Education - Page 1 - Initiatives to enhance student experiences

- Page 1
Initiatives to enhance student experiences
Programs expand learning outside the classroom

By Emily Parks, Contributing Writer

This summer, area universities launched unique collaborative programs to enhance learning and allow students to make connections in their community. Students are able to use information learned in the classroom and translate those skills in collaborative programs off campus and in the community.

One such initiative is the Future Frostburg Teachers Teaching (F2T2) through the college of education at Frostburg State University. Held in partnership with the Evergreen Heritage Center, AmeriCorp and the Allegany County Public Schools, eight rising eighth-grade students from Washington Middle School took part in the one-week teaching apprenticeship summer camp.

The camp was designed to introduce teaching the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to underserved students. In addition, the department of parks and recreation at Frostburg State University provided daily physical education activities. According to Boyce Williams, Ph.D., interim dean of the college of education at Frostburg State University, the camp took extra steps to meet the needs of students who faced issues such as food insecurity and lack of transportation by having extra food for students to take home as well as making sure students had bus transportation. She felt the camp was a true collaborative effort among the partners to reach out to students at an age when they were thinking about future career goals to consider teaching the STEM subjects.

The camp’s theme centered around water quality around the world, with students learning from guest professors to engage in different activities with a central focus of addressing problems surrounding clean water. Sarah O’Neil, along with co-facilitator Jennifer Rankin, notes a favorite activity among the campers was building drones and flying them to take pictures of water sources around campus. The campers also chose an activity and prepared a lesson about it to teach at the end of the week. Future plans include teaching a lesson regarding the information learned at camp to second graders at South Penn Elementary School. “It was important to me that this wasn’t just a Frostburg State University initiative, but we needed to engage the community and make this a true collaboration from the outset so that no one entity owned it, that the community was invested,” Williams adds. “We’re trying to build this culture of future teachers, but more importantly, we wanted to empower them and give them self-confidence and have them understand that’s it’s important to pay it forward.”

Another initiative that allows students to forge bonds within the community is the Social Worker in the Library Initiative through the University of Maryland School of Social Work.Years ago, members of the Social Work Community Outreach Service (SWCOS) at the University of Maryland School of Social Work met with a team at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. The goal was to better serve patrons of the library by addressing a variety of human service needs of the community. The end result was placing two social workers at four library branches: Brooklyn, Penn North,

Experiences, continued on page 10