13th and Union Partnership
Developing relationships and mentoring opportunities with the students at 13th and Union
Albright College’s Education Department and 13th and Union Elementary School, located on the campus’s southwest corner, have worked together since 2004. In 2012 an agreement with the Reading School District and funding from the Wyomissing Foundation enabled the Partnership to begin involving additional College departments.
Currently, Albright undergraduates and 13th and Union pupils build relationships, practice skills, and explore new learning opportunities. Both schools mutually benefit from joint initiatives such as undergraduates providing mentoring/tutoring services for English-language learners, assisting in the elementary classrooms and with activities from painting murals to environmental field trips.
All 13th and Union Partnership initiatives enable Albright and the school to collaborate on:
- Increasing student learning and achievement at 13th and Union Elementary School
- Mentoring and placement of Albright student teachers
- Development of faculties at both schools
- Providing enjoyable interactive learning experiences from the arts to the sciences for students
Even before working together under the current partnership agreement, Albright and 13th and Union had collaborated on numerous initiatives through the school’s designation as a Pennsylvania Professional Development School (PDS).
These initiatives included a strong tutoring program in which College students provided mentoring and tutoring services to the children at the school; continual placement of several student teachers in the school, both for early field experience and professional semesters; obesity programming and access to Albright’s fitness center; and regular visits to the Freedman Gallery for art education and art-making workshops.
In 2012, Albright applied for a grant from the Wyomissing Foundation to extend the partnership from just the Education Department to all departments at the College. The grant was funded, and a partnership coordinator was hired in 2013.
- A mural project that includes Albright College and 13th and Union students led by Beth Krumholz.
- A fashion and reading project with second graders and a senior fashion major.
- The iPads for Kindergarten Project funded six iPads for a kindergarten class at 13th and Union. The class, which has many ESL, low-income students, works with the iPads during their center times.
- The Asphalt Forest Project is an outgrowth of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) movement. Three Albright College professors are working with the faculty at 13th and Union to write science curriculum, hold workshops and develop an area of campus that will become an environmental education center for the College and local school districts. Small grants from several foundations have helped to fund this project.
AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) Erin Sullivan is working with the Partnership and the Albright Early Learning Center, and building community partnerships.
- Six scholarships have been awarded for the Freedman Kids Summer Camp.
- Ready. Set. Read! tutoring happens on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 13th and Union.
- Homework Center tutoring happens at 13th and Union on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
- Aimed at second graders, the Greenhouse Project was initiated by Albright’s Art Education Curator. It’s a field trip that brings students to campus to visit the Greenhouse, learn about plant life, create art and build their own terrarium.
- Homework Center was funded by the Wyomissing Foundation grant in order to provide homework help for students who are either newcomers to the United States or speak English as a second language. Students from Albright College volunteer as tutors in the program.
- The Berks County Community Foundation has recently funded iPads for Special Education, through which the College buys iPads for special education teachers in second and fifth grades to work with the students within the parameters of their IEPs.
- Currently partnering with Ready. Set. Read!, an initiative of the United Way of Berks County
- Currently partnering with the Albright Early Learning Center on plans for a new building and on extending its relationship with the Partnership
- Awarded a small grant for iPads for special education students at 13th and Union through the Berks County Community Foundation.
- Awarded a grant for an environmental center at Albright College to used by the College and elementary students. The grant came from the Foundation for Sustainability and Innovation in Laguna Beach, California. This program is also funded by the Kurr Foundation.
- Awarded a VISTA volunteer for the 2014-15 school year through AmeriCorps.
Goals and Assessment
Goals of the 13th and Union Partnership
- To provide substantial support to the elementary school through student and faculty tutors and academic support by College faculty
- To provide financial and volunteer support for projects that are initiated by the faculty of either school.
- To seek out additional funding for the partnership coordinator and projects.
Measurable Outcomes, Evaluation and Assessment
The following measures will be used to determine the program’s success:
- Participation rates of Albright and 13th and Union personnel and students, as well as 13th and Union families and other community members
- Perceived learning and engagement of project participants
- Objective assessment of learning through course performance and standardized assessment instruments
- Gains on school “report card” as published by the Pennsylvania Department of Education
- Long-term assessment (with additional funding support) of 13th and Union student outcomes (high school graduation rates, pursuit of college degree)
- Acquisition of sustainability funding
- Professional recognition of initiatives
- Employment of teacher certification candidates who have participated in the 13th and Union Professional Development School, including those choosing to teach in urban school districts
- In collaboration with the broader College Heights initiative, comparison of community outcomes such as home ownership rates, residential turnover, crime rates, property values, etc.