Wheeling Jesuit's education department partners with local elementary school

  WJU News
  Thursday, December 20, 2018 9:03 AM
  WJU News, Service, Academics

Wheeling, WV

This past semester, Dr. Jane Neuenschwander and her education students partnered with Steenrod Elementary School in Wheeling. Michelle Dietrich, principal at Steenrod, contacted Dr. Neuenschwander about starting a mentoring program between Wheeling Jesuit and selected students from the elementary school. 

The fall 2018 semester was used to complete this pilot program. Twenty-one students from Wheeling Jesuit were enrolled in the course to work with both fourth and fifth graders from Steenrod. The program, "Cardinal Cousins," identified two goals. 

"For the young future teachers, the goal was to work directly with an elementary student with the hopes that the experience might help the future teachers evaluate their career choice early in their college years. For the elementary students, the goal was to have a mentor to talk to about school and/or other things on a weekly basis," said Jane Neuenschwander, assistant professor.

The students met every Wednesday for a total of 10 weeks. During this time, the elementary students engaged in games and activities that were meant to encourage informal conversations between the participants, practice sportsmanship in competitive settings, and provide an experience that displayed positive student-teacher interactions. 

"At the conclusion of the field experience, each student from Wheeling Jesuit that was enrolled in the course wrote a case study about their Steenrod student and reflected upon the overall experience. These case studies were part of the WJU students’ course requirements, and they were also shared with the elementary principal. The WJU students were able to describe and apply course content knowledge of notable educational psychologists and learning theories as they analyzed possible student needs," Neuenschwander explained. 

"Students from Wheeling Jesuit also made suggestions for modifications that will be considered as the program is evaluated for continuation. This initial pilot program allowed the University's students to receive hands-on field experience and it produced an abundance of positive feedback that can be a basis for future 'Cardinal Cousins' programs."

Wheeling Jesuit University is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the country offering 25 majors and concentrations, 15 minors, and six graduate programs. The University provides a Jesuit, Catholic, liberal arts education, and our affordable programs unite the Jesuit tradition of intellectual excellence allowing students to receive an education for life, leadership and service with and among others. The 65-acre campus is situated on the Ohio River 50 miles south of Pittsburgh, and two hours east of Columbus, in Wheeling, WV.

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