Academic journal article Education

School Renewal: Analysis and Findings from a School-University Partnership

Academic journal article Education

School Renewal: Analysis and Findings from a School-University Partnership

Article excerpt

As the twentieth century draws to a close, educators are being held accountable for school improvements that, supposedly, occurred during the last two decades. The public wants evidence that their schools are improving. The following renewal project provides such evidence.

Partners Transforming Education: School*University*Community is a process model to plan and articulate the simultaneous renewal of the education of educators and the PreK-12 sector. The College of Education and Human Services, Wright State University, has been formally involved in this ongoing process to bring about systemic change to PreK-higher education since January, 1992. Partners Transforming Education has involved over 430 people representative of the PreK-12 sector, business, human service agencies, the University, the military, and others, to give input on the changes needed to create a new culture of collaborative educators responsive to society's needs.

Individuals from the PreK-12 sector, working with this initiative, are general classroom teachers, special education teachers and administrators representative of a number of school systems within the Dayton metropolitan region that Wright State University serves. With the amount of criticism aimed at the public schools and the growing concern about teacher education programs, educators can no longer work in isolation. The College has faced the challenge and invited not only the PreK-12 sector to join hands in problem solving, but has turned to the University at large and the Community to work collaboratively in building a program that will prepare more qualified pre-service teachers and renew PreK-12 and higher education faculties and administrators.

This concept of "simultaneous renewal" of both PreK-12 and Teacher Education surfaced as an essential component of advancement efforts. No partnership can exist where only one partner grows and benefits. As Goodlad establishes in Educational Renewal: Better Teachers, Better Schools (1994) working together must be mutually advantageous.

Partners Transforming Education is moving forward the newly designed teacher education curricula. With a newly conceptualized post baccalaureate professional school model, and formally established partnership school sites within local PreK-12 schools. Classroom teachers, school administrators, arts and sciences faculty, education and human services faculty, and community representatives will continue serving as integral collaborators in the ongoing process for renewal. All partners are actively involved in professional development activities and a newly designed governance structure. The College of Education and Human Services at Wright State University functions as one of sixteen member sites of John 1. Goodlad's National Network for Educational Renewal and is currently a selected member of the National Education Association's Center for Innovation, Teacher Education Initiative. These initiatives contribute significantly to moving the College agenda forward by focusing our energy and resources on the College's fundamental commitment: "Working with others to better understand and improve the human condition."

The partner schools and districts also have an identified agenda for specific goals and improvements. The partnership goal focuses on moving the agenda of both parties forward. Evidence of mutual activity in this particular site is presented later in this paper.

The Professional Year Program Pilot

Wright State University, located in Fairborn, Ohio, has a long standing relationship with the adjacent school district. Fairborn teachers, administrators and human service agencies have been instrumental in Wright State renewal efforts. Due to the location and longevity of the two systems' interaction, the first professional year program pilot was housed in the Fairborn School District. The district's three buildings, identified as Professional Development Schools (PDS), include the largest elementary school in Ohio, Five Points (where segments of the new program were initially piloted), Baker Junior High and Fairborn High School. …

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