The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) just this month filed statewide data for a federal report on the quality of teacher education reflecting favorably on the 51 teacher education institutions in Ohio. Wittenberg University was one of 15 Ohio colleges to be ranked in the first quartile achieved summary on the national Praxis II teacher examination with passing rates of 95-100 percent.
The Springfield-Wittenberg Teacher Institute first began in 1998 as a partnership between local public schools and Wittenberg University. Its goal is to focus the efforts of professors of education and schoolteachers to improve teaching, learning and educational research at the university and public school levels. The Master of Arts in Education curriculum began this fall with a similar purpose.
The Springfield-Wittenberg Teacher Institute aims to enhance teacher education for P-12 teachers by applying the type of education obtained at liberal arts and science institutions such as Wittenberg. The Institute is developing graduate-level courses, seminars and conferences for teachers, administrators and youth workers, which utilize the expertise of university and local master teachers within the Springfield City School District.
"We designed the program to create courses that would make a positive impact on the school system while further developing our educational curriculum at Wittenberg," said Robert Welker, chair and professor of education at Wittenberg University. "I think the great grant reviewers at FIPSE were taken by the idea that we're tying teacher preparation more directly to student learning. We are confident that our joint program will help address the problems being faced in our school system today," Welker concluded.
Last year, 14 Springfield City and seven Clark County teachers were selected to serve as Teaching Associates. This FIPSE grant will support the selection of 10 additional staff members to serve as Teaching Associates.
"This enhanced relationship with Wittenberg takes our ongoing partnership to a new level - one nearly unprecedented between urban public schools and higher education," said Springfield City Schools Superintendent Scott Spears. "I believe we are plowing new ground, and I am inspired by the vision of the Wittenberg faculty to create a new mold for this cooperative venture," Spears added.
The plan called for new graduate courses to be co-created by Wittenberg liberal arts and science faculty and master teachers from public schools. This plan combines content knowledge and research skills with practical classroom experiences in the public schools to improve student performance. In follow-up forums, workshops, conferences and through an interactive Web page, participants who have taken the courses can report the effect on student achievement.
Organizers will explore whether the connection for the improvement of teaching and learning of teachers will produce measurable achievement effects on student learning in the district's classrooms. The outcome of this exciting new venture offers great potential to positively affect the more than 9,600 students in the 13 elementary schools, five middle schools, two high schools and two alternative sites within the Springfield City School district.
Professional development opportunities will form around areas of targeted need: citizenship, character education, social skills, literacy development, and finally, math and science literacy.
Wittenberg is a liberal arts and science institution founded in 1842 and affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. For more than a century Wittenberg has prepared teachers as an integral part of a rigorous liberal arts curriculum. The university's long tradition of teacher education flows from Wittenberg's mission to produce citizens who are creative and thoughtful problem-solvers.
For more information about the Master of Arts in Education program at Wittenberg and the Springfield-Wittenberg Teacher Institute, call (937) 327-6417 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.