July 28, 2014
At the same time it’s expanding its reach, the Albion College Education Department “Maymester” program is returning to its roots.
Nearly a decade ago, a seed grant from the Battle Creek-based Guido A. and Elizabeth H. Binda Foundation played a key role in launching Boundary Crossings, a program in which junior-year College students pursuing a Michigan teaching certification collaborate with a K-12 mentor teacher to conceive, plan, and teach an interdisciplinary unit related to a current-issues theme. The program has proven to be valuable for K-12 students as well as for the aspiring teachers; for the latter, it’s essentially a sneak preview of the senior-year student-teaching experience.
Following last year’s closure of Albion High School, and the successful transition of ninth- through twelfth-graders to neighboring Marshall High School, Boundary Crossings recently received a $15,000 grant from the Binda Foundation to fully extend the program from Albion to MHS.
“With Albion Public Schools’ transition to a K-8 district, the Binda Foundation is providing critical support for the program to continue serving students through high school graduation,” said Suellyn Henke, associate professor of education at Albion College. “Boundary Crossings will be able to expand its reach from one to two communities, building new connections between school and community across both.”
The junior-year students, all of whom have been admitted into the College’s Fritz Shurmur Center for Teacher Education, teach their units over a three-week Maymester period. At the end of May, students display and discuss a portfolio of their work in an open-to-the-public Maymester Showcase in the Science Complex Atrium.
Karen Hoagllin, the Shurmur Center’s public-school liaison, said Maymester is a “full-time immersion experience” and that the Showcase portfolios directly reflect the financial support for Boundary Crossings.
“With funding, teachers and students take field trips where they engage in hands-on experiences, from canoeing, to water-testing at the Whitehouse Nature Center, even conducting cost analyses while grocery shopping at local supermarkets,” she said. “There are also professional development workshops. The Binda Foundation support will help us to continue experiences like this for everyone involved, and to bring two communities together.”
The Binda Foundation, established in 1977, is a private educational foundation designed to promote learning throughout the lifespan and to encourage people to improve the quality of life in their community. Learn more about the foundation at bindafoundation.org