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CSUN Awarded $8.4 Million U.S. Grant for Special Education Program

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(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., Apr. 16th, 2010) ―

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded California State University, Northridge more than $8.4 million in federal funding over five years to improve the education of teachers who work with students with disabilities.

The Teacher Quality Partnership grant, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will be used to offer an integrated credential/master’s degree teacher residency program designed to reform traditional university teacher preparation. It will address the critical shortage of qualified special education teachers who are prepared to serve in “high need” schools.

“California State University, Northridge is proud to be an institution working to reform teacher education through teacher residency programs,” said President Jolene Koester. “This grant is a strong statement of support for the great work happening on the Cal State Northridge campus and in our partner schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The program will not only provide positive outcomes for our region, but also produce outcomes that could help inform teacher residency programs across the nation.”

The Michael D. Eisner College of Education and the College of Humanities will work in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District. The program will recruit a total of 150 special education teachers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, prepare them to serve children with disabilities in high-need schools and evaluate the impact of the project on new teachers and their students. The program will offer an 18-month credential/master’s degree residency program in special education, and a two-year induction program.

“This grant further advances our collective work, in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District, to prepare highly effective teachers who make a difference in the educational lives of students in the greater Los Angeles area,” said Michael Spagna, dean of the Michael D. Eisner College of Education. “It is through our attention to the single most important school-related factor affecting student academic performance—the quality of the teacher—that we will truly improve our schools.”

The Michael D. Eisner College of Education is one of the largest public colleges of education in California. It is nationally recognized for its innovative approach in providing exemplary programs to prepare highly qualified teachers, school administrators, counselors, and deaf studies professionals. Though the college traditionally ranks as one of the largest colleges of education in California, it offers small classes and personal attention. It is known for its strong sense of community within the college, as well as for its expert faculty and cutting-edge programming.

Sherman Oaks Rep. Brad Sherman, who voted for the legislation that is providing the funding, said Cal State Northridge is “recognized for its exemplary programs to prepare highly qualified teachers and develop partnerships with high-need schools.

“Once again, CSUN stands at the forefront in teacher preparation and training and improving student achievement in our local schools.”

Congressman Sherman has secured nearly $2.4 million in federal appropriations funding for a variety of programs and projects at Cal State Northridge, including teacher education and arts education programs, as well as funding for the construction of the Valley Performing Arts Center and an on-campus transit center.

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