2005 Award Winners
Cerritos College - Teacher TRAC
Established in 1999, the Teacher TRaining ACademy (Teacher TRAC) Program is committed to the recruitment, development, and preparation of quality teachers. It is closely aligned with the integrated teacher education program (ITEP) at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). TRAC students complete a minimum of 69.5 transferable lower division units while at Cerritos College. Each Teacher TRAC course section is tagged as Targeted for Future Teachers and is taught by Teacher TRAC faculty. The students build professional portfolios that will help them in their university careers, and in later job interviews and lesson plans. Teacher TRAC courses maintain impressive retention rates that range from 80% to 100%. In addition to coursework, TRAC students observe and participate in fieldwork prior to their student teaching. They participate in 10 hours of observation experience as part of their first education course, and complete 40 of the state-required 120 hours of field experience as part of their second course. As further support to TRAC students, two dedicated counselors help them navigate through the program and avoid unnecessary obstacles. These counselors also act as liaisons between Cerritos College and the Liberal Studies, financial aid, and university outreach offices at CSULB. Students also benefit from a wide variety of workshops designed especially to orient them to the program and to assist them in the transfer process, and from the Teacher TRAC Center, which is open 50 hours a week and offers a range of program resources, information and services. Cerritos College students are drawn from one of the most ethnically diverse communities in the country, and many TRAC students come from underrepresented and non-traditional groups: 60% of TRAC students are the first in their families to attend college; over 50% receive financial aid; and, 91% of TRAC graduates began in developmental courses. Also, of the more than 180 TRAC students that have transferred since its inception, only three have changed their focus from teaching or left the university. The TRAC program certainly demonstrates an outstanding commitment to students' retention and transfer, from their matriculation at Cerritos College and beyond through their university and teaching careers, and is thus well-deserving of commendation and emulation.
Pasadena City College - (PCC) Teacher Preparation Transfer Program
The Teacher Preparation Program (TPP) began at Pasadena City College in 1999 as a program to offer students numerous pathways that will ultimately result in a career in teaching. TPP maintains close communication with partnering colleges and universities to keep students current regarding transfer requirements and also helps students negotiate the latest state and federal requirements for new teachers. TPP students are given the option of following the education plans specific to the Blended/ITEP Transfer Programs at any of the following institutions: CSU Los Angeles, CSU Northridge, Cal Poly Pomona, CSU Fullerton, UC Riverside, Pacific Oaks College, or Mount St. Mary's College. However, students also have the option to follow a generic list of suggested courses that will assist them in transferring to practically any other institution of their choice. Not only does PCC provide reliable assurance that when its students transfer they will transfer at the junior level, it also provides a variety of courses that enable students to meet field experience requirements before they transfer. Because field experience requirements often present a further hardship to students who are already juggling their education with family and employment responsibilities, TPP has developed ways for such students to earn a portion of their field experience from any one of the core courses common to the TPP path. In addition, TPP offers two paid internship programs that provide classroom experience and mentor teacher relationships while also helping to fund the students' education and living costs. Many TPP students receive scholarships and/or funding for the CBEST and Live Scan testing that is required of teacher education students before they may begin student teaching. The TPP program is committed to making teacher education more accessible to non-traditional students. Likewise, conscientious efforts are made to make TPP's rigorous curriculum more accessible to students entering Pasadena City College at the basic skills level. For example, the Teaching Learning Communities (TLC) Program, which primarily serves Latino students, has worked with TPP to create non-transferable remedial block class options for future teachers. These prepare students for the transferable courses required by TPP. Approximately 80% of TPP's students come from minority ethnic backgrounds. Pasadena City's Teacher Preparation Program has continued to grow in the five years since its inception. Starting with 289 students in its first year, it now boasts a membership of 1130. Additionally, current data shows that only 8% of the TPP students that have transferred to universities have since left the teacher education path. All of this information indicates that the many institutions, faculty members, and administrators that make TPP possible have succeeded in making it a truly exemplary program.
Reedley College - Madera Center College Advantage Program
The Madera Center is a satellite campus of Reedley College. It is located about an hour away from both Reedley College and the other nearest California community college, Fresno City. The Madera Center provides more convenient access to higher education to its community than would otherwise be possible. The Madera Center primarily serves students graduating from the Madera Unified School District (MUSD) and the Golden Valley Unified School District (GVUSD), both of which are rapidly growing and which serve a very high proportion of minority and poor students. Many of these students are at risk of not graduating from high school, much less attending college. The Madera Center College Advantage Program (MCCAP) was initiated in 2001 to address these risks. The MCCAP program is designed to not only ensure that high school students are aware of the opportunities at community college, but also to take the high school students into the college environment for direct experience of those opportunities. Madera Center Counselors, faculty and administrators collaborate with their counterparts in MUSD and GVUSD to go into the high schools and present MCCAP directly to the students and their parents. They are presented with a program that will allow them to participate in community college courses that meet their high school education requirements, but also earn them credit toward a future AA or AS degree. The MCCAP curriculum consists of a core English or math class three days a week, and an elective class two days a week. The electives are also CSU transferable. Designated counselors on both their high school campus and at the Madera Center assist MCCAP students with matriculation, class selection, orientation to college, and educational planning. This counseling is on going, so that students receive an unusually high level of progress monitoring, and each student meets once a semester with an Education Advisor to discuss their college experience and tailor their future academic plans. The MCCAP experience is made even more attractive and accessible by the fact that the participating high schools, in their commitment to the success of their students, have subsidized the purchase of the course textbooks and/or transportation to and from the Madera Center campus' a very significant benefit to students from such poverty-stricken areas. After four semesters, the MCCAP program completed a statistical analysis that demonstrates its students' success: MCCAP students have a retention rate of 97%, versus the average community college retention rate of 65%; and MCCAP students have had an average GPA of 2.45 compared to the average GPA of 2.42 for the regular community college student. Perhaps even more significant are the survey responses of former MCCAP students. These responses show that the program eases their apprehensions about attending college and significantly smoothes their transition from high school to college. Students also report significant increases in their general self-confidence. The MCCAP program is an inspiring and effective pathway to educational success for underrepresented and at-risk students in its uniquely underserved community.