State-Funded CEEDAR Grant Strengthens Partnership With Cesar Batalla School
As part of the Jesuit mission to perform work as men and women for others, Fairfield University education students have long been working with students from Bridgeport Public Schools in their classrooms, focusing on critical skills such as reading comprehension. As part of a state-funded grant, Graduate School of Education and Allied Profession (GSEAP) faculty and Fairfield staff, in collaboration with teachers from Bridgeport’s Cesar Batalla School, have formed a task force to enhance collaborative learning for both Cesar Batalla and Fairfield.
Since last fall, Fairfield University has been one of seven Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) to receive funding from the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) as part of the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development and Reform (CEEDAR) grant. The goal of the grant is to strengthen district and EPP partnerships, to focus clinical experiences on practice-based learning and application, and to offer training in culturally responsive pedagogy. The mission of CEEDAR is to help states and institutions of higher education reform their teacher and leader preparation programs, revise licensure standards to align with reforms, refine personnel evaluation systems, and realign policy structures and professional learning systems.
Second grade teacher at Cesar Batalla School, Melody Curran MA‘06, has been working with Fairfield University students in her classroom as part of the partnership. As a member of the CEEDAR grant task force, she’s been collaborating with Fairfield faculty and staff to prepare for Fairfield students to enter her classroom in the upcoming school year, specifically to identify learning opportunities that will benefit both her students and Fairfield students studying to be teachers. “It’s a great partnership and I’ve always participated in programs that Fairfield University offers,” said Curran. “The cross-learning that the partnership offers is really great, and the grant allows us to dedicate time and resources to zero in on the needs of Fairfield students and their curriculum, while making connections with the needs of Batalla students.”
Ryan Colwell, PhD, assistant professor and director of childhood education at Fairfield, who is also a member of the task force, explained, “With members from both Fairfield University and Cesar Batalla School as part of the CEEDAR grant team, we are able to work together to design fieldwork experiences that are educative for our teacher candidates and simultaneously meet the needs of our partnership schools.”
The Fairfield University CEEDAR grant task force is led by Stephanie Burrell Storms, EdD, associate dean and associate professor of educational studies and teacher preparation, accompanied by Fairfield faculty Ryan Colwell and Terri Germain-Williams, PhD, assistant professor of the practice and director of teacher education, Fairfield associate director of the Center for Faith and Public Life, Andrea Canuel, and Cesar Batalla School teachers Melody Curran and Jessie Ruzicka.