Having been conceived as part of last year’s Strategic Plan and primarily funded by the PTA, the Brent teaching partner program started strong this year with four students from Trinity University’s School of Education joining Brent in August. Since then, these four educators (Taneika Blackwell, Leontia Collins, Shani Plummer, and Brittany Wilkerson) have been helping students who need more individual attention as they work toward getting and staying on grade level. Over the course of the day, the teaching partners interact with students in a variety of settings. For example, a teaching partner will work with a 4-person group of students on their multiplication skills using curriculum and tips from Mr. Mangiaracina. Later that same teaching partner will join a class during Writing to support any struggling writers. In addition to working in small groups and in the full classroom, teaching partners work one-on-one with students for quick lessons.
While the teaching partners primarily work with 3rd-5th grade students, they are a key component of this year’s new Brain Block program for the Kindergarten through 2nd grade students. During Brain Block, the teaching partners join teachers from across the school in working with small groups of students to advance foundational skills, especially literacy and math.
Their interaction with the 1st and 2nd graders doesn’t stop with Brain Block. Lunchtime finds the teaching partners assisting with the always fun task of keeping order in the cafeteria. The teaching partners’ afternoons are another mix of one-on-one, small group, and full classroom assistance. Although each classroom does not have a teaching partner assigned to assist in it all day long, the teaching partners provide critical support to the classroom teachers by working with those students who need a little extra time.