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Project to Accelerate Training of Teachers

Addressing the shortage of qualified teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Cal State Northridge has launched a program that will prepare future teachers for the complexities of the classroom in the shortest time possible.

The Accelerated Collaborative Teacher Preparation Program for single-subject, multiple-subject and special-education credential candidates combines course work with in-the-field training through an intensive one-year credentialing procedure, said Nancy Burstein, co-coordinator of the program.

“Our children are being taught by people who are not trained as teachers,” said Burstein, a special-education professor at CSUN. “We want to do something about that because our assumption is that the quality of the teacher is the key most important factor.”

The new program began July 6 with 63 teacher candidates who have completed their bachelor’s degrees, she said.

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Totaling 36 units, the program consists of three modules: a common core designed for all credential candidates; course work in appropriate specialization credential areas; and field experience at the 14 schools encompassing the Francis Polytechnic Complex in North Hollywood and Sun Valley, Burstein said.

Developed over two years, the program resulted from collaborative efforts between CSUN and the complex, she added.

The program is funded through a five-year, $8.2-million grant from the Los Angeles-based Weingart Foundation to redesign teacher preparation and improve student achievement, said co-coordinator Phyllis Gudoski, who is overseeing the project at the complex.

“The students will receive further support by on-site coaches who are trained to work with prospective teachers,” Gudoski said.

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