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Packard Foundation grant for after-school workers to strengthen teaching corps

  • October 12, 2009

In addition to its role preparing California’s future teachers, Cal State East Bay is a leader in creating and supporting programs that improve K-12 education. In recognition of these efforts, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation has awarded the university a $125,000 planning grant to develop an after-school workers’ teacher pathway project.

There are as many as half a million students in K-12 after-school programs statewide. Studies estimate nearly 30 percent of positions in after-school care programs are unfilled, and state law requires one adult supervisor per 20 students in after-school programs. Each vacant position impacts the number of students served.

Barbara Storms, professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, said one of the goals of after-school programs is to extend the academic school day. “The Packard Foundation is very interested in improving after-school programs. There is a lot of turnover in staff, and this grant will help to stabilize and train the workforce in order to strengthen the programs for K-12 students,” she said.

The pathway program will identify adults who wish to work with youth, train them to work in after-school programs and place them in jobs within those programs to fill critical needs. Participants will also enroll in community colleges with the goal of transferring to CSUEB to complete a bachelor’s degree and creating a pathway to a teaching career.

Planning for this grant will include representatives from CSUEB, county offices of education, regional community colleges and community-based organizations. They will look to similar programs, including one at CSU Dominguez Hills, as models.

Community organizations and the Alameda County Office of Education, which provides technical assistance to after-school programs in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, will help recruit participants. Those groups will also offer what Storms called “wrap-around support” — job training, tutoring, academic advising, counseling and additional assistance to meet challenges in their daily lives such as transportation or child care needs.

The first cohort of participants is expected to be identified in the spring and begin job training in summer 2010. A summer “bridge” program will help prepare participants to balance jobs and college coursework.

As part of the university’s strategic emphasis on STEM education, the pathway will stress these subjects, where K-12 teachers are in high demand, Storms said. But the program will also support participants who decide not to pursue teaching but rather a profession that requires a background in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

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