Category Archives: Educators Rising California

Educators Rising California Will Elect Student Leaders in October

Educators Rising California is electing its first-ever group of Student Officers to serve on its Executive Council next month.

Educators Rising CA is dedicated to attracting promising students to pursue education-related careers and to helping them develop the skills and strong leadership traits that are found in high-quality educators. The organization also provides students with valuable leadership opportunities, including the newly announced State Officer positions.

Students elected to the Executive Council will serve as ambassadors for the organization and will have multiple opportunities to engage in activities to build their own leadership skills. All eligible students are encouraging to apply for candidacy as Educators Rising CA State Officer! (See Article VII, Section 1 in the application for eligibility.)

Effective state officers are articulate, self-motivated, outgoing, conscientious students with a passion for Educators Rising CA’s mission and vision. They will be key to promoting the organization as essential to the cultivation of tomorrow’s great educators. Officers must be comfortable with public speaking and connecting with education stakeholders (students, teachers, administrators, policymakers, etc.) both virtually and in person.

Educators Rising CA is looking for the following Student Officers:

  • President
  • Vice-President
  • Secretary
  • Southern Region Representative
  • Central Region Representative
  • Northern Region Representative

The deadline to apply for one of the positions is October 20, 2017. Applications include a written form, resume, two letters of recommendation and a two-minute video. Elections will be held October 27-30th, and the new State Officers will be announced on Tuesday, October 31st.

Learn more about Educators Rising CA and the new Student Officer positions, and download the application today:


2017 Educators Rising California Conferences

We are excited to announce that this year’s conference season was a great success. With a total of over 700+ student attendees, and over 35 workshops offered. This year’s conference data indicates that our conferences bring STEM knowledge, career inspiration and pathway information to attendees.

Each conference was a full-day interactive event for students who are interested in careers in education. The day included an opening Keynote or panel, breakout sessions, college fair and more!

Here are some conference highlights!

San Diego Region Conference

With 250 students in attendance, the first San Diego Region Conference was held at San Diego State University in San Diego, California on February 3rd.

  • Keynote Speaker: David J. Johnson
  • Workshops included:
    • Benefits of Project Based Learning
    • Special Education: A Career Beyond Paperwork
    • Teacher Talk Teaching Panel
    • School Counseling-The Next Generation
    • Building Community: Beyond the Four Walls of Classrooms
  • Colleges and Universities included:
    • University of California, San Diego
    • Azusa Pacific University
    • San Diego City College
    • National University
    • California State University, San Marcos
      and many more…

“The conference was very interesting and informative, as well as interactive. Overall, today was a great experience for me.” -Student

Learn more about the San Diego conference here. Continue reading

2016 Year in Review

At Project Tomorrow, we naturally spend a lot of time thinking about the future as we work to prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders and engaged citizens. Still, at this time of year it is a pleasure to look back and reflect on what we have accomplished in 2016. As you will see, it has been an incredible year for Project Tomorrow, and we are very grateful to all of our partners, especially the students, who have contributed to our success.

Here are just a few of our highlights from 2016:

  • Released a new national Speak Up report, “From Print to Pixel: The role of videos, games, animations and simulations within K-12 education,” at a Congressional Briefing in Washington, D.C. in May. The report and briefing detailed findings from more than 500,000 students, educators and parents, from 7,800 schools in 2,660 districts across all 50 states, who took the annual online Speak Up surveys.
  • Expanded our research on technology for learning to international schools around the world with Speak Up International, a collaboration between Project Tomorrow, BrainPop and ISTE.
  • Collaborated with National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) to develop targeted questions for science teachers on the Speak Up survey and disseminate the resulting data to the science education community.
  • Provided more than 70 presentations and webinars on our research, evaluation and programs across 30 states.
  • Surpassed 1,000 members in Educators Rising California, tripling the number of students developing their leadership skills while learning about careers in education since 2015.
    • In June, Educators Rising California member and YouthTEACH2Learn alumnae Karina Janco placed 8th in the nation in the STEM Lesson Planning and Delivery competition at the Educators Rising national conference.
  • Expanded YouthTEACH2Learn by 80 percent, adding new schools offering the program.
  • Received a $100,000 grant from the Silver Giving Foundation and two continuing Career Pathways Trust Grants funded by the California Department of Education enabling us to grow our Tomorrow’s Teachers Initiative through partnerships with colleges across the state.

