Shaping minds, one classroom at a time

Each year, CSUB partners with State Farm to help local students in the Bakersfield community through an after school-tutoring program. The CSUB and Beardsley Partnership is an enrichment program designed to help support the regular school curriculum with hands-on training and tutoring provided by knowledgeable CSUB undergraduate and doctoral education students in a safe environment. The program seeks to increase the academic skills and confidence of K-8 low-income students and well as enhance the skills and sensitivity of the teacher candidates to different cultural and language backgrounds.  Funded by a $15,000 grant from State Farm Insurance, the program continues to improve the lives of its students through the hard work, dedication and inspiration from its teacher credential candidates.

“This initiative benefits everyone involved,” said Kathleen Knutzen, Dean of CSUB’s School of Social Sciences and Education. “It gives our teacher candidates practical teaching experience, while helping to unlock the learning potential of their tutees.”

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Teacher candidate Stephanie Campos always knew that teaching was her calling in life. Once she entered high school she was reassured in that fact when she began work as a teacher’s aide and counselor for Camp K.E.E.P. She hopes that through interesting and creative content, she can engage students to want to learn more about math and science; topics that can prove to be challenging for elementary school students.

“As a child in Elementary School and even up until college, I struggled with math,” said Campos. “The manipulatives that I learned in my math courses here at CSUB have inspired me to integrate math manipulatives in my classrooms to make math fun and easier to understand for my students.”

Image Campos’ sentiments are not singular, as student-teacher Kearstyn Gilbert feels the same way. She wants to not only focus on teaching the more difficult topics, but also wants to encourage and foster diversity in the classroom. “When I imagine having my own classroom, I worry about things like, what if I don’t realize that a student isn’t grasping a concept and I just move on while they’re still confused,” says Gilbert. “I never want my students to feel as if I don’t care about them and I want them to feel as if they can talk to me about anything and everything and gain the support that they need in whatever they are doing.”

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For Crystal Oliva, not only will math skills and tricks be a driving force in the classroom but also ethics. She wants to teach her students that honesty really is the best policy when it comes to life’s situations.  “CSUB really emphasizes that their students display academic honesty in the classroom and I think that’s a wonderful policy to incorporate into mine,” said Oliva. “I want to instill a good work ethic into my students so that they will be successful in the future.”

CSUB’S Education Department is second to none and with the strides that its after school program has made, it is apparent that the program will continue to flourish with time. As the program continues to grow, both college and elementary school students get the chance to learn from one another and make positive impacts on the Bakersfield community. If Campos, Gilbert and Oliva are any indication of what CSUB’s teaching program has to offer, the futures of the children of Kern County are bright indeed.

– Story by Breana Oliver, CSUB Public Affairs Intern

– Pictures by Dr. Patty Mulligan, CSUB Associate Dean School of Social Sciences and Education

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