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New clinical classroom will provide enhanced experience for Centenary University’s school of education and humanities

Funded by a student honor society, the newly opened clinical classroom will provide preservice teachers with an authentic environment in which to learn and train.

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) — Designed to mimic a K-8 general education classroom setting, the clinical classroom sponsored by Kappa Delta Epsilon (KDE) Honor Society is a teaching laboratory aligned to support research-based best practices in teaching and learning.

The newly opened classroom creates a meaningful learning experience for teachers in training and was fully funded by KDE. In the clinical classroom, students have the opportunity to learn the ins-and-outs of working in a space where everything is sized for children and will be able to develop best practices while still in their preservice training.

The clinical classroom provides a generic shell of a K-8 classroom setting to allow for future teachers from multiple grade levels and disciplines to learn to be teachers in an authentic environment. The classroom will be kept as a skeleton classroom for individual students and instructors to personalize each class and experience during their specific time of use.

“Kappa Delta Epsilon Honor Society (KDE) initiated and created the vision for the clinical classroom, generously donated the materials, and manages its maintenance and use,” said Lexis McCoy, EdD, KDE’s faculty advisor, director of the Master of Education in Literacy Instruction/ESL Teacher Certification, and associate professor in the School of Education and Humanities. “This is a gift to students and professors at Centenary University from Kappa Delta Epsilon Honor Society. The members saw a need for this type of setting in the education program and hope this generous gift will provide preservice teachers with an enhanced educational experience within Centenary University’s School of Education and Humanities.”

The classroom has been designed with maximum flexibility and learning opportunities for education classes.

Components of the clinical classroom shell for general use include:

  • Collaboration Area: tables for group work, space for university level instruction, whiteboards/projector
  • Whole Group K-8 Instruction Area: rug, sharing chair, floor lamp for alternative lighting, easel, flexible seating, morning meeting materials, and thematic text sets. The text set displays will be curated by students and on loan from Centenary University’s Taylor Memorial Library.
  • Small Group Instruction Area: kidney-shaped table and chairs, individual wipe boards, leveled readers, math manipulatives
  • Multisensory Materials: Hands-on items for learning such as magnetic letters, unifix cubes, Judy clocks, geoboards, etc.
  • Center/Station Tables: empty tables positioned around the border of the room so professors and students can set them up for each class according to the class’s needs. Students and professors will remove the materials after their class concludes each day.

Once the clinical classroom has been running and in use for a few months, KDE will be taking suggestions and ideas to enhance the students’ experience.

The project has been in the works for some time. Before it was put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic, founding members of the KDE clinical classroom Carly Palmer ’20, Haneen Haddad ’20, Brendon Leon-Rossi ’20, Sydney Watkins ’20, and Jeremy Nurnberger ’21 acquired a space for the classroom, secured funding, designed the layout, and ordered materials.

Most recently, Natalie Kelson ’24, KDE’s immediate past president, advocated to the campus administration to allow KDE to set up the clinical classroom in a space that was easily accessible and, under her leadership, the clinical classroom was set up in Littell 102.

The current officers of KDE, Shelby Garno ’24, Zachary Orr ’24, Puja Shah ’24, Danielle Savarin ’24, Maya Wikki ’24, Sabrina Paupaw ’25, and Isabella Dutta ’24 are excited to keep the clinical classroom functioning as they maintain it and add to it.

“This is an ongoing project and the honor society would like to thank the entire student body and all of the faculty members in the School of Education and Humanities for their support of the clinical classroom. We would especially like to thank Dr. William Carpluk for the hours he spent building the furniture and extend our sincerest appreciation to our exceptional leaders, Dr. Robert Battistini and Dr. Timothy Frederiks, who provided a great amount of support throughout this project. As an ongoing project, we are looking forward to seeing how the clinical classroom changes and progresses as students filter through our educator preparation program,” Dr. McCoy said.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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