The Kern Teacher Residency Program at Cal State Bakersfield — designed to increase the number of teachers in the Central Valley — has earned the Christa McAuliffe Excellence in Teacher Education Award, bestowed by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Only two other California universities have won the award in its 17-year history: Fresno State and San Diego State.

“Our Kern Teacher Residency Programs have transformed how teachers are prepared at CSUB in very innovative ways,” said Kristina LaGue, professor and department chair of Teacher Education at CSUB, in a press release. “We’re thrilled that our efforts to train and retain qualified teachers are being recognized, but the real beneficiaries of our Kern Teacher Residency Programs are the teachers who receive authentic, hands-on experience, and the students who have the opportunity to learn from such committed and well-prepared teachers.”

Created with three rural school districts in 2014 to address the critical need to recruit and retain future teachers, the programs provide teacher residents with tuition and a living stipend to complete a yearlong, co-teaching clinical practice. 

According to a 2017 report by the California Department of Education, though 22,000 new teachers were needed throughout the state that year, only 11,500 new teaching credentials were issued. In Kern County, 813 non-credentialed teachers were hired in 2016-17, according to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. 

The awards will be presented Oct. 27 at the AASCU annual meeting in Phoenix.

CSUB is the only recipient of the Christa McAuliffe Award, but several universities are being recognized in other areas, including Fresno State, for creating a program to produce the next generation of leaders for the nonprofit sector.

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