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WSC Renews Efforts for the Community of Learning

Published Monday, February 19th, 2018

WSC opens a new Community of Learning cohort in Grand Island, while continuing the program in Norfolk, Fremont, and South Sioux City.

Wayne State College proudly announces the opening of a new Community of Learning cohort in Grand Island and the continuation of programming at three current sites in Norfolk, Fremont, and South Sioux City. The College’s Community of Learning is a unique two-year instructional framework through which teachers can earn a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction. 

The program’s framework allows classroom teachers to drive their own master’s-level professional development. The community format focuses on the needs of professional educators by forming a networked community to achieve personalized professional outcomes. 

According to Dr. Nicholas Shudak, dean of the School of Education and Counseling at Wayne State College, no changes are being made to the signature-hybridized delivery of the communities or to the overall format and feel of the communities. 

"Our renewal efforts are the result of our own research and outreach efforts with past community members/learners,” Shudak said. “We intentionally focused on honing the research-based curricular foundation. This foundation helps in-service teachers, specifically P-8 teachers, engage in focused study and sustained action research around real problems of practice in their classrooms, helping teachers make data-driven decisions to positively impact student outcomes."

The opening of a cohort in Grand Island is a homecoming of sorts as two previous cohorts ran in the area from 2007 to 2009 and 2009 to 2011. 

"We are honored to again be a part of the Grand Island educational community,” Shudak said. “This exciting return to Grand Island nicely coincides with our efforts to renew programming in South Sioux City, Norfolk, and Fremont, where successful cohorts are coming to a close at the end of this school year. There is also a thriving cohort underway in West Point that started this year.” 

The Community of Learning program has been a signature instructional framework for Wayne State College since 2003. According to Dr. Johanna Barnes, who during the past 14 years has been a learner in a Community cohort, a cohort facilitator, and now a professor and advisor, one of the greatest values of Communities to teachers is the "collaboration." 

"Teachers appreciate the collaborative environment in which they are challenged and supported to reflect on their practice,” Barnes said. “Feedback over the years indicates that teachers value the collaboration that results in meaningful strategies to take back to the classroom to help impact student learning."

Dr. Katrina Fox, who was a learner in Grand Island and now facilitates in West Point, echoed Barnes' comments.

“The Community allowed everyone a place to collaborate and gather ideas and to research new methods that could be implemented in any classroom," Fox said. “Through the use of collaboration, learners are able to investigate different ways to approach teaching and learning based on educational theory and trends. The collaborative environment allows learners to create their own personalized learning opportunities, helping to navigate their path of continual improvement through research."  

If you have questions about the Community of Learning cohorts in Fremont, Grand Island, Norfolk, or South Sioux City, please contact us at community@wsc.edu, 402-375-7164, or visit our website at www.wsc.edu/community