The Sanford College of Education at National University, which recommends more teachers in California for credentials than any other university in the state, has launched the Teacher Pathway Inclusion Program to strengthen San Diego County’s local teacher pipeline. The initiative, which has the support of the San Diego County Office of Education, is designed to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to pursue a career in teaching. Through programmatic and financial supports, students can complete a bachelor’s degree and teaching credential concurrently, at little to no cost, and are encouraged to teach in communities where the needs are greatest.
The National University Teacher Pathway Inclusion Program—which is currently being steered in collaboration with Gompers Preparatory Academy, the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), and San Diego Mesa College—aims to develop a model for broader statewide and national expansion. It is dedicated to ensuring that future teachers of diverse backgrounds have access to a quality and affordable degree, and it underscores the need to support diversification of the teacher workforce. The program aligns with the focus of a National University System initiative called Workforce Education Solutions, which is strengthening education-career pathways through prior learning and credit alignments with employers and community colleges in high-demand fields.
“The creation of the Teacher Pathway Inclusion Program demonstrates National University’s commitment to expanding our local teacher workforce and giving back to the communities we serve,” said Dr. David Andrews, president of National University. “Students in the program will receive personalized attention and support as they pursue their bachelor’s degree and teaching credential. We thank the educator community and our donors for helping us make this teacher pathway model possible as we look to create even wider access, opportunity, and support systems for future teachers.” The National University Teacher Pathway Inclusion Program has been designed to allow students to complete their bachelor’s degree and teaching credential concurrently, in approximately two years, with an annual cost of no more than $7,000 per year at National University. For participants eligible for federal and state need-based financial aid (Pell and Cal Grants), the cost is reduced even further with students likely to have little to no out-of-pocket expenses. Students receive this financial benefit as a result of the streamlined pathway, grants, scholarships and other financial supports. Many participants will have also completed their associate in arts (A.A.) degree through participating community colleges.
“National University’s Teacher Pathway Inclusion Program has created an impressive community-based model for preparing and supporting teachers of diverse backgrounds who will become role models for future generations of students,” said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold.
The Teacher Pathway Inclusion Program, which was initially piloted in Spring 2018 at the Gompers Preparatory Academy, now has a second cohort of students who have the opportunity to continue their education through Southwestern College this fall. The students have been meeting twice a month, visit K-8 classrooms to observe teachers, and conduct fieldwork. The San Diego Unified School District and other local school districts are working with National University to develop similar cohorts. To further strengthen the program and expand its reach, the University is also coordinating with the San Diego Community College District, specifically San Diego Mesa College, which is currently piloting the program within their teacher education track for transfer to National University.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with local high schools and community colleges on the National University Teacher Pathway Inclusion Program, which will increase the pool of highly qualified and diverse teacher candidates in San Diego who are committed to teaching the next generations of students,” said Beth Kransberger, director of the Teacher Pathway Inclusion Program in the Office of the President at National University.
Led by Dean Dr. Judy Mantle, the Sanford College of Education at National University is the largest single producer of teaching credential candidates in California and one of the Top 10 largest schools of education in the country. The college offers more than 50 on-campus and online programs in the areas of teacher education, special education, educational administration, school counseling, and psychology. The college has earned accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), recognizing its rigorous, evidence-based standards for teacher education programs.
As a part of the Teacher Pathway Inclusion Program, National University is providing:
- Dedicated staff to assist with transfer, orientation, registration, financial aid, and the online course environment
- Specialized curriculum designed to use affordable or free materials such as e-books or open-source materials, where possible
- Assistance in establishing an academic and professional growth plan
- Discounted tuition for SDUSD or Mesa paraprofessional staff who enroll in the program
The National University Teacher Pathway Inclusion Program has its roots in San Diego County’s Diamond District, which is home to more than 88,000 residents. This demographically-diverse area was chosen because of its potential for ongoing impact in preparing and bringing back teachers to serve in the community. The program, which has the support of the San Diego Workforce Partnership, is dedicated to offering a solution to the teacher shortage and to address the need for more teachers who come from diverse backgrounds. As the program progresses, National University, which has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), hopes to expand to serve diverse student populations locally, regionally, and nationally.
This program has been made possible by generous funding from Stephen Cushman of the Cushman Foundation, Peter Ellsworth of the Legler Benbough Foundation, and National University. To learn more about the Teacher Pathway program, please visit nu.edu/teacherinclusionpathway.