Title

Pre-Service Teacher Candidates Build Family Partnerships in Rural and Underserved Communities

Proposal Focus

Practice

Abstract

Through our research, interactions, and experiences as teacher educators with young children and their families, various types of family support are provided in the teaching and learning processes in rural communities. A common theme reported within the landscape of rural communities is to connect families and their children with schools that use effective community partnerships and collaborations. Cheatham and Santos (2011) claims that, “a critical component in increasing parental involvement is effective collaboration between teacher and family” (p. 76).

Across the nation, usual requests for parental and collaborative support in most school environments takes on a variety of forms – from parent teacher conferences, school governance actions, school program events, volunteering, and an endless number of other engaging activities. In remote and underserved areas, “Rural schools can provide an important social and cultural function for the area’s residents as well, drawing community members together from a wide geographic area” (Corrigan, 2013, p.49). On the other end of the spectrum, schools in rural communities often have inadequate technology usage, lack instructional resources, and the inability to disseminate information in a timely manner on issues concerning education, healthcare, economic development and sustainability, and limited professional development for teachers and parents.

In 2017, the College of Education at North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University, partnered with “North Carolina State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation” to financially support 10 pre-service teacher candidates as summer interns. The interns completed 10 weeks of service learning experiences in rural and underserved communities. The overarching goals for the interns was to develop service learning immersion experiences and produce authentic artifacts for children and families with support from various community agencies in rural and underserved counties across North Carolina.

The conceptual framework for this collaborative service learning internship program consisted of three methodology phases:

Phase I. Orientation and Leadership for the Future. A leadership team provided orientation sessions for all participants and selected the interns and different educational partners from various rural environments.

Phase II. Service Learning Immersion Experiences with Blended Research Activities. Interns developed service learning immersion plans and implemented a series of intentional service and research experiences based on the needs of schools serving families, children and community agencies. The interns utilized technology and evidence-base activities to meet the project’s goals. Each intern had a mentor that supervised the diverse service immersion and research-blended experiences.

Phase III. Leadership Reflections and Next Steps. Interns and community partners assessed and evaluated the program effectiveness by means of surveys, questionnaires’ and follow-up discussions. Finally, qualitative and quantitative data was disseminated and the interns engaged in reflective presentations in their field of study.

This presentation provides alternative strategies which focus on a teacher education internship program using service learning immersion experiences with established community partnerships specifically with schools and educational organizations in rural communities. This presentation also illustrates interns producing high quality service learning artifacts including technology-based products relative to student attendance, parents’ professional development, food pantries, summer backpacks and wellness initiatives to support the family and children needs in the community.

Keywords

pre-service teachers, rural communities, service learning

Location

Tiger II

Start Date

9-3-2018 3:30 PM

End Date

9-3-2018 4:15 PM

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Mar 9th, 3:30 PM Mar 9th, 4:15 PM

Pre-Service Teacher Candidates Build Family Partnerships in Rural and Underserved Communities

Tiger II

Through our research, interactions, and experiences as teacher educators with young children and their families, various types of family support are provided in the teaching and learning processes in rural communities. A common theme reported within the landscape of rural communities is to connect families and their children with schools that use effective community partnerships and collaborations. Cheatham and Santos (2011) claims that, “a critical component in increasing parental involvement is effective collaboration between teacher and family” (p. 76).

Across the nation, usual requests for parental and collaborative support in most school environments takes on a variety of forms – from parent teacher conferences, school governance actions, school program events, volunteering, and an endless number of other engaging activities. In remote and underserved areas, “Rural schools can provide an important social and cultural function for the area’s residents as well, drawing community members together from a wide geographic area” (Corrigan, 2013, p.49). On the other end of the spectrum, schools in rural communities often have inadequate technology usage, lack instructional resources, and the inability to disseminate information in a timely manner on issues concerning education, healthcare, economic development and sustainability, and limited professional development for teachers and parents.

In 2017, the College of Education at North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University, partnered with “North Carolina State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation” to financially support 10 pre-service teacher candidates as summer interns. The interns completed 10 weeks of service learning experiences in rural and underserved communities. The overarching goals for the interns was to develop service learning immersion experiences and produce authentic artifacts for children and families with support from various community agencies in rural and underserved counties across North Carolina.

The conceptual framework for this collaborative service learning internship program consisted of three methodology phases:

Phase I. Orientation and Leadership for the Future. A leadership team provided orientation sessions for all participants and selected the interns and different educational partners from various rural environments.

Phase II. Service Learning Immersion Experiences with Blended Research Activities. Interns developed service learning immersion plans and implemented a series of intentional service and research experiences based on the needs of schools serving families, children and community agencies. The interns utilized technology and evidence-base activities to meet the project’s goals. Each intern had a mentor that supervised the diverse service immersion and research-blended experiences.

Phase III. Leadership Reflections and Next Steps. Interns and community partners assessed and evaluated the program effectiveness by means of surveys, questionnaires’ and follow-up discussions. Finally, qualitative and quantitative data was disseminated and the interns engaged in reflective presentations in their field of study.

This presentation provides alternative strategies which focus on a teacher education internship program using service learning immersion experiences with established community partnerships specifically with schools and educational organizations in rural communities. This presentation also illustrates interns producing high quality service learning artifacts including technology-based products relative to student attendance, parents’ professional development, food pantries, summer backpacks and wellness initiatives to support the family and children needs in the community.