Four Santa Barbara Unified School district alumni – all recent local college graduates – are inaugurating an innovative new program that funds teacher training at UCSB for positions in Santa Barbara-area classrooms. Alejandrina and Maria Lorenzano, Evely Jimenez, and Monica Rojas are the first to receive a PEAC Community Fellowship for Education, which will provide each with full funding to attend UCSB’s acclaimed Teacher Education Program. Upon earning their teaching credentials, each will receive an opportunity to teach at Santa Barbara Unified School District.
“Through the support of the James S. Bower Foundation and UCSB, we are very excited about the launch of the PEAC Fellows program in the Summer 2019. This program supports first-generation college graduates in their aspirations to serve as role models in the Santa Barbara community, as well as increase diversity in the Santa Barbara Unified teacher workforce,” says Superintendent Cary Matsuoka. The PEAC Fellowship is in honor and memory of beloved educator Jo Ann Caines.
Mr. Jon Clark, President of the James S. Bower Foundation, shared that they “are excited to be part of this next step of the PEAC journey, and believe that having PEAC graduates back in the classroom as teachers will make a meaningful difference for students year after year.” Key partners in the launch of the PEAC Fellowship also include the Hazen Family Foundation, and the Helen and Will Webster Foundation.
“A program like the PEAC Fellowship embodies the mission of the Gevirtz School,” says Dean Jeffrey Milem, “for it stresses the important role that education plays in helping to build a democratic society that is becoming increasingly diverse. Our teacher candidates commit to an intensive 12-month program, and with teaching placements during the day and graduate classes at night, there is no time for them to work, too. Therefore the generosity of local foundations is crucial in helping those who might not be able to attend the Gevirtz School get a first-class education without incurring large debt.”
The Santa Barbara Unified Program for Effective Access to College (PEAC) is an initiative to prepare students in grades 7 to 12 for college entry by providing access to advanced placement classes, and academic and socio-emotional supports. In an effort to extend such support beyond students’ matriculation to a four-year institution, the PEAC Community Fellowships for Education create a seamless pathway for college graduates who aspire to teach. Dr. Patricia Madrigal, who oversees the district’s PEAC efforts, explains that “once the Fellows earn their teaching credential and are placed in an SBUnified school, they are in essence coming home.”
The Santa Barbara Unified School District serves over 15,000 students from Preschool – 12th grade and launched the PEAC college readiness program in 2011. The mission of SBUnified is to prepare students for a world that is yet to be created, visit www.sbunified.org
The Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UC Santa Barbara is comprised of the Department of Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology, the Department of Education, and the Teacher Education Program. It is a hub of educational innovation with world-class research produced by distinguished faculty and exceptional graduate students. The Teacher Education Program was named a “California’s Asset” in the 2012 governor’s State Educator Excellence Task Force Report.
*Photo: (clockwise, starting upper left) Twins Alejandrina and Maria Lorenzano, Monica Rojas, Evely Jimenez