CCHAT Spotlight: Utah State University Partnership
Maintaining a staff of listening and spoken language (LSL) experts is paramount to the success of CCHAT's children with hearing loss. With that in mind, CCHAT is always looking to add or develop terrific team members to help us achieve our mission of teaching children who are deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) to develop the necessary speaking, listening, and communication skills required for lifelong success.
Thanks to a partnership with Utah State University (USU), three CCHAT teachers became certified Teachers of the Deaf. Our relationship with USU will ensure that CCHAT children who are DHH continue to receive top-level services as they strive to attain LSL skills and mainstream into their local schools.
The CCHAT-USU Connection
CCHAT partnered with USU to develop a Teacher Residency Program (TRP) to increase the number of special education teachers available for children who are DHH. Teacher preparation courses are taught by USU faculty through a distance learning platform. The practicum experiences are provided at CCHAT with support and supervision from USU. The program is interdisciplinary, with coursework and practicum training opportunities in audiology, speech-language pathology and special education. This partnership creates a pipeline for future DHH teachers to enter the workforce in the Sacramento region.
Amy Zilkie, Glen Werley and Chelsea Hill all graduated from Sacramento State and then started their CCHAT careers as instructional aides. Each began the TRP three years ago, and in June 2022, all three graduated with a master’s degree in Deaf Education.
CCHAT’s Three Graduates
Amy holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She joined CCHAT in 2015 as an instructional aide and substitute teacher, while also serving as CCHAT’s resident yoga instructor for students every Friday. She currently teaches children in CCHAT’s kindergarten class, and her experiences at CCHAT have seen her in every class, from toddler to primary.
Chelsea holds a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in Physical Education. She started at CCHAT in 2019 as an instructional aide in the preschool class and now guides CCHAT’s pre-kindergarten students as the teacher.
Glen earned her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and then started her CCHAT journey in 2019 as an instructional aide in the kindergarten class. Today, she is CCHAT’s preschool teacher.
Upon finding a passion in the classroom, all three enrolled in USU’s TRP with the goal of obtaining their teaching credential for deaf education. Their successful completion of the program enables them to continue their CCHAT careers as certified Teachers of the Deaf.
A Beneficial Partnership for Everyone
CCHAT’s relationship with USU has been a huge benefit to the program. The coursework and instruction supplied by USU has been a perfect complement to the first-hand, classroom experience provided by CCHAT.
As a result of this teamwork, many new qualified staff members have entered the field of deaf education. This will greatly benefit CCHAT’s children and families, and we look forward to seeing USU partner with other similar programs nationwide.