Santa Cruz County Office of Education Photo montage
Educational Services Division

A positive impact on teacher interns – Project IMPACT

Project IMPACT students

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education recently completed our first year of sponsoring Project IMPACT, a program designed to “grow our own” highly qualified teachers in school districts throughout the county. It was, by all accounts, a successful year.

“I am thrilled to have a quality credentialing program right here in Santa Cruz that has enabled me to receive support right off the bat. The program has been extremely helpful in making my first year of teaching a positive experience for me and my students.”
—Michael Semas, Project IMPACT Intern,
COE Alternative Education Program

Cost, convenience, support

“I believe that Project IMPACT meets the needs of the local educational landscape. Because of the unique demographics of the Santa Cruz area (cost of living, proximity to higher paying jobs in Silicon Valley, expensive housing, etc.), it makes sense to support and encourage instructors that are local community members.”
—Stephen Hoy, Project IMPACT Intern,
Pajaro Valley Unified School District

Project IMPACT is a district intern program sponsored and coordinated by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education (SCCOE) that prepares teachers to become credentialed in special education.

What are interns? They are teachers who are earning their credential while teaching. They hold a valid District Intern Credential and are enrolled in the Project IMPACT program to earn a special education credential.

Schools in Santa Cruz County, like school districts everywhere, are consistently in need of special education teachers. That was the basis for our decision to focus our first teacher intern cohort on preparing teachers who will help close that gap between need and the lack of qualified, special education teachers.

Project IMPACT students

How does Project IMPACT positively affect intern teachers’ career goals over a traditional university intern program? Timing, cost, class locality and support are some of the benefits. Interns in a university program are employed teachers working in a district and are enrolled full-time in the university’s teacher preparation/education program. For intern teachers in Santa Cruz County, this has, until now, required travel to universities in other counties at hours that can be difficult for a working teacher to accommodate. Our classes are held at the County Office of Education at a time and frequency that allows a teacher to work full time. Factoring in the costs of tuition and travel, the dollar savings alone are a significant benefit. The convenience of locality and reduced hours on the road add up to immeasurable savings of time and stress. Importantly, these working teachers are able to work and learn on the job, receive credit towards tenure and earn their teaching salary all while obtaining their credential. This convenience is provided in conjunction with a comprehensive, accredited educational program.

The intern program is grant funded so the tuition is much less than most other teacher preparation programs. Support comes from course instructors, practicum supervisors, student peers and peer coaches at a level that cannot be provided in the university system.


Advance your career and make an IMPACT

Upon completion of the program, IMPACT interns are eligible for a professional teaching credential. The IMPACT program is designed to be completed within six semesters. Interns who complete Level I and Level II of their program are awarded a California Professional Clear Credential.

We are currently recruiting for our second cohort to begin in August, 2009. To learn more about Project IMPACT or to submit an application, contact Diane Elia, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, at or by phone at (831) 466-5804.

Find out more about Project IMPACT information here.

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Santa Cruz County Office of Education  |  400 Encinal Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060  |  831.466.5600  |  Fax: 831.466.5607
The Santa Cruz County Office of Education provides quality educational programs and services to a diverse community.