Conner Prairie, HSE partner to create teacher-in-residence position

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Hamilton Southeastern Schools teacher Amy Murch doesn’t work in a traditional classroom. She’s part of a new program at Conner Prairie where she will serve as a teacher-in-residence, working with students at the interactive history park.

“It’s a brand-new idea in a position the district has created, so essentially it’s an opportunity to build a partnership with our HSE students and a business in our community,” Murch said. “I get to create standard-based experiences for our district’s fourth-graders and teachers that will enhance their learning.”

Murch previously taught fourth grade for 10 years at Brooks School Elementary and second grade for three years prior to that. She said fourth-grade students are her favorite. In her new position, she will utilize Conner Prairie’s entire campus.

“My primary focus will be on science, math and engineering while incorporating some historical components as well, being that we’re at Conner Prairie,” she said.

So far this year, she has taught flight and forces of motion by demonstrating a tomahawk throw and archery. Students also learned about buoyancy through building cardboard boats and floating them on the White River.

Conner Prairie and HSE Schools Board of Trustees signed a contract at the Oct. 10 school board meeting, so Murch will work as a teacher-in-residence at Conner Prairie for the next five years. She has classes Tuesday through Friday. Teachers will bring fourth-grade students to Conner Prairie for two consecutive days. Murch said there are 70 sections of fourth-graders within the district, or 1,500 kids. Teachers attend the day with their students.

“It’s co-teaching at its best,” Murch said. “I am just so excited for this opportunity for our kids. It’s just a really neat way to have our kids and our families realize they can learn absolutely anywhere. It doesn’t have to be in a setting of a classroom anymore. They really can bring the outside world in and just engage in different experiences that they’ll hopefully never forget.”

Conner Prairie CEO Norman Burns said the partnership redefines the way people engage with museums.

“Conner Prairie has always been an innovator of museum experiences and education,” Burns stated. “It allows Conner Prairie to gain valuable insight into how we can better serve educators and evolve to meet the needs of a 21st-century curriculum. We believe that this partnership will serve as a model for museums and schools across the nation and provide a road map on how they can leverage each other’s resources to create a dynamic learning environment.” 

For more, visit hseschools.org.

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