UW-Platteville collaborates with Westview to train teachers
PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – This fall, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s School of Education and Westview Elementary School in Platteville have teamed up to bring university students and elementary students together in a mutually beneficial way.
On Sept. 5, Westview Elementary opened its doors to the UW-Platteville students who will be taking a course and completing a practicum on site. The goal of the partnership, housed in Westview, is to ensure high quality induction to the education profession for teacher candidates and enhance the educational experience of all children at Westview Elementary.
Four days each week, 26 UW-Platteville elementary education majors travel to Westview to learn theory and research-based methods for teaching reading and writing to elementary-aged students. They also learn how to differentiate literacy instruction to meet the needs of learners with a variety of learning needs and to use assessment techniques to evaluate the effects of their instruction on student learning.
University students apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills to provide literacy instruction to 360 first- through fourth-grade students from Westview. By the end of the fall semester, university students will provide more than 1,500 hours of service to Westview.
Elementary education majors are enrolled in courses taught by Dr. Lindsay Hollingsworth and Dr. Jennifer Collins, both assistant professors of education at UW-Platteville. The idea for the collaborative school was developed and implemented by Hollingsworth, Collins and ReNah Reuter, principal of Westview Elementary School, following a national model that connects teacher candidates with elementary students.
“In order to prepare future teachers to teach in today’s diverse classrooms, we recognize the great need for them to gain meaningful experience working in classrooms as a part of their teacher training,” said Hollingsworth. “We are fortunate that UW-Platteville is situated near a first-class school district. The partnership provides an opportunity for students to learn what an amazing school looks like, while at the same time providing a support to the students and teachers.”
Reuter is excited to have Westview Elementary expand its partnership with UW-Platteville to provide future educators with an opportunity to engage with students and gain real time experience within a classroom setting.
“Not only does it allow these future educators to learn from a dynamic, top-notch staff here at Westview, but as a school we also benefit through the ability to provide extra support for our students,” said Reuter. “I hope that as we continue this partnership, we keep growing in our ability not only to better prepare the students who represent the future of education, but also in challenging our Westview teaching staff to continue to reflect and grow in order to provide the type of learning experiences and supports that are needed for the students coming through our doors every day.”
Throughout the semester, Hollingsworth and Collins will collaborate with teachers and students to find practicum placements and ensure that the experience goes smoothly for all partners. They will visit classrooms, observing UW-Platteville students teaching literacy skills and providing them with feedback to help them to grow as educators. Westview’s classroom teachers provide models of quality instruction and engage UW-Platteville students with supporting learners.
“We learn new methods and strategies every day from the teachers,” said Hollingsworth. “By teaching the methods course on site at Westview, we are able to help students connect the dots between theory and practice. As former elementary teachers who are now teaching at higher education, it is so exciting for us to merge the two worlds.”
The experiences undergraduates are having at Westview are clearly helping prepare them for their future careers as educators.
“The learning experience at the professional development school is providing me with in-class, hands-on experience with students I normally would not have a chance to work with in a typical classroom,” said Jena Hore, a senior STEM, grades 1-8 major from Lancaster, Wisconsin. “Being in a classroom with the teacher and the students gives me an opportunity to learn different types of classroom management and to see teacher/student interaction. I enjoy seeing students’ reactions when they understand something that they have been struggling with in the past. I love being able to watch students grow not only in the classrooms, but as individuals.”
Kaitlin Hoven, a senior elementary education major from Belleville, Wisconsin, said that working at Westview is helping make the whole teacher experience much more real. “Being with the children and interacting with them everyday on a personal level allows me to see what my future is going to look like,” said Hoven. “Working with an actual teacher is so beneficial because I get to learn different strategies for working with children that I can use in my future teaching career.”
UW-Platteville students will be assessed on their knowledge, skills and dispositions by the university supervisor with input from the cooperating teacher at mid-term and at the end of the semester.
UW-Platteville students participating in the program include Elissa Bahr, Breanna Conboy, Jenny Fahl, Molly Fenske, Janessa Getlin, Jacob Glennon, Taylor Grenoble, Brandi Hall, Jena Hore, Kaitlin Hoven, Baily Hubbard, Liz Huncosky, Elle Jones, Taylor Kessenich, McKenna Luepker, Abbey Mastera, Ashley McCarville, Kari McMannes, Devin Mieden, Kylie Moneypenny, Natasha Powell, Jacqueline Pulvermacher, Coel Schultz, Taylor Sueflohn, Jennifer Tanaka and Erica Wellnitz.
Written by: Laurie A. Hamer, University Relations Specialist, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, firstname.lastname@example.org