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Elkhart Community Schools teams up with SMC

Christin Kloski | Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Saint Mary’s has partnered with Elkhart Community Schools to launch a Laboratory School Network, serving the county school system while expanding the College’s education program.  

The program began last summer with funding from an Elkhart County Community Foundation grant. The arrangement allows for a three-year partnership with the county, the College and Indiana University South Bend (IUSB), according to a College press release.

A report in The Elkhart Truth said the Laboratory School Network’s goals are “to improve student learning, to reduce summer learning loss and to increase the application of research-based practices in elementary classrooms.”

During the summer, students in the Laboratory School Network worked with Saint Mary’s education majors at Cleveland Elementary. Senior education majors Ellen Smith, Megan Calender, Griffin Bemisderfer, Kaley Jones and Allison Vasile participated in the new partnership this summer.

Smith said the six-week experience furthered her development as an education major.

“This summer I taught first grade summer school and it was an incredible experience,” Smith said. “It was so rewarding for myself and for my students because we always were learning from each other and I was able to practice being a teacher.

“Saint Mary’s does so much to help make an impact in our schools by giving these students another positive adult in their lives.”

Director of Media Relations Gwen O’Brien said in the press release that the mission of the Laboratory School Network is “to support learning for [Elkhart Community Schools] students and the professional development of pre-service teachers from Saint Mary’s.”

According to The Elkhart Truth, “student teachers had taken it on their own to write grants for Saint Mary’s spiral notebooks, folders, pencils and other supplies that each student at Cleveland’s program will receive.”

The program benefited the students’ education during summer, a time in which students often forget about schoolwork. It also offered Saint Mary’s students the experience of working with children in a classroom.

According to an Elkhart Community Schools report, “Saint Mary’s and IUSB are the first higher education schools to put programs in operation … These lab schools are the first summer laboratory schools in northern Indiana public school setting.”

Contact Christin Kloski at cklosk01@saintmarys.edu