Oct. 25 and 26 will be two memorable days for about 300 Fort Worth ISD students. As part of the annual First Day of College, they will be getting lessons in science and reading with the help of about 40 FWISD teachers and 45 Texas Wesleyan student volunteers.
Half Price Books has also agreed to donate 1,000 books, so every student will have a book to take home as part of their experience.
The two-day event is a collaboration between the Texas Wesleyan School of Education, and FWISD’s Newcomers Program, which focuses on second language learners living in Fort Worth courtesy of the United Nations. Fort Worth is one of just seven U.N. Refugee Relocation Centers in the U.S. Many of the students have never experienced a traditional school setting before.
For the first time, middle school students will be taking part in the First Day of College. The second day of the two-day event will be devoted to them, while the first day will be focused on elementary-aged students.
Robert J. Wilson, Ph.D., School of Education professor and event coordinator says that there were two reasons why the program was expanded to middle schoolers. First, it was noted during a discussion with TXWES faculty on how to improve the camp that it may be beneficial for education majors to work with older children.
“The second part came in a discussion that I had with the Newcomers Program faculty who stated that the middle school students enrolled in the Program do not have as many enrichment opportunities as the elementary students,” Wilson said. “When I mentioned this to the supervisors of the Newcomers Program, they were eager to participate.”
The opportunity for Texas Wesleyan education students to volunteer at the camp serves as a perfect example of the School of Education’s teaching model that provides students more experience and preparation.
“The Wesleyan students who participate in the science and reading camp have been more successful in their clinical teaching,” Wilson said. “Dr. (Elizabeth) Ward has said that she can see the difference between students who participate in the science and reading camp and those who don't in their first days of co-teaching.”
Students have used their work during the First Day of College as portfolios, resulting in great jobs upon graduation.
The Texas Wesleyan School of Education faculty taking part include Elsa Anderson, Ph.D., Lisa Dryden, Ph.D., Jacqueline Gaffner, Ph.D., Patsy Robles-Goodwin, Ph.D., Jessica Salazar, Ph.D., Elizabeth Ward, Ph.D., and Robert J. Taylor, Ph.D.