-6 system is possible. Kremen’s Multiple Subject Credential Program in collaboration with local district partners have developed clinical teacher residency programs that show promise in addressing critical issues associated with teacher shortages, high turnover, and low wages (Guha & Kini, 2016; Guha, Hyler, and Darling-Hammond, 2016). Fresno State teacher residency programs are situated in communities serving high need or marginalized populations and are building capacity in regional teaching pipelines through the recruitment of residents that represent the demographics of young students (NCTR, 2000; Guha & Kini, 2016). Kremen residents work to establish research-based strategies centering culturally sustaining pedagogy and trauma-informed, healing-centered practices (NCTR, 2000). This influences the ability to recruit and retain a highly diverse preservice teacher population that is more likely to remain in the profession (NCTR, 2000; Guha & Kini, 2016) and build upon the cultural wealth (Yosso, 2005) of the students in the schools and local communities (Ladson-Billings, 1995). Working in partnership with our district partners we review their high needs hiring data as well as demographic data to establish recruitment goals where we aim to have 65% or more of the residents represent culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Setting goals and intentionally monitoring recruitment outcomes is central to our strategy of addressing the educator diversity gap in our local TK-6 system.
During the President’s Council on Teacher Education convening, Superintendents of our local rural school districts provided feedback on the teacher residency model. They had heard so many positive outcomes from their urban-situated district colleagues that they asked what it would take to get a residency pathway option for credential students who want to teach in the rural areas of Fresno County. The rural districts also wanted to build a pipeline of “day one ready” teachers who understood their communities. It is in this regard that ideas of Grow Your Own approach came to inform the development of a Rural Teacher Residency Partnership among the following partners: Fresno Superintendent of Schools, four rural districts, Teaching Fellows Foundation which trains expanded learning (EXL) educators to work in after-school programs in our region, and Kremen’s Multiple Subject Credential Program. In particular, the EXL partners help leverage the asset-based perspectives needed to engage communities in intentional recruitment and retention of future educators by building capacity in local and regional teacher pipelines (Sutton, 2014). Including local students in the future teacher workforce creates a space where they are uniquely situated to understand and connect to the lived experiences of school-aged children in their communities (Madda & Schultz, 2009). As the Rural-TRP launches, we will assess whether the Grow Your Own approach will address local teacher shortages, increase diversity in rural teaching communities, and promote social justice (Garcia, 2020). Initial evidence points to how our collaborative efforts have helped us meet several initial goals related to the aims of the partnership, such as development of a shared vision, ownership, and financial commitment where several financial burdens have been removed for the Rural Residents, leveraged partner strengths to create an innovative Rural Resident and EXL Educator Mentor Program, and met nearly all teacher resident recruitment goals in a two month time period. The demographic data gathered through resident and mentor teacher intake surveys describes demographics that mirror that of the district student population. The four partnering districts predominantly serve a community population that makes up an average of 93% LatinX and Hispanic students.
Figure 1: Rural Residency Demographics F2021
Figure 2: Rural Resident and Mentor Teacher Ethnicity
Figure 3: Rural Resident and Mentor Teacher Living Proximity to Rural Region
Interview and observational data also revealed a common theme among the Teacher Residents: they are ‘coming home’ to become teachers as one said, “There are so many of us that are coming out of these rural areas and are forced to go into the big districts. We don't want that... we just want an opportunity to come back to the place that we call home.” Another shared, “This is SO important because we want to see my hometown grow and progress. I want to stay here and serve the Spanish speaking community. Teachers that understand and can connect with parents will change the lives of all students. I want to keep my connection to the community.” Additional data from the residency training site principals illuminated how local connections run deep within the Rural-TRP as one said, “It is so exciting to have Teacher Resident A in the program. I was her third grade teacher, and now I will be the principal at the school in which she will gain the experience to earn her credential.” These initial indicators show promise for the Rural-TRP’s ability to mitigate the diversity gap and high teacher turnover rates present within rural districts’ teacher pipeline as result of a multidimensional approach to a Grow Your Own Rural-TRP. Considering 69% of the EXL workforce self-identify as a person of color (CAN, 2019) and research on teacher residency programs recognizes the model for supporting teacher credential students of diverse racial, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds (Azaar, Hines, & Scheib, 2021), the rural teacher residency partnership shows promise for moving the Multiple Subject Credential Program further in its goal of closing the educator diversity gap.
As our program continued to open up the system to be mindful of the current landscape, we learned that across the state, 1.3 million of school-aged children and youth are emergent bilingual and 72% of these young people are in elementary grades. In 2018-19 Fresno County—which is home to California’s third largest school district—had 1,300 high school students obtain a seal of biliteracy; 900 in Fresno Unified alone signaling that there is rich linguistic talent within the Central Valley. In the same year, KSOEHD had a total of 9 students complete the bilingual authorization, and 2 passed RICA and obtained a preliminary multiple subject credential. At the same time as 9 out of a total of 457 multiple subject completers added on the bilingual authorization, growing demand for bilingual teachers increases. In 2016, the California Department of Education’s reported projections for the Central Valley revealed that the region needs approximately 800 new teachers annually and 300 bilingual teachers over the span of ten years (2016-2026). These data then raise the question: What barriers prevent students from adding on their Bilingual Authorization to their Multiple Subject Credential?
