Take twenty Arkansas Tech University early childhood education students in need of hands-on training during summer school.
Add in twenty Dover School District students in kindergarten through second grade with a chance to improve their skills before the start of a new school year.
According to June Lawson, visiting assistant professor of early childhood education and director of teacher education student services at Arkansas Tech, bringing those two groups together in a four-week program was a benefit for all involved.
“This experience has been valuable and will supply our students with real-world background knowledge for future courses in math methods and or literacy,” said Lawson. “It is inspiring to hear about the enthusiasm that has been generated in this elementary school.”
Under the direction of Dr. Timothy Leggett, assistant professor of early childhood education at Arkansas Tech, students in a pair of summer term II early childhood classes began participating in the Dover School District’s Jump Start program on July 9.
Jump Start utilizes an accelerated learning approach to help K-2 students improve their reading and math skills. Lisa Rentfro and Jaime Elmore, teachers at Dover Elementary School, facilitate the curriculum.
The assistance provided by the teacher candidates from Arkansas Tech allowed the Dover students to receive one-on-one reinforcement of their daily lessons.
“It is a win-win situation when you have that many extra hands in the classroom,” said Lawson.
The experience was made even better by the fact that the Dover School District provided Leggett and his Arkansas Tech students with a space to conduct their daily classes following the dismissal of the Jump Start students.
“Our teacher candidates have worked hard on the pedagogy of the two courses by putting in the time in the evenings to study assignments in exchange for the privilege of working in this innovative program,” said Leggett.
Donald Forehand, principal at Dover Elementary School, and Josh Daniels, the school’s assistant principal, hosted a hot dog lunch for the Dover students, their parents and the Arkansas Tech students on July 24.
Jerry Owens, superintendent of the Dover School District, and Sue Virden, curriculum coordinator and federal programs director for the Dover School District, were also among those in attendance.
Parents were asked to evaluate the progress their children have made during Jump Start.
“Many successes were noted and even some students raised their hands to share how much fun they are having this summer,” said Lawson. “Some parents were quick to point out how their children have suddenly begun reading and writing sentences or solving word problems. It will surely give them a boost as they begin the next school year in just a few short weeks.”