A new program at Fresno Pacific University will help Valley teachers become leaders in dual language and bilingual education.
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) approved FPU to provide the bilingual authorization as an added authorization to its School of Education’s multiple subjects and single subject credentials in June 2019. The authorization prepares teacher candidates to teach in elementary or secondary dual language and bilingual education classrooms.
Courses will begin in the fall of 2019 at the main FPU campus, 1717 S. Chestnut Ave., Fresno. The program, part of the Division of Teacher Education, is open to FPU credential candidates who are bilingual in Spanish and will include the authorization in their coursework, as well as to already credentialed teachers seeking to add the authorization.
The passage of Proposition 58 in 2016 encouraged California school districts to increase existing dual language programs or to institute new ones, and many districts of the San Joaquin Valley have become leaders in this effort. This growth created a need for local teachers who hold the bilingual authorization and gives FPU candidates new opportunities for employment. “The rapid increase in the number of dual language programs, where students are able to become proficient in two languages from an early age, has challenged us at FPU bring talented and inspired bilingual teachers to this important effort,” said Charles Merritt, Ed.D., assistant professor of teacher education and coordinator of the bilingual authorization program.
FPU has been pursuing the bilingual authorization since the fall of 2017, when Sharon Merritt, Ph.D., associate professor of education and education director in the Master of Arts in Teaching program, approached FPU leadership. She, with the support of Juan Flores, Ed.D., emeritus CSU Stanislaus, then submitted a program proposal to the state in October 2018. In addition, David Jones, assessment coordinator in the FPU School of Education, created a confidential website the CCTC used to view the proposal, and Charles Merritt was hired in October 2018.
Both Charles and Sharon Merritt are collaborating with the Central California Language Consortium, and Sharon Merritt will begin serving as president-elect of the California Association of Bilingual Teacher Educators in July 2019.
For more information, contact Charles Merritt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-453-7142. Students concurrently pursuing their credential should contact the FPU Graduate Admission Office at 559-453-3690 or 888-328-0378.