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PSU Partners with Schools to Advance Inclusive Education

Teacher working in classroom with students

One of the key components of Portland State University’s (PSU) Secondary Dual Education Program is its success in developing and sustaining partnerships with local school districts.

Marvin Lynn, dean of the Graduate School of Education at PSU, shares how the program prepares secondary education teacher candidates to bring content knowledge and “the knowledge that special education teachers have to bare about the learning process and about how to work with these unique populations” to local schools.

Educators like Ana Capac, a special education teacher at Evergreen High School, specifically ask for student teachers from the PSU program because of the mindsets and approaches they bring to the classroom and community. “It is really important that I’m supporting both the student teachers I’m working with on how they are developing this mindset of inclusion, supporting all students, and working within the school to support their colleagues as well,” says Capac.

Andrew Gilford, assistant principal at Clackamas High School, emphasizes this culture shift to more collegial relationships where the PSU teacher candidates and the classroom teachers “speak the same language” and can work together to serve students with disabilities and improve learning outcomes. “Coming from this kind of program and this kind of background, you are immediately an advocate,” adds Rob Parness, special education teacher and former academic coach at Tigard High School.

In discussing the culture shift, Will Parnell, curriculum and instruction department chair at PSU, emphasizes that the program was built based on relationships with the community. “There were local districts that were saying ‘we want special ed teachers that can support students in general ed classrooms’ but they found out that teacher prep programs were not focused on that,” says Susan Bert, assistant professor of practice, special education at PSU.  “So there was a need.”

To learn more, view the Developing and Sustaining Partnerships video featuring PSU’s Secondary Dual Education program.

Marist’s Education Department is Investing in the Future

Students in classroom in NY
This article and photo originally appeared on the
Marist website and are reprinted with permission.

Marist’s Education Department is well known for preparing students to become effective teachers and leaders in their schools and communities. Its programs emphasize the role of research and technology and the importance of critical thinking, creative problem solving, and multicultural and global perspectives. Consistent with Marist’s commitment to being actively engaged in the community, the Department recently hosted two groups of local schoolchildren in an effort to advance two worthy goals: exposing students from underrepresented groups to a college campus and encouraging them to consider teaching as a career.

On May 20, Marist welcomed a group of 20 English as a New Language (ENL) students in the third, fourth, and fifth grades at Balmville Elementary School, a public school in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District. The visit, the third in three years for students from Balmville, stems from the work of Professional Lecturer of Education Christina Wright Fields to promote the ideas of pursuing a college education and becoming a teacher. During their half-day visit to the College, the students toured the Marist campus, ate lunch, and participated in a session led by Fields and Assistant Professor of Education Mary Kelly in which they developed a storyboard from children’s literature; in past years, these faculty-led sessions have included tree identification and STEM educational hands-on activities. Notes Associate Dean for Teacher Education Edward Sullivan, “Essentially, we like to expose the Balmville grade-schoolers to various academic departments on campus to expand their knowledge base and present them with different educational possibilities. We also involve Marist education students in these visits to help the schoolchildren visualize themselves as future college students engaged in helping others to learn.”

BGSU Inclusive Models Benefit Early Childhood Teachers and Students

Children in an elementary classroom

The Dual Licensure component of the Inclusive Early Childhood Program at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) supports teachers by improving their teaching craft and ensuring that teachers’ instructions remain relevant to their students.

Brenda Gift, the director of student services at Educational Services Center of Lake Erie West, applauds the program for providing high quality teachers who are eager to work in integrated classrooms. She further asserts that school districts are more likely to hire BGSU teacher candidates because of their dual licensure. Not only does the dual licensure indicate that teacher candidates can support all students, but it makes them marketable and competitive for hiring.

Some of the mentor teachers in partner school districts who support BGSU teacher candidates are BGSU alumni. Despite the responsibilities of being a classroom teacher, they value mentoring BGSU teacher candidates because they know how important it is to have an effective and supportive host teacher. The early childhood students benefit from teacher candidates because it provides a smaller teacher-to-student ratio. Teacher candidates agree that having proper training for inclusive education benefits them and the students they teach, assuring they are ready to instruct all learners once they enter the classroom.

To learn more, watch the What’s In It for Me? video highlighting BGSU’s Models of Inclusive Clinical Teacher Preparation, part of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series.

Portland State Trains Teachers to Be Inclusive

Students working in a group in class
Empowering teachers to feel adequately prepared on their first day of teaching is the goal of Portland State University’s (PSU) Secondary Dual Education Program (SPED). As classrooms becomes more diverse, teachers need skills to address all students’ needs and make every student feel they are included in a positive community.

Andrew Gilford, assistant principal at Clackamas High School, believes the training and preparation his teachers receive from SPED enables them to meet the needs of all their students in the classroom. The program requires all teacher candidates to have two years of practice before entering the classroom. In particular, during the two years candidates engage in a combination of observation and student teaching. Michael Bowersox agrees that the two-year program allowed him to combine his coursework at PSU with classroom practice so that he is ready to be an effective teacher on the very first day as a teacher of record. Teacher candidates are matched with master teachers, learn to plan together, and develop the teaching skills to positively affect student achievement for all.

