LEWISTON – The Collaborative Learning And School Success (CLASS) professional teacher education program at the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College recently honored five students for having completed the program.

The five graduates are Katie Bunker and Julie Laplante of Lewiston, Cynthia Polisky of Auburn, Linda Bernier of Poland Spring and Karen Erdmann of Topsham.

In addition to fulfilling all requirements of the program, they earned baccalaureate degrees in social and behavioral sciences and are qualified to teach at the kindergarten through grade eight level in Maine schools. They performed their internships at Sherwood Heights Elementary School and Auburn Middle School.

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 that 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 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. The education courses, field experiences and seminars occur on-site in public schools, currently Sherwood Heights Elementary School and Auburn Middle School.

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