Educating children requires collaboration from all participants that are stakeholders in the success of the learning
process. These stakeholders would include students, parents/guardians, teachers, administrators and the community. This year Phillips Elementary School has embarked on a partnership with Marietta College as part of community outreach. This partnership is beneficial for Phillips’ students and teachers, as well as Marietta College students who are training in the field of education. The partnership has been designed by a team at Marietta College to include Dr. Dottie Erb, Dean of the Marietta College Department of Education, Dr. Carole Hancock, Dr. Elaine O’Rourke, Dr. Cathy Mowrer and Dr. Bill Bauer.
Beginning this year, Marietta College initial field experience students will be actively observing classes at Phillips School in subject areas of reading, math, social studies and science to fulfill their education degree requirements. For each semester, Marietta College initial field experience students will be an active part of Phillips classes, not only to observe teaching methods, but to also work with individual students and small groups of students. The amount of hours in a particular classroom as an initial field experience student depends upon the particular course requirement. Collectively, Phillips teachers and MC initial field experience students will be able to exchange ideas and knowledge in teaching strategies and focused curriculum for various subject areas. Students at Phillips have responded well to having an additional educator in the room for select days of the week as part of their learning process. The addition of college students in the classroom serves as positive role modeling for the younger students’ learning process. Phillips students understand why these college students are in the classroom and it provides all students the observational piece for the importance of learning.
As part of the partnership, Marietta College has invited Phillips teachers for professional development opportunities in exchange for contributing class time to the experiential growth of MC education students. On September 15, Phillips teachers attended a workshop from the Operation Respect: Don’t Laugh at Me project presented by Molly McCloskey. The Operation Respect program was developed by Peter Yarrow of the 1960s folk trio group Peter, Paul and Mary. The basic philosophy of this anti-bullying program is to serve as an enrichment of ongoing efforts to build young people’s emotional, ethical and social development through character education, conflict resolution and teaching of tolerance programs. The program is one of the few programs to target anti-bullying through the use of curriculum, music and song. One of the featured songs of the program is entitled “Don’t Laugh at Me,” written by Steve Seskin and Allen Shamblin. The Operation Respect program is presented as a complete curriculum with books and CDs for age-appropriate activities and games to teach good character skills. This workshop brought a new resource and perspective to the ongoing mission in schools of working toward respect for everyone.
In addition to character development, October’s workshop at Marietta College featured the subject of mathematics. On October 13, teachers from Phillips Elementary attended a workshop taught by Dr. Sherry Parrish. Dr. Parrish is the creator and author of “Number Talks” which is a program designed to help students understand that math is not just a series of steps and procedures, but a problem solving method to manipulating numbers. For instance, teachers were taught how students could understand the manipulation of various number equations from distributive properties to assist with solving math problems mentally. Phillips teachers will be able to take the knowledge and resources gained from this class and apply it in their own math instruction. “Number Talks” can be a successful approach for changing the way students comprehend math, and most importantly the relationships of numbers in math conceptually. Several teachers have already mentioned incorporating this time period into their instruction to enhance the existing curriculum. To further Phillips’ development and continuation of this math approach, Marietta College donated a book and instructional DVD.
October also brings our Title I literacy night for kindergarten through second grade families. This is a fun night entitled “Harvesting New Books To Read.” Marietta College students and Phillips Title I teachers work collaboratively to plan a night of enjoyment to celebrate reading. Events include information about reading programs, gourmet apple treats and beverages and reading books to small groups of families. Marietta College also provides fall-themed bags with a book for each of our attending Phillips students with a visit from local children’s book author Dr. Cathy Mowrer.
In just a few short months, many educational opportunities have transpired for all stakeholders involved in Phillips’ partnership with Marietta College. It will be exciting to see how this collaborative effort grows in the future and continues an ongoing effort to integrate Marietta City Schools into the Marietta community as a whole. My belief is that it takes an entire community of support to be able to provide these opportunities for our children, our students and our future.
Todd Caltrider, Principal of Phillips Elementary School