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Initiative Connects High School Students with Future English Teachers

Initiative Connects High School Students with Future English Teachers

Posted: December 3, 2013

The SUNY Buffalo State English Education program welcomed two high school senior advanced placement classes to campus recently as part of a new College Readiness initiative.

The 40 students from Cheektowaga Central and Alden high schools and their teachers sat in on English courses, participated in creative writing exercises at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and heard students and professors talk about the college experience.

“This visit gave high school students exposure to Buffalo State at a time when they are still making decisions about college,” said Jim Cercone, assistant professor and coordinator of the English education program. “Additionally, students from our newly formed English Education Student Association spoke about studying literature and the demands of college classwork.”

In 2010, Cercone founded the Western New York Network of English Teachers (WNYNET), which serves as a support network for local English teachers. It has hosted three previous workshops on campus. Visiting teachers, Joel Malley, ’00, ’05, of Cheektowaga Central and Rob Currin, ‘05 and ’13, of Alden High, are both WNYNET members.

The English education program, with assistance from the English Education Student Association, is sponsoring the College Readiness initiative. It is one several programs designed to develop “a community of practice” between participating teachers, their schools, and Buffalo State English education students and faculty.

“We want to provide a place for our students to share with and learn from current English teachers,” Cercone said.

During the November 15 visit, Buffalo State students had the opportunity to meet and answers questions from the demographic they are hoping to teach. The high school students, in turn, got a small taste of college life.

Some students visited Timothy Bryant’s Ethic American Minority Literature and American Literature II courses; others sat in on Ed Taylor’s Craft of Writing and Creative Nonfiction writing workshops or heard from Lorna Perez (pictured), assistant professor of English, on what it takes to be successful in college.

In the spring, the department hopes to continue the initiative by inviting eighth-graders from John F. Kennedy Middle School in Cheektowaga for a similar day of on-campus activities .

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