A unique initiative created by the Cato College of Education and Kannapolis City Schools has been recognized as an Exemplary Partnership by the National Association for Professional Development Schools.
UNC Charlotte and Kannapolis City Schools are currently in the third year of an initiative allowing an annual group of elementary school candidates to pair with a Kannapolis City Schools elementary school teacher to spend an intensive year working in the classroom with students.
The program requires nearly three times as many clinical hours in comparison to traditional programs: 180 to 200 hours instead of 96.
“Time in the classroom under the mentorship of teachers and faculty is critical,” said Michael Putman, chair of the Department of Reading and Elementary Education. “We also made deliberate efforts to align content in coursework with school experiences, which added meaning, relevance, and authenticity, thereby developing candidates' knowledge and skills.”
The partnership also includes opportunities for Kannapolis teachers to contribute to content in UNC Charlotte courses and opportunities for Kannapolis school leaders to teach courses at the University. To date, 24 of the 36 UNC Charlotte students who have graduated have been hired by Kannapolis City Schools.
UNC Charlotte and Kannapolis City Schools have collaborated for nearly two decades on efforts to support teaching and learning in Kannapolis as well as to support the development of future teachers and administrators.
The team is taking the next year to evaluate outcomes and consider opportunities to seek funding to continue the program into the future.
NAPDS is the pre-eminent national organization supporting the critical linkage between higher education and public schools in the clinical preparation of teachers. The association seeks to advance the education profession by sustaining Professional Development Schools partnerships as learning communities in support of improved student learning, teacher preparation, reciprocal professional development and shared inquiry.