A Professional Development Partnership:
Waterloo’s Reading First Schools and UNI’s Literacy Education Division
UNI’s Literacy Education division and Waterloo’s Lincoln Elementary School, along with other Reading First schools in Waterloo, have established a Literacy Education Professional Development School (LEPrDS) partnership. Dr. Rick Traw serves as the principal liaison between Lincoln and UNI, though other Literacy Education faculty members are involved as well.
The major work of the PDS is to embed a cohort of UNI Elementary Education majors with Literacy Education minors into the life and work of Lincoln Elementary. The cohort and their professors conduct classes on-site at Lincoln and integrate the coursework with field experiences at the school that are both intensive and extensive. The year-long program involves students in one-on-one tutoring, serving as assistants in classrooms, and teaching small-group and whole-group lessons. It also includes out-of-classroom experiences such as attendance at inservice workshops, faculty meetings, parent-teacher conferences, and Family Literacy night.
As of this writing (Sept., 2009), the first cohort of UNI students to participate in LEPrDS has begun its second semester at Lincoln. A second cohort is being recruited, with coursework scheduled to begin in the Spring 2010 semester.
Goals of the LEPrDS Project:
- Opportunities to improve the literacy learning of Lincoln children
- Better career preparation for UNI Elementary Education majors with Literacy Education minors
- Opportunities for professional growth for Lincoln teachers and administrators, and for UNI Literacy Education faculty members.
UNI Undergraduate students:
- On-site coursework: A cohort of undergraduate Elementary Education majors with Literacy Education minors (15-20 students) will take several of their Literacy Education courses at Lincoln (10 credit-hours per semester). Students will spend three mornings per week at the school during the spring & fall semesters.
- Increased field experiences: A major goal of the project is to provide undergraduates with sustained experience and contact with children, teachers, administrators, parents, and all other members of a school community. These field experiences will be linked closely to students’ coursework.
- Cultural Competence: In addition to the normal goal of learning various methods of literacy instruction, another emphasis for undergraduates in this project is to develop their ability to work with children from a wide range of economic, linguistic, ethnic, and experiential backgrounds.
Professional development collaborations with Reading First teachers and UNI faculty:
- UNI professors are involved as presenters or participants in the regularly scheduled Reading First professional development activities.
- Lincoln teachers speak to UNI students regarding various aspects of professional practice.
- Lincoln teachers serve as mentors to UNI students.
- Action research projects involving UNI professors, Lincoln teachers, and/or UNI students may be implemented.
- Reading Endorsement courses may be offered for teachers who are seeking the Iowa Reading K-8 endorsement.
- A Literacy Education Master’s Degree Cohort could be formed with Lincoln teachers and teachers from other Reading First schools.
The professional development school partnership is being designed with two sets of standards in mind:
- International Reading Association Standards for Reading Professionals
- National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education Standard for Professional Development Schools
Application for Admission to the LEPrDS Cohort
UNI students wishing to apply for membership in future LEPrDS cohorts can begin the process by downloading the following three documents and following the directions on the Application Instructions:
For more information, please contact Dr. Rick Traw at (319)273-2240 or firstname.lastname@example.org