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SMES Selected as First and Only Independent School in OC to Partner with UCI Cal Teach Program

15 March 2013 admin 5,298 views No Comment Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

IMG_4187University of California, Irvine performs teacher observations to identify schools with progressive teaching techniques that would model best practices for aspiring teachers. St. Margaret’s is the first and only independent school in Orange County chosen to partner with the program. This partnership allows St. Margaret’s to develop stronger ties with UCI and helps fulfill its mission of developing highly qualified teachers of math and science for the state of California.

The Cal Teach program at UCI is committed to developing highly qualified science and math teachers. It is structured to allow students to earn an undergraduate math or science bachelor’s degree while simultaneously completing course work and fieldwork for a teaching credential. By design, students are able to complete this program in four years. The program is jointly sponsored by the School of Biological Sciences, School of Physical Sciences, and School of Education.

“This is part of the public purpose of an excellent private school,” said Academic Dean Dr. Jeneen Graham. “We are proud to support the development of excellent science and math teachers. This highly innovative program that directly targets the dearth of highly qualified science and math teachers has already produced several cohorts of extremely desirable teaching candidates. UCI not only recruits the best and brightest students for the Cal Teach program, but also partners with the best teachers and schools in Orange County to provide high-quality fieldwork for its aspiring teachers. We at St. Margaret’s feel honored to be chosen to partner with this extremely innovative program. I am grateful to Morgan Young for her part in IMG_4255developing this new relationship and her careful mentoring of these aspiring teachers.”

Morgan, Lower School science and environmental program coordinator, has been working with two students from the UCI Cal Teach program from January-March. The students each meet with her one to two times during the week.

“They are very willing to learn and help out in any way possible,” said Morgan.

Some of their responsibilities include helping with prep work, grading papers, working with students individually, in small groups and teaching their first whole lesson to St. Margaret’s students.

“One student is planning a lesson with my third graders during their ecology time. He will be teaching them about some of the major biomes of the world. The other student will be teaching a fourth grade class about how the Grand Canyon was made, focusing primarily on erosion and deposition. The students are go getters and take the initiative to help where they see necessary. I even had one student come and lend a helping hand during our Lower School Family Science Night. Their interaction with the students influences our young ones in a positive manner. The students have been very receptive to them and they get excited when they are here. I am considered their mentor teacher and while I help them in preparing their lesson, interacting with the students, answering questions or concerns they may have, they actually help me just as much by being an extra pair of hands and eyes in the classroom. I try to allow time to have one on one discussions to allow them the opportunity to share any concerns, questions, or unknown ideas they may have about the teaching profession. It has been a mutually beneficial relationship and I look forward to see how they continue to grow through the course of their work here at St. Margaret’s,” said Morgan Young.

UCI Cal Teach program has already requested St. Margaret’s again to work with its students for the spring term, April-June.

“One thing that I like about the Cal Teach program is that I have the opportunity to apply my learning out in the field. There is a difference between being a student in the classroom and being a teacher in the classroom. Working at St. Margaret’s has allowed me to teach in my own style and be myself. For me personally, just to have even a few minutes with the students gives me a chance to show them important skills to help them with their thought processes and be a positive advocate in the fields of science and math,” said Cal Teach program teacher Vicki Nihm.


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