Appalachian State University’s Appalachian Community of Education Scholars (ACES) junior cohort traveled to Winston-Salem and Greensboro, North Carolina, on November 15, 2019, as part of their school district orientation programming. The ACES program is housed in the Reich College of Education (RCOE)’s James Center for Student Success and Advising.
43 students from all education majors spent time at various Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools, as well as visited the International Civil Rights Center and Museum located in Greensboro, North Carolina. Students were placed in one of four schools: Speas Global Elementary School, Cook Literacy Model School, Wiley Magnet Middle School, and RJ Reynolds High School. Students had the opportunity to conduct classroom observations and converse with the principal of the school.
Elementary education major Jean Carlos Garcia Reyes, from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, completed his service at Speas Global Elementary School, an International Baccalaureate and Spanish Dual Language Immersion school. He noted, “I loved having the chance to see a global school speaking on the benefits of a school having a dual-language immersion program, as well as seeing just how important it is for a school to welcome and embrace diversity.”
Anna Robinson, Samaria McKnight, and Taylor Polson enjoy time at Speas Global Elementary School.
Taylor Polson, an elementary education major from High Point, North Carolina, was also at Speas Global Elementary School. She said, “I was in awe of the mastery that the children have of a new language, specifically the kindergarteners who have only been learning in Spanish for eleven weeks.”
“Also, the children followed the teachers directions very quickly, easily, and enthusiastically,” she continued. “It was great to see the emphasis Speas Elementary puts on rewarding and encouraging good behavior.”
“Having the opportunity to attend the service trip to Winston-Salem and Greensboro opened my eyes to the amazing opportunities that I have as a future educator. Being able to walk into a school and see different aspects of administration, school culture, and learning take place was refreshing and motivating. I have taken this experience and placed it into my ‘teacher toolbox’ to be able to use in my future career as an educator and advocate of learning.”
Completing his service at RJ Reynolds High School, history education major Nathan Minton, from Granite Falls, North Carolina, was amazed by the opportunity.
“Having the opportunity to attend the service trip to Winston-Salem and Greensboro opened my eyes to the amazing opportunities that I have as a future educator,” he said. “Being able to walk into a school and see different aspects of administration, school culture, and learning take place was refreshing and motivating. I have taken this experience and placed it into my ‘teacher toolbox’ to be able to use in my future career as an educator and advocate of learning.”
Director of the James Center for Student Success and Advising, Ike Smith, said, “The ACES program is a wonderful opportunity for these students to participate in rich professional development and grow as teacher leaders prior to entering the profession.”
Karen Archie, Assistant Principal, RJ Reynolds High School, talks to future high school teachers.
Next spring semester, the junior cohort will meet with county office personal from Winston-Salem Forsyth County School to complete service projects within the school system.
ACES is a four-year program for future teachers focusing on mentoring, leadership, service, and personal and professional development. Along with ACES, the James Center works to recruit, advise, provide professional development, and retain teacher education majors during their tenure at Appalachian State to ensure success for a career in education.
Contributed by Libby Rose