Frequently Asked Questions
Through a partnership with the US Department of Education’s Office of Indian Education, Claremont Graduate University’s Department of Teacher Education is able to award selected Native Americans with a generous support package to help them earn a California preliminary K-12 teaching credential and a Master’s in Education.
For CNA Fellows, the support package includes
- tuition (100%)
- a living stipend while taking teacher credential classes ($1,500/month for up to 18 months)
- student fees (both university and department)
- support for healthcare coverage (up to $315/month)
- support (transportation, hotel, and food) to attend CGU-based sessions
- two years of post-program job mentorship
CGU’s teacher credentialing and MA program can be completed in 12 months or 18 months. Regardless of whether one is seeking the 12-month or 18-month path, CNA Fellows would start classes August 2022.
Yes. There is a Payback Obligation.
Payback Obligation requirements:
- Teaching must be done at an eligible school. An eligible school is any school in the U.S. that has a higher percentage of native students compared to the district, county, or state average. Schools need not be in California. To help identify such schools, visit:
- The length of teaching service must match the length of support received (i.e., 18 months of CNA financial support requires 18 months of teaching service in an eligible school).
- The CNA Fellow needs to be a teacher in the subject/discipline in which the Fellow was credentialed. As such, if a CNA Fellow earned a Math credential, the Fellow would need to be a math teacher (as opposed to a PE or English teacher).
One’s teaching to meet the Payback Obligation is closely tracked by the U.S. Department of State.
If the CNA Fellow fails to meet the Payback Obligation, the total amount of funds given to support the CNA Fellow while in the program becomes a loan that must be repaid to the Department of Education. Therefore, it is imperative that CNA Fellows are committed to the profession and specifically to working with Native American youth for at least as long as needed to meet the Payback Obligation.
Although CGU will aid Fellows in their quest to secure post-program employment, it will ultimately be the Fellows’ responsibility to get a job at an eligible school.
Interested parties can get a sense of the job market in Bureau of Indian Education Schools by looking at https://www.bie.edu/current-vacancies. (Please realize, though, that BIE schools are just one of the options for fulfilling the service agreement. Many public schools also serve large populations of Native American youth.)
CNA Fellows can earn one of the following Preliminary California K-12 teaching credentials:
- Multiple Subjects (Elementary)
- Social Studies
- World Languages (Spanish, French or Chinese)
- Special Education, Mild/Moderate Support Needs (MMSN)
- Special Education, Extensive Support Needs (ESN)
Not necessarily. If (a) the CNA Fellow has reliable internet and can participate in synchronous online classes that meet according to Pacific Standard Time and (b) if a suitable clinical placement can be found outside of CGU’s existing network of clinical sites, then the CNA Fellow does not have to reside close to CGU’s campus.
Because our academic classes are online, CGU teacher candidates will need to have access to reliable internet. To support their online learning, CNA Fellows are provided with a laptop.
CGU’s teacher credential candidates engage in two types of learning: Academic and Clinical.
The academic classes are taught via synchronous online instruction. Week-day classes (Monday-Thursday) are typically taught sometime in a window between 4-9 pm Pacific Standard Time (PST). Some academic classes might be scheduled on select Saturdays in the window between 9 am-4 pm PST. Students need not be in Southern California to participate in these online classes (although participating in class from an Eastern Standard Time location would involve having an atypical personal schedule/workday).
The clinical component is a hands-on experience where the candidate works in a classroom, applying the knowledge gained in the academic classes.
CNA Fellows will complete their clinical component as Residents. Residents, working under the tutelage of a mentor teacher, gradually assume more responsibility in their assigned classroom over the course of an academic year. In the later part of the academic year, the successful Residents will be able to demonstrate the ability to assume full responsibility for the classroom for an extended period.
Residents work at their clinical sites approximately 20 hours per week and schedules vary depending on school schedules and school needs. CGU teacher candidates are responsible for providing their own transportation to and from their clinical sites.
Residents are not paid.
As there are specific criteria that need to be met with the residency placements, CGU secures the residency placements on behalf of their teacher candidates.
