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Fresno State Is Using A Grant To Get More Bilingual Latino Teachers In Classrooms

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California State University, Fresno (Fresno State) is taking initiative when it comes to putting more Latinos in and in front of the classroom. The college has received a $3.75 million grant toward programs for Latino students who want to become teachers at San Joaquin Valley area schools. Latino teachers represent 25 percent of public schools in Fresno County, while Latino students make up 65 percent of the population, according to the California Department of Education.

The goal of the new program is to increase the number of bilingual Latino teachers who will return to teach in their hometowns.

The historically Latino area is at a disparity when it comes to teacher-student ratio. There are currently 3.3 million Latinos attending California’s K-12 public school and with nearly 1.4 million English learners in the state. The gap is growing most noteably in Fresno County.

The program will start with recruiting early in local high schools, helping students through the community colleges then into Fresno State’s liberal studies and teacher credential program to earn a bachelor’s degree and teaching credential. Patricia D. Lopez, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at Fresno State, believes that the program comes at an important time in the history of the school district.

“As this population continue to grow that disconnect continues to stagger and it has gone up over the years,” Lopez said. “You can find a campus full of Latinos but only small handful of Latinos teachers. At the administrative level you are praying on this demographic to shoulder the responsibility and it plays into both the students and administration.”

Lopez says the disparity may have to do with retention rates. A recent study shows that Latino teachers are leaving the profession at higher rates than their peers.

Lopez says that district leaders must pay as much attention to understanding and creating the right culture to retain Latino teachers as they do to recruiting them. That starts with listening and learning from teachers and focusing on creating a culture where students and teachers are both set up to succeed.

“We really do need to do more when it comes to four year college graduates and retaining them,” Lopez says. “We can always do better and seeing so many Latino teachers leave the field is indicative of the lack of support they may have.”

Almost half of all undergraduate students at Fresno State are Latino and the percentage is higher at Fresno City and Reedley colleges where the Latino student population is 53 percent and 71 percent. This places an emphasis on having a sizable amount of teachers that reflect the population in the area.

The grant will also allow all three campuses to hire advisers and counselors dedicated to serving the would-be teachers.

“The grant is putting resources in advisers that will help students throughout the program,” Lopez says. “Having cultural understanding, breaking language barriers and understanding financial restraints are important and we think of them as holistic resources for our teachers.”

The teacher program will start in 2019 with 30 students who will take community college classes for two years before transferring to Fresno State. Each of the three campuses will have a designated resident counselor and director to support students throughout the program. Lopez hopes that by recruiting students from the Fresno community that will lead to them teaching locally. She has already seen a positive reaction from teachers, former students that are now teachers and students that want to be part of the program,

“This pipeline program is huge not only for the state at-large but for our community here where many are asking how can I be apart of this,” Lopez said. “People want to be a part of the conversation here in the central valley and hopefully that leads to having more Latinos leading classrooms.”


READ: Officials Have Made Voting In This Latino Kansas Town So Difficult And A Judge Ruled Against Making Things Easier

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21 Tips To Drastically Improve Your Mental Health

Things That Matter

21 Tips To Drastically Improve Your Mental Health

Everyone gets a little down sometimes. It is hard to be upbeat and happy 24/7. Sometimes it can be caused by different things, getting into a rut at work, or the change of the seasons or something not so great may have happened to you recently. Whatever the issue is, it is essential to work to pull yourself out of it before it gets any worse. Here are some ideas to help you get through the blues and get back to being yourself in no time.

Clean up Your Space

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Sometimes when we get down, it’s easy to let things become a mess. If you take 30 minutes each day to do a little picking up here and there the whole job will be done in no time. Having a clean room or house will make you feel better about being in it and lift your mood. If you don’t have the time to clean it yourself hire a cleaning service to get things started for you.

Get Out

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Lots of the time if we are stuck in a rut of some sort that is dragging us down we find it hard to pull ourselves away from the television and get moving. Usually, the hardest part is the initial get up and go. Make plans with a friend or schedule a workout class. By making a date with someone else, you are accountable for showing up. When you are accountable to someone else for being there that makes it easier to find the gumption to go and do what you said you were going to do. Once you are up and out the going gets easier. Make yourself accountable to someone to get out of the house, and you will be feeling better in no time.

Get Creative

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Sometimes all we need is an outlet of some sort for some of our feelings. To take care of this type of itch invest in some paints, pencils, or try out that recipe you have meant to try. Take artistic license in whatever you do and have fun with it. If it’s not perfect, that is OK, as long as you are having a good time doing it and working through some of the negative feelings that have been plaguing you lately. Invite a friend to help for additional fun!

Get Some Sunlight

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Sometimes, especially in the winter, all we need is some Vitamin D. We get this naturally by being exposed to sunlight. If you do not go out much, you can also take supplements. If you are supplementing your vitamin D intake, be sure not to overdo it because that can cause problems as well. If you can’t get out for at least 15 minutes during daylight hours, think about purchasing a sun lamp. You can put it next to your computer and turn it on for 15 minutes a day. Many people report this as a good solution for their seasonal depression. If you are down during the winter months; or don’t get out much no matter what season, try a sunlamp at your desk.

