Clinical Model Partnerships

Mary K. Oxley Foundation Chairs Debby Oxley and Jack Oxley

The University of Louisville’s College of Education & Human Development (CEHD) received a generous grant for $1,000,000 from the Mary K. Oxley Foundation in 2010 to support the Jefferson County Public Schools which were identified within the University of Louisville’s Signature Partnership Initiative (SPI). The University had created the SPI in 2007 to help elevate education levels, improve health care access, and support economic development in Louisville’s West End Neighborhoods. The goals of the program have focused the University’s attention on five West End Community schools: J.B. Atkinson Academy for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Portland Elementary, Western Middle/Westport Middle, Central High, and the Academy @ Shawnee, which is now a middle and high school.

The purpose of the Mary K. Oxley Foundation funds is to further support the University and the CEHD’s efforts in improving the educational attainment level of the West End Community by ensuring that every student is taught by high quality teachers. The funds support strategies to recruit and retain high quality educators in these schools and provide the teachers with engaging job-embedded professional development that will ensure their ability to teach effectively in a diverse, urban setting.

Funds from the Mary K. Oxley Foundation, which is led by chairs Jack and Debby Oxley, helped establish the first CEHD clinical model site at J.B. Atkinson Academy. In this model, CEHD faculty members teach content methods courses on-site in a designated University of Louisville classroom. They assist with K-12 teacher professional development at the school and collaborate with the teachers in preparing for CEHD teacher candidates' experiences in their classrooms.

The Clinical Model of Teacher Preparation

The clinical model of teacher preparation at the CEHD follows the medical clinical model for the preparation of doctors. The clinical model for educators development takes place within schools, as doctors are prepared in teaching hospitals. This program matches teacher candidates with experienced teachers (cooperating teachers in the schools and our University supervisors) in our partner schools. Through the utilization of co-teaching strategies, they collaborate on diagnosing learning issues; designing treatment plans, and engage in using continuous assessment to determine how the treatment plan is working. The intensive program emphasizes content literacy, critical thinking, problem solving skills and content-specific lessons. All cooperating teachers, university supervisors, and teacher candidates have completed the St. Cloud Model of Co-teaching.

J.B. Atkinson Academy

Assistant Principal: Dr. Arrivia Parks
Professor-in-Residence: Amy Seely Flint, PhD
Teacher-in-Residence: Christopher Arrington

Having a literacy focus, Professor-in-Residence Amy Seely Flint in partnership with JBA, teaches the undergraduate reading methods course, EDTP 320. Prior to COVID-19, UofL courses took place onsite at JBA, with UofL students participating in mediated field experiences, whereby they observed guided reading and engaged JBA students in informal reading assessments, conducted reading conferences, and implemented reading strategy lessons. Amanda Shaw, reading interventionist, was a guest lecturer each semester.

During the 2020-21 academic year, UofL students completed their formal field experiences at JBA. The leadership team was instrumental in allowing UofL students to meet with JBA teachers and students during NTI instruction. UofL students observed whole class instruction, guided reading, and grade level Professional Learning Communities. When teachers and students returned to the building in late March, UofL students were provided opportunities to continue working with their mentor teachers and engage in-person field experiences.

Spring 2021 Teacher-in-Residence Christopher Arrington met weekly (virtually) with UofL students to debrief their field experiences. Dr. Flint and Wanda Jaggers, Grade 1 Teacher, are engaged in a longitudinal study examining culturally sustaining practices in literacy. Thus far, two publications and five conference presentations (state, regional, and national) have resulted from this research. Additionally, Andrea Thompson, Grade 5 teacher, is currently pursuing her MEd in Literacy, with support from the Nystrand Center of Excellence in Education.

