Julia King, a Southwestern College liberal studies major, wants to
become a teacher at an elementary school in the South Bay. Photo credit: Southwestern College.

A $3.5 million federal grant will help Southwestern College in Chula Vista train more bilingual and culturally sensitive K-12 educators.

Through a new partnership with San Diego State University and other community colleges,
Southwestern will offer liberal studies students a pathway to transfer into SDSU’s bilingual teacher credential programs.

The funding comes from the Department of Education’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions program.

The new program, called DEBER (Developing Effective Bilingual Educators with Resources) will establish programs at Southwestern to prepare students to become bilingual educators.

The aid includes specialized support, counseling and stipends to attend conferences and create connections with San Diego State faculty.

If a student transfers to San Diego State, they will be eligible for continued support.

Michael Wickert, the program’s director, sees South Bay school districts placing more importance on dual language immersion. He hopes the grant better prepares students for local careers.

“We have to develop these programs to incorporate language, community and culture,” he said.
“We want to help students better prepare and help the region meet its needs for great diverse
teachers.”

– Staff reports

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