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Pooling resources earns national spotlight for Cato School of Education

The unique partnership between the Wayland H. Cato Jr. School of Education at Queens and Myers Park Traditional Elementary recently earned a national award. The schools are more than neighbors - their faculties and student bodies have shared special connections for decades.

The 2010 National Association for Professional Development Schools Award for Exemplary Professional Development School Achievement recognizes preschool-12 schools and colleges or universities that effectively partner to create, foster and sustain educator leadership, professional development and academic success. Only four awards were given this year, making the recognition even more special.

Cato faculty members Drs. Cynthia Compton, Suzanne Horn and Amy Thornburg, and Myers Park Traditional principal Paul Bonner and two of his teachers, Lisa Englund and Irma Boyd, accepted the award at a national conference in Orlando.

Bonner said the award is a testament to how lower grades schools and universities can successfully work together for mutual benefit.

"This partnership works so well because we have a shared commitment to enhance education at all levels," said Bonner. "The future educators, our school students and my staff are all benefitting from the hard work and dedication resulting from this collaboration."

Over the past several years, Myers Park Traditional has been working with The Cato School of Education at Queens on various initiatives to increase academic achievement and support professional development for students at both institutions.

"It's a real blessing to have such great learning opportunities right in our backyard, so to speak," said Darrel Miller, dean of The Cato School.

Many Queens education majors do their student teaching at Myers Park Traditional. They also mentor the school's students in key subject areas such as math and reading. The mentoring initiative identifies students who are struggling and mentors provide help with class assignments and EOG test preparation.

Queens faculty members also work with Myers Park Traditional staff to offer training and seminars to improve teaching and several Myers Park Traditional teachers have earned master's degrees in education from the university.

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