Membership in KC Group Offers UCM Professional Development Benefits
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Nov. 18, 2011) – Professional development for faculty and opportunities to collaborate with school districts are among benefits the University of Central Missouri expects to reap through its new membership in the Cooperating School Districts of Greater Kansas City.
“Their professional development network is second to none, so this is a huge opportunity for us,” said Mike Wright, dean of UCM’s College of Education.
He noted that by joining CSDGKC, UCM becomes the first four-year university and the only College of Education to obtain membership in the organization. The other higher education institution currently involved is Metropolitan Community College, which offers two-year degree programs.
The CSDGKC was established in 1976, initially as a group of metropolitan area school districts that tracked legislation affecting school children and schools and provided legislative liaison services to the Missouri General Assembly. Since then, CSDGKC has grown into a diverse, educational cooperative association that serves education employees in 29 school districts, and also has a Professional Development Network that serves 16 additional schools and school districts in seven Missouri counties.
Since its inception, one goal for CSDGKC has been to use economies of scale and maximize members’ combined strengths to benefit student learning. According to the organization’s web site, this is accomplished through collaborations and partnerships, professional development services, cooperative purchasing, and research and communication services in the Greater Kansas City area. In addition, CSDGKC also serves as a forum in which members can share ideas and discuss issues, and utilize a spokesperson for education when needed.
Cliff Mohn, assistant professor and coordinator of UCM’s Collaborative Principal Program, actively attends meetings of Greater Kansas City school superintendents, and he played a key role in helping the university attain its membership in CSDGKC. He said one of the benefits is that participating school districts can combine their resources to bring in national experts in the field of education to conduct professional development training. Many school districts, otherwise, could not afford to this on their own. Mohn stressed such opportunities will take place at various member schools throughout the year, and university faculty will have an opportunity to participate.
“I think it’s critical that the university does everything it can to collaborate with school districts because they are truly our partners,” Mohn said. “This is a great way to work with school districts so that we can stay current with what is going on in public education.”
Wright added, “The world of education today is dramatically different. Without this kind of opportunity to stay current through professional development, it would be very difficult. That’s why we are excited that our faculty are going to be part of this effort.”
Mohn and Wright believe the connections UCM will make through CSDGKC will also translate into opportunities that will benefit college students, such as clinical practice with the school districts. It’s also an opportunity to network with professional educators, many of whom are UCM alumni who may want to return to the university to further their education. Both men take pride in the university’s 140-year tradition of preparing educators.
“If you look at the school districts involved in the organization, many of their school leaders have degrees from Central Missouri. This includes lead teachers, department chairs, principals, superintendents, and literacy coaches. We’re very proud of these high-quality leaders and alumni,” Wright said.