CSU, Chico News

CSU, Chico Receives More Than $1.2 Million to Improve Indian Education and Professional Development

Date: 10-08-2012

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Michelle Cepello
School of Education

In a competitive grant process, the School of Education at California State University, Chico, in partnership with Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians, Tyme Maidu Tribe-Berry Creek Rancheria, Enterprise Rancheria Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe, Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria, and Four Winds of Indian Education Inc. has been awarded one of 22 national grants to improve educational opportunities and achievement for American Indian children. This project provides professional development for individuals of American Indian descent who serve in the education field.

"Reforming Native education has never been more important," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a Department of Education release on the projects. "To do what is best for Native students, we must collaborate with people who know the students and communities. These grants will help schools offer more opportunities for students and provide training and support to educators and others in the communities that are serving the students."

In support of this reform effort, CSU, Chico’s project, The Northeastern California Preparation and Retention of Indian Educators (NorCAL PRIE) has been awarded a total of $1,247,923 to recruit, prepare and support 20 American Indian or Alaskan Native individuals pursuing teaching or administrative careers in education.

NorCAL PRIE program faculty, in collaboration with the five regional tribal partners, will allocate this funding to serve the vast northeastern California rural region that experiences chronic shortages of American Indian personnel in education careers. The consortium will work together to provide a long-term and substantive response to the challenges of improving the preparation of teachers and administrators for American Indian/Alaskan Native students. Professors Lynne Bercaw and Michelle Cepello, School of Education (SOE), are co-directors of this four-year project.

“We are delighted CSU, Chico and the Tribal Consortium Partners have been awarded one of 10 of these competitive grants,” said Cepello. “This award will enable us to respond to the critical need of increasing the number of Native Americans entering into teacher preparation and education administration programs on this campus, and, in turn, will improve the education of American Indian/Alaskan Native students throughout our vast rural Northern California region. We are eager to share in our tribal partners’ expertise and guidance as we collaborate in the development and implementation of this critical recruitment and preparation project.”

Securing this federal grant from the Office of Indian Education addresses CSU, Chico’s values of pursuing a diverse student population and meeting the unique needs of our community. Implementation of this grant will support President Zingg’s efforts to collaborate with regional tribal partners in strengthening University enrollment of under-represented individuals of American Indian and Alaskan native descent.

This latest federal Department of Education grant is one of the many grants successfully secured by SOE faculty. In addition to NorCAL PRIE, six additional SOE collaborative projects have received initial award and continuation funding awards for 2012-13. These include a professional development grant for rural Northern California to improve bilingual learning opportunities for English learners; a grant to improve the recruitment and training of highly qualified teachers in rural schools; the Integrated Teacher Corps Program; NEXT STEPS, a program to strengthen preparations for secondary special educators; a rural partnership for recruiting and retaining teachers for children with low-incidence disabilities; and Teachers PD INC, a collaborative professional development project.

For more information on NorCAL PRIE or any of these education programs, contact Michelle Cepello at 530-898-6281.