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Currents: carter partnership award

Colby-Sawyer College and Kearsarge Regional School District Recognized with Carter Partnership Award

Colby-Sawyer College and the Kearsarge Regional School District (KRSD) have been recognized with the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Award for Campus-Community Collaboration. The award honors a strong and vital partnership that has directly benefited students from kindergarten through high school and provided college students with professional development experiences and opportunities for community service for the last four decades.

The Carter Partnership Award was presented by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter to Colby-Sawyer President Thomas C. Galligan Jr. and KRSD Superintendent Thomas Brennan as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of Campus Compact for New Hampshire in Manchester on Nov. 6. The award was created to recognize exemplary collaborations by colleges and universities, in partnership with community groups, to address critical public needs.

Carter Partnerships Awards were also presented to St. Anselm College and Girls Incorporated of the Greater Manchester Region (first place) for a thriving partnership that began in 2000, and to Keene State College and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Monadnock Region (second place), honoring a 33-year-old collaboration. The award recipients will share monetary awards from the Carter Partnership Foundation that will be used to further strengthen aspects of their partnerships.

President Galligan expressed gratitude to the former President and Mrs. Carter for their support of college and community partnerships and for the inspiring examples of their lives and work. He also thanked the Kearsarge Regional School District for its ongoing engagement in this multifaceted and mutually beneficial partnership.

“Colby-Sawyer College's dynamic and enduring partnership with the Kearsarge Regional School District has been great for the college and our students and it has enriched the lives of many,” President Galligan said, “from the first-grader who gets extra attention from a college student in the classroom, to our future teachers and nurses, who gain real-world professional skills by working alongside experienced mentors across the district. Perhaps most importantly, the partnership instills in everyone who participates a deep sense of what it means to contribute to and benefit from being part of a strong and caring community.”

Superintendant Brennan added that the Kearsarge Regional School District is proud to partner with Colby-Sawyer College in the pursuit of furthering educational and community opportunities for our students and staff.

“To have the Carter Foundation acknowledge our efforts provides validation and a strong incentive for our future. The students and staff of the Kearsarge Regional School District are very fortunate to have such a strong higher education institution as Colby-Sawyer College as its partner,” he said. “I look forward to the development and expansion of our shared programs. Together we can continue to make a difference in the educational opportunities available to our students and staff.”

A Partnership in Education

The partnership between Colby-Sawyer College in New London and the Kearsarge Regional School District (SAU #35), which includes New London, Newbury, Bradford, Springfield, Sutton, Wilmot and Warner, brings the two educational institutions together for collaboration in many areas, ranging from teacher education and preparation to community service and the sharing of human and physical resources.

The core of Colby-Sawyer College's academic mission is to integrate academic preparation with professional experience, and 98 percent of the college's students participate in internships in their fields of study, according to President Galligan. Many of the college's students who are preparing for careers as teachers, nurses, psychologists, coaches and athletic trainers work closely with K-12 students in the school district, gaining professional experience through their work in the classrooms, in nurses' offices and guidance offices, and in the athletic programs.

Each year dozens of future teachers devote 40-hour weeks for 14 weeks to working with teachers and students across the district. Colby-Sawyer interns also work each semester with district guidance counselors, special educators, athletic directors, preschool teachers, after school program coordinators and coaches to gain professional experience and provide support to their supervisors.

“Our students bring energy, enthusiasm and excitement to their teacher mentors and the children,” said Janice Ewing, chair of Social Sciences and Education at Colby-Sawyer. The younger students benefit from student teachers' capacity for bringing new research from the field of education into the classrooms. Kevin Johnson, principal of the Kearsarge Regional Elementary School in New London, affirmed that “with Colby-Sawyer in our own backyard, the elementary school benefits greatly.”

Art education major Sarah Heaney '08 is a current student teacher at Kearsarge Regional Middle School, working closely with art teacher Karla Salathe as her supervisor. “I slowly took over and eventually became responsible for all 11 art classes, spanning 6th through 8th grade, with about 300 kids for three consecutive solo weeks,” says Heaney. What Heaney enjoys most is working with the students. “They're all great and make the job so much fun. They have the best ideas and they're so funny.

