ASU will be sending 20 student teachers to Central High School next fall as part of a student-teaching program through the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.
Ten history and 10 English student teachers will work alongside Central High School teachers to complete the hands-on experience requirement and decrease the school’s student-to-teacher ratio.
Fall 2013 will be the first time the program is used in secondary education, said Nancy Perry, assistant dean of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.
The college introduced iTeachAZ two years ago for elementary and early-childhood education. But the program was not used in secondary education because college students had to take more courses, Perry said.
Now, the program is set up so students can complete their classes and work in the program for a year instead of just 15 weeks, Perry said.
The extra semester gives students a better understanding of teaching because they get to see the whole process from the beginning to end, Perry said.
“Our goal as a college is that the district would be interested in hiring our students because they’ve trained a year in the district,” Perry said.
Fulton students will also be taking methods courses that will instruct them on how to teach. They will have access to any professional development the school district has to offer and will have a full-time ASU faculty member at Central High for support, Perry said.
Having college students on campus will be great for the students, said Dr. Schavon Waggoner, assistant principal for instruction at Central High. She hopes to create a classroom specifically for the ASU students.
“The students can walk by and see them (the ASU students) and Sparky,” Waggoner said. “We want it to be a supportive environment. Like a little mini ASU on the Central campus.”
The program will also provide additional tutoring opportunities for Central High students, Waggoner said.
ASU students will spend four days a week in the classroom, said Robin Milne, executive director of Phoenix Suns Charities. More teachers in the classroom increases the amount of individual time each student receives.
In addition to ASU’s increased interest, the Phoenix Suns have been working with Central High School to reduce the school’s drop-out rate, Milne said. Suns owner Robert Sarver started the partnership after U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke at an NBA owners meeting.
“He said the nation’s dropout rate tends to come from a few schools with high dropout rates,” Milne said. “We realized we had one of those schools in our neighborhood. We kind of adopted Central.”
Milne said getting teachers into Central High was one of the goals of the Suns partnership. They give $200,000 annually to pay teachers’ salaries and supply additional teachers as needed.
“We want to do everything we can to keep these kids in school,” Milne said.
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