LEWISTON – Niagara University’s long-standing partnership with the Niagara Falls City School District has been chosen for the Model of Excellence Award from the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education.
Niagara’s College of Education will be presented with a plaque commemorating the achievement at the association’s annual conference, which is being held Monday and Tuesday in Las Vegas. Additionally, the College of Education will be featured in an upcoming edition of the association’s newsletter.
The College of Education and the Niagara Falls schools maintain a partnership that spans more than 20 years, with programs that include all levels of stakeholders in various school and university settings.
In all programs and grant opportunities, the partners place an emphasis on raising student achievement, giving pre-service candidates clinical experiences that prepare them for inner-city settings, training and enhancement for Niagara Falls teachers and staff, and giving Niagara Falls students educational opportunities on Niagara’s campus.
Since 2007, the College of Education has received $14 million in public and private grants to support student and teacher development. Nearly 65 percent of these funds have been earmarked for collaborative efforts with the Niagara Falls schools, a high-needs district where nearly 80 percent of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunches under federal Title I guidelines.
Currently, the college and school district are working together on programs in family literacy, STEM, early college and smart scholars, early childhood and professional development.
“I congratulate the faculty and staff in our College of Education, and thank them for their tireless commitment to serving children and early childhood development in Western New York,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of the university. “The College of Education’s partnerships with fellow higher education institutions, national and international schools, and local organizations enhance the rigor of NU’s teacher education programs and contribute to the fulfillment of our Catholic and Vincentian mission.”
In recommending Niagara for the award, Niagara Falls School Superintendent Cynthia Bianco said, “Their vision of partnerships has produced solid academic and value-added programs for all their students, as well as ours, over the last two decades.
Niagara’s College of Education’s commitment to partnerships is a model from which all colleges of education could benefit: unique, engaging and highly regarded.”
The College of Education has developed numerous partnerships over the years with schools across the region through its innovative Institute of Applied Learning. The institute implements activities in partnership with faculty in the College of Education, the College of Arts and Sciences and local school districts, bringing research-based methodology to the classroom through ongoing, sustainable initiatives. To learn more, visit www.niagara.edu/education.