“The internship has definitely been a great learning experience for me. Every day I find myself loving it more and feeling more comfortable in front of the class,” she says. “I also feel much more a part of the community now.

“I think the students really enjoy having student teachers in the classroom. It not only gives them another adult in the classroom to help them, but they also enjoy having a teacher who can relate to what they are going through, as we went through all the same things just a few years ago.”

Engaging in the Community

Through its Harrington Center for Experiential Learning for Career Development, Colby-Sawyer encourages civic engagement and community service as an integral part of students' education and preparation as citizens and community leaders. The center supports three national AmeriCorps Programs that benefits students in the elementary and middle-schools, including After School Buddies, America Reads and Elementary and Middle School Mentors. Through these programs and the middle school's The Zone after-school program, dozens of college students volunteer their time each week to teach, mentor, provide companionship to and to generally serve as positive role models for many younger students.

LuAnne Ryall, community service coordinator at the Harrington Center for Experiential Learning, said young students often relate to and are inspired by college students, and the positive relationships that form between them encourage youth to consider college in their own futures and to incorporate community service into their own lives.

Through her work with Colby-Sawyer students and the Kearsarge school district, Ryall has discovered the depth and breadth of dynamic partnership. “Each individual program emerged as a layer of a broad and deep union between two organizations committed to providing opportunities for education and civic growth,” she said. “The new physics, quantum physics, reveals that every thing – atom – person has an impact on every other thing – atom – person, and the Carter awards recognize some of the positive impact we have on one another. And as Margaret Mead said, 'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; it's the only thing that ever has.'”

Ashlee Willis '08, co-president of Colby-Sawyer's Community Service Club, promotes community service for her fellow college students as a way of having fun while making a positive difference in people's lives. Willis coordinated the mentoring program at the Kearsarge Regional Elementary School for the last two years, and she and a fellow student expanded the program to the district's middle school this year.

“It's amazing to see how much the little buddies look up to their mentors,” she said, “and how much of a difference the big buddies are able to make in the little buddies' lives—but also, the other way around!”

Strength through Sharing

The Colby-Sawyer and Kearsarge District partnership also extends to the sharing of both human and physical resources. The college and the school district share guest lecturers for classes and special programs who provide instruction or special expertise in such areas as health and wellness, coaching and athletics, language arts, art and geography.

KRSD students often come to the college campus to visit art exhibitions or view theater productions, to swim or play sports at the Hogan Sports Center, to learn to use the climbing wall in Mercer Hall and to take part in the AmeriCorps Programs. The school district also uses the college campus as one of its evacuation sites in its emergency management plan.

For Ryall, one factor stands out as emblematic of the enduring partnership between the college and the school district. “There is a shared intention to build programs and relationships that provide more for both institutions than could be realized without banding together to share human and campus resources,” she said.

-Kimberly Swick Slover

The Carter Partnership Award

The Carter Partnership Award was established in 2000 at the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgia State University and currently serves as the model for programs in other states. New Hampshire is one of the first states chosen as an expansion site for the award program. The purposes of the award are to provide recognition for outstanding campus-community partnerships; increase the number and the effectiveness of campus-community partnerships and promote college and university citizenship; encourage cooperation around education, community, government and business leaders on critical social and economic issues; and increase public awareness of and support for campus-community partnerships.

It is named for President Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter as a tribute to their lifelong efforts to develop and support safe, healthy and caring communities throughout the world. In public office and in their daily lives they have consistently supported public improvement efforts based on cooperation, mutual learning and shared responsibility.

Campus Compact for New Hampshire

Campus Compact of New Hampshire is a consortium of public and private higher education presidents and private sector partners who are united in their commitment to the civic purposes of higher education. Founded in 1997, CCNH unites member presidents in learning their campuses toward the integration of service into the academic, student life and civic goals of the institution.

CCNH has distributed more than $1 million in grants, supporting nearly 300 community collaboration projects. The organization has also reached more than 15,000 campus and community leaders with its training, professional development and technical assistance services.