CGU has cultivated a rich network of mentor teachers within a 30-mile radius of campus who have experience working with our teacher candidates. Students who live in Southern California are placed with mentor teachers within this network.
If, however, a CNA Fellow wants to stay in their home community which is beyond this 30-mile radius, CGU will work with the candidate to try to secure a suitable location for a residency placement. If such a location is not found, the CNA Fellow will be expected to relocate to Southern California in order to be placed in a residency within CGU’s existing network.
CNA Fellows will be asked at the time of admission regarding whether or not they hope to secure a residency within or outside of CGU’s traditional network of clinical placements.
Students moving to our community to complete the program can find housing through CGU housing or through community rentals. For information about housing options at CGU, go to the Claremont Collegiate Apartments website.
In conclusion, the CNA Fellow need not live in close proximity to CGU if (a) the CNA Fellow has reliable internet and can participate in synchronous online classes that meet according to Pacific Standard Time and (b) if a suitable clinical placement can be found outside of CGU’s existing network of clinical sites.
To complement the online instruction, CGU invites its teacher candidates to campus four times in the Fall and four times in the Spring. These optional weekend events give teacher education candidates the opportunity to “rub elbows” with each other and their faculty while engaging in relevant instruction.
It is likely that these weekend, campus-based events will be most often attended by teacher candidates living within driving distance of campus.
Opting to not participate in these optional events will not impact one’s grades or standing in the program.
These are on-campus events. Virtual participation is not supported.
CNA Fellows will engage in seminars specifically and exclusively designed for them.
These seminars will focus on working within ingenious communities and with indigenous youth.
These seminars will be held at CGU and involve face-to-face interaction and instruction. The structure of these seminars is still under development. One model is that the seminars will be week-long seminars – one in Fall 2022 (likely August or September), one in Spring 2023 (likely January), one in Summer 2023, and one in Fall 2023 (likely August or September). Another model is that they will be attached to the optional Saturday events described above.
These CNA seminars are a required part of the program.
CNA Fellows will receive transportation support and room/board in order to participate in these campus-based seminars. Childcare is not provided.
CNA Fellows must:
- be admitted to CGU’s Department of Teacher Education Preliminary teaching credential and Master’s in Education program.
- agree to terms of the Payback Obligation (explained above).
- be able to document that they meet any one of the requirements in the US Department of State’s definition of “Indian” (see below).
- agree to reside near CGU if a residency placement cannot be found outside of CGU’s traditional network of clinical placements.
To be admitted into CGU’s preliminary teaching credential and MA in Education program, CNA applicants must have their bachelor’s degree from an accredited university by the time they start the program. As such, seniors working on their bachelor’s are eligible to apply assuming they will have their BA or BS by the time they start the program.
All candidates will be asked to show that they do not have tuberculosis and have a “clean” DOJ/FBI record.
COVID-19 vaccines requirements vary from state to state. Many schools in California require their teachers to be vaccinated. If you don’t have a COVID vaccine and are not planning on getting one, please contact Melanie.Kerr@cgu.edu so that she can direct you to the proper parties to help you understand options and accommodations.
See below for more information about applying to CGU’s preliminary teaching credential and MA in Education program.
As discussed above, in exchange for the in- and post-program support, CNA Fellows are expected to work as a teacher for as many months as they received financial support in an eligible school that serves Native American youth. This is the “service commitment” (also called the “service agreement” or “payback obligation”) because the Fellow is committing him/herself to completing post-program service.
Individuals applying to the CNA Program will meet with a staff member at CGU to review the service agreement. The goal of this meeting is to clearly explain the service commitment so that the CNA applicant is fully aware of and comfortable with the expectations associated with CNA funding. No one should enroll in CGU’s CNA Program unless and until they feel comfortable with the terms of the Payback Agreement.
CNA Fellows are asked to sign the service agreement as a way to show that they understand and accept the terms of the agreement.
