Workshops to enhance alignment between EIU programs, local & national education needs
[CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR: MEGAN KEANE]
(Charleston, IL) – Eastern Illinois University is partnering with Charleston Community Unit School District 1 to enhance competency-based learning approaches and outcomes in the dynamic and evolving K-12 classroom environment.
Representatives from both educational institutions will meet on Eastern’s campus from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday, February 10, in the Charleston-Mattoon Room of the university’s Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. There, they will work to collaboratively strategize connections between the two organizations in achieving best-practice competency-based education approaches and outcomes for students in the Charleston School District (CUSD-1).
“Competency-based education systems create more personalized, best-practice approaches to teaching and learning that expand student opportunities while increasing learning flexibility for individual learners,” said Kristen Holly, assistant superintendent for CUSD-1. Students are able to advance within the curriculum at their own pace, and allowed to move on once they demonstrate a mastery of concepts and skills.”
Holly said CUSD-1’s transition to a competency-based system is intended to better prepare students in the district to meet new and upcoming challenges of the 21st Century after high school whether they set goals for college, a career, or both.
“In accordance with its mission, CUSD-1 is committed to providing an environment that maximizes our students’ learning capabilities,” Holly said. “In fulfilling that commitment, we must recognize and understand as educators that students’ learning capabilities vary greatly. This partnership will allow us to better connect our students with educational blueprints catered to their individual success.”
By working toward this goal together, representatives for both organizations hope to create what they are calling a “Graduate Profile” for CUSD-1 students. Profile development will specify the academic, personal and interpersonal skills CUSD-1 students will need when they graduate from high school, and provide CUSD-1 instructors and administrators with a set of priority goals for teaching and learning.
What’s more, those goals will then be informed and driven by EIU education scholars and professors, who will use them to guide their own teaching as they prepare future generations of educators.
“The Graduate Profiles we intend to create will be easily communicated to students, parents, faculty and staff to better align individual student education efforts and outcomes,” said Dr. Stephen Lucas, associate dean of the College of Education at EIU. “We’re excited to work with the Charleston School District on this important initiative. Doing so allows us to enhance the great relationship our institutions already share by preparing students for success in all academic disciplines and in each of their future pursuits.”
Holly said that a large percentage of CUSD-1 teachers are graduates of EIU. For that reason, she believes this partnership will benefit the school district immensely, and that the partnership will be equally advantageous to EIU students who are preparing for careers in K-12 education.
“We deeply appreciate that EIU plays such a critical part in preparing high-quality teachers for our local and regional classrooms,” Holly said. “Moving forward together on these initiatives will only enhance what the district already does to help local students continue to thrive throughout their entire K-12 experience.”
Fifty-one members of EIU’s College of Education faculty and staff have volunteered to participate in the initial February 10 meeting. Additional opportunities to advance these institutional initiatives are expected to continue in the near future.
For more information about EIU, or to learn more about its growing assortment of programs and services, visit the university’s website at www.eiu.edu, or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.
For more information on the Charleston School District, visit http://www.charleston.k12.il.us/.