University of Akron
and faith-based groups collaborate with BHS
Barberton City Schools are very fortunate to have a unique collaborative learning experience for our students and for university education majors. The University of Akron’s LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education has allowed Distinguished Professor of English Education, Dr. Hal Foster, and award-winning Professor of Social Studies Education, Dr. Brad McGuth, to teach their methods classes within Barberton High School.
University of Akron education students do not meet at the U of A campus, instead they spend all of their class time, and more, at BHS. The professors begin each semester instructing their U of A students in our large-group instruction room at BHS. After a few weeks of learning best-practice instructional techniques, they venture out into an authentic learning environment, BHS tenth grade classrooms. Pre-service teachers work with BHS teachers to instruct small groups, then take over whole classes. The university teachers experience all aspects of being a real teacher before their semester of student teaching.
Our high school students benefit as well. They have more individualized instruction and opportunities for both intervention and enrichment. Our high school teachers are always learning too, as Dr. Foster and Dr. McGuth work alongside our classroom teachers and share their advanced knowledge of curriculum and instruction. Plus, the U of A students often act as mentors to our BHS students. One student related that he didn’t plan to go to college, but was encouraged to take the ACT by a university student. Our tenth grader scored a 27 on the ACT, and now he has the confidence to apply for post-secondary learning.
Earlier this year Drs. McGuth and Foster applied for and were awarded the Ohio Department of Education Community Connectors Grant. A second Community Connectors grant, written by Catholic Charities was also awarded for the benefit of Barberton Schools and St. Augustine School. These grants will enable a network of mentoring to be established between our students, the university students and volunteers from area Catholic churches, Johnson United Methodist Church and numerous area businesses and organizations. We now have adults, adult pre-service teachers and high school students discussing career options and pathways. Mentors will also give social/emotional support to our children as they develop into adults. This collaboration has been a win-win for both educational institutions and both sets of learners!