Mentos plus soda pop equals a blast of fun for students in a 2011 Knox College for Kids course.
Sixteen Knox College students, who were awarded REACH Fellowships this summer to teach and assist this summer at Knox College for Kids, both enhanced the program for grade school students and gained significant experience for their future careers in education. (Photo, right, REACH Fellow Dan Kizior helps parents register their daughter for class at College for Kids.)
"REACH students get valuable lessons about daily life in the classroom," said Jason Helfer, associate professor of educational studies and co-director of Knox College for Kids. "When they go on to student teaching, they have a lot of poise."
Knox created the REACH program -- "Recruiting and Enlightening through Access to and Communication with High-need schools" -- with a grant from the Associated Colleges of Illinois and the U.S. Department of Education.
The goal of REACH is to encourage more first-generation college students of color -- especially men -- to become elementary school teachers, as well as role models in the community.
"The teaching force in America is predominantly white and female -- and many young men never see a male teacher," said Stephen Schroth, assistant professor of educational studies and co-director of Knox College for Kids.
Knox and REACH are succeeding, Schroth said. Two of this year's REACH Fellows -- Christian Mahone and Courtney Jude (at center in photo, right), both originally from the Chicago area -- finished their degrees at Knox in June and were immediately hired for teaching positions starting this fall with Galesburg School District 205.
Many of the REACH fellows began working at College for Kids two or more years ago as assistants to full-time faculty, and are now teaching courses themselves.
REACH Fellow Angelina Rosa of Chicago (photo, right) graduated in June with a major in elementary education and a minor in dance. After assisting at College for Kids for several years, this year she taught a section on mathematics to kindergartners, first and second graders.
"It was a challenge to combine math with my interest in dance," Rosa said. "We worked with geometry. I put shapes around the room, so the students had to identify the shapes and then move to the shapes. I might say to them, 'Move like a kangaroo!' I can tell that they appreciated it."
This year, a grant from Wells Fargo Bank supported both REACH Fellowships and scholarships to Knox College for Kids for students with high academic potential and low financial ability.
"One of our goals is to help our education students work with diverse learners," Schroth said. "It's imperative that we have teachers who are able to relate to all students."
2011 REACH Fellows
Jordan Lanfair (photo, right, with students in science class)