Rowan Urban Teacher Academy introduces high schoolers to urban educationJuly 25, 2012
Hannah Scally always knew she wanted to be a teacher. But her experience last year in Rowan University’s College of Education has inspired her to pursue a career as an urban teacher.
“I absolutely want to teach in an urban school,” says Scally, of Woodbury, an incoming Rowan freshman that attended the two-week Rowan Urban Teacher Academy (RUTA) last year.
During RUTA, which runs July 30-Aug. 10 this year, rising high school seniors receive a hands-on introduction into the field of teaching, particularly in high needs areas such as urban education, special education, math and science education and bilingual education.
The 26 students attending RUTA this year will learn about the qualities of effective teachers, gain insights on how to devise lesson plans, and learn more about how to work with children. The program includes whole days in the City of Camden, where RUTA students will work with children at the Cooper Learning Center Reading Program, tour the city, complete a service project at the school, met with city and school officials, and learn about urban education from students in the EOF/ESL programs at Rowan at Camden.
The program includes a trip to the Franklin Institute with the Cooper Learning Center Reading Program children and a full day at Rowan, where RUTA students will present lesson plans to the youngsters on the theme of social justice.
Studies show that there will be a national shortage of teachers over the next decade, according to Steve Farney, assistant dean in Rowan’s College of Education. The shortages will be most acute in urban schools and in subjects such as science, special education, world languages, early childhood education and bilingual education, Farney says. Now in its fourth year, RUTA works to introduce aspiring teachers to the profession—and to the possibility of a career in an urban setting, Farney notes.
RUTA is a natural outgrowth of Rowan’s longstanding commitment to urban education. Every Rowan education major is required to complete a core course field assignment in the Camden City schools. In fact, nearly 600 University students, usually sophomores, complete field assignments in Camden each year, gaining first-hand experience of urban education early in their collegiate careers.
Scally, who will major in elementary education and liberal studies at Rowan in the fall, is serving as a helper and mentor to new RUTA students this year. Her experience last year at RUTA convinced her that teaching is her calling and that she would thrive in an urban setting, she says.
“The children were excited to learn new things. They wanted to learn,” says Scally, who wants to be a kindergarten or first-grade teacher.
RUTA also helps prepare high school students for the responsibility of college and helps them develop relationships early on with Rowan professors, Scally notes.
A cadre of dedicated professors in the University’s College of Education work with the program.
“The Rowan professors—all of them—are amazing,” says Scally.
“I definitely feel I’m more ready for college because I attended RUTA,” she adds. “I’ve wanted to attend Rowan since my sophomore year of high school. It’s the perfect school to study education.”
Students involved in this year’s RUTA program include:
Kayla Scannell, Linwood, Mainland Regional High School; Nevin Mei, Galloway, Absegami High School.
Abby Gifford, Delran, Delran High School; Shannon Kelley, Marlton, Cherokee High School; Olivia White, Palmyra, Palmyra High School.
Sarah Barner, Laurel Springs, Highland Regional High School; Stephen Cobb, Pennsauken, Pennsauken High School; Jacquelynn Hart, Collingswood, Collingswood High School; Dalia Kirzner, Cherry Hill, Kohelet Yeshiva High School; Allison MacRae, Runnemede, and Eugene Marrone III and Amanda Noll, Blackwood, Triton Regional High School; Alyssa Nolan, Lindenwold, St. Joseph High School of Hammonton; Leysha Quinones, Woodlynne, Camden County Technical Schools; Emma Rittman, Haddon Heights, Haddon Heights High School.
Courtney Simpkins, Bridgeton, Cumberland Regional High School.
Felicia Eisenhower, Westville, and Anthony Parsons, Deptford, Deptford High School; Maya Holmes, Newfield, Delsea Regional High School; Abigail Karper, Wenonah, Gateway Regional High School; Dan Murphy, Woodbury, Woodbury High School; Kevin Ruffenach, Sewell, Clearview Regional High School; Nicholas Stranix, Glassboro, Glassboro High School.
Jessica Adderly, Union Beach, Red Bank Regional High School.
Bucks County, Pa.
Brigid McMenamin, Wycombe, Pa., Council Rock High School North.