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

This year’s graduates are Cheryl Robert of Auburn and Michael “Ernie” Gagne of Lewiston. In addition to fulfilling all requirements of the CLASS program, Robert earned a baccalaureate degree in social and behavioral sciences and Gagne earned a baccalaureate in arts and humanities.

Both are now qualified to teach at the kindergarten to grade eight level in Maine schools. They performed their internships (student teaching) at Sherwood Heights Elementary School and the Auburn Middle School.

CLASS is a rigorous, non-traditional 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 kindergarten through grade eight, and more than 30 credits toward a graduate degree.

The CLASS PDS (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 Maine. The education courses, field experiences and seminars all occur on-site in local public schools, currently Sherwood Heights Elementary School and Auburn Middle School.

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