Tomball ISD, Texas A&M University Collaborate to Support Pre-Service Teachers through Innovative Partnership

TOMBALL - Gaining valuable classroom experience is one of the most important aspects when developing future teachers. Despite a few obstacles this year, Tomball ISD and Texas A&M University’s College of Education and Human Development managed to overcome the adversity and strengthen its partnership by providing future teachers a chance to gain needed experience in a virtual setting.

In the Fall of 2020, a strong collaboration came to life and by the Spring, Tomball ISD opened its classroom doors virtually to over 120 pre-service Texas A&M Education students in order to complete their senior methods semester. Tomball ISD is the only school district in the State of Texas partnering with Texas A&M at this level.

“Tomball ISD generously opened its classroom doors, virtually, to our future teachers when the University said we couldn’t accept the liability for physically putting those students in a public school classroom,” Texas A&M’s Dr. Robin Rackley said. “Our students were able to attend classrooms virtually two days a week, every week, for the entire Spring semester.”

Because of this innovative partnership, developed during a global pandemic, Dr. Rackley and Dr. Janet Hammer of the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture, attended the TISD Board of Trustees May Meeting and presented Superintendent of Schools Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora, Chief Academic Officer Dr. Amy Schindewolf and Chief of Human Talent Dr. Jeff McCanna each with a Distinguished Service Award plaque, recognizing their support and dedication to pre-service teachers and this partnership. All three also share a bond as Texas A&M graduates.

“In Tomball ISD, we continue to lead in creating the future,” Salazar-Zamora said. “This partnership with Texas A&M was just another example of how, in education, we can come together and create a masterful plan to support our pre-service teachers. I’m very thankful, as the only school district in Texas, we were able to make this partnership work despite many obstacles this school year. Our District will continue to work alongside Universities to provide innovative opportunities for our students, teachers and staff.”

“While it may not have been ideal, our students are more prepared to be in a classroom this fall than they would have been otherwise,” said Dr. Rackley. “We couldn’t have done it without the wonderful support of these individuals from Tomball ISD.”

“When this partnership was presented to us, Tomball ISD was ‘all in’,” TISD Chief of Human Talent Dr. Jeff McCanna said. “It was very important for all of us in Tomball ISD to do everything that we could to provide a ‘best in class’ experience for these future teachers and get them as immersed in this experience as we possibly could. We understand the importance of developing our future teachers and we are so appreciative that we were able to elevate our partnership with Texas A&M to a new level.”

Tomball ISD educates students to become responsible, productive citizens by providing innovative, individually rigorous, and personally valuable educational experiences. Founded in 1908, Tomball ISD now encompasses 83 square miles in northwest Harris County and southwest Montgomery County, and is located approximately 30 miles from downtown Houston. The district currently educates over 19,000 students at 21 campuses.

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