Cal State Bakersfield and the Kern High School District are together launching a program designed to prepare a select group of 20 teacher-residents for careers in local education.

The focus of the teacher residency program kicking off this fall is to address the county's teacher shortage by helping recruit and retain quality local teachers. Participants must commit to teaching within the district for at least two years.

In exchange, the 20 teacher-residents will receive financial assistance to help with tuition costs and a cost-of-living stipend of $15,000 per year.

Participants will receive instruction from university instructors as well as district specialists. When the time comes for the teacher-residents to work with students in a classroom setting, they will work closely with mentors who, like the participants themselves, are jointly selected by CSUB and district officials.

"This program offers great opportunity for the development of future teachers by using experienced and effective KHSD teachers to train, mentor and coach new teachers, and it also meets a significant need for our community," Michael Zulfa, the district's associate superintendent of human resources, said in a Monday news release.

The program is modeled after other teacher education partnerships in which CSUB has been involved. One is a rural teacher residency program that has placed new teachers at the Buttonwillow, Lamont and Semitropic Elementary school districts.

Another residency program viewed as a precursor to the new KHSD partnership is an urban residency program that has trained and sent instructors to the Bakersfield City School District. A third residency program cited as a model prepared participants to teach at the Greenfield Union School District.

KHSD said CSUB's Department of Teacher Education has worked closely with the National Center for Teacher Residencies to make sure its residency programs meet tough standards for teacher preparation.

The partnership gears up today with a kickoff event from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at the Starrh Building within the district's Professional Development Center at 5801 Sundale Ave.

John Cox can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf.

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