Gannon University’s education department and St. Peter’s Cathedral School have reached an agreement, seeking to enhance the learning of experience of students at both institutions.
With this program, Gannon education majors can practice teaching in St. Peters Cathedral School under the supervision of St. Peter’s Cathedral teachers and Gannon education professors. St. Peter’s Cathedral School is now a professional development school. It became one as a result of the agreement.
The idea of the partnership began in 2012 when Mary Gibson became the principal of St. Peter’s Cathedral School. Kathleen Kingston, Ph.D., the associate provost at Gannon who was then in charge of the graduate program for the school of education, and Janice Whiteman, the head of the education department at Gannon, met with Gibson to help her. They talked of student field experience and faculty development.
Some of the aspects of the agreement include giving Gannon education students field experience and giving St. Peter’s Cathedral professional development opportunities on in-service days. For example, Jill Merritt, Ph.D., does some of the Early Childhood and Special Education opportunities and Leighann Forbes, Ph.D., does the technology professional development opportunities.
To benefit Gannon, three education classes are taught at St. Peter’s Cathedral School, and students also have the chance to observe and deliver lessons.
Forbes said the two institutions have a professional development partnership.
“We teach courses in that building, which gives a real-world environment for students to focus on education,” Forbes said. “While our students learn about teaching, we help the St. Peter’s students become more successful in the aspects of literacy.”
The new project began in January. Whiteman said it helps students make good choices as teachers.
“It is connected to the adolescent lit course,” she said. “Part of the course for Gannon students is to learn about different genres and how to select books for literary genres and how to select books for their classroom.”
The students go through the St. Peter’s Cathedral School library and make book recommendations for language arts classes. The students learn to determine which books the library should keep and which they should not, Whiteman said.
“I see that as a win-win situation,” she said. “Gannon students learn about titles of books. St. Peter’s Cathedral students benefit from the new book selections.”
Another goal of the program is to introduce St. Peter’s Cathedral students to nonfiction literature.
Whiteman said one of the benefits of this partnership is the addition of extra help in the classroom, which allows for small-group instruction that wouldn’t happen with a single teacher.
“Within walking distance, Gannon education students are seeing quality education and becoming part of the school environment,” she said. “A student is dedicated for 10 hours a week to do one-on-one literacy tutoring.”