Partnership: two equal parties working together with joint responsibility and privelage.
This is what Alana Lyles sees in action every day as she, colleagues and students at Boyd/Berry Elementary join faculty and students at Drury University in a unique partnership that produces results and multiplies opportunity for all involved.
Lyles, principal of Boyd/Berry for 11 years, plays a key role in making the partnership work. She works with Drury staff to be sure students and teachers at both institutions reap the maximum benefit. She admits it was difficult at first, but now in the fourth year, Lyles says things are running smoothly - and effectively.
Parental involvement at Boyd/Berry has skyrocketed; Lyles reports a 700 percent increase in the PTA this year alone. Attendance is up, and reading scores are improving. Those are high hurdles in a community where many students come from homeless or transient families trying to overcome a legacy of poverty. And while many inner-city schools struggle to keep teachers, Lyles's staff is staying, due in part to incentives like tuition remission and access to resources at Drury.
In return, Boyd/Berry gives Drury students a competitive edge other pre-service teachers lack. Lyles heads one of the most diverse schools in Springfield; by the time Drury students graduate, they have had the opportunity to work with a broad range of ethnic groups, abilities and social situations. They've discovered for themselves what works, what doesn't, and what it feels like to invest in the lives of individuals and work to build a community of understanding and opportunity.
Lyles enjoys her own rewards too. "We have a good thing going," she says. "I feel good about being a fellow [Drury] alumna and making a difference here at Boyd/Berry. I'm proud of that."