EDWARDSVILLE – Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Madison ?Community Unit School District 12 have announced a new partnership beginning this summer. SIUE is providing a series of graduate courses aimed at preparing district teachers to engage in reflective practices improving their effectiveness and helping increase mastery of student learning. In turn, trained educators will be prepared to serve as professional teacher-mentors elevating student outcomes across the district.

The selected group of teachers was recruited to the program based upon their ability to serve in a mentoring role throughout their respective school buildings. The teachers will take a series of courses over two summers to improve their own teaching practice in preparation to serve as mentors.

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Brian Johnson, PhD, associate professor in the SIUE School of Education, Health and Human Behavior’s (SEHHB) Department of Teaching and Learning, has been leading efforts to engage practicing teachers in continuing professional development since arriving at SIUE in 2013.

This unique partnership with Madison CUSD 12 allows the district to fund the graduate courses on behalf of participating teachers. With course costs covered by the district, SIUE is working to remove additional barriers to help the teachers prepare for the courses.

Participating educators will receive admission and enrollment services from the SIUE Office of Online and Educational Outreach, as well as course orientation meetings with Johnson, prior to the first day of classes. This preparation for summer courses is typically done onsite in spring as the school year is winding down, but this spring Madison teachers have successfully navigated an online approach to this work.

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“Orienting teachers to a graduate course reinforces important educational concepts and models how the they can share these concepts with colleagues and students,” Johnson said.

Office of Online and Education Outreach Director Mary Ettling and her staff work within existing enrollment practices to offer service onsite and online as needed or through a one-stop shop approach.

“Working adult students want learning experiences that are immediately relevant to them,” said Ettling. “They have the pressures of job and family which sometimes present barriers to continuing their education. This program provides learning directly applicable to teaching practices. Our office strives to make the administrative process as simple as possible for the teachers who are part of the program. With our partners in the SEHHB Department of Teaching and Learning, we hope to continue expanding our efforts for teachers and paraprofessionals, as well as those looking to change careers and enter the teaching profession.”

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose to shape a changing world. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of more than 13,000.

Photo: Brian Johnson, PhD, associate professor in the SIUE School of Education, Health and Human Behavior’s (SEHHB) Department of Teaching and Learning.

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