A partnership between Arkansas Tech University and the Russellville School District is providing ATU College of Education students with experiences that might have otherwise been lost due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Through the use of technologies such as Google Classroom, SeeSaw and Google Meet, ATU teacher candidates are assisting teachers on teacher teams in Russellville K-12 schools. The ATU students are helping RSD teachers prepare for remote and classroom learning.
By implementing these practices with technical assistance from the ATU Office of Information Systems, the ATU College of Education is helping its students overcome the loss of early field experiences and early internships due to COVID-19.
"We believe that these experiences will give our students a competitive edge when they enter the job market,” said Dr. Linda Bean, dean of the ATU College of Education.
Dr. Theresa Cullen, head of the ATU Department of Curriculum and Instruction, hopes the pilot program with Russellville School District will lead to the inclusion of similar initiatives elsewhere in ATU's teacher preparation curriculum.
“I am most excited by the professionalism that our students are experiencing and how they are assisting teachers in adapting learning for all students during the most unexpected of situations," said Cullen. "We are not about to let this strange semester keep us from preparing teachers who are ready for anything."
Danielle Hodges, director of ATU College of Education Teacher Education Student Services, said that Judy Pennington and Karie Turney from the Russellville School District have been integral in making the program a success.
“Russellville School District is such an amazing partner," said Hodges. "Even in the midst of the pandemic, they acknowledged how important these professional experiences are for future educators and moved mountains to give our students this opportunity."
ATU's programs in education are accredited through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The ATU Department of Curriculum and Instruction prepares undergraduate students for career opportunities in elementary education, middle level education and secondary education.
Visit www.atu.edu/education to learn more.