Professional Education Department launches support center for local students

The Campbell University Professional Education and Teaching Scholars Academy officially launched the Community Collaborative Support Center this fall.

This project is a collaborative effort between the Campbell University School of Education & Human Sciences and the Harnett County School District — positively impacting 3rd-5th grade students at Dunn Elementary. A generous $50,000 gift was awarded from an Anonymous Trust, focused on continual support for education in rural districts throughout North Carolina.

“This a tremendous undertaking and an ideal field experience opportunity for teacher education candidates,” said Dr. Alfred Bryant, dean of the School for Education & Human Services.

The primary goal of the Collaborative Tutoring Center is to provide struggling students within a rural community access to an equitable and research based tutoring program to support academic achievement and wellbeing.

The initiative focuses on service, supporting the social and emotional well-being of elementary school students while bringing communities together. The after-school program bolstered by Campbell education students, “Reading with Relevance,” inspires students to read deeply, think critically, talk openly and write reflectively about topics that matter.

Meg Miller is a Campbell education-major who works directly with Dunn Elementary students through the program. She’s watched firsthand as the students have grown in their education and worked their way up to writing their own short stories.

“My favorite aspect of working with the kids at Dunn Elementary is without a doubt watching their growth in both reading and writing. Being able to watch the process of them writing their own books was so inspiring,” she said. “The kids demonstrated grit and perseverance, even when they encountered challenges. Celebrating the unique gifts that each child brought to their work made me proud to be a part of this creative writing project.”

Thirty-one Dunn Elementary students are enrolled in the center, which holds sessions three days per week from 3:30 to 6 p.m. With 41 Campbell students currently participating, the program offers a one-on-one tutoring experience between the Campbell student-educator and elementary schooler. The “learning lab” environment is offered to Campbell students pursuing a degree in education (Elementary, Middle, Secondary and K/12 Education majors). The field experience offers Campbell students course credit, clinical application, and opportunities to hone skillsets learned in core education courses.

Dr. Connie Chester is the curriculum designer and program director. Dr. Chris Godwin, the Chair of Professional Education, and Dr. Terrie Hampton-Jones, the Director of Teaching Scholars, manage the vision of the program.

“Harnett County has been a great partner with [Campbell],” said Dr. Godwin. “This Community Collaborative Support Center is a dream come true for everyone involved.”

Campbell University teacher education candidates earn the opportunity to observe, teach and learn from students in Harnett County. The CCSC works to increase holistic support for students who qualify for Title 1 services in North Carolina and will support the literacy achievement efforts at Dunn Elementary. The program runs in both Fall 2023 and Spring 2024.

The many lessons I have learned from this program will come with me as I grow into my profession as a teacher,” Miller said. “Not only did I learn quick-thinking and problem-solving skills, but more importantly I learned that positive relationships between teachers and students are powerful and students are more motivated to learn when they know their teacher cares about them.

“The youngsters I have had the privilege to work with have demonstrated to me that I can directly make a difference in their lives–both academically and emotionally. They have shown me the importance of patience, understanding, a positive attitude, and genuine relationships. Honestly, I believe that the kids have taught me more than I have taught them, without even knowing.”

Calvetta Dunkins, Principal of Dunn Elementary, said her students are benefiting from the one-on-one educational experiences and interactions with Campbell students.

“Academic support and social-emotional learning are equally important to the student experience,” Dunkins said. “Exposing our students to Campbell University is a positive reference for future college goal setting.”