Pilot program off to a strong start

Above: Dr. Gordon Eisenman speaks to faculty at Lake Forest Hills Elementary School.

AUGUSTA, GA. – As part of the pilot program the College of Education recently launched, Mrs. Debbie Callan, Dr. Gordon Eisenman, Dr. Beth Pendergraft and Dr. Judi Wilson are teaching their Block I Early Childhood classes at Lake Forest Hills Elementary School in Richmond County this semester.

“The professors and GRU teacher candidates are learning so much through this ‘real life’ experience,” Wilson said. The new teacher candidates have decorated the classroom, and the professors are integrating field experience into the curriculum for the entire semester. College faculty and P-12 school faculty are working with co-teaching settings, providing professional development and directly supervising teacher candidates as they learn to implement pedagogical strategies. The pilot program has begin at Lake Forest, with the intention of expanding to other schools and districts in the future.

“This allows university faculty to bring the latest research in best practices into the schools and to share that information more readily with classroom teachers, while working alongside them to implement those best practices,” said Dr. Paula Dohoney, Associate Dean of the College of Education.

Georgia Regents University is leading the redesign of educator preparation programs with an innovative new pilot program for teachers in training. The College of Education, with the support of a grant from the Georgia Network for Transforming Educator Preparation, has forged partnerships with local schools in order to smoothly transition GRU education students into teaching.

“Educator preparation is changing dramatically throughout the state and the nation. This pilot program is designed to integrate field experience and academic coursework before student teaching,” said Dr. Paula Dohoney, Associate Dean of the GRU College of Education.

Georgia is one of seven states selected to participate in a two-year pilot focused on transforming educator preparation and entry systems to the profession. The initiative — led by the Council of Chief State School Officers, or CCSSO, and formally called the Network for Transforming Educator Preparation, or NTEP — grew out of a “call to action” that CCSSO issued late last year and adds to the growing momentum to make university-based teacher preparation programs more accountable for student achievement.

“We are grateful to Principal Sonya Bailey, Instructional Coach Kaye Walden, and the Lake Forest Hills Elementary teachers for their enthusiastic support of this initiative,” Wilson said. “It has been an overwhelmingly positive experience.”

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