Deep Creek Middle School recently said goodbye to two more of its student teachers this spring, Jonathan Jasper and Nancy Stehman from West Chester University in Pennsylvania. The candidates, seen here with their university supervisor Dr. Claire Verden, were the first in their school to fulfill part of their student teaching experience requirements abroad. The opportunity came about through Dr. Verden and the long relationship she has on the island with schools like DCMS and The School for Exceptional Learners in Governor’s Harbour. Dr. Verden, who first came to Eleuthera on vacation, identified ways to volunteer and get her students engaged on the island. “Our relationship first began when Dr. Verden brought students to DCMS for a half-day visit. Soon after, we were conducting joint professional development for each other and then talking about how to share expertise,” says Dr. Paul, Director of Education and coordinator of student teaching partnerships. “The West Chester students are all dual certified in special education and another subject of their choice, so we at DCMS can benefit from their expertise. At the same time, the West Chester students are excited to see us implementing a range of best practices in education with a variety of learners and academic results.”
The West Chester students are just one group in a series of partnerships with international and national universities to support student teaching. DCMS has agreements with West Chester University, Queens University, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and The College of The Bahamas. Each university has a different arrangement with DCMS, but all find it valuable to offer some of their students exposure to the work being done at DCMS, The Island School and CEI. This past year, we hosted our first full-time student teacher from COB. Mrs. Sophia Smith was so excited to be working in a school that is utilizing the progressive pedagogy that she had learned that she applied for and was hired to be the English teacher next year. These partnerships are excellent opportunities for DCMS to share its experience with curriculum and programs as well as to find the next crop of talented teachers who will give back to our community.