The highlight of PSU’s Dual Degree program is the training it provides its teacher candidates to be inclusive educators. “A characteristic of a successful classroom is the ability for everyone to feel included and have the opportunity to be included,” says Joseph Cornett, a graduate of PSU and a social studies teacher at David Douglas High School. He explains that the program taught him how to set up his students for success, work collaboratively with teachers, and navigate the school system and curriculum.

To learn more, view the video highlighting PSU’s Secondary Dual Education program, part of AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series.

The Innovation Project, NC State College of Education announce 19 NC high school Mathematics Master Teaching Fellows

Teacher and student facing blackboard full of math problems,

The NC State College of Education and The Innovation Project have selected 19 N.C. High School Mathematics Master Teaching Fellows.

Supported by a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation, this program will prepare, support and retain master teachers of mathematics from high-needs school districts across the state of North Carolina, and is a partnership between the NC State College of Education, The Innovation Project and seven school districts where the 19 fellows come from:

Universities Investing in Educators’ Long-term Success

Professor teaching university students
This article by President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone was originally published in the “Empowering Our Educators” supplement to USA Today and on the
Education and Career News website. The article and photo are reprinted with permission. 

Effective educators are developed, not born. Their preparation begins in colleges and schools of education and persists through the professional development during their careers. As the needs of student learners evolve, so too must our development of educators.

BGSU Inclusive Early Childhood Education Graduates are Innovative Classroom Teachers

Techers working with students in classroom setting
The Early Childhood Inclusive Education Program at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) prepares teachers to educate the youngest of school-age children with a solid foundation for learning. “This program is an example of innovation as it relates to making sure our students at the earliest stage have opportunities to develop and be successful in their lives,” says Rodney Rogers, president of Bowling Green State University. As a public university, BGSU sees itself as serving the public good and views the College of Education & Human Development as a place where all teacher candidates are prepared to meet the needs of their students. Teachers who graduate from the program are ready to enter the classrooms with the skills to accommodate all students.

Call for Chapter Proposals – Rethinking School-University Partnerships: A New Way Forward

As co-editors, we are inviting you to submit a chapter proposal for the upcoming book, Rethinking School-University Partnerships: A New Way Forward, which will be published by Information Age Publishing. This volume will explore innovative ways in which colleges of education and education preparation providers (EPPs) engage with school partners to improve teacher education and educational outcomes for P-12 learners. The main focus of this book project is to extend the literature in this area and to learn from others around the country engaged in this important work. We are particularly interested in partnership work that addresses mutually beneficial outcomes and persistent issues/problems in teacher education.

This book will provide educational leaders in public schools and colleges of education with insight, advice, and direction into the task of creating effective, proactive partnerships. In current times, colleges of education and local school districts need each other like never before. School districts struggle with pipeline-workforce, recruitment, and retention issues. Colleges of education face declining enrollment and a shifting educational landscape that fundamentally changes the way that teachers are trained and what local school districts expect their teachers to be able to do. It is with these overlapping constraints and converging interests that partnerships emerge as a strategy for strengthening the education of our teachers.

The partnerships that we envision are different from the ways in which colleges of education and school districts have traditionally worked with one another. In the past, these loose relationships centered primarily on student teaching and/or field experience placements. We conceptualize “new” partnerships as being proactive, mutually beneficial, pragmatic, and futures oriented. By focusing on people who are leaders in colleges/schools of education and local schools, this book will be well-positioned to help us develop a better understanding of how to initiate and lead change around the concept of partnerships.

AACTE Participates in Next Educator Workforce: Asking the Right Questions


I recently represented AACTE at the Next Educator Workforce: Asking the right questions conference, joining educators from across the country at the Arizona State University (ASU) Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College (MLFTC).

The ASU conference organizers asked the question: Why convene around the idea of the next education Workforce? The response included the following:

  • Fewer people are entering the profession.
  • More educators are leaving the profession early.
  • Educators need more of the sustaining rewards of adult collaboration and efficacy.

Our challenge, according to ASU, is to build broad-based, multilateral partnerships that include colleges of education, schools, districts, and communities committed to designing and fielding new workforce models that make education work better for both educators and learners.

Elisabeth Valenzuela Coordinates New Regional School Partnership

This article originally appeared on the New Mexico Highlands University website and is reprinted with permission.

Elisabeth Valenzuela is the first coordinator for the Regional School Partnership, a collaboration among Pojoaque Valley Public Schools, Los Alamos National Laboratory and New Mexico Highlands University that aims to support improved teaching and learning.

The innovative partnership, launched in October 2018, is the first of its kind in New Mexico to combine a school district, a major employer and a university teacher education program. It focuses on increasing success for youth in grades 4 through 8.

“The clinical residency program is the most exciting element of this new partnership,” Valenzuela said. “Pre-service teachers who are students in the Highlands School of Education will spend their junior and senior years working three days a week co-teaching a classroom in Pojoaque schools. These college students will work under the mentorship of a highly qualified teacher.”

Valenzuela said Los Alamos National Laboratory has a history of working with Northern New Mexico school districts to improve teaching and learning.

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