MU Partnership Builds A Two-Way Street

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COLUMBIA- Mizzou and public school leaders worked today to improve student learning.  The long time partnership includes use of student teachers and other programs.  About 30 educators from 22 school districts joined MU and local colleges for the MU Partnership in Education Renewal (MPER) at the Reynolds Alumni Center on MU's campus today.

MPER co-Director Dan Lowry believes the program impacts the entire community because it focuses on the partnership between MU and the community.

"This program is the nation's largest educational partnership. It focuses on collaboration in regards to preparing the teachers of tomorrow..." Lowry said. "By working together, we cannot only impact in a positive manner through the research conducted here at the University as far as the best practices in developing theteachers of tomorrow but also how we're impacting the learning environment of the students they will be working with. "

Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. David Russell and Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Dr. Ron Lankford led round table discussions about issues facing education in Missouri at the meeting today. Attorney General Chris Koster discussed legal issues impacting Missouri's students -- like disparities in school funding.

MPER member districts represent 178,000 students. Locally, Parkade Elementary school in Columbia received extra undergraduate education students through the partnership to put more teachers in every classroom. Parkade Elementary Principal Amy Watkins believes MPER givers her students  teacher-student interaction increases.

Watkins described the MPER program as a "teaching hospital," where college-aged educators can learn and practice their learning at the same time. 

"It is wonderful because students from MU and Columbia College can take what they're learning in the classroom and directly put it into practice in our classrooms at Parkade," Watkins said. 

The Parkade Elementary School partnership program plans to increase in size next year. 35 college-aged students applied for the twelve spots available at Parkade Elementary to help teachers in the classroom. Each college-aged student receives $1000 for assisting at Parkade Elementary.