Faculty Research Spotlight
Dr. Aimee Morewood
Department of Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies
When higher education institutions collaborate with public schools, all schools, teachers, and students can benefit. As part the College of Education and Human Services’ Professional Development Schools (PDS) Network, Associate Professor Aimee Morewood has been able to prove just that.
From 2009 to 2011, Morewood worked as a collaborative faculty member in residence (CFIR) at Mason Dixon Elementary School, in Blacksville, W.Va., which allowed her to conduct insightful research and create lasting relationships with classrooms.
For the equivalent of one day per week, Morewood traveled to Mason Dixon Elementary, where administrators and teachers had identified needed improvements based on the school’s strategic plan. Fluency instruction became Morewood’s main area for focus after teachers noted they wanted to improve their children’s reading levels. She began observing classrooms to develop strategies for teachers to implement.
The relationships Morewood was able to develop proved invaluable to her research and the continuing professional development of the teachers at Mason Dixon. Due to her ongoing presence, Morewood has become a trusted colleague, meaning her suggestions for classroom instruction were often implemented by teachers. Pre-service teachers who come to the school from the College can also build upon the relationships Morewood has created, enriching their own learning experiences.
“Being a CFIR really allowed me to become part of the context of Mason Dixon Elementary School. The more time I spent at this school, the more I was viewed as a part of the community,” said Morewood.
“Teachers, pre-service teachers, pre-K through fifth-grade students, administration, and parents often stopped me in the hallways to have spontaneous conversations about what is going on at Mason Dixon and WVU. Because of this experience, I am now more comfortable conducting walk-throughs of pre-service teachers throughout the school without a formal observation being scheduled.”
Jacqueline Moore, teacher education coordinator at Mason Dixon Elementary, works with Morewood to supervise pre-service teachers.
“Working with Aimee has been delightful. She has been instrumental in the professional development at Mason Dixon,” Moore said.
Morewood has since become the liaison to Mason Dixon, and in Fall 2013, she also
became the liaison to Clay-Battelle High School, where many of her Mason Dixon
students from previous years are now enrolled.
“Whenever they see me in the hallway and recognize me, they will stop and wave,” said Morewood.
Since 2011, Morewood and Mason Dixon teachers have received three research intensive grants through the Benedum Collaborative Five-Year Teacher Education Program. She has since been made liaison between the College and the school, and continues to monitor pre-service teachers there.
These relationships have contributed to the ongoing missions of the College and WVU, as well. Morewood has been able to produce and distribute information in the form of several publications and grant proposals, some in collaboration with the teachers at Mason Dixon, as well as incorporate the things she has learned into her own pedagogy.
“My work as a CFIR was really important for me as a researcher and educator in teacher preparation. I was able to learn from the practicing teachers, pre-service teachers, and students at Mason Dixon Elementary School. This applied learning opportunity allowed me to really think about my research from a practical perspective. In my opinion, this practical application of research is extremely important, because higher education faculty must effectively link research in the field to what teachers are actually doing in their classrooms.”
“It is this link that allows for simultaneous renewal among all partners within a Professional Development School network. As a CFIR, I was able to engage in this simultaneous renewal firsthand by weaving and integrating my research, teaching, and service requirements so that all of the stakeholders benefited from this experience.”