Journaling

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Writing out your thoughts and feelings can help you to process them faster. When you process your feelings faster, you will be your awesome self in no time flat. If you do not usually journal, it may take a few tries to get comfortable with the process. Some people prefer, and others prefer an electronic format. Set aside about ten minutes to sit down and work on this process. If you don’t get much down the first couple of times, do not be discouraged. Keep at it and see what works best for you.

Exercise

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Exercise has been medically proven to help lift people out of depressive states. When your body is stagnant, toxins can build up. One great way to rid your body of toxins that may be dragging you down is to get up and move. If you have not worked out for a long time, you may want to start by committing to taking a walk every day. Walk for 30 to 45 minutes to get your blood flowing. You will feel more energetic in the long run. After you get this down, maybe think about joining a gym and working on the parts of your body that you would like to improve.

Try Out a Life Coach

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Sometimes we need a little direction to get us back on the path to happiness again. Getting another person’s point of view on things can be helpful. Look up life coaches in your area. This person should be able to help you to reorganize and come up with new ideas that will make you happy and more satisfied with what you are doing.

Talk to a Professional

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There are times when we need a little extra help with our mental health, and that is nothing to be embarrassed about. If you feel like you can’t pull yourself out of the blues, maybe it is time to talk to a professional counselor. These people are specially trained to listen and give you actionable ideas on how to improve your mental health.

Consider Getting a Pet

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Pets are known to cheer people up. Just having something else around to take care of and concentrate on helps many people to not focus on their mental anguish. If you are considering a pet, think about what type of pet would fit your lifestyle the best. You may have always wanted to get a puppy, but are you ready to house train it and be there to walk it when it needs to be walked? If you choose to find a pet, be sure that you don’t bite off more than you can chew. You and your pet should have a happy and safe space to coexist in at all times.

Take a Vacation

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If stress in your daily life is what is getting you down, consider getting away for a bit. You will enjoy planning the time away, taking it, and then organizing your memories after the fact. Go somewhere that you have never been before for a little extra adventure. Remember always to be safe and travel with a friend or a group to be sure that nothing terrible happens to you.

Sleep!

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We are sure that you have heard it already, but we are going to say it again. You need to get your sleep for improved mental and physical health. Consistently skimping on sleep is an unhealthy habit that many people pride themselves on. When you sleep, your frontal cortex can refresh, kind of like when the flash drive in your computer is deleted when you turn it off. Having too much built up will drag you down and won’t be as good at problem-solving and remembering day to day things. Refresh your mind and experience additional health benefits by getting 6-8 hours of sleep on a regular basis.

Eating Healthier

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We can all eat more healthfully. It is just too easy to grab a bag of chips or a quick burger when you are in a rush and feeling hungry. Junk food does nothing to improve mood because it has minimal nutrients and often a lot of sugar and fats that we do not need. Consciously making an effort to eat more healthfully will make you feel better because your body will be getting the nutrients it needs to fight off sickness and operate at its best. If you know you are going to be in a rush pack some carrots, celery sticks, or a protein bar to tide you over until you can prepare yourself a good meal.

Write Out Your Goals

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Pick a goal and chop it up into smaller easily attainable steps. When you complete a step, check it off or scratch it out on your list. Making your goals realistically achievable by taking small steps will improve your outlook on your life.

Work on Something You are Good At

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If a daunting task is getting you down start off by doing parts of the task that you know you are good at and work your way on to the harder pieces. Doing this will boost your self-confidence in working on the parts of the task that you’re not so thrilled about.

Just Smile

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Sometimes this is harder than it sounds, but if you make an effort to smile when the going gets rough, you will get through the harder times much easier. By smiling, you will trick your brain into thinking you are happy and the rest will follow along.

Do Something Nice

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You can make this as hard or easy a task as you want. You can sign up to volunteer your time, or you can do a favor for a friend. Any way you choose to do this, it will cheer both you and the person you are helping up. Sharing joy is one of the best ways to refocus your mind on the better things in life.

Spend Time with Friends

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Spending time with people that care about you can be uplifting. Even just sitting and letting them talk about their problems can help you to see that you are not alone. Make plans to enjoy a meal, take a walk, or have coffee with one of your friends today. You will be glad that you did!

Get Results

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Work on a small, simple task that will give immediate results to lift your mood. Organize your spice cabinet, fold your clothes, or sock drawer. The great quick results will give you a sense of accomplishment and get you feeling good for the rest of the day!

Get an Older Relative of Friend to tell you a Story

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The older people in our lives always have such great stories to tell. Most of the time they will not share them unless you ask. Call up or visit someone in your life that would enjoy sharing a story with you. It will be a gratifying experience for both of you.

Go Virtual Window Shopping

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Remember how much fun you had window shopping on a lazy Sunday? Now you can do that online. Go to your favorite online store and fill your cart up. After you have had your fun picking out the best new spring outfits go to another store and do it again. Virtual window shopping is just as much fun as regular window shopping, of course, you can do that too!

Start a new Hobby

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The key here is to keep it simple. Start a new hobby such as knitting, learning to strum a guitar or cooking. Do your best not to go out and expect to become a master chess player in a week. Pick something fun that will keep your mind active and has you enjoying your day in no time!

Now you have some good ideas on ways to improve your mental health. Get out there and enjoy life!

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