During her first visit to campus, Dr. Shireen Pavri, assistant vice chancellor for Education Programs and Leadership for the California State University, was especially interested in learning about the five teacher residency programs Fresno State has established in partnership with local districts to prepare future educators.

Modeled after medical residencies, teacher residencies at the Kremen School for Education and Human Development aim to integrate teacher residents into the full, day-to-day workings of a school and district during their teacher preparation coursework, with a goal of better preparing teachers for the realities of the teaching profession.

According to the Learning Policy Institute, residencies hold the most promise for remedying the growing need for teachers in California, a need that has only been exacerbated in recent years. The Fresno Teacher Residency Program, a partnership with Fresno Unified School District, boasts an 81% three-year retention rate over the past seven years, while the Sanger Unified Teacher Residency program boasts an 87% three-year retention rate. Both rates are significantly higher than the national average, which hovers at around 50% teacher attrition in less than 5 years.

To see the residency work firsthand, Pavri visited Centennial Elementary in Fresno, where she visited both a kindergarten and a fourth-grade dual immersion classroom, connecting with the residents and their mentor teachers. She also met with site and district leadership to learn more about the Fresno Teacher Residency Program, the Kremen School’s longest-standing residency partnership.

Pavri then had the opportunity to interact with residents, teachers and administrators from the Madera Teacher Residency Program who were attending the Enseñamos en el Valle Central Institute at Reedley College. One of the newest residency partnerships, Madera Teacher Residency prepares teachers to work in dual immersion classrooms by supporting them in earning their bilingual authorization in addition to their multiple-subject credential. In doing so, the residency partnership responds to both the need for more teachers in general and Madera Unified’s specific goal of expanding its dual immersion opportunities for its learners.

“I was struck by the mature, reciprocal and authentic partnerships that Fresno State has nurtured with neighboring school districts that continue to evolve based on local contexts and needs,” Pavri said. “I also see so much potential in the intentional and strategic Grow-Your-Own Programs that are being built, that address workforce needs in culturally responsive and sustaining ways by getting young people in high school interested in ways that they can serve their own communities.”

Another priority across the state related to education is the preparation of educators to work in transitional kindergarten (TK) settings, in response to Governor Newsom’s expansion of TK for all children. Educators in the Kremen School’s Early Childhood Education program have been leading the way in response to these initiatives, building on the program’s history preparing teachers and educating young children in the Joyce M. Huggins Early Education Center, which is housed in Kremen School.

Pavri engaged with children age 5 and younger at the center and said she was enamored with the dedication and professionalism she observed, calling it “a labor of love.” Additionally, she met with faculty to discuss the development of a 24-unit certificate program that will allow multiple-subject educators to become TK-certified — the Kremen School’s first response to the need for more early education teachers.

“It was truly an honor to host Vice Chancellor Shireen Pavri here at Fresno State and have the opportunity to introduce her to the wonderful partners we work with and the extreme high-quality instructors, faculty, project directors and staff that make the Kremen School such a special place,” said Dr. Randy Yerrick, dean of the Kremen School. “I am glad she was able to see firsthand the nature and the magnitude of the impact the Kremen School of Education and Human Development has on the Central Valley.”

(Story by Kremen School staff.)