Research-to-Practice Spotlight to Feature Ohio University

It is my pleasure to introduce the Patton College of Education at Ohio University as the next institution to be featured in AACTE’s Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series. Continuing our focus on effective models of clinical practice, this series highlights the award-winning work of Ohio University’s Patton College and its network of PK-12 partner schools to continuously improve their preparation of teachers in an active interchange of theory and practice.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting videos and blog articles to share what AACTE staff learned during our recent visit to picturesque Athens, Ohio, where we met with a broad selection of program leaders and participants. It was clear that the clinical practice model resonates with candidates, mentor teachers, PK-12 administrators, and those on the campus because those involved can see the benefits and have a clear understanding of the processes supporting them. The tone of this partnership is one of infinite possibility as all members of the community find themselves involved.

To help introduce this series, I invited Patton College Dean Renée Middleton to reflect on the program’s success and development. Here’s what she had to say:

As I approach my 11th year as dean of the Patton College of Education, I have seen our college’s clinical model of education grow into something noteworthy, earn awards, and now be honored by AACTE in its Research-to-Practice Spotlight Series. This model is structured to invite collaboration that benefits the P-12 teachers and students as well as our teacher candidates.

The Patton College has made it a goal to reimagine teacher education to focus on improving P-12 student learning. We are committed to deriving theory from practice and offer a yearlong professional internship involving coteaching with a mentor teacher. With this more progressive technique, we are graduating better prepared educators to effectively impact P-12 student learning.

Our partnership with the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools (CORAS) provides us access to 133 school districts. Through CORAS, we use the clinical model to advocate for and support the public schools of Appalachian Ohio in the continuous improvement of educational opportunities available to all the region’s children.

The Patton College also works with Communications & Connections, a group formed in 2006 to establish an aligned, agile, regional system of professional learning that meets the unique educational needs of children and the broader demands of a global society.

Because of these and other successful collaborations, the Patton College’s Center for Professional Development School Partnerships and Athens City Schools received both the National Association for Professional Development Schools (NAPDS) Award for Exemplary Professional Development School Achievement in 2014 and the NAPDS Spirit of the PDS Award in 2015.

Knowing we earned these prestigious awards was one thing, but seeing the AACTE film crew roll in from Washington, DC, to document and validate our work really drove home the value of what we’re doing. As the crew spent two days interviewing various members of the college and its partners—including faculty, teacher candidates, graduate teaching fellows, professional interns, school administrators, teachers, and P-12 students—I was impressed by how many lives have been touched by our work reimagining the clinical model.

In these interviews, you will hear one of our students describing how he learned to build a community in a classroom and to use a progressive approach to beneficially engage students. You’ll hear his mentor teacher explain why she is grateful for the partnership and that the teacher candidates are viewed as functioning members of the school community and family.

These experiences resulting from the clinical model reinforce our commitment to it. It is the responsibility of all colleges of education to have a positive impact not only on the local community, but also on schools across the state, nation, and world. The Patton College and its partner schools embrace that responsibility, and I hope this spotlight by AACTE on our work will inspire viewers to improve their work in their own communities—and beyond.

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Rodrick Lucero

Vice President for Member Engagement and Support