North Central College - Naperville, IL

Kathy Birkett

Collaboration between College and local school district helps both adopt best practices

Collaboration between educators at North Central College and administrators in Indian Prairie School District 204 is helping both institutions adopt best practices to benefit students.

“We have the kind of relationship where we can just say, ‘I need to pick your brain a little bit,’” says Kathy Birkett, former superintendent of Indian Prairie School District 204. “We get together to talk about what's happening in higher education, then we’ll talk about what's happening in pre-K through12 education.”

Those conversations help both the College and the district forge solutions to ever-changing challenges in education.

“That really is the model that the state wants us to have,” Birkett says. “So we're a little bit ahead of the game in that we're moving that forward ahead of some of the other schools in the area to adopt those changes pretty quickly.”

Birkett’s district serves 29,000 children in 33 schools, and enrollment demographics in District 204 schools reflect the increasing ethnic, racial, cultural and economic diversity of families in Naperville and Aurora. Education students at North Central College have opportunities to gain student-teaching and other types of experiences in a variety of settings: preschool, elementary, middle school and high school classrooms serving a range of populations, from students with special needs to academic high-achievers.

“North Central graduates are very well-prepared,” Birkett says. “They know the latest in technology as well as all different teaching techniques.”