Four Berks County Schools Join Kutztown University 
Most of us are familiar with the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”. What you may not be as familiar with is the idea that “it takes a partnership between a university and school districts to support the training of new teachers”. On Thursday, May 11 at Kutztown University, the College of Education and four Berks County school districts signed a Memo of Understanding to do just that, form a partnership to enhance the training of preservice teachers as well as create other learning opportunities for district and university educators.  The partnership is a first for Kutztown University and the four school districts of Brandywine Heights, Kutztown, Twin Valley and Wyomissing.

The goals of the partnership are to:
1. Enhance the learning and educational opportunities of all PK-12 students; 
2. Enrich KU educator preparation programs through transformative school-based learning experiences; 
3. Create professional learning opportunities for district and university faculty, administration, and staff; 
4. Engage in a shared commitment to reflective and innovative practices in PK-12 educational settings and KU educator preparation programs; 
5. Conduct and disseminate research to inform educational policy and practice at the PK-12 and university levels; and 
6. Establish opportunities for cohort participants to engage in ongoing reflection and collaboration. 

Although partnerships between universities and school districts are not new, the Kutztown agreement is different and innovative. According to Julia Vicente, Superintendent of Wyomissing Area School District, “this partnership emphasizes the development of a cohort model. We are hoping to identify approximately 20 to 25 pre-service teachers and pair them with master teachers in each of our four school districts starting in their freshman year through their senior year. The long term pairings will help pre-service teachers build relationships with master teachers so they can apply theories learned in the classroom to real life situations.” Vicente adds the most important part of this partnership is collaboration, “Professors in each of the departments within the College of Education are welcome to hold a class in each participating school district so that their students can observe realistic practices. What we really hope to do through these interactions is to show which skill sets and practices really make effective teachers.”

Though the cohort model is a core tenant of the Memo of Understanding, Andrew Potteiger, Superintendent of Brandywine Heights Area School District, is excited about a few of the other possibilities within the partnership, “Recently, Kutztown University’s Special Education Department did a study on the practice of co-teaching using the participating school districts. This is a prime example of how the university and school districts can benefit by collaborating with one another.  Using the information from studies and research, universities can determine whether certain theories and practices are successful in a classroom setting. We are very excited for this opportunity to provide additional supports for our students K-12 while providing opportunities for pre-service teachers at Kutztown University. This agreement shows that Kutztown University and school districts are always looking for innovative ways to improve education. This truly is a revolutionary concept as both university and school district collaboratively work to develop a robust teacher preparation program.” 

Dr. George Fiori, Superintendent of Kutztown Area School District shares, “The partnership between Kutztown University and our four school district's will benefit students and teachers in multiple ways. The ability to communicate across five institutions will increase academic and practitioner knowledge to identify and meet the diverse pre-service teacher needs. The power of this partnership is in the collaboration and the expansion of our learning communities. This will allow teachers, professors, and administrators to increase lines of communication and develop innovative programs for the benefit of students from kindergarten through college. In the end, this partnership will be measured by how it will influence student achievement and success in the future.”
Posted by KHARPLE On May 12, 2017 at 1:36 PM