Based on these initial reviews of data, two measurable aims have been established for our improvement focus:
- To increase the enrollment of Hmong and Latinx teacher candidates into the multiple subject credential and bilingual authorization programs (Spanish & Hmong).
- To increase the completion of socially conscious and politically aware Hmong and Latinx teacher candidates that earn a multiple subject credential and bilingual authorization.
Additional improvement science tools such as driver diagrams, empathy interviews, process mapping, and fishbone diagramming have been used to develop and guide the implementation and study of change ideas related to our improvement focus to test out using Plan, Do, Study, Act cycles. Four change ideas emerged as a result of using publicly available and program-level data to make sense of our problem of practice:
- Redesign of the Multiple Subject Credential - Bilingual Authorization Program (BAP) from a five course to a three course program all housed within Kremen which saves tuition costs and reduces the amount of time credential students need to complete the program. The BAP redesign has also made it more feasible for students who did not take enough required BAP courses during their undergraduate program to pursue the courses needed for the BAP during the credential program. Now that the courses are housed in Kremen the coursework is much more centered on connections between theory and practice and policy in TK-6 settings and the course schedule can be set to better fit with clinical practice requirements of the program.
- Development of two dual language immersion teacher residency programs in partnership Fresno Unified BAP-Spanish and Hmong and Madera Unified BAP-Spanish). This pathway option has increased recruitment in the BAP because both offer stipends ($12,000-13,000) as well as embedded professional learning experiences. They also engage in a year-long residency experience alongside their mentor teachers for which they have greater opportunity for clinical hours in dual language immersion classroom settings.
- Strengthening of the pipeline through Emerging Community College Pathways (Fresno City, Reedley College, Integrated Teacher Education Program/Visalia) with a number of potential bilingual candidates indicating that the interest among students exists as well. The Multiple Subject Credential Coordinators’ participation in the K-16 Counselor’s Network is another idea for change that is strengthening relationships across the educational continuum and helps us co-create recruitment sessions and co-identify and address barriers to admission to the credential program.
- Aiming to cultivate early interest: Another set of change ideas that we have been testing out has been with our Future Teacher Pláticas. The Pláticas are a student-only space for discussing academic resources, we bring in guest speakers—current pre-service credential students and inservice teachers—provide mentorship, and just engage in real talk. Each plática is informed by students' feedback on pertinent topics that they would like more information on, such as: entrance- and exit-exam requirements (i.e., CBEST, CSET, and RICA), the California Bilingual Authorization requirements, transfer requirements and coursework, internships, as well as clinical hours and residency options. Each plática concludes with an open Q&A discussion. Participants are also asked to complete a post-plática survey, which informs our future programming topics. Survey responses reveal that students are expanding their awareness of critical aspects of the teaching profession, and just as importantly, building community and expanding their social networks, which we know are critical aspects for first-generation teachers of Color. As you’ll see here, the number of students that we are reaching and engaging has continued to climb and we are finding that we have a growing number of repeat attendees. We certainly attribute these things to being student-driven—focusing on topics and issues that students want to discuss, which makes them really organic gatherings.
Figure 4: Future Teacher Platicas RSVP and Attendees
We had students share things like: “The interaction with other people who share my same interests.” “It was a fun event! It was nice to have a social meeting as opposed to all the formal class meetings that we have everyday; it gave us a chance to relax and have fun.” “I thought it was great and very inspiring! I look forward to one day being able to have my own bilingual classroom.” “It sounded like a fairy tale, but it just was not something that I thought was for me because I did not feel like my bilingualism was strong enough.” These latter quotes are very common for students who don't have a history of hearing educational institutions affirm the importance of their bilingualism. What we also learned from the data is how to make some information more accessible, which for us will consist of developing our YouTube channel and a “virtual advising hub” with our entire advisor community in Kremen. A recent Plática focused on CBEST, which remains a major area of concern and confusion for first-generation students—especially right now with temporary policy suspensions. Important to note is that our discussions always involve sharing all the facts with students: in this case, how standardized testing impacts racialized groups of students, which are integral to a goal of consciousness raising and agency among future teachers.
Lastly, as we continue to build our understanding of the system and continue with learning from our current efforts, we are aware that we must also address the educator diversity gap specific to our local Black Tk-6 student populations. To this end, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools has invited us to the table to plan a Black Teacher Pipeline in partnership with Central Unified School District with initial conversations taking place during the Fall 2021 semester. Our hope is that this partnership will offer opportunities for our program to address every intersecting component of the educator diversity gap in our region.
