Judith Herb College of Education

Launch into Literacy: Seven Years of Partnerships

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Educational partnerships between the Judith Herb College of Education and local school districts have provided quality preparation for our preservice teachers and improved public school student achievement for at-risk learners. Since 2010, seven university-school partnerships in three local school districts were developed. This has provided a win–win scenario for multiple constituents in ways that have exceeded expectations.

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The Launch into Literacy with the UT Rockets program was created to increase the effectiveness of teacher candidates’ professional preparation while engaging in mutually beneficial partnerships with area schools. This program has provided the venue for teacher candidates to apply the required work in the course, Literacy Assessment and Remediation. The literacy class that previously met on-campus transformed into an on-site laboratory.

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Over 600 teacher candidates and 600 at-risk readers have benefitted from this work. The demand exceeds the supply as the university reaches out to the community. As professors, principals and classroom teachers pool efforts and work together toward common goals and priorities: implement what works and close the achievement gap. Having a shared vision, creating a viable communication system with partners and devising formative and quantitative assessments to measure achievement has been fundamental to sustain our partnerships.

 

In spring 2015, we serviced 54 students who were at-risk of failing third grade. The Ohio State tests revealed that 76.4% met the standards for the Third Grade Guarantee and moved to fourth grade. More recently, in Fall 2016- Spring 2017, we serviced 45 at-risk readers in third grade and 88% were promoted to fourth grade.

 

The very essence of the program has been to create an authentic experiential learning environment where preservice teachers link theory and research taught in the university classroom with practice in the local schools. We strive to optimize learning by teaching the course on site, delivering hands-on training and providing immediate feedback to preservice teachers.   Teacher candidates work with an at-risk reader for the semester. As part of the coursework, students learn how to conduct assessments, interpret data and determine appropriate instructional approaches based on assessment information.  Teacher candidates learn invaluable skills as struggling readers receive customized, one-on-one tutoring at no cost to parents.

Our preservice teachers have had substantial results with most at-risk readers increasing a grade level in their performance. Research is clear that our partnerships have proven to be invaluable for our teacher candidates and for students in our local schools.

  


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