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Seated low to the ground in an elementary school chair, Megan Hesson ’20 focused her attention on one third-grade girl at Beverly-Center Elementary School.

The regular instructor, Morgan Liedtke ’16, was at the front of the class teaching the day’s lesson. Hesson’s task was to provide some one-on-one time for a student who had fallen behind.

“I really enjoy working with a student who needs a little extra help and then seeing them figure it out and not need my help anymore,” Hesson says. “I have a student like that now, and it’s great to see her not needing my help and getting almost all of the answers correct.”

Hesson is one of 10 Marietta College students who spend 90 minutes, twice a week at the elementary school, which is about 20 minutes north of campus. Dr. Bill Bauer, McCoy Professor of Education, set up the partnership five years ago. The program has flourished and is making a real impact.

During the 2017–18 school year, Beverly-Center Elementary School received an overall rating of a “B,” with significantly above-average student growth data. Principal Megan Miller says the staff members were thrilled with the rating and even more so when they learned the school was less than half a point away from an “A.”

“This partnership also allows us to ‘divide and conquer,’ as we can individualize more effectively when there is more than one adult in the classroom,” Lockhart says. “I love the collaboration of ideas and strategies, the team-teaching, as well as the interactions our students are receiving. They love the Marietta College students and can’t wait for them to show up the following week.”

— Lenora Lockhart, Fort Frye District Teacher

Easton Berry ’19 reads to students at Beverly-Center Elementary School

“It is impossible to calculate the impact of our partnership with Marietta College, but it is obvious that the gains for everyone have been significant,” Miller says. “At Beverly-Center Elementary we have the pleasure of working with Dr. Bauer and the Education Department at Marietta College. Our work together has created a well-established, powerful partnership that benefits not only education students at Marietta College, but also the students and staff at Beverly-Center Elementary.”

Bauer says the plan was to provide future educators with some tough, real-life classroom experience for about three hours a week, and then the Marietta College students would gather at the elementary school and debrief with Bauer and each other.

“Our students get to learn from a veteran professional staff that allows our students to gain a powerful mentor to guide them through the educational day before they have their student teaching internship,” he says. “Beverly-Center has given us a classroom where I teach Marietta College student teachers theories and methods, and then they go to their mentor classroom and assist their cooperating teachers. We assist them with intervention time, where we assist children with and without disabilities to catch up with their likewise peers.”

Amanda Carpenter ’20 says she has enjoyed her field experience at Beverly-Center.

“I have felt welcomed in the school since the beginning, and I have enjoyed all of the opportunities I’ve received to work with the students in Mrs. (Lois) Neville’s third-grade classroom,” says Carpenter, who is majoring in both Early Childhood Education and Intervention Specialist. “I always have opportunities to ask questions, teach lessons and work with students one on one. It is also nice that, after I have my field hours, I have my methods class at the school. We get to talk as a class about what we have been working on and what we are learning from our cooperating teachers and students. The principal also comes in to check to see how things are going and to tell us new information, which I really appreciate.”

Stephanie Starcher ’96, Fort Frye Local Schools Superintendent, says it is hard to quantify the contribution that the partnership makes, but she’s confident it is having a positive impact.

“The partnership established between the Marietta College Education Department and Beverly-Center Elementary School is a win-win for all of us,” Starcher says. “The preservice teachers receive instruction at the elementary school in their own classroom setting, then go directly into actual elementary classrooms to apply what they are learning. This is the perfect model of experiential learning for the college student, and simultaneously, our elementary students are receiving more one-on-one and small group learning and social supports. Further, teachers become better at their own craft when they mentor preservice teachers because they are more focused and reflective.”

Dr. Tanya Judd Pucella, Chair of Marietta’s Education Department, says the relationship with Fort Frye Local Schools lives up to the meaning of a partnership.

“Marietta College teacher candidates are truly part of the schools and culture in Fort Frye,” she says. “Dr. Bill Bauer is an embedded faculty member at Beverly-Center. He teaches classes in the Beverly-Center building and the students immediately go into a classroom and practice what they have just learned. This opportunity for immediate application of course content with real elementary school students is an experience that is transformative for our pre-service teachers and has proven to be powerful for the students of Beverly-Center as well.”

Judd Pucella says the success of the program has allowed the College’s Education Department to use the model in other districts with success.

“Dr. Cathy Mowrer has utilized a year-long immersive experience for our teaching interns at both Harmar Elementary School in Marietta City Schools and Warren Elementary,” Judd Pucella says. “Instructor Ann Kaufman has been embedded at Marietta Middle School and Jackson Middle School.”

Lenora Lockhart, a teacher in the school district, says the alliance is the perfect way for established and future teachers to work and learn from each other.

“This partnership also allows us to ‘divide and conquer,’ as we can individualize more effectively when there is more than one adult in the classroom,” Lockhart says. “I love the collaboration of ideas and strategies, the team-teaching, as well as the interactions our students are receiving. They love the Marietta College students and can’t wait for them to show up the following week.”

Allison Sells ’15, who is a teacher in the College’s Pioneer Pipeline Program, is a strong proponent of student teachers gaining this experience before they get their first classroom.

“I loved having classes onsite at Beverly-Center,” Sells says. “It provided a unique educational opportunity to talk/debrief amongst my professors and other education students, after a teaching experience that just occurred. I believe that this opportunity allowed me to grow professionally and personally within a school community, unlike other classes or field experiences.”

Miller says it is hard to effectively measure the impact the partnership has had on improving the school’s state report card, but Bauer concludes that no matter how big or small the impact, he is proud of how everybody has embraced the quality of the relationship.

“We are proud to be a small part of the success of the staff at Beverly-Center with their students,” Bauer says. “They are ranked by the Ohio Department of Education as a high-performing school, especially in closing the gap between children with disabilities and their likewise peers without disabilities. It is a win-win situation. Beverly-Center staff has embraced my students and me every semester for five years. It is so encouraging to watch my students learn from their team of educators and watch the collaboration. These students will be very prepared to become seasoned educators after their courses at Beverly-Center.”

- Tom Perry

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