Secondary & Middle Grades Education

SMGE Partnerships

smge_partnerships.jpgThe Department of Secondary & Middle Grades Education currently has two significant types of partnerships with area middle schools: our Yearlong Internships and our five-year partnership with Smitha Middle School of Cobb County School District through KSU’s Teacher Quality Partnership grant.

Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP)
Through KSU’s TQP grant, teacher candidates in the Urban Education option have spent their junior and senior years in residence at Smitha Middle. KSU teacher candidates received special training in teaching students who are English language learners, students with special needs, and students who are economically disadvantaged. Teacher candidates also received specific instruction in the use of technology, classroom management, differentiation, assessment, literacy, and engaging families. The Urban Education Option is a two-year commitment in which the majority of junior and senior level education courses and field work took place in Cobb County public schools and are taught by teams of KSU faculty and Cobb County faculty.
The mission of KSU’s Urban Education option is to partner with Cobb County teachers, parents, community groups, and administrators, as well as students to prepare teacher candidates to effectively teach in high needs schools. As the funding period ends, KSU initial certification programs are being re-designed to incorporate many aspects of the Urban Education Option.

Yearlong Internships
The Department of Secondary & Middle Grades Education piloted a yearlong internship (YLI) field placement model in the fall of 2008. Dr. Kim Gray and Thomas Monti (Marietta Middle) proposed that middle grades education pre-service teacher candidates be placed in the same middle school classroom for both their TOSS methods field experience (in the fall) and their subsequent student teaching placement (in the spring). After this model was proven to be a win/win for the KSU teacher candidate and Marietta Middle, partnerships between our Middle Grades Education program and area middle schools have been expanded. For 2014-2015, we partner with five middle schools:

The goal of the yearlong internships was for the mentor and teacher candidate pair to form a co-teaching relationship where collaborative planning, teaching, assessment, and reflecting provide a rich environment for the learning of the KSU teacher candidate and the school’s middle grades learners. Benefits for the mentor classroom teacher and his or her students include having an intern throughout the academic year, which reduces the teacher-to-student ratio in the classroom and provides opportunity for more individualized and hands-on instruction.

From this yearlong internship, the KSU teacher candidates better understands

  • the needs of his or her learners
  • the context of a middle school
  • all the instructional and non-instructional duties of a professional educator
  • the development of the curriculum across the year

 As a consequence, KSU teacher candidates are more effective at designing appropriate instruction that meets the needs of their students and are more effective at managing a classroom because they learn how to manage classrooms by building relationships with students. From research and anecdotal evidence on these candidates, we know that teacher candidates who participate in the YLI are far better prepared to be first year teachers.