A consortium of preschool through 12th grade educators, advocates and supporters has singled out the alliance between California State University, Northridge and the CHIME Institute as a model of a successful partnership between schools and a university.
The Southern California Professional Development Schools (SCPDS) Consortium honored CSUN and CHIME, regarded by many as a national model for inclusive education, with its Exemplary Partnership Award earlier this month. The award recognizes the richness and strength of the partnership in contributing to the quality of education for the students at the participating school, as well as educational practices overall.
“We are thrilled to be chosen for such an important honor,” said Annie Cox, executive director of CHIME’s early education programs and one of the institute’s founders. “We are so proud of the strong collaboration we have with CSUN, whether it’s with our educational programs, administration or participating on the clinical side for CSUN students. It’s something we’ve been doing since the beginning. It’s something that is part of who we are.”
Special education professor Amy Hanreddy, who serves as CSUN’s liaison with CHIME, called the partnership a boon for both institutions.
“For the past 25 years, CSUN has partnered with CHIME by providing authentic experiences for students that allow them to observe and participate in high-quality educational programs for infants and toddlers, preschoolers and school-age children,” Hanreddy said. “As a teacher-educator, I have observed firsthand the ways in which CSUN student participation in these inclusive programs enriches classroom discussions and promotes critical reflection on the potential of inclusive learning environments. CHIME also provides a resource as a research site for both students and faculty, and the CHIME Research Committee includes representatives from both the school and the university. Overall, this close partnership is both valuable and unique, and it is an honor to be recognized for this longstanding partnership!”
The SCPDS Consortium is a nonprofit, professional organization that provides resources, professional development and advocacy for the professional development school model in teacher education. The consortium functions to support, advocate and nurture collaborative partnerships between preschool to 12th grade educators, as a center for inquiry that leads to discovery and the sharing of knowledge that shapes educator practices and leadership.
Established in 1990, the CHIME Institute is a national leader in developing and implementing model educational programs and dynamic research and training environments to disseminate best practices in inclusive education. The institute’s research and training center is housed in CSUN’s Michael D. Eisner College of Education.
The institute began with an early childhood education program housed on the CSUN campus. The success of that program, coupled with needs of the community and sound research, prompted a group of parents and CSUN faculty to develop a public charter elementary school in 2001 and a public charter middle school in 2003. The two schools merged into a K-8 school located in Woodland Hills in 2010.
Inclusive education at CHIME means that children who reflect the demographics of the surrounding regions learn side by side. CHIME’s model allows for the individual needs of each child to be addressed in a manner that enhances each child’s strength, while also providing educational progress.
CHIME also serves as a model for educators through its partnerships with the Eisner College and the Los Angeles Unified School District. It facilitates research opportunities and regularly hosts visitors from around the United States and the world who are interested in replicating its successes in their own schools. The institute has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a model for full inclusion of students with disabilities and for providing a blueprint for local schools across the country.