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Waco ISD Celebrates Baylor SOE Partnership with Rise Award [02/25/2020]


Waco ISD superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon (right) presented the Rise Award to Baylor SOE, represented by Dr. Krys Goree (left) at the Board of Trustees Meeting, January 23, 2020.

Waco ISD presented Baylor School of Education with its Rise Award for Outstanding Community Partners last month. Waco ISD has chosen the theme of “Rise” for the 2019-20 academic year and is recognizing a community partner each month for making a difference to the district.

Baylor School of Education and Waco ISD have been collaborating for 26 years to train the next generation of classroom teachers through Professional Development School (PDS) partnerships.

Currently, Baylor SOE has six PDS campuses in Waco ISD: Bell’s Hill Elementary, Hillcrest Professional Development School (Baylor’s first PDS), Mountainview Elementary, Parkdale Elementary, Cesar Chavez Middle School, and University High School.

PDS campuses host Baylor teacher-education students at various levels of preparation. Baylor teacher candidates begin their field work in area schools during the freshman year and spend significant and progressively more time on school campuses. During the junior year, teacher candidates serve on PDS campuses as Teaching Associates. As seniors, Baylor teacher candidates are in schools full-time on a daily basis to observe, assist, practice, and teach. This clinical approach prepares teachers with significant experience in classrooms — in a co-teach situation with the classroom mentor — before graduation and job placement.

Dr. Krystal Goree, Director of Baylor SOE’s Office of Professional Practice, represented Baylor in accepting the award at the Jan. 23 meeting of the Waco ISD Board of Trustees. Dr. Goree is the partnership liaison between Baylor and all school districts in which Baylor teacher education candidates are placed for field experiences. She also oversees Baylor’s teacher certification and state assessment processes; identifies field placements for candidates; works closely with Baylor and public school faculty to support Baylor students during their clinical experiences; and facilitates partnership professional development for public school teachers, teacher education candidates, and Baylor School of Education faculty.

District teachers who serve as mentor teachers and clinical instructors are experienced classroom teachers who receive training from Baylor. These classroom teachers benefit from teacher candidates’ presence in the classroom and learn new teaching techniques and technology from their interns. Students in the district benefit from all parts of the partnerships — having more time one-on-one with instructors, experiencing different teaching styles, and learning from new, creative lessons.

The Waco ISD and Baylor University School of Education partnership received the Exemplary Professional Development School Achievement Award from the National Association for Professional Development Schools (NAPDS) in 2018.

This semester, 28 Interns (seniors) and 53 Teaching Associates (juniors) are working in Waco ISD classrooms.

Waco ISD’s theme of “Rise” celebrates learning and growing, as well as overcoming challenges, and recognizes that no school district rises by itself, according to the official recognition read at the school board meeting. “Instead, Waco ISD rises when families, employees, and the community join together to realize their shared hopes and dreams for the district’s students and their future.”

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For more than 100 years Baylor educators have carried the mission and practices of the School of Education to classrooms and beyond as teachers, superintendents, psychologists, health education professionals, academics/scholars and more. With more than 50 full-time faculty members, the school’s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice.

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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