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Elon students take part in charter school fellowship program

Rising seniors Krystal Lanclos and Ashley Rose are spending the summer in Newark, New Jersey, to teach in the urban classrooms of a regional nonprofit charter school operator.

Elon University seniors Ashley Rose (left) and Krystal Lanclos

By Jack Williams ‘16

Two Elon University education majors traveled to New Jersey this summer through a program that introduces future teachers to the opportunities and challenges of working in urban classrooms.

Krystal Lanclos and Ashley Rose were each named Summer Teaching Fellows by the nonprofit Uncommon Schools charter school management organization, which oversees 38 urban charter public schools aiming to “close the achievement gap and prepare low-income students to graduate from college” in three states. Uncommons Schools serves more than 10,000 low-income students.

The Summer Teaching Fellowship program is open to college juniors of color, and its focus on social justice helps fellows acquire the expertise necessary to guide urban schoolrooms through hands-on experience and mentorship. It emphasizes the idea of urban education reform, or improving city schooling to better cater to the needs of underprivileged students. 

Lanclos and Rose were both assigned to schools in Newark, New Jersey. They were among the nearly 80 Fellows accepted into the program for 2014. About 85 percent of the teachers in the Summer Teaching Fellows program are black or Latino, according to Uncommon Schools, which underscores its "commitment to ensuring its teachers are diverse and reflective of the communities in which they teach."

“The program targets underprivileged students from different backgrounds and gets them ready for college,” said Lanclos, an education major from the Virgin Islands. “It gives a chance to students who wouldn’t necessarily have a chance to afford schooling.”

Fellows report to their assigned host school each weekday to observe, teach and tutor small groups of students with the guidance of a teacher or Summer Academy Director. The program encourages Fellows to take part in social and cultural events provided by the community throughout the eight-week program.

Lanclos is working with North Star Academy Fairmont Elementary in Newark to further develop professional teaching techniques and strategies.

“Krystal’s positive mindset and dedication to students are such an asset to our Summer Teaching Fellows Program,” said Kristen McCarthy, Lanclos' summer classroom mentor. “Krystal’s enthusiasm and energy had students excited to “dive in” to their study of the oceans. She is continuously working to challenge students with her fast pacing and questioning.”

An Elon University faculty member said the same.

“Krystal is one of those Elon students that are a joy to teach,” said Professor David Cooper, Lanclos’ mentor on campus. “Working in the Newark schools will give be a challenge and adventure for Krystal as she practices the craft and art of teaching, applies what she has been learning and sees for herself if and when it works.”

Rose, an education major from Kingston, Jamaica, has been assigned to the Downtown Middle School campus of North Star Academy in Newark.

“Ashley has such a deep knowledge of history and international relations,” said Andrea Francis, a  teacher at North Star serving this summer as Rose's mentor. “On her first day in the classroom, she was using real time data to respond to student needs to ensure that her students understood the significance of the material.

"Her passion for and knowledge of the subject matter are clear to our students and they share her enthusiasm in the classroom."

Rising juniors interested in the Summer Teaching Fellowship in 2015 can contact the Uncommon Charter High School at (718) 638-1868 for more information.

Eric Townsend,
7/18/2014 4:00 PM