Watson Chronicle


Watson College News

WCE Faculty Partner with Duplin County to Enhance Pre-K Programs

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

In 2015, faculty from the Watson College teamed up with Joan Williams, pre-K program manager for Duplin County Schools to write a grant proposal for continued support of Duplin’s Head Start program. In July, Duplin County was awarded a Head Start grant with an annual budget of $1,245,563. The grant can be renewed for five years.

As part of the new partnership, WCE will provide ongoing professional development for Duplin’s pre-K teachers, teacher assistants and family advocates, with a goal of enhancing learning experiences for young children.

The Watson College has had a long-standing partnership with Duplin County through WCE’s Professional Development System office, but this is the first time the partnership has extended to Educating Young Children programs.

Mahnaz Moallem, professor and grant coordinator for the Watson College, initiated the joint effort. A UNCW team, led by EYC faculty Hengameh Kermani and Jale Aldemir, with support from ITFSE faculty Marta Sanchez and Daisyane Barreto, helped Williams draft the Head Start grant proposal last fall. Hannah Catalano, a faculty member in the College of Health and Human Services, assisted in the effort.

The UNCW team partnered with Joan Williams and Janice Goldsby, pre-K curriculum supervisor for Duplin County Schools, to provide an intensive two-day series of workshops for Duplin’s pre-K teachers, teacher assistants and family advocates in August at the start of the 2016-17 academic year.

Presentations by Kermani, Aldemir, Sanchez, Barreto and Catalano covered topics including strategies to support children’s social and emotional development; strategies for challenging behaviors; classroom design; applying language and literacy in content areas; culturally responsive teaching strategies; health and physical education; and the use of technology to support early childhood practice.

Fifty-three instructional staff including teachers, teacher assistants and family advocates from Duplin County NC pre-K and Head Start programs participated in the workshops.

A second full day of professional development, planned for Oct. 28, was postponed after Hurricane Matthew caused the cancellation of teacher workdays in Duplin County, but joint efforts to strengthen Duplin’s pre-K programs through teacher education and support will continue.

“We look forward to building on this new partnership with Duplin County,” said Kermani, WCE associate professor and EYC coordinator. “We are happy to devote our time, energy, expertise and service to further best practices in early childhood education and positively impact the early learning experiences of children in our partnership district.”

For information on WCE’s Education of Young Children program, visit uncw.edu/ed/learn/eyc.html.