The Department of Elementary Education at Brigham Young University and five Utah school districts were honored recently by The Association of Teacher Educators for demonstrating high quality and effectiveness in a comprehensive teacher preparation program.

The Distinguished Program in Teacher Education Award was presented to the BYU/Public School Partnership at a recent ATE national conference in St. Louis. The partnership includes Alpine, Jordan, Nebo, Wasatch and Provo school districts.The group is one of three recognized nationally for their connection between teacher education programs in the university setting and the real-life proving grounds in the schools.

The partnership, which won second place, serves one-third of the students in Utah and annually prepares half of Utah's new teachers, said Carl Harris, associate professor of elementary education and coordinator of Elementary Partner Schools.

Harris said partner schools pursue the renewal of schools through four goals: pre-service, in-service, curriculum and research. BYU College of Education professors are assigned to work nearly full time in the schools with principals and teachers and with groups of 15 to 20 elementary education student teachers.

As the student teachers become sufficiently competent to take over classrooms for limited periods of time, regular teachers are freed during school hours to engage in in-service training, curriculum revision and research.