Several students from Athens State University’s College of Education are participating in the Professional Development Schools program this summer. Professional Development Schools are innovative institutions formed through partnerships between professional education programs and P–12 schools. The program allows college students majoring in education to receive beneficial hands-on training in a real classroom environment.
The Athens State Professional Development Schools committee has developed relationships with Madison County, Limestone County, and Athens City school systems. These associations have led to the growth of several Professional Development sites. On the first day of field experience each semester, an orientation is held at Sparkman High School for all college students teaching within Madison County’s cluster of eight feeder schools. These student teachers, including Athens State students, become “Teacher’s Assistants” for the duration of the program, giving them the ability to go above and beyond what would have been required of them in typical field observations.
Limestone County, Hartselle City, and Athens City school systems host Summer Enrichment programs. These programs allow College of Education students from Athens State to develop and execute lessons that are designed with the assistance of College of Education faculty. This summer, Tanner High School, Athens Elementary, Athens Intermediate, and Burleson Elementary participated in the program. Across all of these sites, a total of approximately 260 Athens State University preservice teachers and 160 children participated.
In addition to the Professional Development Schools, the College of Education also shares a unique partnership with Mill Creek Elementary School and James Clemens High School. These experiences give elementary/collaborative and collaborative majors clinical practice during the summer and academic year. Collaborative majors are education majors that will teach K-12 students with special needs. They “collaborate” with mainstream teachers to provide developmentally appropriate learning opportunities for these students. Upon completion of their education, elementary and collaborative majors will be certified as both elementary teachers and collaborative teachers.
Athens State University is proud to use these partnerships to further the training and increase the competence of College of Education students, all while making a difference in the community.