A fruitful education partnership between the University of Indianapolis and the MSD of Decatur Township was celebrated Tuesday at a district board meeting, where School of Education Dean Kathryn Moran presented a plaque to mark its 20th anniversary.
Established in 1995, this collaborative venture between the school district and the university continues to benefit Decatur Township students and teachers while providing important feedback to UIndy’s teacher preparation programs and vital hands-on experience for its pre-service teachers, who often proceed to careers in Decatur Township and other local districts.
Elements of the multifaceted Professional Development School (PDS) relationship include university classes and field experiences conducted on site in district schools, tutoring programs at multiple grade levels, collaboration on program structure and curriculum development, and opportunities for UIndy and Decatur Township faculty to participate in professional development and serve together on various district and university committees. Decatur Township also is a key site for UIndy’s selective Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship program, in which master’s degree candidates undergo an intensive one-year residency in local classrooms to prepare for careers as math and science teachers in high-need schools.
“Our historic partnership with UIndy has provided invaluable insight into the entire process of teaching and learning from preschool through college,” said Decatur Superintendent Matt Prusiecki.
Moran said the Decatur Township relationship was the first of UIndy’s PDS arrangements with local school districts and remains vitally important to the School of Education.
“We believe that higher education and P-12 education must work together to create the best possible outcome for students, and we’re grateful that the Decatur Township schools share that vision,” she said. “At a time when teacher preparation programs are under criticism for being disconnected from the challenges facing today’s educators, relationships like this one assure that our programs are grounded in the realities and best practices that make our graduates successful in the classroom and sought-after by schools.”