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Jul 2, 2014 12:04 PM by Rachel Cole - rcole@kristv.com

Island University's Teacher Prep Program Ranks Top 20 in the Nation

CORPUS CHRISTI - The Island University made the list of top 20 colleges for an elementary teacher prep program. Teachers are getting quality on-campus training that they can use within their own classrooms, post graduation.

Undergraduates at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi are part of the renowned Teacher Education Prep Program. It's something Joanna Blonigen says is the key to developing into a great educator.

"I really love that the program talks about the different ways to actually make sure you're taking care of every single student in the classroom," Blonigen said.

The elementary program was ranked on several standards including early reading, early math, elementary content, and student teaching. Doctor Marty Ward has been a Professor of Teacher Education with A&M Corpus Christi for the past 15 years. He says, the field-based program combines student teaching and gives a real-life experience of full responsibility for a class.

"They are assisting the teacher and then they're assigned to create and teach lessons and help with tutoring and really do lots of things to help that class, help the school," Dr. Ward said.

On top of assignments like that, the program requires students to do mock lessons for the entire group of undergraduates.

Ashley Wiggins completed the program and has been teaching for three years. She says "classroom community" is something she took away from the course.

"One of the things is really making sure that your classroom is developmentally appropriate, making sure you're doing what's right for each kid," Wiggins said.

Students and graduates agree, the program can be a challenge but the reward to teach is worth the hard work.

"This is what I want to do and for my first class I was like yes, this is where I belong, this is what I should be doing," Blonigen said.

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