WOOSTER, Ohio – The College of Wooster presented a collective group of area schools with the Community Partner in Experiential Learning Award for their annual work with the College’s Department of Education, one of the highlights of Thursday’s Experiential Learning Symposium.
The collective of public and private school partners consist of Wooster City Schools, Orrville City Schools, Green Local Schools, Northwestern Schools, the College’s Nursery School, Montessori School of Wooster, Southeast Local Schools, Triway Local Schools, Head Start of Wayne County, the Boys and Girls Club of Wooster, and the Wayne County Schools Career Center. Together, these schools host approximately 350 College students, amassing 21,500 hours of engaged experiential learning on an annual basis.
Wooster’s education major leads to Ohio teaching licensure, made possible by the hundreds of hours of field experience and student teaching that area schools provide to college students. Such experiences include collaboration with mentor teachers and other administrators, and in the classrooms, students plan, teach, and reflect on a variety of their experiences.
Wooster education program would simply not be possible without the support of its school partners, which provide the resources of time, training, materials, constructive feedback, and classroom space, while administrators from the schools agree that it’s a mutually beneficial partnership.
“We find the relationship to be wonderfully reciprocal and immensely beneficial,” stated Michael Tefs, superintendent of Wooster City Schools, while Nate Gaubatz, currently the academic supervisor at the Wayne County Schools Career Center and former principal at Smithville High School, remarked, “Wooster students placed in the Green Local Schools enriched the teaching and learning of our students and teachers. The college students brought new and different ideas and perspectives to the classroom.”
The college students are impactful outside the traditional learning environment as well, according to Christine Lindeman, the executive director of the local Boys and Girls Club. “The Wooster students who volunteer with our club members provide a listening ear to our children who are sometimes so desperate to be heard,” she reported.
Additional honors at the Experiential Learning Symposium went to senior Bao Nguyen and Kim Tritt, professor of theatre and dance. Nguyen was given a student award for completing two fellowship experiences through Wooster’s center for Advising, Planning, and Experiential Learning (APEX), which included creating a non-profit, anti-littering organization in Vietnam. Tritt was recognized with this year’s faculty/staff award for providing high-impact experiential learning for her students by emphasizing dance education outside the classroom and advising the student-run dance company.