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District welcomes 8 professors-in-residence

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The Professional Development School District executive committee initiated a new process for selecting professors-in-residence from UGA to serve in the Clarke County School District for the 2018-19 school year.

This year, interested faculty applied for the position with support from a principal or district administrator. Applications included descriptions of planned activities aligned with school district goals, as well as evaluation plans. In April, the executive committee selected eight professors-in-residence. Three are new to the position: one is based in a high school and two are from UGA's School of Social Work and are serving district-wide.

New to the position Morgan Faison, clinical assistant professor in the department of educational theory and practice, is the new professor-in-residence at the Athens Community Career Academy. In collaboration with the Career Academy's CEO Lawrence Harris, Faison supports the school district's goal of increasing equity and access through college and career exploration and readiness. She is engaged in several school-wide projects. One of these includes the design and implementation of an advising course that offers high school students enrolled in the Future Teachers Academy, a new career pathway available through the academy, early exposure to social-justice teaching and learning experiences. She has also designed a Future Teachers Internship program for students interested in elementary teaching careers through Camp DIVE; the internship program was first initiated in 2017.

"Dr. Faison is an absolute joy to have on our campus," said Harris. "As an educator herself with expertise in early childhood, she has brought a wealth of knowledge and practices to our program. She consistently works to bring culturally relevant pedagogical strategies to our early childhood education students, opening up their eyes to understanding their own identities, academic abilities and talents. Having Dr. Faison on our campus is truly adding to our program's culture and climate."

For the first time since the Professional Development School District formed in 2011, two professors-in-residence are faculty in the School of Social Work. Jennifer Elkins and Michael Robinson, both associate professors, are working as a district-wide team to support the district's School Social Work Department. Together with Dawn Meyers, associate superintendent of policy and school support services, and Chrystal Gillis, director of social work, they are leading professional learning for school social workers related to race, equity, other sociocultural dimensions and trauma informed care to build their capacity to lead social justice initiatives in schools.

School of Social Work dean Anna Scheyett is very excited about the new collaboration. "So often, children struggle with issues outside of the classroom that interfere with their learning—issues like trauma, poverty, parental conflict—that can be targets of social work intervention. Having Dr. Elkins and Dr. Robinson working with the school district gives us the opportunity to enrich the district's capacity to address these issues through training, consultation and research," she said.

The opportunity to work with the school district gives the faculty members a unique perspective. "School social workers are an integral and unique part of the fabric of our community," said Elkins. "I am excited to be collaborating with the school social work team this year to facilitate their ability to enhance the well-being of students, families and schools where they are embedded."

In 2017, professor-in-residence Morgan Faison started the Future Teachers Internship program for Clarke County students interested in elementary teaching careers. With assistance from Pam Shearer (left), a mentor teacher at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School and College of Education student, Faison (right) shepherded the second cohort in the summer of 2018. Students included (from left) Jasmine Clark, Sarah Hemphill, Francisco Rodriguez and Isis Hutchins.

Continuing their work Five of the eight professors-in-residence are continuing work begun in prior years. In addition to supporting College of Education teacher candidates through supervision and/or teaching on-site courses, these faculty members are involved in activities that support district goals.

Lou Tolosa-Casadont, clinical associate professor in the department of language and literacy education, continues to provide support for the dual-language immersion program at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary for a third year. The school now has Spanish-English classrooms at the Pre-K, kindergarten, first- and second-grade levels.

In her eighth year as a professor-in-residence at Fowler Drive Elementary School, Beth Tolley, clinical associate professor in the department of educational theory and practice, has started a new program called Fowler University. All fourth- and fifth-grade students have the opportunity to attend her UGA early childhood education course that is taught on-site at the school. The Fowler Drive students learn about the structure of college classes, engage in discussion and notetaking, and interact with Tolley's UGA students

Beth Tolley (standing left), a professor-in-residence, initiated Fowler University at Fowler Drive Elementary School this fall. The program helps fourth-and fifth-grade students become college and career ready by experiencing college-level readings and discussions with UGA students. Pictured are several fifth-grade students talking with Tolley's early childhood education students about college life.

Amy Murphy, clinical assistant professor in the department of educational theory and practice, is in her second year as PIR at Clarke Middle School. She supports culturally responsive classroom management in teachers' classrooms and facilitates a professional learning community on the topic.

In her second year as a district-wide professor-in-residence for secondary social studies, Sonia Janis, clinical associate professor in the department of educational theory and practice, works with school district administrators Laura Ambrose, K-8 social studies instructional coach, and Glenda Huff, high school curriculum coordinator, to support secondary social studies teachers. Janis participates in teacher collaborative planning meetings, co-writes curriculum and facilitates professional learning related to social studies standards.

Richard Welsh, assistant professor in the department of lifelong learning, administration, and policy, is in his second year as a district-wide professor-in-residence with a focus on educational policy, equity and school discipline. He continues his research study that uses a systems approach to examine how student mobility, school climate and students', teachers' and school leaders' characteristics contribute to rates and disparities in disciplinary outcomes.

Professors-in-residence work either 25 percent or 50 percent of their time in school or district-based settings, depending on each individual's scope of work. Since 2009, 19 College of Education and School of Social Work faculty have served in this role.

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