Federal grants to Sacramento State and other CSU schools are meant to boost the number of teachers who share Latino or Hispanic backgrounds with students. (Stock photo)

Sacramento State’s College of Education has received a U.S. Department of Education grant for more than $2.6 million to increase the number of teachers coming from Latino communities.

Two other CSU campuses – CSU Long Beach and Sonoma State University – also have received grants for more than $2.7 million each, pushing the total for state universities to more than $8.1 million.

“The acute shortage of teachers from underserved communities in the profession across California and the nation requires a plan of action that recruits, prepares, and retains Latino, African American, and other minority and low-income college students in teaching,” says Marquita Grenot-Scheyer, CSU's assistant vice chancellor for Teacher Education and Public School Programs.

Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen calls the grant "significant" and says it will "enhance the teacher pipeline from Latino and Hispanic communities."

“It is vital that young students have teachers who look like them and who reflect their culture. This grant will allow Sacramento State to meet the needs of our city and region,” Nelsen says.

“I am proud of the work of the College of Education and all the individuals involved" in helping secure the grant.

Statistics show the current disparity between the number of teachers with Latino and Hispanic backgrounds and students from those communities. Teachers from Latino/Hispanic backgrounds make up about 7.8 percent of the teacher workforce nationally, yet students with the same backgrounds represent more than 24 percent of the elementary and secondary student body and 54 percent of California’s K-12 students.

“The grant fits our mission and strategy very well," says Sasha Sidorkin, dean of Sac State's College of Education. "It will allow us to strengthen our multiple partnerships with schools in the region and expand teacher preparation programs.”

Sacramento State’s grant will help the College of Education:

  • Create a professional-development curriculum, eventually to be shared nationwide, that will help local high school teachers strengthen their teaching of ethnic studies.
  • Help local high schools create pathway programs and clubs focused on the teaching profession.
  • Strengthen advising and peer-mentoring programs for current Sacramento State undergraduate students interested in becoming teachers.
  • Provide networking and professional development opportunities for Sacramento State students in post-baccalaureate credential programs, especially Hispanic and bilingual students.

The grant is part of Sacramento State’s recognition as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, one where at least 25 percent of the full-time undergraduate enrollment is Latino, and at least half of its degree-seeking students are low-income.

“Sacramento is one of the most diverse cities in the nation, and that is reflected within the student body at Sacramento State,” says Congresswoman Doris Matsui. “The Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program funding will help empower Hispanic and bilingual students pursuing a teaching credential with the tools they need to succeed and graduate. This grant will ultimately increase our region’s capacity to serve our diverse student population.”

For more information, contact the College of Education or call (916) 278-6639. For media assistance, call Sacramento State’s University Communications office at (916) 278-6156. - Craig Koscho

RELATED: Supporting African American teacher retention