• Baylor SOE partnership with local ISD earns national award for second straight year

    Baylor School of Education student in a Waco ISD classroom

    Faculty-guided, real-life experience is a hallmark of Baylor’s School of Education (SOE). Baylor education students get in the classroom earlier (and spend more time there) than their peers at many other universities, thanks to strong partnerships with local school districts.

    For the second year in a row, one of those partnerships has received national recognition for the way it prepares future teachers. Last year, Baylor’s work with Midway ISD earned top honors from the National Association for Professional Development Schools (NAPDS); this year, it was Baylor’s partnership with Waco ISD that earned the same national award.

    “The ultimate goal is to positively affect children’s learning in the classroom by providing future teachers with the best preparation,” says Baylor SOE interim dean Terrill Saxon, BA ’88, MSED ’90. “This partnership is a fundamental part of that preparation.”

    “We’re pleased that the partnership between Waco ISD and Baylor University has been recognized for its role in training the next generation of classroom teachers,” adds Waco ISD Superintendent Marcus Nelson. “Both the teachers being trained through the partnership and the students that they teach are transformed by their experiences at our PDS campuses. I suspect that more than a few of our students have been inspired to become teachers by the role models they met through the partnership, and I know that some of our best teachers started out their careers at one of our PDS campuses.”

    The NAPDS award is given to a small number of school-university partnerships each year whose work creates and sustains genuine, collaborative relationships between K-12 schools and higher education, providing the next generation of teachers with valuable classroom experience. NAPDS cited the Baylor-Waco ISD partnership “for its mutually beneficial 25-year collaboration and its leadership in PDS work nationally.”

    Baylor launched the program a quarter of a century ago, and today has six partner campuses within Waco ISD at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. Baylor sophomores begin the program by visiting a school campus for two hours a week. Juniors act as teaching assistants and visit three hours a day Monday through Thursday, while seniors are considered teaching interns and work in Waco ISD classrooms Monday through Thursday during the school year.

    “I feel so ready to have my own classroom,” Baylor senior Gabby Salazar told the Waco Tribune-Herald. “I felt ready after last semester, honestly. Now, it’s about fine-tuning. I’m figuring out my teaching style and my version of classroom management. It’s just so cool I’ve had this much time to figure everything out and feel so well prepared for the job force.”

    Sic ’em, Baylor School of Education!

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