In the fall of 2012, BGA Headmaster Matt Holzer and Literacy teacher Marisa Olivo began meeting with Boston University professors, Scott Seider and Christina Dobbs, to envision a partnership that could strengthen teacher education at BU and teaching and learning at BGA. In the two years since, the partnership has flourished.
Boston University School of Education has quickly become one of Boston Green Academy’s most prized partners. The success of the partnership belongs to the enthusiastic and welcoming nature of the BGA teachers and students, combined with the resilience and eagerness of BU graduate and undergraduate students. In less than two years, BU students have become a functioning and productive body at BGA. Students and teachers welcome and work side by side with BU pre-practicum and practicum students. In turn, BU students have engaged in a more practice-based internship that prepares them well for urban education.
Today, the partnership has a four main parts: the summer institute, the internship programming, professional development for BGA teachers, and increasing exposure for BGA students to the university setting. Below you will read about the BU Summer Institute and Internship Program, and you’ll hear from the students and teachers who reap the benefits:
BU Summer Institute:
The BU Summer Institute has shaped up to be the foundation of our partnership. All stakeholders have a rich experience reading and thinking together, which creates a community of learners who value and respect each other. The institute has run for two summers, 2013 and 2014. It began as a literacy institute in 2013, grew to a literacy and math in the summer of 2014 and in the summer of 2015, we will engage BGA and BU students in literacy, math, and science courses.
Participants’ take on the experience:
“The BGA-BU Summer Literacy Institute is perhaps the most exciting teaching and learning that I’ve been a part of in my 15 year career in education. The high schoolers, grad students, teachers and professors all join together in reading a common text, and, in doing so, make real contributions to each other’s growth and learning. The Institute has already become an indispensable part of the BU English Education program, and I look forward to it each year.”
– Dr. Scott Seider, Associate Professor of Education at BU
“The BGA Summer Reading Program was fun, entertaining and enlightening for me at the same time. For one, I come from a country where no one really reads books or novels for leisure except for study. Participating in the summer reading program, I regained my ground in reading and it made me begin the school year at a level higher than what I could have achieved in the previous years…it increased my confidence and excitement about reading.”
– Edosa Osemwegie, BGA Student, Class of 2016
“The BU Summer Institute is an example of the ultimate “win-win” scenario- BGA teachers get a chance to hone their craft, BU interns get the opportunity to practice what they learn in theory in an authentic classroom setting working with urban students. A strong and lasting partnership is being forged between BGA and BU, and most importantly, BGA students are being exposed to higher education at a world-class university while having the opportunity to grow as scholars. It doesn’t get any better than that!”
– Kari Abdal-Khallaq, BGA Math teacher
“I appreciated the focus on respectful discussion and the sharing of student voices. I appreciated that we acknowledged real action towards sustainability and social justice in the students’ own communities on our field trip to ACE. It felt like a relevant and compassionate education… And I think I am correct in saying that both high school and graduate students thoroughly enjoyed engaging in an environment where everyone was learning from each other and contributing in equal ways to the community of the institute.”
– Arielle Trager, BU MAT Student, Class of 2015
Pre-Practicum and Practicum Experience
This year, approximately 30 BU School of Education students of all content areas will complete their pre-practicum at BGA, with some remaining for their practicum. BU’s English Education program has developed a summer course, SED EN630, entitled “Educating for Equity & Literacy in the Humanities,” that includes a field experience component connected to the summer literacy institute. In the spring of 2015, BGA teacher Marisa Olivo will instruct SED CT375: Pre-Practicum Experience & Reflection Seminar for undergraduates, and SED EN508: Student-Teaching & Reflection Seminar for graduate students.
Participants’ take on the experience:
“I’ve been student-teaching for a little less than a month now, but I feel completely at-home at Boston Green Academy and in the classroom. The staff and students have welcomed me into their school with warm and open arms. My mentor teacher is incredibly insightful, understanding, and has been an amazing support. The school itself is just so alive, for the lack of a better word. BGA pulsates with vigor and energy.”
– Rachel Beeler MAT ‘14
“When offered an internship position at BGA as a student teacher, I immediately leapt at the opportunity…It has been very apparent since I began visiting BGA that the faculty truly care about their students’ success and I hope that I can make as much of an impact as the dedicated BGA instructors in their students’ lives and education!”
– Andrea Wood, MAT Class of 2015
If you are interested in learning more about the program or possibly participating, please contact BGA teacher, Marisa Olivo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, Boston University, for providing this world-class experience for our students!