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Recognizing Partnership in Teacher Education

CSUF College of Education Honors SchoolsFirst for $500,000 Gift

March 3, 2014; Updated March 7, 2014

UPDATE: To see photos from the reception, visit online.

Cal State Fullerton will recognize SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union March 5 for its $500,000 naming gift to the College of Education's Center for Creativity and Critical Thinking.

The invitation-only reception will formally recognize the center's new name, "SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union Center for Creativity and Critical Thinking," and dedicate the center's new home inside CSUF's Pollak Library.

"We're proud to partner with SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, which is very much interested in supporting teacher development and advancing education," said Claire C. Cavallaro, dean of the College of Education. "The center has become a premier educational hub for the development, evaluation and dissemination of innovative educational approaches that infuse the arts, technology and science as central components of an integrated curriculum."

For more than five years, the center has provided direct professional development services to local educators and future teachers, promoting infusing the arts, science and technology into K-12 curriculum. This has resulted in the center serving 850 teachers and CSUF teacher candidates and more than 11,000 young learners — made possible with an initial $250,000 gift from SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union.

The credit union's latest pledge will advance the center's reach even further, said Teresa Crawford, professor of elementary and bilingual education and director of the center.

"This new gift means we have a tremendous opportunity to serve more teachers, schools, districts and community organizations, especially those that serve high-need populations," said Crawford.

The center's accomplishments include:

  • Increasing the number of school districts served. In its first year, the center served 80 teachers in five schools; today the center serves 10 school districts and 22 schools and partner agencies, where young students who, through inquiry-based instruction, are learning the skills and knowledge to help them achieve academic success. Through this "ripple-effect," nearly 35,000 preschool-12th grade students have been affected by the center's work with their teachers.
  • Expanding partnerships with community-based organizations aligned with the center's goals. The partnerships include Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Tiger Woods Learning Center and Girls Inc.
  • Broadening the initial focus of infusing the visual arts into the curriculum to other areas, such as the sciences and technology in efforts to boost science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

The SchoolsFirst gift comes at a time when schools are in need of high-quality teacher development services to give educators the knowledge to understand and teach using the new Common Core State Standards, Crawford explained.

"As a result of SchoolsFirst commitment to teacher education, the center is poised and ready to meet this need."

Media Contacts:

Teresa Crawford, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union Center for Creativity and Critical Thinking, 657-278-8668

Jane Hansen , College of Education director of development, 657-278- 7485 

Debra Cano Ramos, 657-278-4027

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