All of this was made possible thanks to generous contributions from: ABC CLIO, APEX Learning, Blackboard, Cengage, the Carol and James Collins Foundation, CompTIA, Cox Cares, DreamBox, Dwight Stuart Youth Foundation, Edison International, Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, Haskell & White, LLP, Ingram Micro, Intel, Kajeet, Microsemi, Newseum, Orange County Department of Education, One to One Institute, Pacific Life Foundation, Qualcomm, the Roosters Foundation of Orange County, Rosetta Stone, Scholastic, the Silver Giving Foundation, SIATech, and WD Foundation.

We look forward to a wonderful 2017!


Addressing the Teacher Shortage: Recruiting Tomorrow’s Teachers Today

It is more than likely that your district has felt the impact of California’s teacher shortage.  By now, the numbers are well known. The 2015-16 school year saw a need for 21,500 new teaching positions, while only 15,000 new teaching credentials are issued per year.  The impending retirement of the baby boom generation (1/3 of California teachers are over the age of 50), coupled with a precipitous drop in the number of students enrolled in teacher preparation programs (a 76% decline from 2001-2014), means that the chronic shortage of qualified STEM teachers has become much worse, and expanded to a shortage in virtually every area of teaching. A full analysis of the causes of the current shortage, as well as recommendations to address the challenges, was released in January by the Learning Policy Institute, and several bills have been introduced in the state legislature to attract more candidates into teaching.  Districts and schools do not need to wait for state action, however, to stop the boom and bust cycle of teacher recruitment and preparation.  Indeed, many districts across the state are working to “grow their own” teachers by recruiting the next generation of teachers beginning in high school.

Project Tomorrow has been working with districts to recruit the next generation of teachers by providing high school students with significant teaching experiences for the last 18 years.  We target high school students because our national research project, Speak Up, shows that 45% of college students say their decision to become a teacher was made prior to college. In addition, in 2015, over 10,000 California high school students took the Speak Up survey, and 34% said that they were either somewhat or very interested in becoming a teacher.  Finally, 77% of students said they want to learn about a future career through direct field experiences. This is in line with Richardson’s and  Watt’s research, which showed that perceived teaching ability and having had positive prior teaching and learning experiences was a strong motivation for those who chose a teaching career.  Thus, by moving the starting line for candidate recruitment and development from college to high school, we can dramatically increase the pipeline for new teachers.

Project Tomorrow offers several programs designed to provide high school students with significant opportunities to learn about and experience teaching in specific content areas.  For example, YouthTEACH2Learn (YT2L) is a full year class to learn about teaching math or science. High school students develop a series of hands-on science or math lessons and in turn, teach these standards-based lessons in local elementary school classrooms. In addition, Project Tomorrow is the state affiliate for Educators Rising, a national Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO). Educators Rising California is a student leadership organization with co- curricular chapters throughout the state providing high school students with information and experiential learning opportunities, including statewide teaching competitions and conferences, to support their exploration of teaching careers.  Our program evaluations indicate that students are more likely to visualize themselves as teachers and believe they can be successful as teachers because of their experiences in our programs.  In fact, a recent analysis of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing database found that 38% of YT2L alumni hold a credential.

Give that 2/3 of teachers teach within twenty miles of where they went to school, it is not surprising that many are turning to a “grow your own” approach in the face of the current teacher shortage.  There are 50 teaching academies across the state (including this one at Century High School featured in EdSource).  At least two Career Pathways Trust Grants are supporting education pathways, the Orange County Teacher Pathway Partnership led by Santiago Canyon College, and the Establishment and Enhancement of Education Pathways led by Clovis Unified School District.  San Diego Unified and Fresno Unified both have teacher recruitment and preparation initiatives that begin in high school.  Educators Rising California alone supports 30 chapters and 700 students across the state. Today’s high school students will not be able to fill open teaching positions this fall, but these efforts show that we can start filling the teacher preparation pipeline today with the teachers that we will need tomorrow, and prevent the current teacher shortage from becoming a chronic problem.

