Our Urban Professional Development School Partnership (UPDS) is an urban learning partnership between University of North Florida’s College of Education and Human Services and Duval County Public Schools. Professional Development Schools (PDSs) are formed through partnerships between professional education programs and P–12 schools to prepare new teachers, provide faculty development and enhance student achievement. UNF students have opportunities to experience rich, clinical practice experiences along a continuum of placements. On-site methods courses provide opportunities to work directly with elementary and middle school students through tutoring in both reading and math, with a focus on impacting student learning. Field and internship experiences give UNF students an opportunity to become immersed into the school community where they learn and grow from co-teaching alongside experienced educators. UNF students are civically engaged in the school community and actively work to address the needs of P-12 students and the school. Development of a peer support middle school elective, planting garden beds to supplement science and life skills curriculum, and improving school culture are just a few of the many projects that have come to fruition as a result of the partnership.
This unique, collaborative partnership between the University of North Florida and Tiger Academy, a charter school in the Jacksonville urban core, is a transformational experience for everyone involved. UNF education majors gain valuable experience working with Tiger Academy students, teaching them new techniques, conducting relevant research and increasing parental involvement.UNF students are paired with Tiger Academy third-graders who become their “buddy” throughout the semester. Each day, UNF students learn new techniques and lessons, which they immediately take into the classroom to share with their buddy, providing more ways for students to learn and thrive. Students from UNF get real classroom experience, and their buddies get individualized attention -- a win-win.Plus, a UNF faculty member teaches literacy class at Tiger Academy while also directing a literacy/science research project and supervising interns and pre-interns throughout the semester.Additionally, UNF literacy methods students provide weekly literacy tutoring to third graders and provide additional teaching assistance to Tiger Academy teachers.
Tiger Academy Students and Teachers
The Jacksonville Teacher Residency (JTR) is a teacher preparation program developed as a result of a partnership between Duval County Public Schools and the University of North Florida’s (UNF) College of Education and Human Services. Given the need for STEM educators in high schools across the U.S., this program meets a particular need of providing quality STEM education in urban high schools. The program is a selective STEM teacher residency program that prepares graduates from non-teaching STEM disciplines to teach science or mathematics in high needs urban middle or high schools in Duval County. JTR combines a UNF master’s program with a yearlong classroom apprenticeship which prepares teachers for certification. Currently there are 30 students in the program as resident apprentices or Duval County Public Schools practicing teachers.
JTR Teacher and Students
The ESOL Career Ladder for Student Success is a Department of Education grant awarded to Dr. Otilia Salmon, who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Foundations and Secondary Education at the College of Education and Human Services in the University of North Florida. This project addresses the chronic and growing demand for motivated and well-trained teachers who are equipped to support the ever-growing number of English Language Learners (ELLs) in Duval County Public Schools (DCPS). DCPS has experienced a huge influx of ELL students while its ESOL-certified teaching force has remained very low.
Dr. Salmon and Students
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