Education majors gear up for more outreach to underserved elementary schools

Education program

Second- and fourth-graders participate during a lesson at Penn State Abington.

Credit: Regina Broscius

ABINGTON, Pa. — Education majors at Penn State Abington are preparing for another year of outreach to four economically challenged elementary schools in the Philadelphia region.

A grant will fund these programs in the elementary and early childhood education (EEC) major to advance literacy and culturally responsive pedagogy at the partner schools:

  • About 20 Abington EEC majors will lead outreach efforts in four community partner schools, where they will deliver literacy, science and math lessons.
  • About 125 elementary teachers from community partner schools will visit Abington for professional development with national experts in children’s literature and teaching in urban communities. EEC majors will plan and host the daylong sessions, providing the opportunity for Abington students to learn alongside veteran teachers.
  • Fifteen Abington School District elementary teachers and Abington faculty and students will participate in a yearlong book study focused on culturally responsive teaching.
  • About 240 second- and fourth-graders will visit Abington for hands-on experiences with children’s authors and a master scientist. For many children, it will be their first exposure to a college campus. While at Abington, the children will work with EEC majors on activities focused on literacy and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) enrichment.

The Penn State Bookstores, managed by Barnes & Noble, awarded a grant that will support the EEC programming for the 2017-18 academic year.

EEC faculty established community partnerships with four elementary schools located in the Philadelphia, Norristown and Bensalem school districts that reflect the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of the region. Combining theory and practice, junior-level EEC majors apply culturally responsive pedagogy in these practicum experiences.

Culturally responsive pedagogy is a style of teaching in which the students’ cultural strengths are identified and nurtured to advance academic achievement.

Penn State Abington, formerly the Ogontz campus, offers baccalaureate degrees in 19 majors at its suburban location just north of Philadelphia. Nearly half of our 4,000 students complete all four years at Abington, with opportunities in undergraduate research, the Schreyer honors program, NCAA Division III athletics, and more. Students can start the first two years of more than 160 Penn State majors at Abington and complete their degrees at University Park or another campus. Lions Gate, our first residence hall, opened in August.