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Hartnell College’s newest Teacher Pathway Program cohort includes students from Watsonville to King City, who were inducted Aug. 8.

SALINAS — Hartnell College has welcomed its newest Teacher Pathway Program cohort to campus. While it is the third cohort to participate in the program, it is the first to be held at the college’s main campus in Salinas.

Hartnell is committed to growing this innovative program, which addresses the regional teacher shortage by providing a streamlined degree and credential program to students across the Salinas Valley. This year’s cohort includes students from Watsonville to King City.

The Teacher Pathway Program is a collaborative between Hartnell College and California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB). Students receive their associates degree in elementary teacher education at Hartnell and continue to get their liberal studies degree and teaching credential at CSUMB.

The program prepares future educators to meet the demands of the elementary school teacher shortage, both locally and at the statewide level. This unique partnership, along with the streamlined program design, reduces the time it takes to transfer, thereby reducing costs to the participants.

The success of this model is already evident: The first cohort achieved an 86 percent graduation rate by earning their AA-T in two years, a much higher graduation rate than students enrolled in a traditional program.

“Due to the success and popularity of this program, it has expanded into new locations and grown in numbers by 80 percent, from 28 students in cohort No. 1 to 38 students in cohort No. 2 in South Monterey County. The growth continues with 42 students in the third cohort in Salinas,” said Hartnell College Superintendent/President Dr. Willard Lewallen. “We are incredibly proud of this program and its positive impact on not only the students, but the community at-large.”

On Aug. 8, the third cohort of students participated in the Induction Ceremony and Welcome Reception at Hartnell College’s Student Center. This event was the official launch of the students’ journey toward becoming future educators. The event’s keynote speaker was Dr. Jose Luis Alvarado, the founding Dean of College of Education at CSUMB.

“The Teacher Pathway Program is our collaborative ‘grow-our-own’ solution to addressing the regional teacher shortage,” Alvarado said. “The program has achieved incredible success, as evidenced by high retention rates and a high graduation rate at the AA level for the first cohort. Additionally, the structured pathway reduces the time-to-transfer, while developing a strong teacher workforce that taps into local talent to improve the college readiness of youth in our communities.”

The Claire Giannini Fund, an independent foundation, has provided seed funding for the Teacher Pathway. Trustee Betsy Buchalter Adler noted that the fund, which will sunset at the end of 2020, views the Teacher Pathway as one of its best investments.  

“Our founder dedicated the fund to the education and welfare of young people 18 and under,” Adler said. “I am confident that she would be glad to know that her legacy has helped to educate the next generation of Monterey County’s students by helping Hartnell College and CSUMB to educate their teachers.” 

Adler added that she is particularly impressed by the collaboration between CSUMB and Hartnell.

“These two institutions have worked together to use their resources productively, avoiding duplication and enhancing each other’s strengths. I hope community colleges and universities elsewhere in California will adopt this model,” she said.

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