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JHS Benefits from Collaboration with St. Bonaventure University

Jamestown High School is benefiting from a partnership with St. Bonaventure University this year. Eight St. Bonaventure Adolescence Education students are working with Jamestown High School teachers, Raquel Ruch, Barbi Price, Charlie McKenna, Brenda Latimer, Chris Tehan, Stacy Childress, Kristen Samuelson, Brad Peterson and Tage Hall during their Field Block program. There are also currently 20 St. Bonaventure elementary education students at Love Elementary School.

Of the eight students at JHS, four are observing and participating in English classes; two are in social studies classes; one is in math; and one is between two Spanish classes. Students spend most of their day observing and helping teachers in the classroom where they get experience applying the principles that they learn while taking nine hours of classwork with their St. Bonaventure instructors. The Field Block is designed so that students get the opportunity to see how their coursework is applied in actual classrooms. They get the practical along with the theoretical, and it is hoped that this balance better prepares them for the student-teaching experience during the following fall semester.

“The St. Bonaventure program is a great opportunity for JHS and the district as a whole to engage with and help train the next generation of teachers,” said Mr. McKenna. “Also developing a relationship with the St. Bonaventure Education Department will provide an opportunity for us to explore the latest ideas in education and incorporate them in our lessons so as to better serve our student population.”

The St. Bonaventure students began by observing the way seasoned teachers conduct their lessons in order to develop a realistic picture of what actually happens in a classroom. Then, they “mirror” instruction; after observing a lesson during one period, they taught the same material to a different group of students. The interns also began creating warm up, “sponge” activities and exit tickets for existing lessons. Eventually, the students teach lessons themselves under the direction of the faculty member.  By the end of the semester, the students are required to teach three consecutive lessons, a requirement that mimics the edTPA assessment that they must complete for certification during their student-teaching experience their senior year. The students also discuss the assignments that they must complete for the St. Bonaventure classes with the classroom teachers and gain insights that they would not be privy to otherwise. 

“My intern, Joe Malafronte, taught rhetorical devices to a group of English 9 AT students this morning,” commented host teacher, Barbi Price. “It was great practice for him to explain new material to the kids after watching me model it first, and the students really enjoyed a new voice in the classroom.”

The St. Bonaventure interns realize the benefits of being in a real-life classroom too.

“I personally enjoy the idea of teaching English literacy and this is a great opportunity to observe a seasoned teacher,” said St. Bonaventure University junior, Joseph Malfronte. “JHS is a much larger and more diverse school than we have been in before so it gives us a greater understanding of teaching diverse student bodies and will help me in the future. JHS has a great faculty and we are really getting to know the students. It has been a fantastic experience so far.”

“The classroom teachers are vital to the success of this program,” said Dr. Merridy Knips from St. Bonaventure University School of Education. “It’s really a win/win situation all around.  The classroom teachers benefit from an extra pair of hands, and the knowledge that they are helping in the preparation of future teachers, and the students get opportunities to practice and learn about what really goes on in public school.”