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College of Education

WTEP, Partner School Districts celebrate 10th anniversary

By Allen Trent, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies

The Wyoming Teacher Education Program collaborates with school districts around the state to provide high quality field and student teaching experiences for preservice teacher candidates. 

These “Partner School” sites play a critical role in preparing our preservice teachers. The college is currently in its 10th year using this model.

The Partner School model “concentrates” the placement of student teachers, with many schools having four to six student teachers at the same time, and individual districts hosting as many as 80 student teachers in a semester.

This provides a variety of advantages: student teachers have peers right in the building for sharing ideas and providing each other feedback; the concentration makes it convenient for professional development and other meetings between groups of mentor teachers, student teachers, and UW faculty supervisors; and finally, the model allows UW faculty to spend more quality time in these schools and districts observing student teachers and providing feedback as opposed to time spent driving from school to school.

Quality field experiences, including residency/student teaching experiences, are essential in a teacher education program. The teachers in the partner districts provide mentoring, support, collaborative opportunities, and ongoing feedback as they support teacher candidates in their final semester of the program. These districts, schools, principals, and master teachers play a significant role in shaping our next generation of educators.

The College of Education began using the Partner School model in 2003, at that time called “Professional Learning Communities.”  In 2007, the college Leadership Council approved the name change to “Partner School Districts.” The model continues to serve us well, and more than 2,000 UW student teachers have completed residency in Partner School sites. In partnership, the Wyoming Teacher Education Program and the Partner School districts pursue the following goals:

  • Collaboration and shared decision making
  • Increased contact between teacher education faculty and mentor teachers (including professional development activities, testing new instructional strategies, shared inquiry efforts, etc.)
  • High quality mentoring and evaluation of preservice teachers in the field
  • Increased communication and articulation within and across elementary, secondary, administration, and university participants within the Partner Districts  
  • Identification of mutual areas for renewal and improved access to education for all learners
  • All partners address and meet their respective accountability and accrediting requirements

The UW College of Education currently has agreements to work with the following Wyoming school districts for student teacher/residency placements:

  • Albany County School District 1 (secondary & elementary)
  • Campbell County School District 1 (secondary & elementary)
  • Fremont County School Districts 14 and 25 (elementary only)
  • Laramie County School District 1 (secondary & elementary)  
  • Natrona County School District 1 (secondary and elementary for University of Wyoming Casper College Center only)
  • Sheridan County School District 2 (elementary only)
  • Sweetwater County School Districts 1 and 2 (elementary only)

We place great value on quality, field-based teacher education; and without our tremendous partners, it wouldn’t be possible. We thank the districts and schools around the state that support the growth and development of our future teachers. Their commitment, modeling of high level practice, and willingness to collaborate have all made the Partner School District model a success for the last decade.  

 

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