Friday, September 17, 2010

School partnership being explored

Tags: deans updates, teacher education, teacher education initiative


Ann Arbor Public Schools and the University of Michigan School of Education are in the early stages of planning a “lab school” partnership with Mitchell Elementary School and Scarlett Middle School. This partnership was covered in a story on the AnnArbor.com website, posted on September 14, 2010.

A team of faculty and doctoral students is involved in the planning team.  Cathy Reischl is coordinating our work and Tim Boerst, Debi Khasnabis, and Melissa Stull as members of the planning team.  This project will build strong K-8 curricular links between the elementary and middle school, taking advantage of the close proximity of the buildings and resources and creating an integrated K-8 campus.  Drawing on the collective strengths of the district and the university, this partnership will provide a context for  developing both high quality teaching and learning for young people and professional development for teachers, interns, school leaders, and university faculty and graduate students.

A key feature of the Mitchell/Scarlett/U-M lab school project is a focus on continuous learning through the development of a year-round academic calendar and carefully designed opportunities for instruction for children during the school day and before and after traditional school hours throughout the year. Shifting to a year-round model may include strategically placed three-week "inter-sessions" at several points during the year. These sessions would be contexts for academic enrichment for children, opportunities for intern teachers to be involved in carefully designed clinical practicum experiences, and settings for professional development for teachers. The K-8 united campus will serve families as a school-based community center, drawing on diverse community resources and creating possibilities for enriched home-school partnerships.

Development of this partnership will include a planning period during the 2010-11 school year, when teams of teachers, parents, administrators and university faculty will work together to assess needs and set goals, draft program structures and calendars, and build a timeline for implementation and enactment of the project over a five year period.  During the planning period, several pilot projects will be undertaken, including math enrichment activities with teaching interns at the elementary and middle school levels and professional development for elementary teachers focused on literacy instruction for English language learners.

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