School District Partnerships
Located directly to the west of the Butler University campus, the MSD of Pike Township provides both a proximity and curricular opportunity that is a strong match for the college. The partnership is a unique model that provides a current practicing teacher the opportunity to serve in a dual faculty role in both the school and University contexts in order to support preservice and in-service teachers as they work to develop meaningful, ongoing professional relationships. This role, known as the Pike/Butler Master Practitioner (MP), has been an important part of the middle secondary program in the college since 1998. The MP might be thought of as an instructional coach, as someone who nurtures the professional development conversation and someone who has an awareness of the various contexts beyond a single classroom or even a single school.
We believe that the MP strengthens our teacher preparation program by ensuring that it is always grounded in the “real” world of 5-12 schools while also modeling our college’s belief that teachers are leaders, researchers, and experts with whom we (teacher educators) collaborate to change what the “real” world of school might look like for students. The MP model is based upon ideas about supporting both our preservice educators as well as novice teachers with whom our graduates will hopefully soon be working.
The MP has played an essential part of the growth of the curricula in the middle secondary program. In the fall senior semester when students take their methods coursework, the MP places every Butler student in a classroom with an in-service teacher of the same content-specific background within the Pike High School and/or Freshman Center. The placements are mutually beneficial to both the preservice and in-service teacher because the MP comes in to observe and coach a minimum of three times in the semester long placement. These methods course placements then become the placement for our candidates in their first phase of middle secondary student teaching. This provides the unique opportunity for preservice candidates to see and respond to student growth from the beginning of the year all the way through the first half of the spring semester.
In the same way the MP shares his/her expertise by co-teaching University based courses, the University faculty share expertise by co-teaching or co-facilitating workshops for new teachers. This happens specifically during summer professional development opportunities.
Through on-going Pike Partnership quarterly meetings and goals reviews as well as through our co-teaching and program meetings, there is a continuous focus on maintaining shared visions.