OPENING THE DOORS TO OPPORTUNITY
By Nora Guillén, Coordinator of DLI & Teacher Residency Programs, and Dr. Luz Yadira Herrera, Assistant Professor of Literacy, Early, Bilingual, and Special Education in the Kremen School of Education at California State University, Fresno
MADERA UNIFIED SCHOOL District is proud to announce a new partnership development, through a Teacher Residency Grant received, with Fresno State’s Kremen School of Education and Human Development to bring a Madera Teacher Residency Program focusing on the preparation and development of future Dual Language Immersion teachers into our district! This special program was specifically conceived to promote the education, extensive Mastership, and retention of quality dual language immersion bilingual teachers, featuring a uniquely tailored training process further adding to the Madera Unified School District’s already growing dual language immersion program expansion projects. With this partnership, we welcome Dr. Luz Yadira Herrera as the Fresno State faculty partner who will serve in the capacity of lead Faculty in Residence. Dr. Herrera and a small group of additional faculty from Fresno State, will commute to Madera Unified to provide the Multiple Subject Teacher Credential coursework to Madera Teacher Residents at the James Madison Elementary school campus. This partnership is gearing up for the Spring 2020 implementation of the first cohort of twenty expected DLI Teacher Residents who will begin their teacher training at James Madison Elementary School.
The selected Teacher Residents will work side-by-side in the classroom with our existing DLI teachers as their Master Teachers over the course of 18 months. During this 18-month period, the residents will work on their Multiple Subject Credential coursework and work towards the completion of their Bilingual Authorization. Residents will become part of the Madison DLI family during their residency. Participants in the program will observe the DLI classroom environment, meet regularly with their Master teachers to co-plan, co-teach in the DLI classroom, and attend school and district training side-by-side with the DLI staff. All the credential courses will be taught at Madison Elementary school, creating a one-stop-shop for teacher preparation and other training required to empower future DLI teachers who are well prepared to begin their teaching careers. In addition to this unique experience, Teacher Residents will participate in a Summer Bilingual Educator Exchange Program, in a Spanish speaking country, to gain cross-cultural experiences and authentic Spanish language practice. Additionally, participants will receive a $12,000 stipend, as an incentive to participate in this program, to make up for their extensive time investments required for the success of the program.Upon successful completion of the DLI Teacher Residency Program, participants will be employed in a Madera Unified School District DLI classroom on a 3-year contract.
Characteristics of a Teacher Residency Program
A core aspect of the Teacher Residency Program attribute is its deeply clinical orientation. Residents engage in their learning through constant practice. Their coursework is designed to include a close theory-to-practice integration to emphasize the application of their freshly acquired knowledge directly into the school where they are doing their fieldwork. The main goal is to focus on preparing candidates who are ready to be successful as new teachers on day one. There are five main characteristics that contribute to a Teacher Residency.
- Developing a deep partnership between Fresno State and Madera Unified is essential. Together we are developing a shared vision of effective instruction and planning a cohesive set of learning experiences that will promote the achievement of the vision from beginning to end. We align our calendars with the children’s school days. We select prospective candidates together with a focus on developing strong future Dual Language Immersion teachers, who will help us build up a sustainable and successful program.
- Collaboration between the partners in defining the high priority abilities, skills, knowledge, and dispositions needed by beginning teachers in the district. Among these priority skills are the competency to instruct using the California Common Core Standards (in our case using the Spanish counterparts of these standards as well), and the Next Generation Science standards that typically include instructional skills, such as using questioning and discussion techniques effectively or centering instruction on high expectations for student achievement.
- Preparation through practice at high quality school sites. Residents are generally grouped in cohorts. Effective Master teachers are also critical to the work and are carefully chosen and trained so they are prepared to work closely with the university’s Teacher Residency Program. They too will receive some financial support for their time and efforts. The residency program is designed to be an intensive, cohesive and engaging experience with lots of hours in clinical practice. You can relate it to being a guided teaching apprenticeship in which the candidates will observe, learn from, assist and co-teach alongside their master DLI teacher.
- This brings us to the next key characteristic, which is to create a culture of feedback for teacher candidates that includes data-driven, specific and actionable components. Together, in a partnership, university faculty, supervisors and master teachers will select, adapt or develop teacher observation forms with a rubric for assessing candidates. These items will consistently provide feedback to the residents based on an agreed upon sets of measures for new teacher performance.
- Lastly, the fifth common characteristic across teacher residency program partnerships is using data to measure progress toward attainment of the prioritized skills and to fill any gaps candidates may still have along the way. Within this structure, timely information is provided to drive continuous improvement for both candidates and institutions. Ongoing improvement efforts that help the partners gain critical insights about the residency program including it strengths and areas requiring attention will be determined by the use of information gathering and analysis processes that will produce this necessary data.
Ultimately, studies on residencies suggest that they attract greater diversity into the teaching workforce, supply more teachers in hard to staff subjects, while also retaining talent in the sponsoring districts at much higher rates than other non participating new teachers. For all of these reasons, MUSD is proud to have this opportunity to participate in the new Teacher Residency Program alongside Fresno State. We are excited to be able to build our own future Dual Language Immersion Teachers to serve our growing programs and, most importantly, to open the doors of wonderful opportunities for our students!
Dr. Luz Yadira Herrera
Dr. Herrera is an Assistant Professor of multilingual and multicultural education in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development at California State University, Fresno.
Dr. Herrera received her Ph.D. from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She has over 14 years of experience in the education of emergent bilingual children.
Her teaching and research centers culturally and linguistically sustaining approaches to teaching emergent bilinguals, translanguaging and critical pedagogies, and bilingual education policy.
Her publications include:
- Translanguaging in Educating Teachers of Language-Minoritized Students
- Translanguaging Literacies: Translanguaging in children’s literature and literacy instruction (forthcoming in Translanguaging atravessando as fronteiras nacionais, ed. Ruberval Maciel and Ofelia García)
- Bilingual Education in Oxford Bibliographies in Latino Studies