Earning a Degree at NCI with the Convenience of Home

The elementary education program via Longwood University at NCI has been the perfect opportunity for Taylor Morris. Taylor started her college journey by earning an associate’s degree at Patrick Henry Community College. Then she transferred to Longwood University, choosing to live on campus in Farmville. After a semester, she realized the traditional college experience on campus was not the right fit for her. While Taylor loved the academic experience at Longwood, she missed home.

“Living at home while earning my Longwood degree was a perfect solution for my academic and career goals. While I was a student, I was able to maintain part-time jobs and work as a substitute teacher, which helped me establish career connections in the community I desire to live and work long-term,” Taylor said.

The location of her classrooms was not the only thing that set her non-traditional experience apart. Longwood students at NCI also receive highly personalized training with multiple levels of hands-on experiences so they are skilled in leading a classroom and educating the next generation.

During the practicum (student teaching) semester, students develop and teach a two-week integrated unit in a local classroom. Integrated units require the student-teacher to incorporate two Standards of Learning concepts in each content area, such as English, science, and math.

“Taylor did a fabulous job! She incorporated all subjects in her integrated unit. The students were completely engaged and made connections between subject matter that they may not have made if not integrated,” said Sandy Gary, Collinsville Primary School teacher.

Taylor’s unit, Predictable Patterns, brought the concept of patterns to life through analysis and integration of weather, calendars, verb tenses, and more. After extensive planning, the unit was delivered to second-grade students of Sandy Gary’s classroom at Collinsville Primary.

“My students were very intrigued and began to notice and report on patterns in all sorts of areas. I feel this ability to recognize patterns helped them learn the material presented and will also help them identify patterns in future learning experiences,” said Taylor.

Taylor plans to apply for local elementary education positions. “I really liked doing my student teaching in Martinsville-Henry County instead of Farmville because this is where I want to build my career and build professional connections for the future.”