Friday, September 28, 2018

Elevate Your School Community by Partnering with Local Colleges, Universities, and Education-Related Organizations

Our school has been working with two local universities with regard to hosting student teachers. The student teaching programs in Massachusetts have come a long way in years past. The expectations for student teachers and supervising teachers have been elevated in significant ways. There's more time involved and there's also more growth involved too.

Yesterday I met with the college professor who is supervising the wonderful student teacher in my room. Together we discussed the student teacher's excellent lesson. As I listened to the college professor talk, I found myself reflecting on my own teaching. Her points not only provided growth opportunities for the student teacher, but opportunities for my own growth too. It was a very positive meeting.

Essentially the college professor was pointing out the need for lessons to be tightly targeted in order to result in mastery learning. While she acknowledged the need for general lessons, I listened carefully to her ideas related to more tightly targeted lessons. I especially enjoyed the conversation since I often fall to the side of big-idea teach rather than discrete standard teaching.

Also as we talked, I acknowledged that I was happy that our school could be a satellite campus for the university--a teaching/learning school where university professors, student teachers, and practicing teachers work together to develop a positive, productive learning atmosphere for all students.

There's much to be gained by extending what happens in schools to the greater teaching/learning community including colleges, universities, and other education-related community organizations. For example, Mass Audubon's Drumlin Farm has invited us into an environmental education grant this year focused on standards-based education about watersheds, climate change, and community action. Our initial meeting was terrific as Drumlin Farm educators and naturalists shared the research and background information related to the grant's focus with us. We learned a lot. Now, we're working with a naturalist coach throughout the year to deepen our efforts in this regard. This too is very positive.

When schools can connect and work with outside agencies, there is great potential for growth in meaningful ways. I look forward to continuing the efforts we're involved in now and other similar efforts in the future.