Nicole Hart, ’15, a third-grade teacher at Joplin’s Columbia Elementary, is the first recipient of a new scholarship designed to partner teachers with junior interns from Missouri Southern.

Students in the Teacher Education program are required to take a practicum in one of the university’s community partner schools. Hart, who is working on her Master of Science in Education-Administration degree, says her job as a cooperating teacher is to host the intern and evaluate their performance.

“When the junior interns come in, they observe for a while to see how the classroom is run and your classroom management style,” says Hart. “They also have to teach two lessons and I have to score them.”

The new scholarship offered through the master’s program awards recipients tuition for one credit hour. Hart, who is currently hosting junior Riley Ingram in her class, has served as a cooperating teacher for two interns. The scholarship will cover two credit hours during her final semester before graduating in May 2020.

“(The scholarship) was new and I learned about it from an email,” says Hart. “It’s really an added benefit for this program.

Hart is in her fourth year of teaching at Columbia and hopes to one day become a school principal. Having worked with “an amazing” cooperating teacher when she herself was a junior at MSSU, she says she was more than happy to play that role.

“I just want to be for someone what my cooperating teacher was for me,” she says.