USF assistant professor of education, teaches students who are interested in urban education.
In response to the increasing
diversity of California’s public schools, the University of San Francisco’s
School of Education has created a new degree program that focuses on teaching
in urban schools.
Launched last fall, the Master
of Arts in Teaching: Urban Education and Social Justice (UESJ) trains future
educators to work in urban settings by focusing on the complex learning needs
and strengths of urban students from diverse cultural, educational, and socioeconomic
“California educators are blessed with the amazing
opportunity and challenge of working with youth from all different cultural,
ethnic, educational, and socio-economic backgrounds,” said Noah Borrero,
assistant professor of education who worked as a high school and middle school
teacher in the Bay Area before coming to USF. “The diversity of our public
schools is incredible, and in the program we work with new teachers to embrace
student diversity as a foundation of effective teaching.”
Because UESJ students earn both a master’s degree and a
California state teaching credential, the program melds field experiences in
local public schools with classroom learning at USF. During their required
student teaching experiences, UESJ students are placed in schools selected for
their best practices in teaching diverse, urban student populations.
Additionally, UESJ students participate in monthly seminars offered by Teacher
Education for the Advancement of a Multicultural Society (TEAMS), a schools/community
collaborative housed at USF. Seminars are designed to help participants develop
youth-focused educational perspectives and empower teachers to address issues
of social justice.
School of Education officials say this multifaceted
approach is in line with USF’s mission to distinguish itself as a diverse,
socially responsible learning community of high quality scholarship and
academic rigor sustained by a faith that does justice.
“Not only as department chair, but as a Jesuit priest, I
am elated to see the kind of holistic approach our urban teacher program
affords those who are passionate about transforming the country’s urban K-12
school system—educational leaders who will help to fashion a more humane and just society for all,” said Geoffrey Dillon,
S.J., chair of the teacher education department.
The program has already drawn 25 students from a range of
backgrounds. Some only recently earned their bachelor’s degrees, others have
worked in school settings as teacher aides or in other support staff roles.
Some are seeking a complete career shift. All, said Borrero, have embraced the
concept of social justice and have a strong desire to make a difference in the
lives of urban students, many of whom have not had the same opportunities other
students have had.
While the school offers other master’s degrees in teacher
education, this one differs because of its emphasis on urban settings.
Coursework, classroom teaching, and seminars are all viewed through that lens,
“This particular master’s degree is for folks who really
come here with that vision and passion of wanting to teach in urban schools
that have been under-recognized in the past,” Borrero said.