- For Alexander Local Schools in Albany, Ohio, a partnership with Ohio University is helping K-12 students get access to learning opportunities that would have otherwise been affected by budget cutbacks — including reading intervention and after-school programs — while proving prospective teachers with a more robust, real-world learning experience in a school district, according to U.S. News and World Report.
- Budget cuts have caused the district's elementary, middle and high schools to lose 35 employees in the past 13 years, while curriculum spending has halted and class sizes have grown, U.S. News notes. But the district-university partnership allows students access to better learning opportunities and individualized instruction, helping the district maintain learning standards.
- The state recommends teacher candidates spend at least 180 hours on classroom instruction to get licensed, but Ohio University's students greatly surpass that by spending upwards of 500 hours in their placement schools. As a result, these potential teachers gain experience working with students in a more intense and realistic setting.
Partnerships between public schools and institutions of higher learning may seem natural when higher education is viewed as an extension of K-12. While a four-year college degree is not accessible — nor necessary — for all students, the current job market does require that most students pursue some sort of specialized training after high school through community colleges or a four-year college or university. The development of partnerships between students not only benefits those on the pathway to higher learning, but also the institutions of higher learning themselves.
From the perspective of K-12 students, these partnerships can provide extra hands and eyes in the classroom, extra reading instruction and intervention, and extra small group and personal instruction during the school day and after school. These strategies can help close achievement gaps and reduce the pressure on teachers, who often spread themselves too thin trying to meet the needs of all students. Teacher candidates can also provide more specialized instruction and connection to more resources in areas such as STEAM learning and dual language instruction, which lends themselves particularly well to such educational collaborations. Some partnerships with colleges also give K-12 students better access to medical care and health education, too.
Partnerships with K-12 provides institutions of higher learning access to real-world learning experiences for enrolled college students who are considering careers in education. They also allow colleges to connect with potential future teacher candidates, who can help promote both higher education and the teaching profession.