October 29, 1999

Grant Expands Popular Credential-in-Mexico Program

A $1.1 million grant will help California State University, Sacramento expand a unique program that allows future California schoolteachers to earn credentials in Mexico.

The five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education will provide up to $5,000 for about 30 students each year enrolled in "BCLAD in Mexico." It is the only program of its kind in the United States.

Students in the program study for two summers and a school year at the University of Mexico campus in Querétaro, two hours from Mexico City. They live for at least one semester which a Mexican family, and receive language and cultural instruction along with typically required courses for a teaching credential. They student-teach in Mexican elementary schools, and spend three weeks living and teaching in a Native American residential school. Throughout the coursework a CSU faculty member is on hand as an adviser and resident director.

After returning, students complete a student-teaching stint in California and graduate with a teaching credential and the highly sought BCLAD (Bilingual Crosscultural Language and Academic Development) certification.

"It's a marvelous experience. Students come back completely transformed," says Rene Merino, a CSUS bilingual/multicultural education professor involved with the program. "And school districts are eager to hire them. They relate very well to children from different cultures."

"BLCAD in Mexico" started five years ago and more than 60 students have since graduated. It is coordinated through the CSU Chancellor's Office.

In addition to CSUS, the program is operated in collaboration with CSU campuses in Hayward, Long Beach and San Diego. It costs students about $12,000, including all expenses. Students are eligible for financial aid in addition to funds from the new grant.

To enroll, students must first be admitted to a teacher credential program at any collaborating CSU campus and have basic Spanish proficiency. Applications will be accepted through next march, though applicants are encouraged to submit materials before spring semester so they can take any missing prerequisites.

More information is available by contacting Raquel Morales at the CSUS Cross Cultural Resources Center at (916) 278-3708.

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