SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced a new partnership at a press event Thursday between the California Department of Education and California Volunteers, Office of the Governor, to promote new pathways for California Volunteers service corps members — a group that includes 10,000 per year across all corps, including the California Climate Action Corps, AmeriCorps, #CaliforniansForAll Youth Jobs and #CaliforniansForAll College Corps — to become teachers in California classrooms.
While the CDE has not traditionally engaged in recruitment, Thurmond has elevated the educator crisis as a key challenge and made the support of local educational agencies a priority of his administration.
“Our teachers do incredible work in and out of the classroom every day, but this remains a difficult time,” Thurmond said. “Teacher shortages are a long-term national issue exacerbated by COVID-19, and California is no exception—they are retiring or leaving the profession for other options. We are stepping in to support districts and schools on the issue of teacher recruitment by partnering with California Volunteers to hold a series of career fairs and reach out to 10,000 talented corps members, who already understand why it is important to give back to our society and youth.”
Thurmond was joined at Thursday’s virtual press event by Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday, California Volunteers, Office of the Governor; Marlene Garcia, Executive Director, California Student Aid Commission; David DeGuire, Director of Professional Services Division, California Commission on Teacher Credentialing; Dr. Susan Heredia, Commission Member, California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, Past President of the California School Boards Association, and Professor of Education, Emerita at CSU Sacramento; Leslie Littman, Secretary-Treasurer, California Teachers Association; and Tia Rowe, Sacramento State College Corps Fellow.
“Governor Newsom’s investment in thousands of service members is unprecedented,” said Josh Fryday, chief service officer. “We are excited for California Volunteers’ service corps becoming the pipeline for tomorrow’s teachers.”
Thurmond announced career fair events to help connect future teacher candidates with schools experiencing shortages and provide prospective applicants with information on how to access scholarships and grants such as the Golden State Teacher Grant, which provides up to $20,000 grants to support teachers and counselors to serve at a priority school in California for four years within eight years of completing a preparation program. The first career fair event will be virtual and is scheduled on Feb. 21.
The CDE will continue to support teacher recruitment efforts statewide by raising awareness, reducing barriers, and helping streamline fiscal resources so more individuals can access the information and means to make the transition to support students in the classroom. Advocacy by Superintendent Thurmond to address the teacher shortage issue has helped secure a record $3.6 billion in investments over the last four years that are designed to improve educator recruitment, retention, and training here in California. In addition, Thurmond has helped expand education career pathways, made tax credits available for teacher housing, and improved and bolstered educator recruitment efforts by sponsoring legislation that has spurred key budget investments by the state.
While the Feb. 21 career fair effort is focused on those within the California Volunteer network, other recruitment fairs will be scheduled at later dates for people of any background who want to become a teacher. For more information on how to navigate the process of becoming a teacher, call a newly announced hotline at 916-322-3051 or email TeachInCA@cde.ca.gov. A recording of today’s virtual press conference can be viewed on the CDE Facebook page.
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