LEWISTON – The Collaborative Learning And School Success professional teacher education program at the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College recently recognized the achievements of five students.

Jennifer White of Freeport and Cherie Poole of Lewiston were honored for having successfully completed the program.

In addition to fulfilling all CLASS requirements, they earned baccalaureate degrees in social and behavioral sciences and will be qualified to teach at the kindergarten through grade eight level in Maine schools.

They performed their internships (student teaching) at Sherwood Heights Elementary and the Auburn Middle School.

Cheryl Robert of Auburn, Bobbie Cook of Lewiston and Ernie Gagne of Lewiston were cited for having reached official teacher candidacy status in the program.

They have completed scholarly and practicum work in the elementary education field attaining proficiency in child development, content knowledge, technology, diversity, educational philosophy and professionalism.

The students will continue to study and research the elementary education field at the graduate level. Upon completion of the candidacy period, the students will work as teaching interns for a full year under the guidance of mentors.

CLASS is a rigorous, nontraditional program that prepares students for careers in the classroom. It consists of four and a half years of academic work and professional teacher preparation. Students are placed in local partner schools immediately and partnered with a mentor teacher, so they may begin to understand the everyday experiences of teachers and students.

Upon completion of the CLASS program, students earn their bachelor’s degree in a liberal arts field, state certification to teach grades kindergarten through eight, and more than 30 credits toward a graduate degree.

The CLASS Professional Development School program provides all of the education courses and experiences required to become a qualified, state certified candidate for elementary and middle school teaching positions in the state. The education courses, field experiences and seminars all occur on-site in local public schools, currently the Sherwood Heights Elementary School and Auburn Middle School.

An informational meeting and open house about the CLASS program will be held at the college from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8. Call 753-6618 for more information.

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