We were thrilled to welcome a cohort of education majors to our campus recently as a part of our partnership with the University of The Bahamas. 

Twelve student teachers and faculty members in the Education Department at the University of The Bahamas joined us on Cape Eleuthera to observe our educational model in action and learn more about the Lab School and our Fellowship program. The Lab School, consisting of the Elementary Learning Center, Deep Creek Primary School and Deep Creek Middle school, serves as a center for educational innovation and research in The Bahamas as well as professional development and training. Serving over 120 students annually across three programs, students in the Lab School are fully a part of the larger Island School community and purposefully engage in collaborative work and learning with students, faculty, scientists, farmers and innovators throughout the Island School organization. 

The Lab Schools Teaching Fellowship Program is an opportunity for pre-service teachers and recent college graduates to gain experience in a place-based, holistic, mission-driven educational environment. It is designed to help beginning teachers grow into highly effective instructors and school leaders. Fellows work alongside veteran teachers where they plan and implement instructional practices that maximize student success, build a student-centered classroom, and support student learning and growth.

During their visit, these soon-to-be teachers had the opportunity to do some hands-on learning themselves with a coral reef ecology lesson, mangrove ecology lesson, and a trip to the sandbar to learn about ooids and the geology of The Bahamas. We look forward to welcoming UB students back next fall to complete their teaching practicum and gain experience in experiential and inquiry based learning practices.

UB educators hear from Deep Creek Middle School Principal, Chelle Marshall, about experiential educational models in classroom settings.

UB Educators Making an Impact at DCMS

DCMS has had the opportunity to host two dynamic and accomplished teaching practicum students this spring: Ashlee Major, an English teacher candidate, and Breea Colebrooke, a Social Studies teacher candidate.  While the program is designed to provide student teachers with practical experience in experiential learning, DCMS has benefited from a fresh perspective on important elements of teaching and learning such as working with a wide array of student learning levels within the classroom and attending to student’s social emotional learning.

Ashlee Major – English Teacher Candidate

“Teaching Practice is a milestone education majors hear about years before they reach it. As a family islander myself, when given the opportunity to complete TP on a family island, I leaped at it. Now at the end of my practicum, I am positive I’ve made the correct choice. The experience in itself is one I have recommended other education majors to consider for themselves. If not for the beautiful  island of Eleuthera itself, because of the  unwavering support from current staff, unique and experiential aspects of learning and simply working toward helping children to understand their part in taking care of their planet. 

Teaching Practice requires nothing less than your all, and as a teacher in the education field for the first time, it will become overwhelming. The emotional and physical support received from the staff and administration at DCMS contributed to the A grade I received at the end of my practicum. Staff members are not short on words of constructive advice, selfless offers to ensure you remain comfortable and unexpected incentives to brighten your day. I am grateful. 

DCMS takes experiential learning to the next level! Two weeks of School Without Walls afforded me the opportunity to assist ninth grade students while they explored the ocean to study coral health and use this information to create E-books for elementary school students. It allowed me to push students to create presentations of learning after weeks of research that they collected themselves. Outside of the SWW experience,students dedicate hours of their week to water based activities and agriculture, this experience is one that neither my students or I will ever forget. 

The idea of working toward sustainability and bettering the Earth we occupy is one that is pushed daily at DCMS. Coming into TP here, I was unaware of this. Leaving the practicum, I not only encourage students to ensure correct materials/waste go in their recycling bins, but I practice it myself. I admire the ideas that are being utilized here, the windmill in the process of being built, the garden that supplies vegetables for the school and the water system that ensures water is being properly stored and used. These aspects of life here at DCMS indicate that they pride themselves in their Green School title (which was recently recertified) and the students will graduate to continue this healthy lifestyle.  

There is nowhere I would have preferred to reach this milestone in my life. Completing teaching practice here has sharpened my teaching skills as well as created new life skills that I continue to utilize. The family here at DCMS is small, but morale and work ethics are strong. 

At The Island School, we aim to create educational and research opportunities for Bahamian students, which is why we are particularly happy that these soon-to-be-teachers could join us and get involved in our work.”  

Breea Colebrook – Social Studies Teacher Candidate

“Reflecting on my teaching practice at Deep Creek Middle School and working alongside my cooperative teacher, Kayla Woods, and the dedicated staff of DCMS has truly made this journey wonderful.

One of the most significant aspects of my experience has been the emphasis on experiential learning. The partnership with Cape Eleuthera Institute and The Island School has provided students with hands-on, real-world learning opportunities that go beyond the traditional classroom setting. From exploring marine ecosystems to participating in sustainability projects, students have been actively engaged in learning that is meaningful and impactful.

The integration of experiential learning has also allowed me to observe the positive effects it has on student engagement and understanding. Through hands-on activities and field trips that were emphasized during the ‘School Without Walls’ experience, students have been able to connect theoretical concepts to practical applications, deepening their comprehension and fostering a sense of curiosity and inquiry.

Working alongside my cooperative teacher, Kayla Woods, has been instrumental in shaping my teaching practice. Her guidance, support, and wealth of experience have provided me with invaluable insights into effective teaching strategies, classroom management techniques, and building positive relationships with students. Collaborating with the staff of DCMS has also allowed me to learn from experienced educators who are dedicated to creating a dynamic and inclusive learning environment.

Overall, my experience at Deep Creek Middle School and the integration of experiential learning have reinforced the importance of student-centered approaches, hands-on learning experiences, and collaborative efforts in education. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a transformative learning community and look forward to continuing to grow and learn as an educator.”

Deep Creek Middle School students give a tour of the school’s campus.

Looking ahead

At The Island School, we are committed to creating educational and research opportunities for Bahamian students, which is why we are particularly excited about our partnership with University of The Bahamas.  We’re glad that these aspiring educators could join us and we look forward to welcoming them back to Eleuthera in the near future.