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Updated 10:00 AM April 4, 2005




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Partnership to put tomorrow's teachers into today's classrooms

U-M-Flint and the Westwood Heights School District are entering into a partnership that will place student teachers and professors in the district's classrooms to work closely with teaching staff.

The program will give Westwood Heights teachers access to the expertise of
U-M-Flint faculty. Faculty will be able to share information with their University colleagues, and will have access to materials that will help them in the classroom.

U-M-Flint School of Education and Human Services Dean Susanne Chandler says the partnership is a win-win situation. "We are proud of the work of the Westwood Heights teachers," she says. "We feel strongly that they will be a wonderful example for the student teachers we are training at U-M-Flint."

By entering into the partnership, the Westwood Heights Board of Education is seeking to set new standards that boost training and preparation for the district's teachers so that students can perform at a higher academic standard. The board wants to ensure the district is compliant with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

The agreement calls for establishing a liaison between the school district and the University. This liaison will be a teachers' resource and would be available to write program grants. Under the agreement, up to 50 student teachers and social work interns would work in Westwood classrooms.

UM-Flint professors also can help shape the district's curriculum. U-M-Flint faculty will work with their Westwood Heights School District partners on research initiatives that seek to improve teaching and learning for all K-12 students, and redefine the meaning of student success.

"The University of Michigan-Flint is bringing its expertise to coach our educators, and our educators will be coaching theirs to understand urban learners," says Brenda Taylor, president of the Westwood Heights Board of Education. "Our district is going to teach the teachers that teach our teachers."

The University also will host internships and classes at Westwood Heights schools, providing both a K-12 laboratory and hands-on setting for all pre-service teachers. Social work faculty and students also will work with the district's counselors and families to provide a network of support.

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