Cochran Elementary School

Principal: De'Nay Speaks, PhD
Professor-in-Residence: Sherri Brown, PhD
Teacher-in-Residence: Margot Smith

Having a Science Methods focus, the work completed at Cochran Elementary during the 2020-2021 academic year included CEHD students teaching several Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) science lessons in “real time” to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students, in their EDTP 324 Science Methods P-5 course. Additionally, Teacher-in-Residence Margot Smith supervised UofL Elementary student-teachers and the purchasing of supportive STEM educational materials.

In Fall 2021, the field placements for EDTP 324 students were redesigned. Instead of having them obtain their field hours at another location, they were placed with the 3rd and 4th grade teachers at Cochran. This field placement model allows Science Methods students to teach science on a weekly basis and gain more teaching experience prior to student teaching, with those students being placed in groups of 2 or 3 and working together to plan science each week.

The Building Learning Communities course is also taught at Cochran Elementary. This course includes various speakers, and this year those speakers included classroom teachers, a mental health practitioner, an ESL teacher, and school security personnel, with those speakers talking with students about their roles at Cochran.

Portland Elementary School

Principal: Michelle Perkins
Professor-in-Residence: John T. Finch, PhD
Teacher-in-Residence: Sarah Helvey

Portland Elementary is an exciting school in which to learn, work, and discover and connect.

Situated in Louisville’s west end, began as a four-room schoolhouse in 1853 in the historic Portland area making it the oldest school building in continuous use in Kentucky. Portland’s slogan is, “Celebrating Success–Every class, Every Student, Every Day!” and prides itself as an Environmental Magnet School that successfully educates its students in all content areas while integrating environmental studies. Serving a diverse student population in grades K-5, many of the students attending Portland Elementary live in or around the urban Portland neighborhood. Class sizes are small, with a student to teacher ratio of 11 to 1 allowing teachers to focus on individual student needs and achievement in their 14 K-5 classes.

Portland Elementary has been a Professional Development School partnered with UofL since 1993. In 2015, Portland became an Oxley Signature Partnership School under then Principal Angela Hosch. Principal Michelle Perkins, together with Sarah Helvey (Teacher-in-Residence) and Dr. John T. Finch (Professor-in-Residence), work collaboratively to make program decisions mutually beneficial for Portland and UofL students. Writing, Science, Social Studies Methods and Building Learning Communities courses are taught on the Portland campus. UofL pre-service students complete fieldwork on-site, learn from Portland teachers, and apply strategies and methodologies from their courses when working with K-5 students.

Science is taught by Dr. McFadden on Tuesday mornings, where his students teach whole group and small group lessons to 4th graders about magnetism and electricity. Two Social Studies courses are taught by Dr. Finch on Monday and Tuesday afternoons, with his students going into Kindergarten classes to teach small group lessons. Writing is also taught by Dr. Finch, with his students teaching small group lessons to 1st graders on Thursday mornings. Even on NTI days, UofL students have still been able to work with our students by joining in their class Google meets. 

Two student teachers hosted a series of Louisville Writing Project “Kid Writing” Professional Development sessions at Portland Elementary as well. Attending these sessions were ECE and ESL teachers from Portland and Cochran Elementary’s Teacher-in-Residence, Margot Smith.

Westport Middle School

Principal: Jodie Zeller
Professor-in-Residence: Penny Howell, PhD
Teacher-in-Residence: Alice Gnau

In 2013, the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) awarded to the CEHD a $500,000 grant to launch the clinical model at Westport Middle School.

The Academy at Shawnee

Principal: Kymberly Rice
Assistant Principal: Jessica Jones
Professor-in-Residence: Todd Whitney, PhD
Teacher-in-Residence: Kenneth Williams

Prior to the start of the 2015-16 school year, UofL was awarded an additional grant from the CPE, which was used to build a clinical model at the high school level.

The Clinical Model Partnerships epitomize the Nystrand Center's mission, which is centered around Transformation through Collaboration and a dedication to educational excellence for all students, which is made possible through innovative thinking, transformational educator preparation, professional development, and supportive learning environments.