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Students Serve Teacher Practicum at a Denver Public School

March 16, 2009

The opportunity to teach in an urban setting is rare for students enrolled in the Wyoming Teacher Education Program (WTEP), but a new option has been created to provide students with an intensive practicum experience at a Denver public school.

The UW College of Education this spring launched an urban section of EDST, "Teacher as Practitioner." Supervised by educational studies faculty member Angela Jaime, 16 preservice teachers travel to Park Hill Elementary School for their practicum. By the end of the semester, the group will spend up to 10 Fridays at the historic school, interacting with mentor teachers and their students.

Most WTEP students are placed in partner schools around Wyoming for their practicum assignments, a requirement for all UW pre-service teachers before they receive their student teaching assignments. Nearly all students serve practicum assignments in Wyoming schools.

Practicum days are intense: About 13 hours including travel to and from Denver. Students are kept busy from the moment they enter the building in the morning until departure time, but Jaime says they enjoy the exhausting schedule set up by school staff.

"They put them to work the minute they walk into the door, and it's like pulling teeth to get them out just before 3," she says.

For many students, enrolling in the special section was as an opportunity to build upon a positive experience they had during a one-day visit to an urban school during EDST 2480, "Diversity and the Politics of Schooling."

"More than any other aspect of that (diversity) class, that's the one thing about which they say, 'this changed my view on education, this influenced me to think about doing urban education,'" Jaime says.

Whether or not they ultimately end up in an urban classroom during their teaching careers, students gain lessons of value from the experience.

"My goal for them, in this particular section, is the idea of being in an urban setting and that it is not that much different than being in a rural setting," Jaime says. "Sure, you have the city that surrounds this little school. But kids are kids.

"Ultimately, teachers have the same goals," she adds. "They want their children to be healthy, critical thinkers. They want them to learn, they want them to succeed. That is the common thread between urban and rural education."

Students participating in the Denver practicum are:
Aladdin -- John Telsrow.
Casper -- Joanna Bonck, Mark Fleming.
Cheyenne -- Erica Anderson, Sara Simpson.
Colorado Springs, Colo. -- Kristina Offut, Jennifer Ward.
Evanston -- Paul Tholl.
Gillette -- Kelly Nedved.
Gypsum, Colo. -- Ashley Padgett.
Laramie -- Ashlee Gray.
Moorcroft -- Bau Johnson.
Osaka, Japan -- Aya Yoneguchi.
Sheridan -- Eden Andrews, Brianna Hofmeier.

Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009

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