The California Center on Teaching Careers – a statewide agency spearheaded by the Tulare County Office of Education – in partnership with Cal State Bakersfield received two federal grants from the United States Department of Education totaling more than $9.4 million to recruit teachers and mental health professionals into classrooms.

The federal government funded the Center’s Teacher Residency for Rural Education proposal with $6,965,000 over five years through the 2019 Teacher Quality Partnership Grant Program. In addition, the Tulare County Office of Education Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant was funded for $2.5 million over five years through the Project Rural Access to Mental Health Professionals.

The 18-month Teacher Residency for Rural Education program will allow prospective teachers to earn a credential and a master’s degree in education from CSUB. Students will access online courses and in-person classes at Visalia Unified School District.

The teacher shortage affects 82 percent of rural communities, according to a press release.

“Our program offers a unique intersection of theory, research and practical hands-on experience – all essential elements for an educator,” said Kristina LaGue, department chair of teacher education at CSUB, in a press release. “Those aspects, combined with a year-long classroom clinical experience while taking credential and master’s coursework through CSUB is going to produce more well-rounded teachers. Teachers who are prepared to thrive in our classrooms - not just survive – those are the teachers who will stay.”

The TCOE Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant is a collaboration with TCOE’s Behavioral Health Services program. In total, 39 high-need rural schools, CSUB and Brandman University will utilize the Center’s research-based best practices for recruitment of candidates while providing credential and licensing information specific to working in schools.

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