The US Department of Education defines an Indian as someone who meets one of the following criteria:
- Be a member of an Indian tribe or band, as membership is defined by the Indian tribe or band, including any tribe or band terminated since 1940, and any tribe or band recognized by the State in which the tribe or band resides.
- Be a descendant of a parent or grandparent who meets the requirements described above.
- Be considered by the Secretary of the Interior to be an Indian for any purpose.
- Be an Eskimo, Aleut, or other Alaska Native.
- Be a member of an organized Indian group that received a grant under the Indian Education Act of 1988 as it was in effect on October 19, 1994.
Applicants to the CNA Fellowship Program are asked to submit documentation that shows that they, their parent, or their grandparent are a recognized member of a federally or state-recognized tribe. Most people submit copies of a CIB card.
Applying to CGU’s teacher credential and MA program as a CNA Fellow involves:
- Completing CGU’s online application.
- Submitting two letters of recommendation.
- Submitting a short statement of purpose (essay).
- Providing transcripts that show one has earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
- Completing CGU’s Supplemental CNA Application Form
- Indicating preference regarding the location of one’s clinical residency placement. Do you hope to secure a residency within or outside of CGU’s traditional network of clinical placements?
- Providing documentation that one meets the definition of “Indian” provided by the US Department of Education for the purposes of this program. (Applicants will be asked to show that they, their parent, or their grandparent are a member of a federally or state-recognized tribe.)
- Signing a “service/payback obligation agreement” saying that one understands the terms of the CNA Payback Obligation.
- Submitting documentation that one has met the basic skills requirement (either through tests like the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST), SAT or ACT, or through coursework done as an undergraduate) and has, ideally, met the subject-matter competency (either through tests like the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) or through coursework done as an undergraduate). These examinations can often be taken online or at ETS test centers so one need not be in California to take these tests. Melanie Kerr (Melanie.Kerr@cgu.edu) can provide you with some free online support sites to help prepare for the CBEST and CSET.
- Having an interview with faculty from Claremont Graduate University. This interview can be done at CGU or via Zoom.
All teacher candidates will also be asked to show that they do not have tuberculosis and have a “clean” DOJ/FBI record. TB and DOJ/FBI clearance need not be provided as part of the admission process but should be submitted soon thereafter.
CNA Applications are due by May 1, 2022. The earlier one applies, the better the chance for funding.
Applicants who prefer to complete the program far from CGU are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as the extra time provides leeway to find a suitable residency site.
We are currently recruiting CNA Fellows to start classes at CGU in August 2022.
|ASAP||Interested parties should contact CGU to learn more about the CNA Fellowship Program by contacting Melanie.Kerr@cgu.edu (Program Coordinator, CGU’s Teacher Preparation Program) and Maryam.Qureshi@cgu.edu (CNA Program Recruiter).|
|Prior to May 1, 2022||
Apply to CGU’s CNA Program. Applying before the priority deadline increases one’s chance of receiving funding.
|Within two weeks of a CNA application being fully complete||
CGU officially notifies CNA applicants of the decision.
CNA Fellows will be asked to sign a letter of commitment within fourteen days of receiving an official admission offer.
|August 2022||Classes begin.|
Interested parties will be introduced to the structure of CGU’s program during the recruitment process.
It depends upon your needs.
CGU tuition is covered by the CNA Fellowship Program.
CNA Fellows are also provided a living stipend of $1,500/month for up to 18 months while in the credential program. Most people will find that they are able to support themselves (but not a family) modestly using the $1500/month living stipend provided by the grant.
There are a number of items that are not covered by the grant (but that CNA Fellows should be able to cover with the living stipend), including:
- the cost of the DOJ/FBI clearance.
- the cost of transportation to/from their clinical sites.
- Room and board. For information about housing options at CGU, go to the Claremont Collegiate Apartments website.
Most students find there is not much time to hold a job. As noted elsewhere, Residents work at their clinical sites either two full days a week or three mornings a week. Academic classes are scheduled either in the late afternoon/evening on non-Residency days or on weekends. This doesn’t leave much time for outside employment.
