The first cohort of 17 National University graduate students participating in the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium Dual Enrollment Upskilling Teachers Master’s Program in English will complete degree requirements for an M.A. this month, marking a milestone for this innovative project that benefits thousands of the region’s dual enrollment students.
The Master’s Upskilling Program for area English high school teachers, which addresses equity and access issues, began in January funded by grants from the Fresno K-16 Collaborative in partnership with National University. A second cohort of 23 Fresno-area high school English teachers began their National English M.A. program in July 2021 and will be earning their master’s degree in June 2022.
The Fresno K-16 Collaborative was established in 2020 via funding by California Gov. Gavin Newsom and is supporting four dual enrollment-related educational pathways that help Fresno-area students move from high school to college and into the workforce.
CVHEC is coordinating two grants: one that is specifically for K-16 Collaborative partners in the Fresno area and a second one that allows for an expanded regional reach. In all, 67 high school English teachers from Fresno Madera, Merced and Kings Counties will benefit from the Dual Enrollment Upskilling Teachers Master’s Program for English.
Program support includes tuition supplements and in some cases book expenses. Participating postbaccalaureate students are paired with college English professors from CVHEC community colleges in a unique mentorship project.
In addition, CVHEC and Fresno Pacific University have also been funded by the K-16 Collaborative for a similar Dual Enrollment Upskilling Teacher’s Master’s Program in Mathematics. CVHEC has also provided community college math professor mentors for 16 of these graduate students.
“This is proving to be a win-win undertaking for all involved,” said John Spevak, former Merced College vice president who now serves as a regional lead for CVHEC.
“Not only are high school teachers gaining the opportunity to obtain a master’s, but high school districts will now have teachers who meet community college minimum qualifications to providing dual enrollment courses for their students,” Spevak said. “Our participating mentors also gain experience in working with the grad students and helping ensure incoming community college students are prepared and on the path to success.”
Eddie Cunha, director of the National University-Fresno Center, said a degree conferral ceremony will be held Dec. 19 for the current cohort.