Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

San Joaquin County’s Teachers College graduates second class

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, June 1, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 1:06 pm, Tue Jun 5, 2012.

The Teachers College of San Joaquin is not your average graduate school. It was founded by teachers for teachers, and grew out of a program designed for teacher development through internships. In May, it graduated its second class of 70 students.

The college is run by the San Joaquin County Office of Education. Classes meet at the county office and do most of their work on iPads.

It opened in 2009 as the first of its kind to be run by a county office in California. About 70 students pass through its halls each year, earning master's degrees and teaching credentials to become school administrators, special education teachers, or to simply improve their game in the classroom.

Catherine Kearny, chief academic officer, admits the school's motto was inspired by country music icon Dolly Parton: "Find out who you are and be it on purpose."

"What if schools were organized in such a way as to help kids find out who they are so they can be it on purpose?" said Kearny. "Our mission is to reform schools so that teachers can prepare kids for college and career."

Marie Burkin-Caffese of Stockton was among the graduates. She worked as a special education teacher at North Valley School in Lodi with emotionally disturbed children and has more than decade of work with that population under her belt.

"They're a funny bunch. So resilient; there are so many things they can teach you as an adult. I like working with that group," she said.

Burkin-Caffese grew up in Stockton and studied plant science and viticulture at California State University, Fresno, graduating in 1997. She needed another job after seasonal work monitoring vineyard workers in Sonoma County for Kendall-Jackson Wines came to an end. She answered an ad in the paper for work at a residential facility in Stockton without any prior knowledge of emotionally disturbed students.

A few years of working with those children was all it took to convince her to pursue it as a career. That's when she enrolled at Teachers College.

After earning her special education credentials, she took on the position at North Valley. Later, she also earned an administrative certificate. She finished her work in November of last year and walked in the spring ceremony. By May, Burkin-Caffese was hired by Lodi Unified School District as principal at Turner School.

The best part of the teachers college for her was that she could apply her work as a student to her job as a teacher.

"I'm a hands-on person. I would go to class at night, and the next morning implement what I learned to my class," she said. If a student wouldn't engage in a math lesson, Burkin-Caffese would avoid a reprimand or a punishment. Instead, she would try to engage with the student to see how they are doing that day, in that moment. It's about being flexible with kids when they need it, she said.

Her instructors used small class sizes to drive home the importance of relationships in the classroom. They were willing to meet, answer questions and knew the cohort by name.

"They model that to us, and expect us to model it to our students. That's what sets Teachers College grads apart," she said.

Burkin-Caffese will put her knowledge to work as the principal of Turner School for emotionally disturbed students. It's a new venture by the Lodi Unified School District to keep students in the district that would otherwise go to non-public schools.

"It's a great opportunity to help kids that are struggling with emotional issues in school," she said.

Kearny says her school is a grassroots effort to make schools better.

"They don't look at this as a master's degree. It's a movement," she said.

About half of the graduates get jobs within the first year.

Degrees offered include a master's in educational inquiry, a degree to deepen understanding of school reforms and multiple pathways education. They also offer educational leadership and school development along with administrative and special education credentials. Each program takes about 14 months. The cost is $385 per unit. Each student who enrolls with more than 20 units gets an iPad for the semester and can expect to spend about $30 in apps. Most of the textbooks are electronic, said Kearny.

Some teachers who enroll as a team from their school site can get tuition assistance in the form of an Intrepid Fellowship, a competitive grant by the school.

Kearny says the school attracts a student body looking for challenges.

"They want to come in and make a difference. Many are career changers, and ask to work at more difficult schools," she said. "We've staked our reputation on work going on when they leave here."

They track how graduates do once they re-enter the workforce, though they won't have their first year of data available until next year.

"If we're going to change schools, we have to change the workforce inside of schools," said Kearny. "We're more than a graduate school. It's about changing lives and making a profound difference to kids. It's in our hands and we can do it. We're not afraid of the work."

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com. For more information about local education issues, read our Education Café blog.

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don't pretend you're someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don't insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

Total Votes: 99

Loading…

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists