CUSP Featured in NEVADAToday

CUSP Featured in NEVADAToday

CUSP founding member Dr. Margaret Ferrara of UNR CoE (center bottom) gets funky with motivational spirit as the program begins to soar. Like the swirling colors in tie dye, Washoe County schools, The University of Nevada and committed community members come together to form something sweeter than themselves alone- a partnership that will further the education of all in our area.

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One View: NevadaTeach addressing teacher shortage- From the Reno Gazette Journal

Written by Glenn Waddell and Megan Beckam for the Reno Gazette Journal. Article first appeared Feb 11, 2016.

 

In the Jan. 18 One View column, Brent Husson of Nevada Succeeds said, “If Nevada is to continue to progress in reforming our education system we must, as a community, address the teacher shortage and the overall deficit of leadership in the industry.”

Providing comprehensive teacher preparation is a first step towards improving our education system. Research shows the strongest teachers are those who have degrees in their core subjects. It is no secret that stellar teacher preparation pairs content knowledge with equally strong teaching skills.

This is why the University of Nevada, Reno launched NevadaTeach to address science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) needs. NevadaTeach is a joint initiative between the Colleges of Education and Science with the Colleges of Engineering and Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Natural Resources joining this semester. We kicked off its first semester in fall 2015 and are already showing outstanding growth.

This program encourages STEM majors to seek teaching as a career path. It is structured so learners can finish two degrees — one in their STEM content area and one in secondary education — in four years. Upon graduating, they will have the content knowledge and teaching courses necessary to apply for teacher licensure. In addition, NevadaTeach shakes up the typical education course progression.

In traditional teacher education programs, students may not get classroom experience until their senior year. In NevadaTeach, classroom experience is a part of their first class as freshmen, so they are given an opportunity to “try out teaching” to see if it is a viable career option. Many students don’t know they are interested in teaching until later in life; we offer them the chance to discover this joy early. Does it work? The initial comments of the students say yes. One said, “When I joined NevadaTeach, I wasn’t too interested in being a teacher. With all the ‘teach days,’ though, I am a lot more interested in teaching.” NevadaTeach also increases field experiences from three to five courses and focuses on inquiry-based learning. The program encourages critical thinking, the interrelationship of content, and positive learning outcomes.

NevadaTeach is geared towards addressing the teacher shortage by focusing on producing high quality graduates that love teaching and will choose to stay in the classroom long-term. Our first cohort, those who began their first class last fall, totaled 42 students. As of this writing, 67 percent of those students have moved forward, and another 33 have started the program this semester.

UTeach, which NevadaTeach is modeled after, has been successfully producing high quality secondary math and science teachers since 1997. The UTeach Institute was established in 2006 to support replication of the program at universities across the United States, and to lead efforts toward continuous improvement of the UTeach model. The UTeach Institute partners with 44 universities to implement programs in 21 states and the District of Columbia. Approximately 80 percent of graduates at UTeach programs are still in schools five years later.

Nevada’s education solutions start with strong teacher preparation, and UNR is answering the call in STEM education with NevadaTeach.

Glenn Waddell and Megan Beckam are master teachers with NevadaTeach at the University of Nevada, Reno.

LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE ON RGJ.COM

Moving A Professional Development School Toward Professional Learning

Nevada is not simply focused on Common Core State Standards (CCSS) but more inclusively, Nevada Academic Content Standards, a broader term that includes multiple content standards. The higher education faculty in the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Reno realized that our work needed to inform and make an impact in our urban and largely diverse school district. Therefore, we have become more inclusive in our partnerships and now include the community, the university, and the school district in a partnership focused on student success to be career and college ready.


One of our first explorations in 2014-2015 was to move beyond our two partnerships with schools in the district to become more inclusive and integrated into the district and local community. We have designated this new initiative as CUSP – Community, University, and School Partnership. This partnership holds the principles of Professional Development Schools but brings in more leaders from the school district in curriculum, teaching, and assessment, as well as representatives from the community, into the collaboration. CUSP brings together faculty from across the district, university, and community to make meaningful connections for preservice and inservice learning experiences. These include: (1) district-university professional development initiatives that are captured through involvement with the district Saturday Cafés; (2) continued exploration of service learning projects for university students across the institution; and (3) outreach activities with university campus projects (e.g., writing workshops) to help address challenges in the school district where over 65% of the students are from underrepresented populations.
Led by Margaret M. Ferrara, College of Education, University of Nevada, Reno, the team consists of Linda Vancitters, Field Based IETP Teacher, Washoe County School District; Sherrie Bonderson, Field Based Secondary Teacher, Washoe County School District; Michelle Hinkson, Field Based Special Education Teacher, Washoe County School District; and Mark Romo, Graduate Assistant, Secondary Education, College of Education, UNR.

CUSP: Expanding Partnerships in Nevada

CUSP: Expanding Partnerships in Nevada
Margaret M. Ferrara, University of Nevada Reno
The Community University School Partnership, known as CUSP, located at the College of Education, University of Nevada PDS, has supported the college’s mission statement as well as to partner more closely with Washoe County School District (WCSD) and the surrounding community. This works is supported in the district through the leadership of Salwa Zaki, Director, Department of Professional Learning. CUSP’s intent revolves around building partnerships for student learning.


Partnerships in education reform are nothing new. Reform involves complex social problems that no one partnership can fix in isolation. CUSP works from a “collective impact” approach. The team uses a centralized infrastructure, a dedicated staff, and a structured process that leads to a common agenda, shared measurement, continuous communication, and mutually reinforcing activities among all participants.


CUSP serves as the backbone of the multiple initiatives that are currently in place to support student learning and teacher leadership at a time when there is a high need to reverse education gaps. We are fortunate that multiple partners share this vision and are working together. This year, CUSP expects growing its membership to include community partners as well as new initiatives that emerge in the College of Education and other Colleges and the school district.
This past May, CUSP hosted its first showcase, during which education leaders and influencers across the state came together to celebrate the progress and further the discussion. To date, several partnerships under the CUSP umbrella include Dean’s Future Scholars, Nevada Mathematics Project, Learning Forward, Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports, Saturday Cafes, NNELI, and Digital Literacy. To learn more about CUSP, visit http://www.cuspnv.org

Community University School Partnership designed to foster continuous learning

Community University School Partnership designed to foster continuous learning

From left to right: CUSP partners Sherrie Bonderson, Field Based Secondary Teacher, Washoe County School District; Michelle Hinkson, Field Based Special Education Teacher, Washoe County School District; Margaret M. Ferrara, College of Education, University of Nevada, Reno; Mark Romo, Graduate Assistant, Secondary Education, College of Education, University of Nevada, Reno; and Linda Vancitters, Field Based IETP Teacher, Washoe County School District.

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