This is the latest in a series of blog posts by partnering teachers.
By Sarah Schimmel, Teacher Education Program Director, Assistant Professor of Special Education, West Liberty University
Through the years, Lou Karas’ impact on West Liberty University students, faculty, and staff has been enormous. This impact is compounded by the impact within our community. Each year hundreds of P-12 students spent time on campus in the Center for Arts and Education (CAE), of which Lou is the Director. Not only does she coordinate on-campus activities in the CAE maker-space, she travels with a team of available graduate assistants and teacher candidates to partner schools.
When Lou brought the concept of Fluency to us at WLU, we were thrilled at the opportunity and excited to coordinate with Dr. MaryLu Hutchins. This Project (process) allowed for strengthening partnerships as well as collaboration opportunities for P-12 and WLU faculty and administrators. Recently, we have added teacher candidates and more graduate assistants to the cohorts, and the impact is clearly felt. The tri-state Fluency impact is a cultural change of all involved becoming producers and not consumers of technology.
Within the classes at WLU, the teacher candidates in collaboration with P-12 are researching contextual factors data and analyzing it to compare with how they remember the dynamics of their home schools they attended. Teacher candidates are also creating visual field trips to be able to use in their future classrooms. All of the values of Fluency align to the our accrediting body’s focus on cross-cutting themes of diversity and technology. We are proud to see this all come alive.
This is just the beginning! This year WLU Teacher Education Program is piloting year-long residency for student teaching. Within the Fluency cohort 4 will be the administrator, educators, teacher candidates, and graduate assistants. We look forward to seeing how the Fluency Project, Professional Development Schools (PDS), and our pilot of the year-long residency.
We at WLU are thankful for this opportunity to collaborate with all those involved in the Project.