For more information on Project Tomorrow’s programs mentioned above, contact

Tomorrow’s Teachers are Teaching, and Learning, Today

Educators Rising California Students at Century High School in the News

We’ve been sharing news about the teacher shortage for a while now (see a previous post here). This week EdSource highlighted one of our Educators Rising California schools and how they are working to prepare their students for careers in teaching – and ultimately combat the teacher shortage. Check out our summary below:

When Century High School (Santa Ana, CA) senior Maria Vasquez teaches 1st graders about sentence structure and pronunciation, she “learns so much more from the students than they do from her.” Students in the school’s TEACH Academy are given the unique opportunity to gain hands-on work experience to prepare for careers as teachers. This is not only an excellent way for these high school students to gain real world experience as teachers, but, as educators note, it is also a great way for California schools to funnel students into teaching careers.

Through the TEACH Academy, Century High School students begin gaining experience as sophomores, where they learn skills such as lesson planning and parent correspondence. As juniors they serve as tutors and aides at nearby elementary schools, and as seniors they are paired with graduate students from Cal State Fullerton to further explore careers in teaching. All academy students also take college-level education courses and accrue 15 units of college credit by the time they graduate.

The academy is a part of the Orange County Teacher Pathway Partnership, which is funded through a $6 million California Career Pathways Trust grant and is headed by Rancho Santiago Community College District.

Century High School’s TEACH Academy is just one of over 50 education pathways in California high schools.  Janis Perry, lead project specialist at Santiago Canyon college, says, “Students will learn in a robust [teacher pathway] program that will lead to high-wage, high-growth, and high-skill occupations that will help fill California’s anticipated shortage of well-prepared teachers.” Officials estimate that the current academies could eventually add 2,000 – 4,000 teachers annually.

To read the original article by Fermin Leal, please click here

All students in the TEACH Academy are members of Educators Rising California. Project Tomorrow is proud to be a community partner in the OCTPP initiative. Two of Project Tomorrow’s initiatives, YouthTEACH2Learn and Educators Rising California, work to combat the issue of the teacher shortage.

YouthTEACH2Learn is a career exploration program where students explore teaching as a career. During the course, the students gain practical experience by observing elementary school classrooms, learning how to teach, developing and teaching standards-based lessons to younger students in neighboring elementary schools and participating in local community service projects. In addition, students also have the opportunity to meet local educators, attend career panels, and visit local college campuses in order to determine if teaching is a “good-fit” for their professional goals. To learn more about YouthTEACH2Learn, visit

Educators Rising California – Project Tomorrow is the state affiliate for Educators Rising, a national student leadership organization that provides high school students with information and experiential learning opportunities to support their exploration of a teaching career, particularly in teaching science and math, through co-curricular and after-school student clubs. To learn more about Educators Rising, visit

Our first Tomorrow’s Teachers Conference of the year is tomorrow!


We can’t wait to see of our Educators Rising Southern California members at our first Tomorrow’s Teachers Conference of the year! Follow along at #NextGenTeachers on Twitter as we live tweet tomorrow’s conference! Big thanks to Santiago Canyon College for making this event possible.

To learn more about Educators Rising California and how California’s high school students are learning about teaching careers, visit our website.

Teacher shortage reaching crisis proportions in California and across the nation

We’ve been sharing news about the teacher shortage, especially in science and math, for a while now (see previous posts here and here).  This past weekend the New York Times reported that the shortage is now reaching crisis proportions in California, and increasingly, across the nation. Check out our summary below:

“[The teacher shortage] is not impending. It’s here.”

Monica Vasquez, chief human resources officer for the San Francisco Unified School District, is just one of several school district members nationwide who have experienced teacher shortages in their schools. Last spring her district offered early contracts to over a hundred teachers in order to secure candidates before other districts.

The teacher shortage in the United States has been noted as a huge change from just a few years ago, when school districts handed out pink slips to teachers. Now, districts across the country struggle with a shortage of teachers – a result of the aforementioned layoffs (during the recession years) combined with the improving economy in which fewer people are training to be teachers.

Although teacher layoffs happened nationwide, California was particularly hit, with 82,000 school jobs lost from 2008 to 2012, according to the Labor Department. This academic year, the California Department of Education estimates that districts will need to fill a total of 21,500 slots – a difficult task, as California issues less than 15,000 new teaching credentials each year.

In order to combat this shortage, schools nationwide are looking to hire applicants as soon as possible – which means sacrificing experience and credentials for some. One school in Rohnert Park hired a high school cross country coach as an elementary school physical education teacher before he began taking teacher credential courses; meanwhile, a masters degree student in Stanford University’s school of education was hired as a fourth grade teacher after a 45-minute telephone interview. During the 2013-2014 school year, nearly a quarter of new teaching credentials issued in California were for teaching internships, which enabled candidates to work as teachers while taking classes after school or on weekends.

