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University Partnership Recognized as Exemplary

Left to right: Andrea Nicole Lopez Valdovinos and Isabella Jaffe designing curriculum for the UTK classroom.

Image courtesy of the California Association of School-University Partnerships

The University of La Verne LaFetra College of Education and San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) partnership was recognized with the California Association of School-University Partnerships Exemplary School-University Partnership Award.

This award is granted to partnerships committed to improving education and collaborative efforts between schools and universities. This year, the award was given to the SDUSD following the successful development of three unique partnership cohorts that help enhance student learning experiences and promote early childhood teacher development.

Director of Early Learning at SDUSD Stephanie Ceminsky, EdD ’17, was thrilled to learn that she could make a difference in her district by partnering with her alma mater to see more teachers from her school also attend the reputable classes offered at the University of La Verne.

“I’m so grateful to be partnered with the university I know and love to improve the lives of our educators on these pipelines and pathways,” Ceminsky said.

Last summer, the LaFetra College of Education launched three non-degree programs with SDUSD to address urgent priorities once AB 130 was signed into law in 2021, expanding the requirements for teachers to satisfy additional learnings and certifications in childhood education.

The first program developed through the partnership was the 24-credit transitional kindergarten (TK) certificate. This program helps support elementary school teachers working with four-year-olds for the first time. The program is six classes and takes 10 to 12 months to complete.

In addition to the certificate program, a new child development teacher permit was created and designed for non-teachers looking to move into TK classrooms as instructional paraprofessionals or into expanded learning programs to receive coursework and mentorship. The paraprofessional pipeline of students serve as the second teacher in the universal TK classroom.

The last program with the district to be recognized by the award is the education specialist credential, created with SDUSD’s Teach-Lead team, that aids paraprofessionals who possess an undergraduate degree to receive their education specialist credential. These students become intern eligible in the fall of 2023 and are supported through a variety of collaborative efforts.

“Our work has been focused on that mutual partnership where higher education and TK-12 intercepts,” Associate Dean of the LaFetra College of Education Hannah Geddy said. “We can now learn from each other and support the growing workforce pipeline together.”