On February 24th, 2023 in Indianapolis, JCU students presented a program called “Read Like Me, Teach Like Me” to education professionals on equity for preservice teachers. This presentation occurred at the prestigious American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) 75th annual conference.
When Ali Brown ‘25, Kenneth Jordan ‘26, and Jahiem Peake ‘24 began their work on this program, they had no idea they would be presenting at the national conference in two years. Before the team formed, faculty leader Dr. Peggy Schauer initially started the “Read Like Me” program where JCU funds senior high school students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) to go and tutor young children. Jordan had been one of those tutors at the time, and Peake, in his sophomore year at JCU, noticed that he could educate students like Jordan not only to tutor but to go through the college application process. Peake brought this idea to Schauer, and the team shortly formed thereafter to expand the program into something greater.
Together with Brown and Jordan, the team created “The Read and Teach Like Me Program” The program has two functions. “Read Like Me” continues to fund high school tutors and college students to educate those tutors, and now “Teach Like Me” opens doors for these tutors to go to college, most of whom come from a disenfranchised background or a family without a college graduate.
“That’s our goal: to help kids to get into a college or secondary journey they want to pursue,” Brown said when explaining the team’s work. Brown stated that “Read Like Me, Teach Like Me” has helped students with their FAFSA, lowered textbook costs on JCU’s campus, and even funded some college payments for students. Because of these efforts and success, Schauer urged the team to apply to present at the AACTE annual conference. In the program’s second year, that conference proposal was accepted.
The AACTE is an organization dedicated to preparing educators to teach all people. As a part of the organization’s mission, AACTE hosts an annual meeting of members and guests to showcase outstanding programs. Schauer said, “It’s really considered the place to go to connect with colleagues on educational issues.” This year’s theme for the conference was “Innovation through Inspiration: Remembering the Past to Revolutionize the Future,” the perfect event according to Schauer to present the story of this program.
In Indianapolis, the team met at a conference of over two thousand education professionals. “When I was first told that we would be presenting at the AACTE, I was quite nervous,” Jordan said. “But, after all the work we had done, I was confident to go in that room and tell people about our great program which should be expanded further and further.” The team presented in a breakout room on the very first day of the conference after a keynote speaker. In the presentation, they talked about the roots from which the program started, the philosophy behind educating the student tutors, the impacts already made by the program, and the future expansion the team wants to take.
The conference gave the students more than just an opportunity to show off their work. Brown found it to be a great opportunity to network as well: “it was good to have conversations with other educators across the country who are also trying to implement these kinds of programs in their schools.” In doing so, Brown learned more about concepts and software that she could implement into “Read Like Me, Teach Like Me.”
Jordan, a political science major, found that “opportunities that JCU offers for career development are quite extensive. In my case with not being an education major, I was [still] offered an experience to explore my options and network whereas at other institutions it may have not been possible.”
After the successful presentation, Schauer and the team continue to build a program that helps first-generation students and students of color gain access to their post-secondary journey. Schauer is excited for the future, noting that, “the next step for the program will begin in the fall with the creation of the Ignite Scholars program, an opt-n cohort model focused on supporting first-generation college students at JCU.”
To get involved in “Read Like Me, Teach Like Me,” contact email@example.com
For more information about AACTE, visit https://aacte.org/