The College of Education embarked upon the creation of partner schools on November 1996. The goals of this collaboration are to improve student learning P-16, to strengthen teacher education, to promote professional development for public school and university faculty, and to strengthen joint research and inquiry. Arkansas State University and the partnership schools agree that the philosophy and concept of renewal are integral to the development of future educators who know and demonstrate best practices. Simultaneous renewal is the collaborative growth between partner schools and higher education institutions to simultaneously create and refine more effective P-16 seamless programs. By pooling our efforts and resources and embarking on simultaneous renewal through inquiry, research, and dissemination, it is our hope to better prepare educators who will in turn improve student learning across all levels and disciplines. Most importantly, the students in the teacher preparation programs benefit from having experienced supervisors who engage with the best in educational theory and experienced supervisors who engage with the daily classroom challenges of the teaching practice. This approach fosters the connection among the three main elements of a teacher's training: subject matter preparation, pedagogical training, and field experience.
What is a Partner School?
A school-university partnership is a formal agreement between a professional education program at a university and a public school to collaborate on programs and projects that both have a common interest. The major purpose of this partnership is to bring all stakeholders together to improve the quality of teaching and learning for students of all ages.
A partnership is based on mutual trust, respect, and is seen as mutually beneficial to all partners as they collaborate. School partners work together over time, building relationships and commitment to their shared goals. In this commitment they develop new strategies, roles and relationships to support their work.
In the daily work of a partnership school, there are several individuals who assume major roles. They are as follows:
- Clinical adjunct - a public school teacher who serves as liaison with the university. The clinical adjunct performs duties such as facilitating placements, organizing orientations, advocating the partnership, conducting evaluations of university students, and supporting pre-service students and clinical supervisors.
- University liaison - a university professor who serves as liaison between the public school and the university. Responsibilities include facilitating the placements of pre-service students at the school, supervising students in the field placements, working collaboratively with the school on projects/initiatives, supporting and collaborating with the clinical adjuncts and teachers in the schools, working with the school principal, and serving on the site forum.
- Principal - the leader of the school who works collaboratively with the clinical adjunct and the university coordinator.
- Any school interested in becoming a partnership school should see the Partner Application Process.
A-State College of Education and Professional Development Schools Assumptions
In March 6, 1997 university and public school representatives agreed upon a set of assumptions for the partnership commitment. The assumptions are as follows:
- The partnership exists to improve the quality of teaching and learning for students in P-16.
- The alignment of the standards for teaching and the standards for learning will be a prime factor in the improvement of the quality of teaching and learning for students in P-16.
- The goals of the partnership can only be achieved through honest, open, reflective communication between equal partners.
- Success in achieving the goals of the partnership requires all stakeholders and their institutions to commit the resources necessary to implement the partnership's activities.
- Mutual development of professional knowledge and growth of university/public school faculty and administrators and pre-service educators facilitates the improvement of teaching and learning of students in P-16.
- The processes for improvement undertaken by the partnerships are based on empirically sound evidence.
- Partners actively engage one another in inquiry, research, and dissemination.
Attributes of Public Schools
- Principal/Superintendent agrees to support partnership.
- Teachers (75%) endorse partnership and understand their role.
- Commitment to renewal.
- Acceptance of pre-service teachers at all field level experiences.
- A-State and school faculty read, reflect, research, and recreate together for their personal and professional development.
- Provide space for partnership activities including access to most learning facilities.
- Partnership faculty members act as liaison with university and allow release time to accomplish liaison duties.
- When appropriate, agree to accept educational administration and counselor education interns.
- Seek approval for deregulation of any state requirements that create obstacles to an effective collaborative arrangement.
- Formalize commitment.
- Provide programs and activities allowing pre-service teachers access to a diverse student population.
Attributes for Institutions of Higher Education
- Dean, VP, and President agree to support the partnership.
- Professional education faculty, endorse partnership and understand the roles of faculty in the partnerships.
- Commitment to renewal of P-16 as a shared responsibility.
- A-State faculty and public school faculty read, reflect, research, and recreate together for their personal and professional development.
- A-State faculty work closely with all involved public school personnel and use the clinical adjunct as a liaison at the building level.
- A-State faculty participate in implementation of renewal focus/project.
- A-State faculty provide support to pre-service teacher education students in partnership schools.
- A-State faculty collaborate with community institutions.
- A-State faculty and administrators work for deregulation of any state requirements that create obstacles to an effective collaboration effort.
Application Process for Becoming a Partnership School
- Create a proposal for admission as a partnership school by writing a narrative addressing your school with regards to the Attributes of Partnership Schools. Include any supporting information to clarify meeting the partnership attributes.
- Give the narrative to one of the Co-Chairs of the Partnership Network Council or to the Profession Education Programs Director. The Professional Education Programs Director will forward the proposal to the Co-Chairs of the Network Council. The Council will review and send to the Partnership Executive Board.
- The Executive Board will review the narrative. Availability of A-State faculty to serve as a university coordinator and the partner school faculty to serve as clinical adjunct(s) will be considered in the application process.
- After review and decision by the Partnership Executive Board, written notification will be sent to the school applying for partnership.