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Teacher Preparation Pilot Program

October 19, 2011, 5:03 PM by Nicole Winters

Teacher Preparation Pilot Program
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Some USD and DSU education majors are getting extra hands on experience in elementary school classrooms.

They're spending the year co-teaching with teachers in the Sioux Falls School District, while still taking classes of their own.

It's an experience that's putting them a step ahead in their future goals.

"I've learned more than I ever thought I could learn in the last two months of school," Cassie Zomer said.

Dakota State University senior Cassie Zomer is co-teaching alongside Julie Sehr.

Three days a week she's a residency intern at Harvey Dunn Elementary School. As part of a pilot program, she's learning exactly how a classroom operates.

"I have a great mentor, watching her model thing and learn the methods of teaching the kids, the classroom management, the structure, it's been great," Zomer said.

Typically education majors take on a 10 week student teaching position. This program puts her in the classroom the whole year.

"It's great experience to prepare me for my teaching career," Zomer said.

10 different DSU and USD students are teaching at elementary schools in the Sioux Falls School District, it's a benefit to their future career, and a benefit to their mentor teachers who are getting a helping hand in the classroom.

"It allows me to implement some programs that I have wanted to for quite a while, it allows me to expand more upon my math guided groups and instructions, more assessment," Julie Sehr said.

The extra classroom time also benefits the students.

"Right away they've got that one on one more individualized attention," Sehr said.

Zomer's hope is that year long interaction with the students, and tips from Sehr, give her an edge when it comes to getting a classroom of her own.

"I will walk across the stage in May, and hopefully be hired and have a job," Schr said. Zomer is finishing up her college course work at Harvey Dunn as well.

College students meet at the elementary school on Thursdays and Fridays, and their professors come to them.

USD was able to create this teacher preparation program from a Bush Foundation Grant they received in 2009.

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