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Davis Journal

Teacher Academy School developing future educators

Nov 01, 2021 09:53AM ● By Becky Ginos

Teaching assistants have the opportunity to get hands-on experience in the classroom while receiving full tuition at no cost in the Learn & Earn program through WGU and the district. Photos courtesy of DSD

FARMINGTON—Students who are currently pursuing a teaching degree have a unique opportunity in the Davis School District to see firsthand what it’s like to be in the classroom. The Teacher Academy School offered at model schools Sunburst and Clearfield elementaries provides students access to university professors and trained teachers who mentor them through the learning process.

“We’re really excited about what we’re doing,” said Allison Riddle, Elementary Mentor Supervisor for the district. “This gives future teachers a chance to learn on site instead of only learning on campus. The learning is embedded into the school.”

University professors come in every day, she said. “We have a university classroom and some are pushing into the regular classes where teachers can observe them give a small mini lesson. Teachers are loving it and getting great ideas. The kids are loving it too. They love having guest teachers and the energy is high.”

Dr. Vincent Bates, associate professor of arts at Weber State University integrates arts in the classes he teaches in the program. “He’s taught drumming and relates art to math and science,” said Riddle. “He’s done puppets. It’s all very hands on. It’s a rich experience for everyone involved.”

The program has students from WSU, USU and Western Governors University, she said. “USU/center for the school of the future is one of our university partners. They brought a small cohort of Aggies down for a field study class. It’s designed to meet the week before school starts.”

They see what it takes to set up a class, Riddle said. “It’s incredible the work it takes to get set up. It’s connected to the learning of the first week to see what it looks like to start and how that first week of preparation affects the rest of the year.”

Western Governors has extended a teaching assistant program to students getting a bachelors in elementary education, she said. “We’ll get 17 teaching assistants that split their time between both Sunburst and Clearfield for 10 hours a week and WSU gives them full tuition at no cost.”

It’s called the Learn & Earn program, Riddle said. “We put out the application for the program, interview and hire them. That’s our commitment. They provide tuition and mentor them through the elementary or special education program. They’re paid by the district. To keep either one they have to do well in class and keep the position and stay at WGU.”

It’s a fabulous program, she said. “The goal is we’ll hire them and they’ll be teachers in the Davis District. We’re developing our own. That’s what’s really fun.”