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CSUB receives five-year, $7.3 million grant to improve STEM educational capacity in rural communities

California State University, Bakersfield received one of 24 new teacher quality partnership grants from the U.S. Department of Education aimed at recruiting, training and supporting new teachers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in high-need school districts. This nationwide initiative will recruit, train and support more than 11,000 teachers over the next five years – primarily in STEM fields – to improve student achievement.

CSU Bakersfield’s Teacher Education Department was awarded a five-year, $7.3 million grant to develop a rural residency program to reduce the achievement gap of students in high-need rural districts. CSU Bakersfield’s proposal is called Growing Rural Opportunities (GRO STEM) Residency Program: Reducing the achievement gap of students in high-need rural schools.

CSU Bakersfield has arranged a kick-off event tomorrow, Feb. 18, at the CSU Bakersfield campus.

“I believe preparation is the key to success,” program student and future teacher Frank Martinez said. “The GRO STEM Residency Program is the epitome of preparation for teacher candidates.”

CSU Bakersfield will be working with three Central Valley California school districts: Buttonwillow Union School District, Lamont Elementary School District and Semitropic Elementary School District. The plan includes establishing a 15-month credential/master’s residency program and specialized professional development tailored toward the needs of rural teachers.

Over the five-year grant period, 120 elementary teachers will complete their teaching credentials and master’s degrees. Funding from the grant will provide scholarships and a living stipend. Residents will be trained on site at the rural districts.

“The GRO STEM residency is an opportunity we will never forget,” program student and future teacher Krystal Angulo said. “It's a program that will transform us into the best versions of ourselves as teachers. Things can only go up from here."

The first cohort of residents started earlier this month at the Lamont Elementary School District. To celebrate this grant award a kick-off event is scheduled for February 18, 2015.

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