“We don’t like it, but we do it,” noted Paul Beare, dean of the school of education at California State University, Fresno, where 100 of the 700 teaching credential candidates will teach full time while completing their degrees. While this may not be the ideal approach for schools, it is certainly a popular short-term remedy for the problem of teacher shortages.

To learn more, check out the original article, “Teacher Shortages Spur a Nationwide Hiring Scramble (Credentials Optional)” by Motoko Rich (New York Times).

Two of Project Tomorrow’s initiatives, YouthTEACH2Learn and Educators Rising California, work to combat the issue of the teacher shortage.

YouthTEACH2Learn is a career exploration program where students explore teaching as a career. During the course, the students gain practical experience by observing elementary school classrooms, learning how to teach, developing and teaching standards-based lessons to younger students in neighboring elementary schools and participating in local community service projects. In addition, students also have the opportunity to meet local educators, attend career panels and visit local college campuses in order to determine if the teaching is a “good-fit” for their professional goals. To learn more about YouthTEACH2Learn, visit

Educators Rising California, formerly California F.E.A., encourages students to learn about careers in education and aid them in exploring teaching while providing meaningful opportunities to receive the mentoring and support they need to actualize their career aspirations. The California affiliate of Educators Rising has made several accomplishments during the 2014-2015 school year, including but not limited to increasing its chapters from 3 to 14 (with membership increasing from 55 to 358), producing a webinar on National Board Certification with National University, and doubling participation in the Educators Rising state conference with over 400 members in attendance. To learn more about Educators Rising, visit

How digital learning can lead to a career in STEM

Technology use in the classroom is here and is no longer an idea of the future. Thanks to grants and state-subsidized funding, more and more schools are using devices within their classrooms. Not only does the use of educational technology provide a new way of learning, but it also makes it easier for teachers to satisfy Common Core standards.  Furthermore, it also gives students an opportunity to access 21st century technology, which will be relevant and used throughout their entire lives.

However, given that flipped classrooms are a relatively new practice, some schools still struggle with adopting devices into their classrooms. While lack of funding and device scarcity are obvious barriers to digital learning, another barrier is the lack of teacher education and understanding of how they can use technology in the classroom. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the majority of the US education workforce is comprised of individuals whose median age is 45 years, meaning that they did not experience technology learning in their own academic careers, making it a new concept for everyone involved. However, the technical knowledge of teachers is ultimately up to their administrators, who can provide tutorials, workshops, and other methods of training; one example is the Baldwin County Public School District in Alabama, which has created a Digital Renaissance Leadership Academy for teachers, where teachers are given the opportunity to improve their skill set.

With the right instruction and use of technology, perhaps more students will be driven and prepared to enter careers in STEM. For example, while the lack of computers and adequate computer science classes/programs may have deterred students from programming careers in the past, the combination of the two is now possible through digital learning. Furthermore, if schools provide teachers  with resources supporting digital learning, teachers can then use technology to motivate, interest, and support students who are looking towards STEM careers.

Interested in learning more about how digital learning can lead to a career in STEM? Check out the original article, “Technology Education for Students Is Essential in Creating a Future STEM Workforce, and It Starts With Educating Teachers” by Felix W. Ortiz III.
Every year our Speak Up surveys contain questions regarding digital learning, STEM careers, and students’ accessibility to devices. In our teacher survey we ask questions regarding those topics on top of questions about teachers’ familiarity with technological devices, such as
How much do you agree with this statement: My pre-service education adequately prepared me to effectively use a wide range of technologies within my teaching practice.
Speak Up provides an easy way for students, parents and educators to participate in local decisions about technology, as well as contribute to the state and national dialogue about educational technology. Data from the surveys – including data regarding online classes – will be released in February 2015. Click here to register for Speak Up 2014 and mark your calendars for the survey’s launch date on October 6!

Exciting News! Project Tomorrow Named as Partner in 100Kin10, National Network to Grow STEM Teaching Force!

