The Gevirtz School is not only dedicated to engaging in research that generates knowledge, advances teaching and learning, and influences education practice and public policy, we are also dedicated to improving education right now. For the centennial of our school we have chosen the theme "School Is Everybody's House" as a way to recall the mission of the original one-room schoolhouses. These buildings were far from just sites of learning — they were centers for communities, gathering places for a rich civic life and hopeful promises for the future. As we move into our new building for the 2009-2010 academic year, we are reflecting upon the ways we help provide for the greater Santa Barbara region in an attempt to provide the best educational opportunities for the most students.
The Gevirtz School currently has two different projects working to fight the dropout crisis.
The California Dropout Research Project
The California Dropout Research Project (CDRP), directed by Gevirtz School Professor Russell Rumberger, was established to synthesize existing research and undertake new research to inform policymakers, educators, and the general public about the nature of the dropout crisis in California and help the state develop a meaningful policy agenda to address the problem. Forty-two CDRP reports, several written by Gevirtz faculty members, have been published. Since its inception the CDRP has led to a wealth of media attention, including a featured story on the project in the April 2008 issue of Education Week, the nation’s leading education newspaper, and the passage of a new statewide school accountability bill.
The California High School Exit Exam Stepping Into Your Future Program
This award-winning program, now in its third phase, provides free assistance to students retaking their exit exams so that they may earn their high school diplomas. The program — active in 39 of CA’s 58 counties — works with community college, adult school, and K-12 district partners across the state to recruit students from the high school classes for the offerings of the Stepping Into Your Future course. Faculty and researchers at the Gevirtz School are providing overall content development and oversight for this statewide collaborative project. Early results show students pass the exit exam at a rate 36% greater or more after participating in the Stepping Into Your Future Program.
Only 4 percent of 9th graders in California schools currently go on to complete a bachelorís degree in science, mathematics, or engineering, providing only about 50 percent of the workforce needs for Californiaís science- and technology-based industries. In order to ameliorate that huge problem, the University of California, working in partnership with K-12 schools, the California State University, state government, and industry leaders, has launched its ‘California Teach’ program, the goal of which is to put 1,000 new science and math teachers annually into California classrooms. Those students, however, are in classrooms right now:
|Cal Teach 1||18 students||84 students||87 students|
|Cal Teach 2||14 students||60 students||53 students|
|Math 181A||14 students|
In the three years since it began at UCSB Cal Teach students have served local teachers and their students for a total of approximately 10,000 hours. During the field placement the students learn by observing their mentor teachers, work with individual students and small groups and often teach a class under the supervision of their mentor. The Gevirtz School has been fortunate to be able to work with over 150 mentor teachers in 35 area schools for the classroom experience component of California Teach 1 and 2.
The Gevirtz School Provides for Santa Barbara County
21,348 Volunteer Hours
∞ improvement annually in local education
(even at the minimum wage of $8, that’s $170,784 of volunteer hours yearly)
Our students work as: teacher assistants, progress monitors, consultants, bilingual aids, cognitive and psychological assessors, special education assistants, group counselors, coaches, computer classroom assistants, writers of psychoeducational reports, tutors, individual counselors, and reading interventionists.
These students, both undergraduate and graduate, provide this service in a variety of ways. Some take Education 176b, Practicum in Individual Differences, a course offered as part of our Minor in Education & Applied Psychology. This field-based practicum provides select upper division students with an opportunity to learn about elementary school children who have developed or who are under substantial risk for developing significant learning and/or behavior problems. Students are guided through a ten-week experience working with children at Brandon Elementary School (Goleta) under the joint supervision of classroom teachers and UCSB faculty and staff.
Others are part of our Pre-Professional Program that provides field experience for graduate and undergraduate students interested in entering the teaching profession. These students assist the teacher in all facets of instruction including working with individuals or groups, preparing materials, grading, going on fieldtrips, and even planning and teaching a lesson if the teacher feels they are ready. Many are bilingual and can assist with bilingual students; others are computer experts and provide special assistance with technology as well. In particular, the Science Math Initiative pre-professional students assist especially in science and math instruction — many of these students are part of our Minor in Science and Mathematics Education.
Others are our School Psychology graduate students who do a wide variety of work, from helping run a special program for students with emotional disturbances to working with district officials on the evaluation and implementation of a district-wide program.