School of Graduate Studies

Full Circle Opportunity for Community Based Learning Graduate

Full Circle Opportunity for Community Based Learning Graduate

Young children’s future success depends on the educators dedicated to their care and learning.

Written by Kari Borne

When Kolden Severson (’23) was a student at UW-Whitewater, one of his most impactful learning experiences was participating in the Community Based Learning (CBL) program. As an elementary education major, Spanish education minor, CBL gave Severson the opportunity to learn in a 3rd grade classroom at Washington Elementary School in Whitewater. While there, he was able to observe in-service teachers, and have a safe environment to grow and improve his own Spanish language skills. He made meaningful personal connections with students and families in the community, and professional networks with teachers throughout the school. “I gained a greater connection with the community in Whitewater,” Severson says. By working with students directly in my community, I felt better connected and a part of the community, and not just a person attending college here.”

His experience and connections helped Severson get hired before graduation at Washington Elementary. Now with a 3rd grade classroom of his own, he mentors CBL students in the Spanish for Educators course. “As a teacher, I have a million things on my mind all day,” he says, “but when I have a CBL student I know that at least my Spanish speaking student is getting support and I can focus on other students. He notes that “CBL students have helped my newcomer students produce high quality work, and be further included in the class.”

Severson values the connections he is able to make as a teacher-mentor to 3rd graders and UWW students. “My whole class loves CBL students! They are excited when they come for the day and say goodbye when they leave,” he says. “I think it is so important to give kids role models more time to interact with other community members.”

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