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College of Education Partners with Cuney Homes

 Jonathan Schwartz Ph.D. with a UH Teacher Education Teacher CandidateThe College of Education’s (COE) partnership with Cuney Homes is making a huge mark in the community and educational efforts in the Third Ward area. Cuney Homes is a public housing complex adjacent to Jack Yates High School. The complex offers free afterschool and summer camp programs facilitated by the YMCA.  COE joined their efforts with a desire of engaging children with educationally enriching activities.

“We are very excited about this project,” stated Jonathan Schwartz, COE dean of Graduate Studies. “It provides our students valuable real world experiences in the community and allows us to assist in improving the educational outcomes of our neighbor schools.”

The summer camp serves approximately 50 children ranging from four to twelve years of age. This summer three College of Education students; Madison Edwards, Lezlee Brinkman, and Amanda Long assisted as counselors in curriculum development and implementation. This fall, in addition to the activities for the after school program, the student teachers in the UH Teacher Education program will also offer tutoring.

The partnership with Cuney Homes will benefit the residents as well as the student teachers. It allows student teachers to gain valuable experience, be influenced by students and hone their teaching skills. These skills will help student teachers to be able to teach a wide range of learners and understand the importance of community in being an effective teacher.

“Becoming part of the community builds relationships and trust which are essential for being an effective teacher and human being,” stated Amber Thompson, director of UH Teacher Education. “Students are shaped by their communities, and our candidates must know and be a part of the communities in which their students (both present and future) live.”

This partnership gives student teachers a glance at the possible lives of their potential students outside the classroom. It hopes to challenge its learners and provide them with a new outlook on education, as well as challenge student teachers to give them a different viewpoint in the lives of their students.

The Cuney Homes initiative has given the participants great experiences, valuable skills and life lessons. After having been involved with the program visiting assistant professor Jane Cooper feels “The biggest lesson is to listen to all our community partners to make sure we are meeting the needs in the community as well as aligning to the mission of our college.”