Additionally, CNA Fellows are provided a living stipend of $1500/month (for up to 18 months) while working as a Resident. Rules with the Department of Education prohibit this living stipend from being issued to anyone who is receiving a salary.
(The intent of the living stipend is to allow CNA Fellows to submerse themselves in the task of learning how to be effective teachers. The intent of the stipend is to help CNA Fellows not have to work and go to school simultaneously.)
If a CNA Fellow opts to have paid employment during the program, the Fellow forfeits receipt of the living stipend.
If you are convinced that this program is indeed a good program for you, the next steps are to apply to CGU’s CNA Program:
- Send Melanie.Kerr@cgu.edu (Program Coordinator, CGU’s Teacher Education Program) and Maryam.Qureshi@cgu.edu (CNA Program Recruiter). an email to confirm that you are applying.
- Start an online application. https://www.cgu.edu/apply/.
- Complete CGU’s Supplemental CNA Application Form
- Confirm that you can document your Native American heritage. Collect needed documentation. Upload these materials along with your other application materials.
- Contact Melanie.Kerr@cgu.edu:
- Ask her to go over the CNA Service/Payback Obligation Agreement with you. It is best to look at this agreement early on in the process so that there are no surprises down the line.
- Ask her to evaluate your transcripts and SAT or ACT scores to see if you have met the state’s basic skills requirement and its subject matter competency requirement. If you haven’t met these requirements, please study and pass the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST) and/or the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET). If you need to take the CBEST or CSET, Melanie.Kerr@cgu.edu can provide you some study aids.
- Let her know whether you plan to complete the program while living within CGU’s local network or if you are hoping to complete the program from your home community.
- Submit your college transcripts. Have them sent to email@example.com (or upload them along with your other online applications materials). Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the application process (though official transcripts will eventually need to be submitted.)
- Write an admissions essay/statement of purpose. Specifically, in three pages maximum (typed, double‐spaced, 12 pt. font), respond to the following prompts and upload the response in the “Upload Supporting Documents” section of the online application.
- Describe how your personal and educational background has shaped your desire to be a teacher.
- Explain why you think this program is the best fit for you given what you know about the mission of CGU’s Teacher Education Program.
- What personal assets (intellectual, linguistic, physical, or spiritual) will you bring with you to the challenges of teaching culturally and linguistically diverse students?
- Ask two people to write letters of recommendation. Ideally, at least one will be able to speak to the applicant’s experiences working with youth and at least one will speak to the applicant’s academic abilities.
- Plan on attending an information session at CGU or one of our webinars. Or, simply call us with questions. Interested parties may also come to CGU for a tour or to sit in on a class. Requests for campus visits should be directed to Maryam.Qureshi@cgu.edu.
If you have questions about the program or are interested in applying, please contact:
Maryam Qureshi, MA
Assistant Director of Admissions
Melanie Kerr, MA
Program Coordinator, CGU’s Department of Teacher Education
Contact Melanie.Kerr@cgu.edu. She will connect you with our CNA alumni.
- Deron Marquez (San Manuel)
- Rick Chavolla (Kumeyaay Ipai and Chicano)
- DeLacy Ganley
You can learn more about each:
Deron Marquez (San Manuel)
Deron Marquez served as chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians from 1999 through April 2006. In addition to leading the seven-member Business Committee, he was instrumental in designing and directing a progressive agenda of social, economic, and governance development for the tribal government and community.
Under his leadership, the Tribe entered into successful business ventures with the goal of securing critical government revenues well into the future. The tribe also enhanced its governance capabilities, instituted public services for tribal members, and solidified intergovernmental relations at the local, state, and national levels under his leadership.
Marquez is a nationally-recognized speaker and lecturer on such issues as economic development, tribal governance, and tribal sovereignty.
Marquez earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona as well as a master’s degree and PhD in politics from Claremont Graduate University.
