Messenger - Vol. 3, No. 1, Page 9
Fall 1993
On Campus
Masters of Instruction

     The opening of a new elementary school in Delaware this fall coincides
with a novel, collaborative partnership between the Christina School
District and the University's College of Education.
     Serving more than 600 first through third graders in New Castle
County, the new, $6.8 million Thurgood Marshall Elementary School will also
become a professional development school for University graduate students
and the teachers themselves.
     Conversation on ways for the district and the college to collaborate
began as early as 1991 between Frank B. Murray, H. Rodney Sharp Professor
of Educational Studies and Psychology and dean of the college, and Iris
Metts, superintendent of the Christina School District. According to
college liaison Elizabeth Wier, Delaware '76MED, '84Ph.D., a one-year,
master of instruction program is expected to begin this summer. Meanwhile,
teachers at the new school are already benefiting from special staff
development programs in science and math offered by professors at the
college. Fifteen teachers also have agreed to accept two undergraduate
students each for their field experience in language arts and reading
     The master of instruction program will give recently certified
teachers additional experience in elementary school classrooms, an
immediate benefit as "most new teachers start their career with a four-year
degree and maybe 14 weeks of student teaching experience," says Wier.
     Originally conceived of as a fifth year of a five-year degree program,
the new graduate program is still evolving, Wier says, and may include
teachers who are already teaching. As currently designed, master's degree
candidates would spend most of the school year on site in various
classrooms. The classroom teachers and University faculty would serve as
mentors to the interns.
     After an initial three courses during the summer, the graduate
students will earn the bulk of their 30 credits by completing a set of
"laboratories" or "experiences" in the classroom. "For example, they may
interview children about their concepts of science and, from this
information and additional research, they might develop a science lesson
plan," says Wier.