November 19, 2012

Hamline University and Hamline Elementary Continue to Collaborate to Improve Education

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Hamline University will soon celebrate the 125th anniversary of a unique collaboration. For over a century, the university has teamed up with the elementary school across the street in order to enhance learning for students on both sides of Snelling Avenue. The connection between the two schools is so strong that Hancock-Hamline University Collaborative Magnet School recently changed its name to Hamline Elementary School. Thus, the collaboration is now called the Hamline to Hamline Collaboration. 

In 1991, the collaboration officially became the first university-elementary partnership of its kind in the country. The main goal is to have students, staff, and faculty from both campuses work together throughout the learning process. In order to achieve that goal, multiple different types of programming and opportunities are offered.

One of those programs is academic pairing that places a Hamline staff or faculty member in one of the elementary school's classrooms to provide academic instruction. Collaboration coordinator Margot Howard is hoping to use the program to enhance teaching strategies throughout the learning process.

“The shared learning aspect is perhaps the greatest contribution the collaboration has to offer,” Howard said. “The tutoring program and the academic pairings are probably the most effective when it comes to shared learning.”

Another program aimed to help generate knowledge through shared learning is the tutoring program, which allows Hamline students to work in elementary classrooms as tutors for the children all while getting paid through federal work-study funds.

Hamline Elementary liaison to the collaboration and assistant principal Mary Weyandt, in her first year working in the collaboration, found the tutoring program to be especially beneficial.

“When I found out that Hamline students could use tutoring as a work study job I thought it was such a great opportunity,” Weyandt said.

Another key aspect to the partnership is the Hand in Hand program in which Hamline students mentor the younger students one-to-one. 

“I think the key to success for elementary students is really building strong relationships,” Weyandt said. “I see the opportunity they have with the college students as mentors and as someone who is accessible and a role model.”

In order to help keep these programs running, the schools hold an annual fundraiser to raise money. This past year the Hike for the Health raised over $2,000 in pledges. The walk route wrapped around both school campuses in order to gain awareness of the partnership and its efforts. The walk was such a success, there are plans to hold a celebratory picnic next spring to celebrate the 125th year anniversary between the two schools.

For the past century, the collaboration has offered students from both schools the chance to learn, teach, and grow as people.

“This is an amazing opportunity for children,” Weyandt said.

Howard, who worked as a tutor and a buddy for the Hand in Hand program when she attended Hamline University, said it had such an impact on her life, it changed her career aspirations.

“I remember coming to Hamline as a freshmen and knowing that being an educator was not something I wanted to aspire to be,” Howard said. “However, after working in classrooms at the elementary school, I fell in love with the academic connection. It really shaped the direction of my life.”

If you would like to learn more, or donate to their fund, please visit the Hamline to Hamline Collaboration web page.