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120 Local educators attend 2007 Chancellor's Academy
Story by: Craig Chamberlain, Education Editor, University of Illinois News Bureau, 217-333-2894; firstname.lastname@example.org
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Eighty local teachers, nearly double the number from last year – along with more than 40 school administrators – took part in the third annual Chancellor’s Academy, which started Monday, July 30.
The two-week academy, started in 2005, is a concentrated professional development program resulting from a partnership between the Champaign and Urbana public schools and the University of Illinois, with the College of Education acting as the host.
Forty elementary teachers attended the first week of the program, and forty middle- and high-school teachers participated in the second week. The administrators, mostly from elementary schools, joined in a two-day workshop on Aug. 2-3.
As in the first two years, the emphasis in this year’s academy was be on literacy, according to Julia Johnson Connor, director of the Center for Education in Small Urban Communities, a new unit within the College of Education. The center is now responsible for coordinating the academy, working with a planning committee composed of both university and school personnel.
In particular, the academy focussed on how to improve literacy through content areas other than language arts or English, Connor said. Among the secondary teachers for instance, were those teaching business, physical education, music, science and math.
The two-weeks of the academy, along with other aspects of the program that run throughout the year, are “very partner-directed,” Connor said, referring to the schools. Many of the themes and daily topics, as well as some of the instructors, were suggested by local educators, she said. Activities planned for the coming school year are based on the needs of the schools and individual teachers. “It’s really a joint project,” she said.
Speakers and facilitators for the academy included both U. of I. and school faculty, along with several nationally recognized experts by way of video conferencing, Connor said. Both weeks included significant time for teachers to collaborate and plan in teams organized by school and grade level or content area.
Funding for the program comes from the Illinois campus, which pays for faculty time, books and supplies, and a $500 stipend for each participating teacher. The school districts provide staff to assist with planning, as well as release time for teachers to attend training activities during the school year.
One addition to the program this year is the recent hiring of two local teachers, Phillip Wilder and Haeny Yoon, to work as teacher collaborators, Connor said. “Both will be very instrumental in carrying forward academic-year activities,” she said, which may include leading workshops, meeting with study groups and individual teachers, and lining up resources.
The plan for those in the position is that they work three years with the Chancellor’s Academy program and then return to the schools, Connor said.