Fontana Unified School District has partnered with Cal State San Bernardino (CSUSB) to create a teacher pipeline, which will allow the district to recruit a wide range of teacher candidates to serve the Fontana community for years to come.
The district introduced 20 CSUSB resident teacher candidates at a welcome reception held Sept. 23.
Residency candidates received training on professional expectations during the event, as well as training on building relationships with students to meet their social-emotional learning needs. The residents also met with the school’s management teams and the teachers they will work with.
“The goal of the program is to increase the number of teachers in Fontana, while working to help close the achievement gap within the district by recruiting, training and mentoring our own future educators,” said Dr. Monica Makiewicz, FUSD associate superintendent of education. and learning. “Fontana Unified will strive to create multiple classroom experiences for residents, increasing their skill level and immersing them in Fontana Unified policies and practices.”
The partnership will provide tuition assistance for graduate students, who will potentially become certified teachers upon completion of the CSUSB College of Education degree program. Resident teachers will commit to work at FUSD for three years if a viable position becomes available.
The CSUSB accreditation program is divided into two sections: early fieldwork and student education. In the early fieldwork phase, resident teachers will serve as educational support providers for K-12 students. In the phase of teaching students, they will serve as class teachers. Applicants will be placed at Oleander, Poplar, Primrose and Redwood Elementary Schools and Wayne Ruble Middle School.
“This is an exciting educational partnership that will allow the district to train its own workforce before integrating them into our team,” said Acting Superintendent Juan M. López. “By recruiting locally, we can ensure that our educational team is attentive to the needs of our community. Thanks to Cal State San Bernardino for partnering with Fontana Unified to make this possible.
—– THIS IS a way for FUSD to address the teacher shortage that is plaguing many school districts across the country. Although Fontana’s problem has not reached a serious level, the district is working hard to recruit more educators.
Although FUSD has some needs due to teacher retirements, most of the district’s needs are in areas that require special credentials such as special education, dual language immersion, and vocational training and specific technical (CTE), said Clarissa Trejo, the district executive. director of marketing, communications and engagement.
“We also need math and science teachers, which have traditionally been harder to fill,” she said.
At the start of the 2022-23 academic year, the FUSD has five specialized educator posts, two CTE posts, two math/science teacher posts and one dual language teaching post.
Recently, the district moved forward with additional candidate testing for various positions and was able to conduct additional testing for a significant number of vacancies, the district reported in its August/September digital newsletter.
“The number of applicants has been encouraging, despite the current state of the job market,” the bulletin said.
The Learning Policy Institute noted that some of the largest school districts in the state have faced a 10% vacancy. Two-thirds of the districts surveyed for this study were affected by an increase in the number of vacancies in the pre-COVID-19 years and encountered greater challenges in filling those positions, the bulletin said.
“Many factors have contributed to these vacancies, including issues related to remote learning, health concerns related to COVID-19 and the creation of additional positions facilitated by federal stimulus funds – which must be used at the less in part to support recovery learning and, in turn, may increase staffing requirements. The creation of new positions often results in the reassignment of staff, leading to shortages in other areas,” the bulletin states.
Despite these challenges, FUSD said it remained committed to meeting staffing needs. The district processed additional surrogates and entered them into its system, which helped meet identified coverage needs at school sites.
“San Bernardino County districts reported that they continue to struggle to fill positions such as substitute teachers, paraprofessionals, school nutrition workers and bus drivers despite the offer of hiring bonuses and retention,” the bulletin read.