Peek into the library at Fort Washington Elementary School before school starts on Tuesdays and Thursdays and you will see 25 young students working with seven Chestnut Hill College education majors. The room buzzes with excitement as the youngsters solve math problems and review math facts.
The children are learning that math is fun, thanks to the school’s principal, Mr. Shawn McAleer, a.k.a. Mr. Mac, and CHC juniors through a partnership between the schools known as AM Academy. Fort Washington Elementary teachers have been mentoring CHC students for about five years. The teacher candidates are trained to assist in the classroom in a variety of ways and are prepared to support classroom instruction and student learning.
Mr. Mac decided to reinstate AM Academy and contacted Kathy Gibson, retired Fort Washington teacher who currently works at CHC in the Office of Field Placement, for support. She agreed to help and Nancy Levitt, college supervisor and CHC student teaching coordinator, often visits the site to meet with teachers and teacher candidates. Mr. Mac identified students who needed a little extra boost in math, and with backing from parents, the program was begun.
“Chestnut Hill College has been thrilled with this partnership,” says Gibson. “Our students have an opportunity to work with highly qualified teachers and are learning from the best.” Mr. Mac’s high-energy approach keeps the students focused on learning.
“This is a great experience,” says Emma Mull, CHC junior. “It’s rewarding to get to know the students and help them with their math. They are all enthusiastic about learning, and just a few tweaks in their math abilities can make a big difference.”
Teachers, students and parents are enthusiastic about the program, which will end for the semester on December 5 and resume after the college’s winter break, in late January 2018.
“At CHC, we are always looking for ways to give back to the community. This truly is a partnership that benefits everyone.”
— Kathy Gibson