In addition to the efforts mentioned above, four initiatives contribute to how the Multiple Subject Credential Program is supporting candidates from diverse backgrounds:
- Redesigned the program to focus on preparing creative, social justice oriented educators who are highly prepared to meet the diverse needs of students in the Central Valley. Through a program of study infused with culturally sustaining practices program graduates will be prepared to design and implement inquiry-informed curriculum that builds on student strengths and responds to diverse student academic, social, emotional, and developmental needs. The Multiple Subject Credential Program approaches culturally sustaining pedagogy (Paris, 2012) from a framework that focuses on the cultural experiences and ‘ways of being’ that students bring with them to the classroom in order to ensure that curriculum is inclusive and asset-based. In other words, a culturally sustaining framework serves to disrupt deficit perspectives and facilitates building upon the linguistic, cultural, familial, and social capital of the children in the context. Programs that encourage preservice teachers to interrogate ideas of power, privilege, and marginalization within a justice-oriented framework are especially beneficial to supporting candidates from diverse backgrounds.
- Centering anti-racism theory to practice by approving related professional learning to count as clinical hours. Amid the challenges of COVID are growing tensions related to race relations on K12 campuses where our pre-service candidates eventually end up. As scholars and leaders in the field of teacher education, we wanted to be critical about our directive to be relevant to the field and broader political climate. As such we developed a six part Anti-Racism Public Professional Learning Community webinar series for pre-service and inservice (Master’s) students. Participation along with a follow up reflection aligned to the Teaching Performance Expectations and discussion with their coach counted towards clinical hour requirements. The act of showing future and current educators how we as faculty self reflect; own our privilege; and recognize that anti-racism is a process, an embodiment, and not a fixed destination was essential to the series. This openness and humility has been profoundly impactful on our students from diverse backgrounds. We’re also pushing back against monolithic definitions of racialized groups by being intentional about having data systems that honor the complexity of identity and lived experiences, questioning the value of conventional data and in some cases advocating for data that is typically marginal within the whitestream scientific community. Survey data was overwhelmingly positive, which shows how hungry credential candidates are for these discussions.
- Pilot revision of the program from a three semester to a two semester program saving Multiple Subject Credential Candidates on average $4000 in tuition costs while also speeding up entry into a full-time teaching position with salary and benefits. Fresno State’s residency partnership with Sanger Unified School District was a three semester—summer, fall, spring—unpaid experience that created financial hardships for several candidates self identified as low-income students. Residents had suggested the program drop the summer of study before the academic year placement so that recruits could work to save money before the residency year, when there was no time to work. Faculty entertained the idea and ultimately found a way to pool the content of the entire curriculum together to more efficiently offer the program without losing quality. Several data sources were considered in the transformation of the program. A document analysis of the course syllabi, interviews with the program faculty about the content of their courses and their perspectives on co-teaching, and journey maps completed by residents where they documented the highs and lows of the program, including insights about various aspects of the university coursework, were used to inform the curricular changes made for the Sanger Residency. An intense review of the program’s clinical experiences was also conducted to ensure that the Sanger Residency would continue to surpass the state's minimum requirement of 600 clinical hours. Since residents in the 2-semester program would have access to roughly 1000 clinical hours, and the district had only a limited number of students in summer school programs, it was determined that a summer start did not add much to candidates’ clinical experiences. Additionally, both Fresno State and Sanger Unified found summer start programs to be more expensive to support than regular terms. Both partners agreed that the cost of a summer start program was not worth the investment considering that it did not enhance the clinical opportunities for residents. The resulting model enrolls candidates in two semesters of coursework—fall and spring—with three course strands that are integrated into a year-long experience, one focused around humanities, one around STEM fields, and one focused on clinical practice, which also includes many of the assignments and assessments the program requires. Faculty share teaching responsibilities across the year in the course strands associated with their content areas. Candidates find the integrated curriculum more coherent and experience less stress from juggling separate classes. They also save the $4,000 that summer tuition used to cost and have that semester free to earn money. Once the redesign was piloted, teacher performance assessment data was closely monitored. The university-district partnership team wanted to know whether reducing the program to two semesters had an impact on passing rates. Data confirmed that residents in the two-semester pilot were able to prepare for their performance assessment and perform equally as well as those who were in the three-semester program.
- Faculty participation in state-wide networked learning communities focused on supporting residents of color. The Multiple Subject Credential Program Coordinator, the Professors-in-Residence and district leadership from the Fresno, Madera, and Clovis teacher residencies participated in a year-long community of learners focused on how to not only recruit students of color but also how to better support students of color. The ideas explored within this learning lab community benefited residents and non-residents within the Multiple Subject Program alike.
Table 1: Demographic Data of Recent Graduates:
|Enrollment Total of survey participants
(Reported to CCTC)
|American Indian or Alaska Native||0||1||1||1||2|
|Hispanic or Latino||5||10||8||13||11|
Table 2: 2020-2021 Regional K-12 Enrollment Data by County (source: CDE DataQuest):
|American Indian or Alaska Native||0.6%||1.0%||0.7%||1.0%||0.5%|
|Hispanic or Latino||65.8%||75.6%||78.2%||71.3%||55.3%|