PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A unique partnership between the University of Maine at Presque Isle and the Maine School of Science and Mathematics will allow secondary education majors at UMPI to work yearlong internships at the magnet school beginning next fall.
The yearlong internship with the magnet school will benefit both UMPI and MSSM students, according to officials from both facilities, who signed a memorandum of understanding Friday afternoon.
“I think this is really going to enrich the experience for the interns but also for the MSSM students,” Michael Sonntag, UMPI’s vice president for academic affairs, said after the signing ceremony. “The interns are going to bring a fresh perspective to the classroom, with fresh ideas and techniques. The students will benefit from this and from having an extra teacher in the room.”
Education students at UMPI typically spend 15 weeks as interns in schools throughout The County and receive academic credit.
But as part of UMPI’s Professional Development School program, education interns can take part in yearlong internships, and the schools that host them benefit from school and university research projects and collaborative activities across curriculum content areas.
Under the agreement signed Friday, MSSM becomes part of the program. The university has similar agreements with schools in Caribou and Presque Isle, said Don Zillman, president of UMPI.
“This is really an excellent partnership,” Zillman said of the UMPI and MSSM agreement. “I think the students will get the teaching experience of their lives.”
He added that students at the magnet school sometimes are more passionate about their education than students who attend traditional schools.
“A more passionate student challenges a teacher,” he said. “That is really going to be great for our interns.”
Cathy Bowker, MSSM’s academic dean, said the unpaid interns would bring “renewed energy” to the school.
“This will also allow our interns to get more of a math- and science-based teaching education,” she said. “We want to help young teachers, and we have a unique academic atmosphere at MSSM. I think our students will really enjoy it.”
She said that MSSM teachers also are excited to benefit from professional development projects with the college.
The first group of interns will be selected in the coming months, Dr. Barbara Chalou, UMPI professor of education and site coordinator for the Professional Development School, said Friday.
“We likely will start with three or four interns, and they will be the best and the brightest,” she said. “They will really have to be passionate about this, because this is going to be a yearlong internship, but they are going to get the same credit as they would if they had chosen a 15-week internship.”
The first interns will be at MSSM next fall.