& PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Partnerships play an important role in the teacher preparation programs of the College of Education and Social Work. The partnerships aim to improve education quality and student development throughout our region. The College of Education and Social Work maintains several partnerships and long standing relationships with local school districts, community organizations, and businesses. Partnerships develop from existing relationships, recognition of mutual needs, and shared responsibilities. Many of these partnerships provide teacher candidates the opportunity to observe classroom instruction, participate in classroom activities, and student teach.
Peirce Middle School
Students in one section of EDS 306: Teaching Principles and Field Experience observe at Peirce Middle School. The capstone experience is a team taught lesson to the middle school students observed by the classroom teacher and the professor. EDS 306 students also volunteer for an after school homework help club which is facilitated by the middle school guidance counselors. Each semester the building administrators present a workshop to the undergraduate students on what they look for when they hire new teachers. Several students have gone on to student teach at Peirce and many find that teaching at the middle level might be their calling. This partnership between the College of Education and Social Work and Peirce Middle School of West Chester Area School District was formed through a Heinz Planning Grant and has been sustained through the efforts of university and school district leadership.
Philadelphia Urban Seminar
The two-week Urban Seminar offers students the opportunity for practical hands on experience in inner-city schools and communities. The Urban Seminar experience partially meets the requirements for special education majors for 3 credits of EDA 421 and is an elective for the Youth Empowerment and Urban Studies Minor as EDA 302. The students live in dormitories in Philadelphia throughout their experience and travel to schools each day at an assigned placement in the School District of Philadelphia. Students also participate in community service projects where they interact with students, parents, and community leaders, and also attend professional development seminars conducted by experts in urban education, administrators, teachers, parents, and community leaders. Participating in the vibrant cultural and recreational activities in a large city is an invaluable experience for our students.
The Kennett Experience
The Kennett Experience is a University/School partnership between West Chester University and the Kennett Consolidated School District. The goal of the partnership is to better prepare West Chester University undergraduate Early Grades Preparation teacher candidates for their teaching careers. The teacher candidates enroll in EDR 317 (Reading Practicum and Instruction) during the fall semester. During the spring semester, they student teach with the same cooperating teacher they were with for the fall reading practicum course. Hallmarks of the Kennett Experience include: candidates working in a rich and diverse school setting; candidates spending approximately 45 additional hours (three extra hours per week) in the field working directly with master teachers and children; teacher candidates working with their cooperating teachers during the summer to set up the classrooms before the school year begins, attending back to school night, attending parent teacher conferences; and assuming a full teaching load earlier and longer than usual during student teaching. Each Kennett Experience candidate is issued an iPad2 and is trained in its use. Candidates use the iPads to research teaching ideas, to videotape lessons, to analyze and reflect on their teaching, to communicate with their instructors, and utilize as instructional tools for the students. Overall the teacher candidates who participate in this special partnership have a stronger and richer year-long field experience.
New partnerships modeled on the Kennett Experience have been initiated at the Great Valley, Haverford, West Chester Area, Octorara, Springfield, Phoenixville Area, Downingtown Area, and Marple Newtown School Districts.
Writing Zones 12.5
West Chester University students help bridge the gap between high school and college writing by providing students of diverse economic and cultural backgrounds with college tutor-mentors. Currently tutors work with Kennett High School in the Kennett Consolidate School District.
The Transitional Living Program (TLP): A Partnership with the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU)
Secondary-age students with disabilities from schools throughout Chester County who are receiving special educational services through the CCIU participate in an exciting educational program on campus with same-aged peer mentors.
Students who participate in the TLP have experiences that develop independent living skills off-campus, they spend several days a week receiving instruction and practice in an apartment setting in West Chester. This experience, in addition to the four to six hours per week each student spends on the West Chester University campus engaged with their peer mentors, provides authentic settings in which to learn and practice skills that will move them to greater independence as they move from school services to adult roles. West Chester University students, serving as mentors, benefit from participating in the program by the ability of these activities to provide guided opportunities for knowledge application for our students in community volunteer activities and service learning. Recently the partnership has expanded to include students from Elwyn, Inc. This partnership stems from a collaborative communication involving West Chester University Provost Dr. Lamwers, the College of Education and Social Work administration, special education faculty, and CCIU administrators.