February 8, 2018 – The Kern Urban Teacher Residency (KUTR) program at Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) has been awarded a grant from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation to support its mentoring program for new teachers. The program is a unique partnership between BCSD and California State University, Bakersfield that helps facilitate the transition for new teachers into the professional teaching field.
Brandon Ware, Coordinator of KUTR, said, “Participants in the mentoring program receive a lot of support, including tuition assistance for their teaching credential program, a monthly living stipend, and mentorship from some of the best teachers in BCSD.”
Patricia Burk-Travis, a participant in the mentorship program, talked about why she joined. “I was substitute teaching at the time, and I saw a flyer about this program that provided assistance to become a new teacher – at that moment I thought ‘This is for me.’ It offers course work at CSUB on the weekends, classroom time during the week, and it was only one school year.” She also expressed excitement about becoming a teacher, “Once you are in the classroom and see all the needs of the students, it is exciting to feel like I have something to give that can meet their needs.”
Currently, the KUTR teacher mentor program has 17 residents, 17 Elementary School mentors and 5 Jr. High/Middle School mentors. In addition to participating in clinical practice during the school week, residents also receive monthly trainings from coordinators and financial assistance for other professional development and training.
The S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation supports students and educators in STEM education and character development, and encourages effective education policy. The foundation recently visited BCSD to support the training workshops and conduct interviews for a video documentary of the program.