New early college high school program opens to provide high school students with a direct, affordable pathway into the teaching profession

[September 10, 2021] Stockton, CA – Local officials celebrated the launch of TEACH! Academy today on the campus of the Teachers College of San Joaquin in Stockton. TEACH! Academy opened this month as a joint effort by the staff at the Venture Academy Family of Schools, San Joaquin County Office of Education, Teachers College of San Joaquin, and San Joaquin Delta College. 26 students started the program this year as freshmen. The school plans to add a new grade each year, with room to accommodate more students in each grade level as they do.

“We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity this program will provide for the students enrolled this year and for all those who will attend in years to come,” said Dr. Troy A. Brown, San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools. “The launch of this school is a testament to the hard work of our San Joaquin County Office of Education team and our partners. We look forward to continued collaboration to grow this program and to nurture the students here into the talented educators of the future for our region.”

TEACH! Academy is designed to provide students with a free associate degree in elementary education from San Joaquin Delta College by the time they graduate high school, as well as an affordable pathway to complete their bachelor’s degree at Humphreys University, and to get their teaching credential through the Teachers College of San Joaquin.

“Already in the few weeks we have been open, we have seen what a difference this model and program can make. Our students and teachers are trailblazers, and they are so excited to be a part of the very first class at TEACH!,” said Megan Filice, the lead administrator for TEACH! Academy. “After more than a year of planning, we are so happy to welcome our students to this beautiful campus we share with the Teachers College of San Joaquin, and to provide them with a fulfilling education experience that gives them an on-ramp to college and a fulfilling career.”

“Teachers have made a difference in my life, and I want to make a difference in the lives of my students, one day, too,” ninth-grader Rudy Serrano said. “Being a student at TEACH! Academy will help me do this. It also means I have the opportunity to be able to earn college credit while I’m still in high school.”

In addition to providing San Joaquin County students with a clear and affordable path to get their college degree, the TEACH! Academy will help address a major area of need for local school districts. With teacher retirements increasing during the pandemic (The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or CalSTRS, reported a 26% increase in the number of teacher retirements in the second half of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.) many districts are experiencing teacher shortages. The TEACH! Academy will help grow the profession locally with a new generation of teachers who reflect the diversity and cultural perspectives of the students in the San Joaquin County region they hope to serve.

“This program comes at such an important time. Like elsewhere in the state, schools in San Joaquin County are experiencing a shortage of teachers in all grade levels and subject areas,” said Dr. Diane Carnahan, president of the Teachers College of San Joaquin. “That is why we are so thrilled to have all these young potential educators on our campus. As we grow this program over time, it will provide our local school districts and their students with talented and diverse educators for years to come.”

The TEACH! Academy collaboration and planning process was supported as a part of a grant program funded by local non-profit San Joaquin A+ to support early college high school (ECHS) programs that create pathways to good jobs in the region. The early college high school is a model established in 2002 to increase the opportunity for traditionally underrepresented youth to earn a postsecondary degree and/or credential by beginning their college credits while still in high school. The benefits of ECHS programs around the country have been well documented in academic research.

“In surveys we’ve conducted throughout the pandemic, parents tell us that making sure postsecondary education is affordable and provides skills and knowledge that lead to a good job are more important than ever for their children,” noted Don Shalvey, CEO of San Joaquin A+. “We are so happy to support a collaboration like this that is not only responsive to what local families say they want, but also builds on a model that research shows will lead to better life outcomes for our young people, and ultimately, a brighter future for our region.”

Video of the Sept. 10 press conference will be available for media use at https://bit.ly/TEACH_0910. Learn more about the TEACH! Academy at www.ventureacademyca.org.

About the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE): The SJCOE provides educational leadership, resources, and services to support schools throughout the county. With its highly regarded programs, innovative staff, and community partnerships, the SJCOE ensures that every student in San Joaquin County has the opportunity of a quality education. For more information, visit www.sjcoe.org.

About the Teachers College of San Joaquin (TCSJ): Founded in 2009 by the SJCOE, TCSJ is the only regionally accredited institution of higher education that is a department within a county office of education. TCSJ provides a variety of options for those who wish to pursue a career in the field of education: Teaching and Administrative Service Credentials, Induction (teaching and administrative), six Master’s in Education concentrations, as well as non-degree programs. The college serves over 1,300 students who work across 60 districts in an eight-county region of California. For more information, visit https://www.teacherscollegesj.edu/.

About San Joaquin Delta College: Delta College is a top destination for students in the San Joaquin Valley and Mother Lode wishing to learn a new trade, upgrade their skills, or earn transfer units to four-year colleges and universities. Established in 1963, the college serves over 20,000 students at its campuses in Stockton and Mountain House, as well as online and at satellite facilities across the region. For more information, visit www.deltacollege.edu.

About San Joaquin A+: San Joaquin A+ is a group of educators, business leaders, active citizens and philanthropists. Collectively, the organization has supported education since 1996 and has almost a quarter century of experience and commitment to Stockton and SJ County. In order to create a system of great schools in our county, San Joaquin A+ collaborates with local families, education, and workforce partners to set a vision for how our community can prepare students to be successful and responsible citizens.  For more information, visit https://sjaplus.org/.