Six North Central elementary education students took up a challenge from alumna Kate Smith ’05 Pereda, a fifth-grade elementary school teacher in Addison, to create and teach a summer school program at her high-needs school.
“Kate contacted me last spring asking for help. Her district had canceled its summer school programs and she needed help with an alternative program,” said Maureen Kincaid, associate professor and chair of education. “Kate came to campus and spoke to our elementary education classes about the need. Six students responded and together they developed a six-week mini summer school.”
Addison’s Lincoln Elementary School has a student population that’s primarily Hispanic and from Spanish-speaking homes. Students with low reading scores were invited to participate in this new summer program. Six classes, grades K through 4, with six students each and one North Central teacher were formed. Students focused on reading and math skills three days a week and were pre- and post-tested to document their progress.
Katie Selander ’13 taught kindergarten, Jeannette Clark ’10 first grade, Rachael Wohlrab ’12 and Erin Sheehan (who’s seeking teacher certification) taught two second-grade classes, Elisabeth Beeson ’11 taught third grade and Amanda Freeman ’10 fourth grade. The teachers earned one college credit for their work, which included testing and analyzing results, creating lesson plans, tutoring and teaching. Kincaid was on site throughout the summer assisting the teachers as needed.
The last day of summer school, parents and school administrators were invited to a Readers Theater performance where students read publicly and demonstrated their progress. Superintendent of Schools John Langton said, “The children of the Lincoln School community benefited from the hard work of North Central College education students with the generosity, resources and expertise of the College’s staff. This collaborative effort allowed North Central preservice teachers to gain valuable experience in the elementary classroom while assisting our students to develop their literacy skills. … We hope to continue working with North Central College on projects that mutually benefit both of our communities!”
Kincaid says she plans to expand the program next summer, involving more education students, and possibly setting up an internship and partnering with Junior/Senior Scholars. “It was so worthwhile to do this. Everyone, including the children, commented how fast the six weeks flew by. That’s great to hear.”
Photo: Erin Sheehan with her second-grade class at Readers Theater performance