GCU partners with elementary school to prepare future teachers

Dec 3, 2018, 4:22 AM
(GCU Photo)...
(GCU Photo)
(GCU Photo)

PHOENIX – What better way to prepare future teachers then having them run a classroom while they are still learning?

Grand Canyon University has a unique partnership with Westwood Elementary School in west Phoenix that’s been a boon to both the teachers in training and the schoolchildren they work with.

Westwood, which is down the street from GCU on 23rd Avenue near Camelback Road, has a diverse and economically disadvantaged student population in a multicultural neighborhood.

The Title I school’s students may be overlooked by some, but not Grand Canyon University.

GCU has formed a working partnership that seems to benefit both its own students and Westwood’s as the university arms future teachers with skills they need before heading out into their own classrooms.

“It is a unique opportunity for our students to work with the neighborhood, and they get to teach real students,” assistant professor Jena Akard said.

There are roughly 40 GCU students in the program – mostly juniors and seniors – who spend several days a week in Westwood classrooms, learning, observing and teaching youth in their core studies.

“It’s called methods, where we take everything the students have learned in the last two years and apply inside the classroom right before they head out to student teach on their own,” Akard said.

The education majors start their school week inside GCU classrooms.

They learn the Westwood curriculum and prepare their own lesson plans, with guidance from their professors, then head to the elementary school to lead class for a couple of days.

By Friday, the future teachers are back in their college classroom being reviewed by their professors and hearing comments about their teaching styles and lesson plans.

Westwood principal Theresa Killingsworth strongly believes the partnership benefits her school and the education majors as well.

“It’s helping these future teachers in big ways,” she said. “When they start teaching, it’s really their second year, not their first.”

Meanwhile, Westwood students are hyperengaged and excited to see the college students on campus.

Some are beginning to show interest in attending college themselves.

Killingsworth shared a story from a morning when she was on crosswalk duty.

She was walking a young student across the street when the girl saw an older student in a GCU shirt.

The Westwood student looked at Killingworth and said, “When I grow up, I want to go to GCU.”

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Right Side Broadcasting Network Screenshot Photo)...

Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake again bashes ‘McCain machine’ during CPAC appearance

Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake continued her affront of John McCain during the Conservative Political Action Conference summit in Dallas on Saturday.
13 hours ago
(Arizona Department of Transportation Traffic Camera)...

Thunderstorms possibilities in the metro Phoenix forecast throughout the week

Another set of storms are expected to pass through metro Phoenix this week, with the greatest chances of rain forecast for Tuesday.
13 hours ago
(KTAR News Photo)...
Danny Shapiro

Most political campaign signs in metro Phoenix to be removed by next week

Tired of seeing political campaign signs around metro Phoenix? Well, most of them have to be gone soon.
13 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Arizona Department of Public Safety)...

Man arrested in Arizona after traffic stop leads to over 26 pounds of fentanyl

A 53-year-old man was arrested last month after authorities discovered over 26 pounds of fentanyl in his truck during a traffic stop in northern Arizona.
13 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/@PhoenixPolice)...

Police search for 5-month-old taken from Phoenix foster home by biological mother

Police are looking for a 5-month-old girl who was taken from a foster home in Phoenix by her biological mother, authorities said. 
13 hours ago
(Arizona Department of Public Safety Photo)...

Silver Alert issued for 72-year-old man with dementia last seen in Chandler

A Silver Alert was issued for a 72-year-old man diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer's disease who was last seen in Chandler on Saturday.
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
GCU partners with elementary school to prepare future teachers