Campus

Modesto campus helps turn parents into Head Start teachers

Head Start cohort

Julianne Zvalo-Martyn, Ed.D., (far left) and adjunct faculty member Malerie Fernandes-Mendoza (third from right, front row) with members of the Brandman Parent to Teacher cohort.

There are 55 new adults qualified to teach in Stanislaus County’s Head Start programs thanks to the collaborative effort of Brandman University’s Modesto campus, the School of Extended Education and the Stanislaus County Office of Education.

The Parents to Teachers program addresses the shortage in early childhood education teachers in Head Start Programs by giving parents the education they need to work in the classroom. A grant obtained by Veronica Garcia of the Child and Family Services Division of SCOE paid for the classes that qualify parents to become teachers in Head Start classrooms.

“This was an amazing team effort to bring in, nurture and encourage some students who had very little or no college experience,” said Assistant Professor Julianne Zvalo-Martyn, Ed.D., the Brandman faculty member guiding the program in Modesto.

Brandman and Modesto Junior College hosted two cohorts of 55 students, providing them with 12 units of early childhood education classes starting in May and ending in October.

“The classes were foundation lower-division ECE,” Zvalo-Martyn. “They were chosen in collaboration with the Head Start leadership and to provide courses that are prerequisites for further coursework and to provide beginning knowledge in working with infants and toddlers.”

Head Start Modesto
Veronica Garcia, director of Child and Family Services for the Stanislaus County Office of Education; Assistant Professor Julianne Zvalo-Martyn; and Tony Jordan, executive director of Child and Family Services, SCOE, were among those who helped make the program a success.

More than 150 people attended a ceremony on Oct. 30 at the Martin Peterson Center in Modesto to congratulate the graduating members of the cohorts. Among those present from Brandman were Zvalo-Martyn and Elizabeth Facanha, senior account manager for Strategic Business Development, along with Tom Changon superintendent of the Stanislaus County Office of Education, and Tony Jordan, executive director of Child and Family Services, district trustees, community members and families of the graduates.

Erica Leahy from Extended Education; Taylor Kaestner, academic advisor; Richard Carnes, campus director; Kathy Theuer, associate dean of the School of Education; Zvalo-Martyn and Facanha, formed a team to oversee and manage the program and met bi-weekly with SCOE leadership to support the students throughout the program.

Zvalo-Martyn said she hopes the program can continue, although it depends on being able to get another grant. “I want to make sure that we build in even more supports and success strategies for next time.”

She said the classes challenged the students and also inspired them. “The students were very excited to get their permits, begin work and continue their educations,” Zvalo-Martyn said.

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