Morgan Appel, director of UC San Diego Extension's Education Department
"You’ll Never Walk Alone" is a song from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Carousel, popularized by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and later Gerry and the Pacemakers. Beginning in the early 1960s, the song took a turn toward anthem, symbolizing camaraderie and cooperative effort against a common challenge or foe.
In an environment that changes at a frenetic and feverish clip, those responsible for educating posterity have become all but inundated by myriad and sundry rules, regulations, strategies and technologies all designed to facilitate their classroom work. For many practitioners, lifelong learning is a mandate requisite for professional staying power and growth. For those educators displaced or pressed into the great licensed diaspora by downturns in the economy or school closures brought about by radical demographic shifts, lifelong learning is nothing less than a survival strategy.
Understanding the very real professional anxieties emerging from attempts to manage or resurrect a career in education, the Education Department at UC San Diego Extension has undertaken a number of collaborative efforts to help guide teachers through the tempest. Among these efforts for fall:
Teaching Online Certification for the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA). The Departments is working with HACLA to offer cutting-edge programming in online education and training to recently displaced Los Angeles area K-12 teachers. With grant support from the Authority, the Education Department has established dedicated, context-focused cohorts in its Teaching Online certificate program designed to scaffold upon the solid pedagogical foundations and skill sets teachers have established in the traditional ‘brick and mortar’ environment.
Reading and Literacy with King Chávez Academy of Excellence. In a unique push to put literacy for all above all, the Education Department is working with King Chávez Academy of Excellence in San Diego’s Logan area to deliver its online Reading and Literacy program to the latter’s entire teaching faculty. This focused program will provide essential foundational and advanced pedagogies and reading interventions for teachers and facilitate differentiation of curriculum and instruction based on diverse assessment strategies rooted in the everyday business of the school. We believe that this approach will serve as a powerful catalyst for change and growth in the greater school community and beyond.
Cost-Effective Professional Development for High-Demand Topics. In collaboration with the Professional Development Institute (PDI), our partner in curriculum development and delivery, the Education Department continues to provide opportunities for teachers to earn credit for coursework taken online. PDI recently debuted "Math Solutions: Implementing the Second Grade Common Core Standards" and continues to offer its Common Core introductory course for only $50 registration. Finally, PDI is providing a ten-percent discounted rate on both courses and credit when taken before September 19. October will find a 25 percent discount on courses and credit, ideal for teachers heading back to school who wish to make the most of their available resources. The joint undertakings listed above represent a sampling of ongoing work and efforts to come. And inasmuch as the Department takes pride in providing flexible programming, the true honor lies in our partnership with forward-thinking organizations and institutions that ensure ardent practitioners never have to go it alone.