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Duggan Academy Students Explore Teaching Careers at WNE

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2021 - 12:00 AM Arts and Sciences , Faculty , All News
  • Students from John J. Duggan Academy stop to pose for a photo with the beloved WNE Golden Bear statue during their visit to Western New England University to learn about the field of Elementary Education.

Springfield area high school students from John J. Duggan Academy got the opportunity to explore the field of Education as a possible career during a half day information session on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 organized by the Western New England (WNE) University's Department of Education.

"The internship is now in its fifth-year and it's an opportunity for qualified Duggan juniors and seniors to attend an Introduction to Education course at WNE," says event organizer, Associate Professor of Education Dr. Raymond Ostendorf. "The students participate along with the WNE students and, through a variety of methods for collaborating typical in the class, tend to form new bonds and friendships, learning even more about what life is like in college — from the inside out and gaining experience that can help shape their future college and career pathways."

The initiative is part of an ongoing partnership between John J. Duggan Academy and Western New England University that bridges public secondary education and private higher education.

The program begins with a welcome and introductions by Professor Ostendorf in the University Campus Center. Students are then provided the opportunity to sit in on an actual Education class. This year's students joined Dr. Deb Patterson's Reading and Language Arts Methods course. Patterson was delighted with the student's active participation in her class. "The Duggan students joined our activity analyzing children's literature and practicing metacognition directly contributing to our class discussion. It was great to see their eagerness to participate."

Students were then taken on a traditional tour of the campus and met with admissions councilors for a Q&A. The day ends with lunch in the dining hall. "It's designed to remove some of the perceived barriers that may be preventing high school students from following their goals and dreams," says Ostendorf.

At the end of the day students are invited to consider a deeper dive into the field by enrolling in a University sponsored internship program.

"Teaching, and the impact of effective K-12 educators, will always be important," adds Ostendorf. "Teachers help to provide the students with the essential foundational skills that are needed for all other professions; skills that are not only content-related, but skills relating closely to students' healthy social-emotional development."

Jill Williamson, Guidance Counselor and Career Readiness Coordinator at Duggan agrees. "This opportunity and the Duggan/WNE collaboration is invaluable to our population," she says "The internship is now a known experience in our Duggan community and students are eager to take part. Two of the students who attended today are eager to go back and learn about the Business and Engineering programs."

Ostendorf said that according to the most recent outcome data, 90% of the successful Duggan internship completers go onto higher education themselves.

The Department of Education at Western New England University is designed to academically and dispositionally prepare students for entrance into the teaching profession. Through coursework assignments, microteaching, and field-based experiences connecting theory to practice in local K-12 schools, students develop and demonstrate their ability to successfully plan curriculum to meet needs of all learners, and effectively build and manage an equitable and inclusive learning community.

For further information, contact Professor Ostendorf at 413-796-2040 or raymond.ostendorf@wne.edu or visit the Department of Education's website.