Building a Pathway for Future Bilingual Teachers

BTSA cabinet members (in grey), Julio Torres and Susan Guilfoyle (both in blue), wearing new club shirts. “I am bilingual. What’s your superpower?”

The Bilingual Teacher Student Association (BTSA), an undergraduate club at UCI for future bilingual teachers, recently hosted an informational meeting on the new Spanish/English bilingual education minor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.  Spanish professor and director of the new minor, Julio Torres, explained the required courses offered in the School of Education, Humanities and Department of Spanish and Portuguese.  The courses will build foundational knowledge and skills in bilingual education; it will also build a pathway that will increase the amount of qualified future bilingual teachers in the field.  Lecturer and faculty advisor for BTSA, Susan Guilfoyle, discussed the fieldwork component in dual immersion schools.  Students pursuing the new minor will need to complete a minimum of 40 hours of fieldwork service in a dual immersion (Spanish) program.

A panel of bilingual UCI MAT students were also present to share their experiences as student teachers in dual immersion schools. Margarita Rodriguez, Karina Calderon and Elisa Garcia discussed lesson planning, interviewing skills and other related topics.  All three were undergraduates at UCI and Elisa was past president of BTSA.  All three have also secured employment as bilingual teachers for next year.

The majority of students attending the meeting were education science majors.  Many in attendance showed great interest and excitement in the new minor.  Students will be able to start declaring the minor in the fall.


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2018 CABE Teachership Awards

The annual California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) Conference was held in Sacramento this past week, from 3/28-3/31.  Five aspiring bilingual teachers were selected to receive teachership awards this year (see page 221 for all awardees); three of the five recipients were from UCI’s School of Education MAT program.  Margarita Rodriguez, Karina Calderón and Jennifer Chavez-Lanza (from left to right) were recognized at the annual awards luncheon held on Thursday, 3/29/18.

This isn’t the only year UCI MAT candidates have been recognized.  Past recipients of the award are now bilingual teachers at various dual language immersion programs.  In total, including recent recipients, nine have received this prestigious honor.  Some, like Megan Gibbs and Marco Castillo, recipients of a teachership award in 2014, are strong advocates in the field and have mentored countless bilingual undergraduates from UCI.  Megan is also a master teacher for many UCI bilingual student teachers enrolled in the MAT program.  They both teach at Gates Elementary School, a well known two-way  Spanish immersion school and strong partner school for many bilingual UCI students completing fieldwork hours at the graduate and undergraduate level in the School of Education.

Meeting Jose Luis Orozco

This year’s recipients were allowed free admittance to the conference.  They had the opportunity to attend many workshops and meet many well known individuals in the field of bilingual education.

Alma Flor Ada

Yvonne Estling, principal of Gates Elementary School, was also in attendance at the conference.  All three award recipients from UCI are completing their student teaching in two-way Spanish immersion classrooms at Gates in Lake Forest.  The principal is hosting seven bilingual student teachers from UCI this year.

Yvonne Estling with the Three Award Recipients



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Bilingual MAT Candidates at CABE Conference in Anaheim

UCI Bilingual MAT Candidates with Bilingual Coordinator

Bilingual MAT candidates, from the School of Education, began their spring quarter by attending the CABE (California Association for Bilingual Education) conference two weeks ago.  The conference was held in Anaheim from March 29 to April 1.  During their attendance at the conference, they met several school districts in need of bilingual teachers for their dual immersion schools and attended the various workshops offered, from current multilingual policy to dual language strategies in all content areas.

On the first day of the conference, Susan Guilfoyle, bilingual coordinator from the School of Education, moderated a panel of administrators from several new dual immersion schools in Westminster, Orange, Garden Grove and Fullerton (see Start-Ups: Lessons Learned From First Year Dual Immersion Programs, p. 73).  Bilingual MAT candidates had the opportunity to meet with the panel after the workshop to discuss job opportunities at their schools.

Bilingual candidate, Joanna Baires Amaya, attended the awards luncheon held on Thursday, March 30.  Among the many notable awardees during this luncheon,  CABE awards four teacherships to aspiring future bilingual teachers.  Joanna was recognized as the Charles “Chuck” Acosta Teachership (see Charles “Chuck” Acosta Award, p. 216) recipient this year.  Joanna is the sixth recipient from UCI’s MAT program to receive a teachership award from CABE.  All past recipients are successfully teaching at dual language schools.  Megan Gibbs, past award recipient, is now a UCI master teacher for bilingual student teachers enrolled in the UCI MAT program.  She is in her third year of teaching first grade in Spanish at Gates Elementary School’s two-way immersion program.

Megan Gibbs (on right) with Current UCI Bilingual Student Teacher, Cristina Rubalcava


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End of the Year Bilingual Teacher Celebration


Members of the growing UCI bilingual teacher community had their end of the school year dinner celebration at Brü Market and Grill in Lake Forest on June 9.  This past year, most of the bilingual credential candidates were placed at Gates Elementary School for their student teaching assignment.  During commencement over the weekend, eight future bilingual teachers graduated from the School of Education; seven in Spanish and one in Mandarin.  The celebration extended to present bilingual student teachers, undergraduates and alumni.  Some bilingual alumni, now employed as bilingual teachers at Gates, came to the dinner to congratulate the group.

Present and new cabinet members of the young undergraduate club on campus, Bilingual Teacher Student Association (BTSA), also attended the event.  The club was launched last spring and is fast growing.  Thus far, 90 undergraduates have shown interest in the club since its induction.  The club focuses on supporting future bilingual teachers by offering opportunities from fun social events throughout the year to community service at various dual immersion schools.  The club also provides valuable mentorships from past members and others in the bilingual education field.  Co-president, Alyssa Arteaga, introduced the new and present cabinet members at the dinner.  Susan Guilfoyle, bilingual coordinator and BTSA faculty advisor, introduced the bilingual alumni and student teachers.  Honored guest, Dr. Kevin Reimer, director of undergraduate programs at the School of Education, was given a gift from BTSA for his tremendous amount of support throughout the year.  It was a great evening to see so many bilingual Anteaters representing undergraduates, graduates and alumni; a community that will indeed grow in years to come.

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2016 CABE Teachership Award


Gabriela Gómez, UCI bilingual credential candidate, was recently awarded the Carlos Penichet Award at the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) Annual Conference in San Francisco on Thursday, March 24, 2016.  There were five awards given to future bilingual teachers during the awards luncheon.  The following are the other teachership award recipients in attendance from various regions:  Caren Pérez, Diana Zamora, José de Jesús Robles Gúzman and Laura Mendoza.

Gabriela is UCI’s fifth CABE award recipient from the multiple subject program since 2011.  Past recipients from UCI include:  Wendy (Ramos) Gonzalez (’11), Melissa Madrigal (’12), Megan Gibbs (’14) and Marco Castillo (’14).  All past recipients are employed at various public schools throughout Orange and Los Angeles Counties.

During the awards luncheon, many other awards were given to individuals making a significant impact on bilingual learners as researchers, administrators, teachers, parents and community leaders.  To read about all the recipients at the luncheon, please see:  CABE 2016 Awards.

The conference will be held in Anaheim next year.



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