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Trinity University – Lamar Elementary Partnership

Trinity University, Lamar Elementary and the San Antonio Independent School District entered into a formal Professional Development School agreement in May 2013.  Both school and university educators share responsibility for making Lamar a strong place for everyone’s learning -- including children, their families, teacher candidates and faculty.

The Lamar-Trinity partnership focuses on four core goals:

  • prepare outstanding teacher candidates;

  • develop outstanding instructional practices;

  • use inquiry as a tool to drive school transformation; and

  • improve student learning.

Teacher Preparation

Trinity University has been identified as one of six outstanding teacher preparation programs in the United States. We are passionate about creating teacher leaders who significantly impact their students, school and profession. Lamar Elementary is deeply committed to serving as the primary site for elementary teacher candidates completing Trinity’s Master of Arts in Teaching program.

Trinity undergraduates complete several university courses that embed field experiences at Lamar. Undergraduate teacher candidates provide:

  • math tutoring after school to 3rd and 4th graders,

  • science tutoring during school to 5th graders.

  • support teachers and children in early childhood classrooms, and

  • facilitate a semester-long Poetry Club for 4th graders.

Once teacher candidates earn their bachelor’s degree at Trinity, they enter into a year-long Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program. Lamar is fortunate to have several elementary M.A.T. students interning with master teachers for an entire year.

Brittney Blaylock is interning with 4th grader, Andrea Lucas.

Jessica Cortez is interning with 2nd/3rd grade teacher, Isabel Nava.


Katie Cribb is interning with 1st grade teacher, Lisa Avila.

Interns are embraced by Lamar teachers, staff and administrators and treated as integral members of the school community. Interns participate in all school and district professional development, faculty meetings, parent conferences and after school/weekend events. interns serve on the same committees that their mentors do, including the Campus Leadership Team, the PDS Advisory Committee and other district-level teams.

In August, mentors and interns attend a day-long retreat at Trinity designed to launch their professional relationship, clarify roles and responsibilities, provide an overview of interns’ classroom-based responsibilities for the year and establish agreements for how they want to work and learn together. Interns also conduct an inquiry project called The First Days of School where they formally study how their mentor establishes a classroom learning community.

In September, their focus shifts to reading instruction and assessment. Mentors first plan reading lessons in front of their intern, explaining how they make decisions about goals, assessments, activities and forms of differentiation. Interns then co-plan and co-teach reading lessons with their mentor before then assuming responsibility for planning and teaching reading for the last week of September. The same structure is used in October with a focus on mathematics teaching and learning. The fall semester culminates in two weeks of Guided Lead Teaching where interns take responsibility for planning, teaching and assessing students in reading and mathematics for two weeks.

After being in their mentor’s classroom four days a week in the fall semester, interns remain in their mentor’s classroom five days a week in the spring semester. Beginning in January, interns gradually assume increased responsibility for teaching then enter five weeks of Lead Teaching where they plan, teach and assess students’ learning in all content areas. Their mentors provide daily and weekly behind-the-scenes support and guidance.

After Lead Teaching, mentors support interns in completing an action research project focused on strengthening an instructional skill or addressing learning needs. Interns present their findings at a Lamar faculty meeting in late April.

Learn more about Trinity’s teacher preparation program


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