By Anne Krueger
Students looking to become an elementary school teacher can earn a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Cuyamaca College through a new partnership launching this fall with one of the Midwest’s top regional public universities.
Under the agreement, Valley City State University (VCSU) in Valley City, North Dakota, will provide instruction both online and at Cuyamaca College to students who have earned an associate degree at the Rancho San Diego campus. A VCSU counselor will also be stationed at Cuyamaca College to work with students in setting up an educational plan.
The new program at Cuyamaca College comes at an opportune time, as the number of elementary school teachers in California, excluding those focusing on special education, is projected to grow by nearly 10 percent in the decade between 2014 and 2024.
Elementary school teachers in California earn an annual average salary of $74,270, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and $72,130 in San Diego County.
“Cuyamaca College is among the leaders in our region when it comes to workforce development, and partnering with VCSU will enable us to help fill a void in preparing students for careers as elementary school teachers,” said Cuyamaca College President Julianna Barnes. “We’re excited for the opportunity to work with a university that has a long history and stellar reputation in educating elementary school teachers across the country.”
VCSU was rated the top school among regional public colleges in the Midwest by U.S News & World Report in its 2017 rankings. Its School of Education and Graduate Studies is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the Higher Learning Commission and the North Dakota Educational Standards and Practices Board.
VCSU has been training teachers since 1890 when it opened its doors as a teacher’s college, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education has recognized the university for exemplary practice since 1954.
“We at Valley City State University are excited to partner with Cuyamaca College to offer our bachelor’s degree program in elementary education,” said VCSU President Tisa Mason. “I commend President Julianna Barnes for seeking out baccalaureate opportunities for Cuyamaca students, and I know we can provide an outstanding opportunity for those who wish to teach in elementary schools.”
Registration is open now for the fall semester. The program to open to anyone with an associate degree, although Cuyamaca College graduates with a degree in elementary education or an associate degree for transfer in elementary education will have a seamless path to admission. Other students will need to have their college transcripts evaluated to determine if they have any gaps in their coursework.
Students will pay the same in-state tuition and fee rates charged to North Dakota residents, which is approximately $16,300 for the entire two-year program.
Valley City State provides laptops to qualified distance learners as part of the university’s technology fees. Because VCSU is a nationally accredited institution, graduates will be able to teach in California after obtaining a North Dakota teaching license and securing a California teaching credential.
The bachelor of science degree in elementary education is the latest baccalaureate program offered at Cuyamaca College. In fall 2016, Cuyamaca College and Point Loma Nazarene University teamed up to offer bachelor degrees in both child development and organizational management.
Students interested in the elementary education program should contact advisor and assistant professor Daisy Figueroa at 562-822-7606 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Anne Krueger is communications and public information director for the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. Reach her at email@example.com.