Two good news stories from the Sacramento Bee over the past week are worthy of your attention. 

1.  “Courses for Laid-Off or New Teachers Emphasize Math and Science” (2/22/12)  (http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/22/4281220/courses-for-laid-off-or-new-teachers.html)

The Bee reports on a new partnership between California State University Sacramento and the Sacramento City School District to help laid-off teachers earn credentials in the hard-to-fill subject areas of math and science.  Forty teachers are enrolled in the program, directed by the very capable CSUS Professor Pia Wong, with their coursework paid for through a grant from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

Sac City math teacher Joseph Barnett teacher Carlos Rico may have been the first to propose the idea for such a program during the debate over Superintendent Raymond’s plan to bring temporary Teach for America corps members to the district two years ago, ostensibly to fill math and science teaching positions.   At that time, the District had just issued over 700 pink-slips to teachers.  Barnett noted in testimony before the school board then that many laid-off teachers likely would jump at the chance to be re-credentialed in math and science in order to fill high-need teaching slots.   Other Sac City teachers echoed this and urged the District administration to seek new partnerships with the CSUS teacher preparation program rather than rely on a corps of temporary teachers from outside the community with only a few weeks of training.

SCTA President Scott Smith was thrilled to offer full endorsement and support when notified by the Superintendent that the re-credentialing partnership had been created. 

“The Superintendent and leaders at CSUS deserve credit for pursuing this innovative solution to filling teacher staffing gaps.  This partnership points to the power of teacher-informed, community-based solutions.  It also is a solution that has at its core respect for the teaching profession and those who intend to make teaching their life-long vocation,” said Smith.

2. “ Sacramento Teacher Headed to Antarctica ”  (2/26/12)

(http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/26/4291704/sacramento-teacher-headed-to-antarctica.html)

Sac City teacher Kim Williams is off to Antarctica on a two-week adventure with famed explorer and environmentalist Robert Swan, after her selection in a national search conducted by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools.   She will be using her trip as a unique teaching tool for her students.   Williams, a fifteen-year veteran, was selected as a result of her track record of partnership with local universities—including UC Davis—to bring math, science and engineering graduate students and faculty into her sixth grade classroom.    Williams started the Washington Elementary school garden and registered it as a 4-H Junior Master Gardener Program

We can all follow her adventures as she blogs along the way:

www.centerforgreenschools.org/coolestteacher.

Faced with the most challenging budget crisis of our lifetimes, the Organizing Committee wants more good news to share so that we don’t lose sight of our members’ innovative ideas and inspiring works.   Send your ideas our way, care of Lori Jablonski , lorijab@surewest.net