Teachers for Tomorrow, a five-year program at Saint Mary's that prepares students to be elementary school teachers, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this academic year.
Students in the program major in Liberal & Civic Studies — receiving a broad liberal arts education, including a Jan Term course in their sophomore year, in East Bay elementary schools. They earn a bachelor's degree in four years, and a multiple-subject teaching credential and an optional master's degree from the Kalmanovitz School of Education in their fifth year.
Professor Jerry Brunetti, who helped establish the program with Carole Swain, now SMC's vice president for mission, says the program better prepares students for jobs in the classroom because it is so broad-based.
"They have the great ideas in education, and they've studied the philosophies of the great minds," Brunetti says.
Sue Marston, who co-directs the program with Brunetti, says Teachers for Tomorrow students also get valuable experience working in elementary school classrooms in Oakland, Concord and Moraga throughout their four undergraduate years at SMC. They also are placed in elementary schools while working on their credential in their fifth year.
"People in the program are very organized," she says. "They're so well-prepared" for their careers.
Incoming students who know they want to be teachers must apply for the program, although some students may be accepted into it in the first semester of their sophomore year. Students go through in a cohort, which allows them to form close relationships with each other.
Brunetti and Marston are enthusiastic about the program.
"The work we do here makes a difference in the world," Marston says. "We're at the root of De La Salle and the mission of the College. I'm proud to be part of a program that is making a difference in educating the best elementary school teachers for the state of California."