North Central College education students are gaining valuable experience teaching high-need students in a unique summer school program in Addison. Launched in 2010, the enrichment program serves students identified as needing help in literacy and math.
Seven undergraduate education majors are teaching reading, writing and mathematics to 56 children in kindergarten through fourth grade at Lincoln Elementary School in Addison School District 4. School is in session three hours a day, three days a week, for six weeks. A free breakfast, which family members may also attend, is available for children each day before classes begin.
“They’re learning important skills, beyond what they’ve experienced so far in their practicums,” says Maureen Kincaid, chair of North Central College’s Department of Education and associate professor of education. “They have to plan three days in a row and learn how to adjust their lessons.”
Lincoln School colleagues Kate Pereda, a 2005 alumna of North Central College, and Kim Heupel created the summer school program and say the partnership with North Central has been enormously beneficial for both students and teachers.
“District 4 Superintendent John Langton and the entire school board have been very supportive of the program,” Pereda says. “It’s emblematic of the initiative and teamwork they encourage.”
Lincoln serves a primarily Hispanic community, and for many students, Spanish is the primary language at home. “The participants from North Central often discover this is a different setting than what they’re used to and find they have the passion to work with children who have diverse needs and abilities,” Pereda says. “That was my experience as a student teacher and I discovered this is what I want to do.”
The North Central education majors volunteer their time to participate in the program, and may earn credit toward internship requirements.
“It’s hard work, but it’s very rewarding to see the growth in my students,” says Amy O’Malley, a North Central College junior education major. “I’ve student-taught before, but there was always another teacher in the classroom.”
The Addison summer-school program includes a free breakfast, which is available to children, and which family members are welcome to attend before classes begin for the day. Lessons include work on spelling, grammar, reading and basic math skills.
“We remain focused on literacy and math, and we’re very pleased that this year’s program features an all-new curriculum,” Pereda says.
North Central College offers an undergraduate degree in elementary education, with opportunities to earn minors in reading, English language learning and health education. The secondary education minor is designed to be paired with majors in art, biology, chemistry, English, French, German, mathematics, music, physical education, physics, social science/history or Spanish. Master of arts in education is among seven graduate degrees offered at North Central College.