Messenger - Vol. 3, No. 1, Page 9 Fall 1993 On Campus Masters of Instruction The opening of a new elementary school in Delaware this fall coincides with a novel, collaborative partnership between the Christina School District and the University's College of Education. Serving more than 600 first through third graders in New Castle County, the new, $6.8 million Thurgood Marshall Elementary School will also become a professional development school for University graduate students and the teachers themselves. Conversation on ways for the district and the college to collaborate began as early as 1991 between Frank B. Murray, H. Rodney Sharp Professor of Educational Studies and Psychology and dean of the college, and Iris Metts, superintendent of the Christina School District. According to college liaison Elizabeth Wier, Delaware '76MED, '84Ph.D., a one-year, master of instruction program is expected to begin this summer. Meanwhile, teachers at the new school are already benefiting from special staff development programs in science and math offered by professors at the college. Fifteen teachers also have agreed to accept two undergraduate students each for their field experience in language arts and reading methods. The master of instruction program will give recently certified teachers additional experience in elementary school classrooms, an immediate benefit as "most new teachers start their career with a four-year degree and maybe 14 weeks of student teaching experience," says Wier. Originally conceived of as a fifth year of a five-year degree program, the new graduate program is still evolving, Wier says, and may include teachers who are already teaching. As currently designed, master's degree candidates would spend most of the school year on site in various classrooms. The classroom teachers and University faculty would serve as mentors to the interns. After an initial three courses during the summer, the graduate students will earn the bulk of their 30 credits by completing a set of "laboratories" or "experiences" in the classroom. "For example, they may interview children about their concepts of science and, from this information and additional research, they might develop a science lesson plan," says Wier.