Students learn, teach at Beverly-Center

BEVERLY – Several Marietta College education students are leaving campus three days a week to teach – and learn – at a local elementary school.

Beverly-Center Elementary School is serving as a professional partnership school with Marietta College’s intervention specialist mild/moderate licensure program, using the skills they’re learning to help students who need extra assistance in certain areas.

“It gives us an opportunity to have extra people working with kids,” Beverly-Center Principal Megan Miller said. “It gives the college students real-world experience where they can establish roots and relationships.”

Miller came to the school last year from a teaching position with Federal Hocking Local Schools, which had partnerships with education classes at Ohio University. She reached out to Marietta College about setting up a similar arrangement, and Bill Bauer, McCoy associate professor of education, was the first to take her up on the offer.

“This has been a phenomenal partnership with the Fort Frye district,” Bauer said. “Superintendent Stephanie) Starcher, Ms. Miller and her staff (have) opened their arms to our students.”

Bauer actually teaches his mild/moderate methods course in a classroom at Beverly-Center for an hour each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Class members are then sent into classrooms to observe veteran teachers and work with students in groups or one on one.

“The faculty and staff at Beverly-Center allow our students to see them teach, and we can also show them what current practices are in technology and current practices in teaching at-risk students,” Bauer said.

Beverly-Center intervention specialist Lenora Lockhart said the college students have been enthusiastic from day one.

“I love it because they can work with individual students, and the students love working with them,” she said.

As an intervention specialist, Lockhart deals with children at varying learning levels in kindergarten, first and fifth grades who need additional help in particular areas.

“Every day it’s a different need,” she said.

Recently, Allison Sells, a junior from Fleming, was working with kindergartners on letter sounds and recognition, then first-graders trying to determine what sorts of things can become fossils.

“Not only do I love the students I work with, but also having the Beverly-Center staff so willing and ecstatic to have us working with them has made this field placement great,” Sells said.

She and the other four students in the methods class drive to and from the school together.

“The rides home we always talk about what we did in our classes that day,” she said. “If we saw a student that was struggling with a concept, we would bounce ideas off of each other trying to find a solution in order to help the student.”

The class has made junior Nick Brady, of Avon Lake, rethink his post-college plans.

“I came in to the education program at Marietta College believing I was meant to teach high school math my entire career,” he said. “Through the last seven to eight weeks, I have completely changed my view and I now aspire to work with young students with disabilities. My goal is now to someday take my intervention specialist degree to hospitals to work with students who have long-term stays or terminal illnesses.”

Brady particularly recalls one student he worked with on cutting out shapes with scissors. The child did OK, but didn’t seem all that interested. Brady said he didn’t know what to do to make the activity fun for the child, so finally, he just asked the youngster what he thought was funny.

“He responded, ‘Well, I like zombies, I guess,'” Brady recalled. “I then drew a silly face in the middle of the next circle and said that after we cut him out the zombie would come alive. And he took so much care (and) precision in cutting out this one last circle/oval-looking thing that it was exactly perfect when he was done. All it took was caring about what he liked to make learning fun.”

Miller said she appreciates the enthusiasm the students bring not only to their work in the classroom but also to being part of the school community.

“They are excited to be here; they know the kids by name,” she said. “They even came out on a Sunday and volunteered at a carnival that was a fundraiser for BrAva,” a local organization that raises money for childhood cancer research and to support local families dealing with such a diagnosis.

The children the students work with seem to enjoy their presence as well.

“‘Cause they’re awesome,” said kindergartner Brody Garvin.

The students in the methods class are provided with iPads with a host of educational apps they use with the children.

“I like playing the games,” said first-grader Chris Stegner.

Bauer said Marietta’s Education Department stands out because students work in the field during their first year in the program. In addition to the methods class, four other students also do field work at the school.