Foundation Academies Proudly Welcomes 30+ Student Teachers and Interns for 2019 Fall Semester

(L-R) TCNJ students Casey Ackerman and Emma Schell with Ashleigh Ayres, Primary School Music Director along with Foundation Academy Primary School students

This fall, Foundation Academies continues to expand its influence into the post-secondary world by hosting student teachers, classroom observation opportunities, and internships for more than 30 undergraduate and master’s degree program students from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), Princeton University, Mercer County Community College (MCCC), Rutgers University, and New York University (NYU). 

According to the National Council on Teacher Quality, each year in the United States, nearly 200,000 teacher candidates gain real-world classroom experience through student teaching and classroom observation opportunities. 

Having a positive school placement during this experience is crucial, as it shapes the candidates’ expectations and visions for themselves as future educators, and can also determine the kind of school environment in which they’ll choose to work. 

Foundation Academies is very proud to be able to provide a growth-focused, culture-rich, and high-quality experience for these future leaders, and we’re equally excited about the positive benefits that our scholars receive from the presence of additional educators and support staff in our schools. 

“We are happy to welcome aspiring teachers and school professionals as interns and observers here at Foundation Academies,” said Graig Weiss, Foundation Academies CEO. “We believe that all children, irrespective of race, gender, or socioeconomic background, can succeed at a great public school. By regularly experiencing our school culture and values, these aspiring educators can see the positive results of their work every day, and can use that inspiration as they move forward in their careers.”  

This fall’s group ranges from undergraduate sophomores to third-year masters degree program candidates, working on our K-8 and high school campuses. Foundation Academies is deeply appreciative of our partner institutions participating in student placements this semester, including TCNJ, Princeton University, MCCC, Rutgers University, and NYU. 

Here’s a breakdown of the what the visiting students are up to this semester:

  • Thirteen sophomores from TCNJ’s School of Education are getting an early look at their future career life, observing six of our Foundation Collegiate Academy high school classrooms. 
  • Two Music students from TCNJ’s School of Education are working in our Primary School, observing and planning/implementing portions of music lessons and rehearsals with the Ashleigh Ayres, the Primary School’s Music Director.
  • Six students in TCNJ’s School of Education Urban Education Program are interning in Primary and Intermediate School, observing part-time for the first half of the semester, and in the second half will begin full-time learning, planning and teaching two or more lessons per day. 
  • Students from TCNJ’s ESL Prep Program regularly provide support at our weekly ESL Parent Program events.
  • A student from MCCC’s Education program is observing classes in our Intermediate School.
  • A third-year student from Rutgers University Master’s of Social Work Program is interning with Jaclyn Pryor, School Social Worker, to assist students in grades K-5 (Primary and Intermediate Schools). 
  • A third-term student from NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development is serving as a School Counseling Intern with Christina Mangus, Guidance Counselor, assisting students in grades 9-12 at Foundation Collegiate Academy.
  • In late September, five students from Princeton University’s Program in Teacher Preparation observed four Middle School classrooms for a week.

Here’s what a few of the visiting students had to say about their experience here at Foundation Academies thus far. 

TCNJ’s Rebekah Chung (center) with Primary School’s Ms. Mason and Ms. Buttacavole

“It’s really different from other schools I’ve been in. I’m really liking the structure that the kids have, and the high expectations that are set for even the kindergarteners. That’s something I don’t see as much anymore in other schools. I’m definitely learning a lot. I think it’s really nice that the lower grades are co-taught, it gives the teachers more space to be able to work with the kids one-on-one.” 

Rebekah Chung, Student Observer/Teacher, Primary School
NYU’s Raevyn Johnson with Foundation Collegiate Academy Guidance Counselor Ms. Mangus.

“Amazing, I love the environment, I love the culture here. Just walking through the door gives me a really good, comfortable welcome feeling – it feels like a family. When I come here it puts a smile on my face; it makes me really happy.” 

Raevyn Johnson, School Counseling Intern at Foundation Collegiate Academy
Rutgers’ Rachel Lippman, Social Work Intern, with Ms. Pryor, School Social Worker

“First off, the teachers and the staff are SO nice. It’s nice to feel welcomed and not feel like you’re this strange being that no one knows. Everyone was always ready to help. Jackie has been such a great person to lean on, and as a supervisor, is great to talk to. The kids are AMAZING. When I come here, the kids are excited, they want to meet with me or Jackie, they want to express how they’re feeling. Speaking with them, having that trust, having them open up to you and seeing them strive, is literally THE BEST feeling. Our kids are SO important. I feel like I’m needed here, but they’re definitely helping me, too.”

Rachel Lippman, Social Work Intern, Primary and Intermediate Schools

Foundation Academies’ staff is equally as excited to welcome the students into our FAmily for the semester, especially because their presence energizes the students, and provides additional support on a daily basis; enriching the overall experience for our scholars. 

For any current students who may be looking for a school placement or internship, Jaclyn Pryor, School Social Worker, shared this sage bit of advice: 

“If you’re looking for an internship at a school, dive in. Get uncomfortable. Go into classrooms, talk to kids, talk to teachers, don’t hold back. Go and introduce yourself. Don’t just be someone who sits in the back of the classroom, be an active observer. Be in the mix of things. Get the full experience by immersing yourself in with the students and staff.” 

We couldn’t agree more, and are so excited to see how the rest of the semester progresses with so many bright collegiate students sharing their talent with our scholars! 

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Michelle Lawlor

Michelle Lawlor, Marketing and Communications Associate, spearheads Foundation Academies’ marketing and communication efforts. Born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism/Multimedia Communications from Rider University.