Project Tomorrow commits to advancing the goal of recruiting, preparing, and retaining 100,000 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers in 10 years
100Kin10, a multi-sector network addressing the national imperative to train 100,000 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers by 2021, today announced that Project Tomorrow has been accepted as a partner.
With a highly selective and competitive selection process, Project Tomorrow is extremely honored to be one of only 31 organizations chosen nationwide in this year’s application process. As part of 100Kin10, Project Tomorrow will recruit 2,050 excellent STEM teacher candidates, with 25% (512) from groups traditionally under-represented in STEM, in California by 2018, as measured by the number of students majoring or minoring in education and a science or math discipline.
More and better-trained STEM teachers are essential to prepare America’s students to fully participate in our democracy and to understand and respond to complex national and global challenges. To compete in the global marketplace and provide opportunity to all young Americans, all students—not  just those fortunate enough to attend certain schools— must have basic STEM skills and knowledge. Project Tomorrow is one of nearly 200 100Kin10 partners unified by a single, ambitious goal: to prepare all students with the high-quality STEM knowledge and skills to equip them for success in college and the workplace.
Organizations are accepted as 100Kin10 partners following a rigorous vetting process conducted by a team of partner reviewers and the University of Chicago. Reviewers are looking for organizations that bring innovation, boldness, and a proven track-record to their commitment(s) toward expanding, improving, and retaining the best of the nation’s STEM teaching force, or building the 100Kin10 movement.


A complete list of partners—with new partners highlighted— is available on the 100Kin10 website.

The Teach Campaign: Recruiting New Teachers Who will be able to Make a Difference in Not Only Their Students’ Lives But also in the Profession Itself

“If you can’t do, teach” is just one of several negative sentiments towards teaching that has made education an undesirable profession. However, with the predicted one million teachers that are set to retire in the next four to six years, the profession needs as many bright and eager new educators as it can get. In order to deal with this change the Department of Education created Teach, a campaign that hopes to combat negative sentiments and attract high-achieving college graduates.
Under the slogan “Make More. Teach,” the campaign uses videos and radio announcements to portray teaching as meaningful and captivating as more popular careers, such as medicine and law. “The challenge is to change the conversation around teaching so that it becomes the career that you want your child to go into rather than the career that you counsel children out of,” explains Kathy Payne, the senior director of education leadership at State Farm.
One of the negative sentiments towards teaching is that there are not enough job openings for hopeful teachers. With the upcoming retirement of the baby boomers, there is now “an amazing chance to make a difference for decades to come,” says Arne Duncan, secretary of education. Through financial support from sponsors, Teach is able to hire recruiters to visit college campuses in order to speak to undergraduate students about a future career in teaching. The campaign also deals with the battles within the public education system concerning the use of standardized testing in teacher performance evaluations and the rollout of the new Common Core standards. “If you find different ways to communicate with and teach kids, where it’s not just that same old thing…that’s what’s going to get those test scores raised,” says Cliff Skeet, group creative director at McGarryBowen, the advertising agency that developed the videos and ads used by the campaign.


The Teach campaign aims to recruit top students into the teaching field, making the profession as competitive and invigorating as medicine, law, and engineering. “Teachers today are breaking down obstacles,” says former teacher Taylor Mali. “[They are] finding innovative ways to instill old lessons, proving that greatness can be found in everyday places.” Through the campaign, the Department of Education hopes to recruit new teachers who will be able to make a difference in not only their students’ lives but also in the profession itself.

Here at Project Tomorrow, our mission is to ensure that today’s students are well prepared to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders and engaged citzens of the world. Through our YouthTEACH2Learn program and the Future Educators Association of California we are working towards preparing the next great generation of teachers.
The YouthTEACH2Learn program is a career exploration program where students explore teaching as a career. During the course, the students gain practical experience by observing elementary school classrooms, learning how to teach, developing and teaching standards-based lessons to younger students in neighboring elementary schools and participating in local community service projects. To learn more about YouthTEACH2Learn log onto
The Future Educators Association of California, an initiative of Project Tomorrow, was established in order to “attract, equip and provide experiences for students who are exploring teaching as a future career; to develop essential skills that will lead to highly trained and qualified teachers.” Now, more than ever, we must invest & support our future educators in order to plan for a bright tomorrow. To learn more about F.E.A California, log onto
Read the article: Campaign Seeks to Recruit Top Students to Become Teachers in the New York Times here, and be sure to let us know what you think!
Have a great week.

-The Project Tomorrow team

Written by Lisa Chu, Project Tomorrow Fall Intern