June 9, 2000

MiraCosta Garners Grant for $1,425,000 Over Five Years to Institute Teaching, Reading Development Program

MiraCosta College has been named one of 33 colleges statewide to receive grant money to institute a teacher and reading development partnership program aimed at recruiting and training future teachers as well as improving the reading level of students from kindergarten through third grade.

Funded with money from Proposition 98 earmarked for community colleges by Governor Davis, the grant will provide MiraCosta with $1,425,000 over a five-year period to establish, implement, and expand the program, designed to help remedy the teacher-shortage problem. The California Department of Education has predicted that by the year 2005 the state will need at least 260,000 additional K-12 teachers due to increased enrollment and reduced class sizes.

The teacher and reading development partnership program also takes aim at elementary school students' reading problems. Results from Cali-fornia's first year using the Standardized Testing and Reporting System show that 62 percent of third graders are reading below the national median.

Through the teacher and reading development partnership program, high school students with an interest in teaching will be identified and directed to a special counselor designated to work with them. When these students move into the program at MiraCosta, they will be able to take new education courses that will transfer to CSU San Marcos and apply towards their teaching degree. As part of the program, MiraCosta students will spend 80 hours a semester tutoring K-3 students in reading at local elementary schools. Then, when MiraCosta students transfer to CSU San Marcos, a designated counselor at CSUSM will help coordinate their teacher-education curriculum.

As the program name implies, this will truly be a partnership effort, directly involving several high schools, as well as CSUSM, Palomar College, and MiraCosta College.

"I think it will be exciting to move in this direction, coordinating at three different levels for a common purpose," says Aiden Ely, student services coordinator at MiraCosta and director of the college's current Reader Leader Program. "It will be a win-win-win situation."

Preparatory work in the first year of the grant will include developing new courses establishing recruitment standards, training mentor teachers, and finding site coordinators. Ely says if all goes as planned, MiraCosta will enroll the first students in the teacher and reading development partnership program in the spring 2001 semester.

For more information, call Ely at (760) 757-2121, ext. 6359.

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