University-District Partnership

University-District Partnership Supports Teacher Workforce & Diversity
Posted on 10/20/2022

University-District Partnership Supports Teacher Workforce & Diversity

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The University of St. Joseph celebrated its two-year partnership with Bloomfield Public Schools, with an event at the high school attended by university, state and town dignitaries. The partnership – a student-teacher training program - addresses the growing shortage of public-school teachers and the need to diversify the education workforce.

In the Fall of 2020, USJ - located in West Hartford - began collaborating with the district on strategies to better prepare teachers who wanted to work at the high school level. Prior to starting their student-teaching assignments in Bloomfield, USJ students were mentored by Bloomfield teachers. To date, 28 USJ student-teachers and eight Bloomfield teachers have been engaged in the program, endorsed by the State Department of Education.

USJ student-teachers were also provided the opportunity to teach several lessons in a BHS classroom. The district eventually hired several of those student-teachers.

The program expanded last year to Carmen Arace Middle School and provided USJ students with even more practical experience.

“The value this partnership brings to our school district is that we have benefitted from a number of the University of St. Joseph’s student-teachers,’’ said Bloomfield Public Schools Superintendent Dr. James Thompson, Jr. Thursday.  “There is also the professional development the university provides – and they are working with us on how we are going to further diversify our staff. We are looking forward to continuing this work with the university."

As part of the expansion into CAMS, a national program -- Educators Rising - is being implemented. Through mentoring and skill-building, its goal is to raise awareness among middle and high school students – particularly, boys of color - about a possible career in education.

“To get the most talented and dedicated teachers, we have to attract the best and brightest high school graduates to teacher-preparation programs at universities,” said University of St. Joseph President Dr. Rhona Free. “At the University of Saint Joseph, we know this effort begins at middle schools where students are inspired by outstanding teachers, as they are at Carmen Arace and Bloomfield High.”

Lisa Lamenzo – USJ alumna - is the district’s new director of school Improvement. She was a classroom teacher for 13 years in Bloomfield, before leaving for a leadership position with the State Department of Education six years ago. Lamenzo credits her education at USJ and her experience at BPS with preparing her well.

“This partnership between Bloomfield Public Schools and USJ enhances the already strong foundation for the next generation of classroom teachers by providing real world, on-the-ground teaching opportunities and classroom experiences for undergraduates,’’ Lamenzo said.

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