Connect Charter School Partnership

Since 2012, Connect Charter School (CCS) has worked closely with Mount Royal University hosting numerous teacher candidate cohorts from the Department of Education. 

This fall, CCS Grade 5 Math and Science teacher Kevin Sonico was seconded to the Department of Education. Sonico was pleased to have been granted the opportunity and found the experience professionally enriching. Sonico was the instructor of the Program of Studies and Curriculum Instruction (PSCI) in Teaching Science and in collaboration with Professor Gladys Sterenberg PhD, he taught one section of the PSCI in Teaching Mathematics to third-year Education students. Sonico planned and taught classes that connected his years of classroom experience with current research and pedagogy around those disciplines. As Sterenberg notes, “with 21 years of current, hands-on classroom experience, Kevin offers students a wealth of real-world knowledge and practice. In addition, he offers me an incredible opportunity to think deeply about my own practice as I articulate the reasons for my choices. Working with Kevin has prompted me to incorporate new ideas in course assignments and assessment practices. This is a rich professional learning experience for both of us and the teacher candidates in our program.”

“The third-year education program at Mount Royal is quite unique,” says Sonico. “The STEAM program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) involves Professor Norm Vaughn, PhD (Technology), Professor Gladys Sterenberg, PhD (Mathematics), instructor Cintia Anselmo (Art). Students took all the courses this term and learned from these highly respected instructors. The integration of these disciplines was a focus of the program and gave teacher candidates opportunities to see this integration through field experiences and course assignments, and encouraged them to make these connections in their practicum placements.”

Mount Royal Education students visited Connect Chater School in October and planned and taught inquiry lessons to students from across the grades. Sonico enjoyed watching his MRU students make theory-and-practice connections. 

The Chair of the Department of Education Kevin O’Connor, PhD notes that this is a continuous opportunity, and plans are in place to continue this secondment on a yearly basis. O’Connor says, “we are proud of our partnership with CCS and the secondment process is another example of how school-university partnerships can improve the field of education and build closer ties with our institutions. This collaboration is truly synergistic, yielding more learning than the simple sum of our two programs. The opportunities for sharing of resources, space and expertise is limitless and our mutual growth in shared professional learning has been a real strength.”