Photo of teacher and student California State University Teacher Preparation Program Wordmark
March 2009
Volume 1 - Issue 4

Alternative CSU Teacher Training Program a Success

Photo of student readingReducing class size in the primary grades was an idea in the mid 90’s that hit the education community totally unprepared.  It was, in reality, a concept that could not be backed up with the teacher corps that was in place.  This was the crisis that brought about the creation of the CalStateTEACH program.

CSU Chancellor Dr. Charles Reed saw the need to face the problem aggressively and immediately.  He envisioned a program that would combine the flexibility of on-line learning with the real-world experience new teachers were facing in their classrooms.  It also needed to meet the academic requirements for those located in rural and remote areas throughout the state.  CalStateTEACH is the result of that concept with the need for more well prepared teachers.  In August 1998, a group of outstanding CSU teacher education faculty began to design this unique venture, and the first cohort entered the program in September 1999.  The success of this new idea has impressed even its loyal advocates.  How else could you feel about an alternative training concept that has risen to the top of every study and survey conducted by the university?

CalStateTEACH is the largest program in the CSU system—the largest in a geographical sense.  It is a rarity that covers the entire state of California.  Operating out of four regional centers (Monterey Bay, Fresno, Los Angeles, & Fullerton) it has very unique delivery challenges.  The Fullerton Regional Center, for example, is responsible to students living and working in San Bernardino, Riverside, Imperial, San Diego and Orange counties.  It is the Internet that allows CalStateTEACH to address this huge arena effectively in both the academic and the field components of the program.  Faculty and students address assignments and cohorts interface on a regular basis via on-line assignments, field placements, and discussion boards.  It is not, however, a “strangers in the dark” environment since CalStateTEACH faculty live and work throughout the 5 county area.  Other regions serve equally large areas; the Fresno center, for example, serves the central/eastern part of the state, stretching from Kern County to the Oregon border, while the Monterey Bay center serves a similar coastal span. The Los Angeles Center on the other hand focuses on the densely populated L A Basin. A critical factor in the program’s success is the regular and continual visitations to the school sites where the real-world experience that Dr. Reed envisioned takes place.

CalStateTEACH provides an effective alternative for those who live at a distance from a campus, have scheduling issues that stand in the way of regular class attendance, or simply prefer online learning.  The steady growth of this alternative concept has expanded to include online Master’s of Education offerings by the CSU campuses at Fresno and Monterey Bay.

These unique Cal State offerings are meeting Dr. Reed’s initial charge to expand access to every corner of the Golden State and doing it exceptionally well.  The future of CalStateTEACH is a bright one.