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Clarke University and Dubuque Community Schools to Launch ‘Partner Professionals’ Master’s Program

By Clarke News  |  April 13, 2011

Clarke University, in partnership with the Dubuque Community School District, will launch a new Partner Professionals master’s degree program designed to allow students to complete both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education in five years while providing in-depth, authentic experiences in area schools.

The program will begin with a welcome dinner for its first cohort on Thursday, April 14, at 5 p.m. in the Atrium Conference Room on the Clarke campus. Media are invited to cover the event and administrators will be available for interviews.

The Partner Professionals program is a 36-hour master’s degree program for Clarke graduates with a bachelor of arts degree in education. The graduates in the program, all of whom have acquired teacher licensure, engage in graduate study while simultaneously working in full-time elementary, middle, or secondary school teaching. The graduate students are supported on a daily basis by an on-site “experienced professional.” The master’s program can be completed in just over one year, making it possible for students to complete both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in five years.

“The program is designed to give the graduate students an immersion teaching experience with seasoned teachers while completing graduate work,” said Kate Hendel, BVM, Ph.D., dean of adult and graduate studies at Clarke. “At the same time, the program provides additional resources for the school district. We believe it is a win-win program.”

While the graduate students are not employed or paid by the school district, they earn half of their graduate credits through a hands-on, supported, and reflective experience of teaching for a full year in a public school classroom in Dubuque, with daily in-building support and advice from an experienced teacher. The experienced teachers occasionally team-teach or model instruction but 50 percent of their time is freed up to allow for other responsibilities within the school.

“This program affords the school district the opportunity to build leadership capacity from within,” said Lynne Devaney, associate superintendent of the Dubuque Community Schools. “It gives our experienced professionals the opportunity to spend time on projects that support their schools and student achievement.”