North Ward students offered golden opportunity

By Kayleigh Rahn
About 50 North Ward Tigers will have the opportunity to boost their brainpower this summer with an academic program hosted by the Golden Apple Summer Institute.

North Ward first grade teacher Hannah Steedly is a Golden Apple alumna and has worked with program directors to establish Tuscola as a site that will benefit the future teachers and current grade schools.

“One of the reasons we wanted to bring Golden Apple to Tuscola is that it brings a good chunk of educational enrichment for the students over the summer,” she said. “We will have a variety of students in the program, which will serve as a good experience for the scholars as well. They are able to see a range of kids and needs and academic ability.”

At a February 2017 school board meeting, Tim McCollum, from Eastern Illinois University’s department of early childhood education and director of Golden Apple Summer Institute at EIU, presented the plans to establish an on-site opportunity for the Golden Apple scholars in 2017, though those plans were quashed with a months-long budget impasse in Springfield.

However, the state-funded project is geared up for a successful summer.

“Golden Apple has been around for about 32 years, and it is a teacher enhancement program,” McCollum said last winter. “We work with university departments all over the state of Illinois, not in any way to duplicate the actual teacher ed programs, but to simply enhance their experience. The summer residential program allows scholars from across the state to reside on different campuses.”

When the education students attend the program they are sent to different communities where they are put into the schools to teach onsite.

“This is where they engage with children, and by the time they finish four years of this enhanced preparation they would have invested 500-700 hours of classroom above the traditional education program, so by the time they graduate they are very well prepared,” McCollum said previously.

For the first time, the Golden Apple program is hoping to establish an on-site location in Steedly connected with McCollum to start the program locally. Steedly hopes to follow the program established in by former Arcola teacher Jeana Craft.

The full story can be found in the Wednesday, April 18 edition of The Tuscola Journal.

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