Rick Chavolla (Kumeyaay Ipai and Chicano)
Rick Chavolla grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. He earned his BA from Boston University and his MA from Boston College. After graduation, Chavolla worked for three years as a National Park naturalist and wildland firefighter. He then began a 30+ year career in higher education, teaching classes and directing centers and initiatives to advance multiculturalism, social justice, and institutional decolonization. He has held a number of prominent positions: Assistant Dean at Yale University, Director of the Native American Cultural Center and La Casa Cultural at Yale University, Director of the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs at New York University, Director of Native Initiatives at Pitzer College, Board Chair for the American Indian Community House (AICH) in New York, and a member of the Executive Board for the United Nations NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He currently serves as a consultant with diverse entities ranging from universities to museums to non-profit organizations to governmental offices, striving to develop strategies to indigenize those institutions.
DeLacy Ganley is the dean of the School of Educational Studies. Prior to being appointed dean, she was the director of Claremont Graduate University’s Teacher Education Department from 2003-2017. As director, Ganley oversaw the school’s teaching credential programs, helped to ensure that the School of Educational Studies was at the national forefront of teacher preparation, and expanded discussions around teacher quality to include global and intercultural competencies.
The school relies upon Ganley’s background as a K–20 educator, her experience working with linguistically and culturally diverse populations, and her administrative creativity. With teaching experience at the elementary, high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels, Ganley possesses a fundamental understanding of programming needs across the education spectrum. She has worked in and partnered with a variety of traditional and non-traditional educational organizations, including comprehensive public schools and districts, charter schools, Montessori schools, juvenile centers and court schools for adjudicated youth, boarding schools, Waldorf schools, homeschooling associations, and international schools.
Claremont Graduate University (CGU) is located in Southern California, 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles on the border between Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. San Diego is approximately a two-hour drive to the south; Las Vegas is a four-hour drive to the northeast.
The closest airport is Ontario International Airport (ONT), but people often fly in and out of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) as well. LAX is approximately 1½ – 3 hours away (depending upon time of day and traffic).
Founded in 1925, CGU is an independent institution devoted entirely to graduate study. As a member of The Claremont Colleges, a consortium of seven prestigious independent institutions (which also includes Claremont McKenna College, Pitzer College, Pomona College, Scripps College, Harvey Mudd College, and Keck Graduate Institute), CGU is able to offer a greater breadth of faculty and campus resources than is typical of a university with 2,300 students. Being a part of The Claremont Colleges allows CGU students access to more than 550 faculty members and four major libraries with more than two million volumes.
CGU’s graduate-only education takes place through small classes and seminars and close scholarly relationships between students and faculty. The research aspires to advance knowledge and also to do something more: to convene leaders and scholars to tackle the most important problems facing our region and our world.
Perhaps because of its size and its commitment to diverse perspectives, CGU is uniquely positioned to support underrepresented and culturally diverse groups. It dedicates specific resources to ensuring student success, including the Office of Student Life, Diversity & Leadership; the Center for Writing & Rhetoric; the Career Development Office; the Digital Learning Lab; the Minority Mentor Program; and a host of other student organizations. Additionally, the university provides medical and mental health clinics to serve students.
Claremont Graduate University’s Department of Teacher Education program prepares motivated students to become teachers who make a difference in the world.
We are dedicated to preparing a special kind of K-12 teacher: one committed to cultivating the achievement of all students. CGU teachers acknowledge variables like poverty, language fluency, and disabilities are challenges, but they also know that they are not barriers that legitimize a student’s failure or that justify educators lowering their expectations or their own commitment. Instead, our teachers realize that such variables need to be addressed via well-informed, explicit, and purposeful instruction and support—and through policies and practices that cultivate equity and opportunity.
We believe the best way to prepare highly effective teachers is to put theory into practice through mentor-guided teaching experiences in a real-world setting. Our graduates are highly recruited, get promoted quickly, and are fast-tracked into leadership positions.
California’s teaching credentials are thought to be some of the strongest in the United States. As such, most states welcome teachers certified in California to teach in their schools and have established “reciprocity agreements.” These agreements articulate what a teacher with a California credential needs to do to be certified in a particular state. It often is as easy as taking an exam and a course or two.
For specific information about teaching in another state, please see the following resources: