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BW students learn by teaching at reimagined, faculty-mentored camp

BW education major Kelly DeGross ’21, who will graduate in December, works with summer campers.Students and faculty in Baldwin Wallace University's Department of Education renewed a pandemic-sidelined summer reading program this year with a new partner and a new focus on lifting both the academic and social skills of young students after a year of remote learning.

Promising partnership

BW partnered with the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities (CCBDD) to host a Language, Literacy and Learning camp, which served rising K-3 students with general and special education needs. The young campers received individual and small group instruction in oral language development, literacy strategies, mathematics and social skills.

Dr. Rochelle Berndt, who specializes in literacy, co-directed the camp with special education faculty member Dr. Cynthia Dieterich, while BW early childhood and middle childhood education majors along with mild/moderate licensure candidates planned and led activities and served as tutors.

Applied learning benefits

Dr. Rochelle Berndt (l) and Dr. Cynthia Dieterich (r)Berndt says the pilot partnership with CCBDD offered learning all around. "We enabled children with special needs, who are serviced by the county, to attend the camp with typically developing peers. At the same time, the BW teacher education candidates grew in their understanding of differentiating lessons within an authentic learning environment."

Dieterich adds, "Collaborating with the CCBDD provides support to families and children with disabilities while benefitting the BW education candidates to better understand how to meet the individual needs of families and their children. Of equal importance is that our work supports the BW mission to prepare students to be compassionate citizens of the global world."

Strong alignment

BW summer camperBerndt notes that the experience for BW students is strongly aligned with the Department of Education's plans to offer a dual early childhood and intervention specialist licensure program.

"The success of the three-week summer program will enable the partnership to continue to grow, with the goal of offering after-school programming in future semesters," Berndt concludes.

This year's camp was supported by a Giving Circle Award grant from Women for BW as well as a generous donation from Harold Guenther, which also funded the "reinvention" of BW's long-running summer reading camp in 2019.

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