CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) can now accept 15 additional students each year for its School of Education Teacher Residency program, thanks to a $1.5 million School of Education Residency Expansion Grant from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC).

The grant is for five years with $375,000 going to the program each year. The funding will enable CSUCI to host five Special Education Credential candidates and 10 teaching candidates seeking bilingual authorized/dual language multiple subject teaching credentials.

A multiple subject credential qualifies them to teach bilingual/dual language elementary school classes.

Each of the 15 students will receive $24,000 a year to help with the expense of attending school while simultaneously student teaching.

“What we really hope is that we can increase the pool of teacher candidates,” said Kathryn Howard, associate dean of the School of Education and Director of Clinical Experiences and Partnerships.

“Previous grants have enabled us to expand to Santa Paula, allowing us to prepare more teacher candidates for districts in Ventura County that have a shortage,” she said. “Teachers in these credential areas are in critical need, and it’s heart-wrenching to know there are children in our schools who may not have a fully qualified teacher.”

There is also a need for teachers with specific qualifications such as transitional kindergarten, or science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Howard said.

The funding comes from some $550 million the CTC has earmarked for teacher residency programs across the state to meet a critical demand for public school teachers.

“There is a common debate about what is the most important industry to our economy and society,” California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.

“In California, we often talk about the tech industry or the agricultural industry, but the truth is that education is the key to our future — and that is especially true of public education. We must support our teachers,” Thurmond said.

This grant means that by fall of 2024, CSUCI can host a total of 30 teacher candidates in the CTC-funded residency program.

The program pairs a teacher candidate with a mentor teacher working in one of 11 schools in three partner school districts: the Oxnard School District, Rio School District, and Santa Paula Unified School District. The student teacher spends the entire year with the mentor teacher, keeping the same schedule as the host school.

CSUCI’s residency program also tries to address each candidate’s long-term career. For example, the problem of teacher retention. A 2022 survey conducted by the California Teachers Association found one in five teachers say they will likely leave the profession in the next three years, including one in seven who say they will definitely leave.

So, after their year of student teaching, the CSUCI School of Education tracks the residents’ careers for four years to gather metrics and to make sure the newly minted teacher is making a successful transition into a classroom environment and is likely to stay.

“The conditions of employment can be tough on teachers, and we know the better prepared they are, the more resilient they will be so they can thrive and be great teachers,” Howard said.

For more on the CTC Residency grant, visit: The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing’s California Teacher Residency Grant Program here.