Antonio Felix was a second-year teacher at Nativity Catholic School in South Los Angeles when he began to spend some of his Saturdays at LMU, on his way to a master's degree and teaching credential.

Felix, who teaches junior high math and science at the PK-8 school, was among the first to participate in a program offered by the LMU School of Education as part of a unique partnership with the Los Angeles Archdiocese. The Catholic Archdiocesan School Teachers (CAST) program was launched in 2005 to improve instruction at schools within the diocese by eventually bringing all uncredentialed full-time teachers to LMU for a two-year program.

For Felix – and for the more than 400 other teachers who have gone through CAST – the program has had a lasting impact.

"I would learn things on Saturdays and be able to apply them in my classroom Monday morning," Felix recalls. "The professors taught us how to be educational thinkers, and being in a cohort with other Catholic school teachers exposed me to people with experience and different approaches." Felix frequently collaborates on lesson planning with other teachers at Nativity who also went through the program. "It's like a common language we all know thanks to CAST," he says.