On the Record – Spring 2014
Off-Campus Sites: Achievements, Community & Growth
In this edition:
- News from Off-Campus Sites
- PCS Student Spotlight
- Studio School Donation
- Faculty Spotlight
- Big Changes Taking Place in the College of Education
Off-Campus Sites graduated two Elementary Education cohorts in the spring of 2013. One group attended classes on the St. Louis Community College–Wildwood campus and the other group completed their degree at the Jefferson College campus.
Top Image: Wildwood Cohort; Bottom Image: Jefferson Cohort.
Christan Shelton realized at a young age that there was a lack of African-American representation in the legal community and vowed to make a change by going to law school, with ambitions of becoming a public defender. So imagine her dilemma when, after graduating from law school, getting a lucrative job offer and joining a firm, she felt unfulfilled in her career. Chris enjoyed the pro bono aspect of her job which usually involved working with children and the indigent. However, there were a very limited number of those types of cases available, so she decided that it was time to make a change. Chris came to the realization that instead of trying to help African Americans once they entered the system, she should do something to keep them from ever being put into the system at all. Teach for America was the answer to exactly how Chris would get to where she wanted to go. Her TFA experience led her to the campus of UMSL where the majority of her classes were taken for the first year of the program. Chris spoke about how positive her time at UMSL was, and that she truly enjoyed the flexibility of having several of her courses available online. She also enjoyed the cohort model that was used and how it gave her a great network of people to work with throughout the course of study. Chris made the decision to continue on and get her master’s degree in education because she "wanted to be the best that she could be for her students." The transition from beginning to end went very smoothly, and she entered the teaching arena prepared to jump right in. TFA helped Chris get an interview in the Riverview Gardens School District, which ultimately led to her current position of teaching mathematics at Westview Middle School. But that isn’t the end of the story. Just this past year, Chris was voted as the Teacher of the Year, not only for her school but for the entire district. Chris finally feels fulfilled in her career choice and has this advice for anyone that might be considering becoming an educator, "keep your passion and remember why you want to be a teacher, folks that do this love their students and want to see them become successful members of society while fulfilling their dreams."
Zitzman Practicum Students: Kelly Thuet, Ben Johnston, Amanda Rickett, Christina Davis-Casanova, Jennifer Pretre and Sarah Holycross.
Flattenme.com, a line of personalized children’s books, sponsored a contest to honor the release of their newest book "Owl Always Love You." The prize was a $1000 donation to the winning school’s library in an effort to promote childhood literacy. Kelly Thuet, an elementary education student in the UMSL @ Wildwood Off-Campus Site program, discovered the contest and recruited all of her Twitter followers to help her win. Kelly’s plan was to donate the money to Zitzman Elementary School, in the Meramec Valley School District, where she and several other students in her cohort began their Practicum I course last fall. So imagine her surprise when she found out that she had gone on to beat thousands of other entries to win the coveted prize!
"We are so pleased to donate this $1000 check to a school that so deserves it," said Flattenme owner Margo Redfern. "After chatting with Principal Linda Paul, we realized that the prize had gone to a really deserving winner." Zitzman doesn’t have a lot of extra resources to spend on the library, so the money has come as a welcomed gift and is sure to be put to good use for the children learning there, said school officials.
Brian Hutchison, PhD, NCC, is an assistant professor, International Fellow and coordinator of the School Counseling Program at University of Missouri–St. Louis. At UMSL, Brian teaches graduate courses in school counseling, career counseling, counseling theory, group counseling, and multiple clinical courses. In addition to these, Brian has worked to develop several courses designed to meet specific student needs. Most notably, the St. Louis Cultural Competence Institute and the Cultural Competence in a Global Society Institute (a one-week cultural immersion trip to New York City). During these weeklong sessions, students experience cultural immersion through a mixed methods approach, including workshops, forums, and service learning activities. Brian is very passionate about these institutes and the experiences they offer. He stresses that “empathy building” is the key component to why they use the immersion approach for increasing cultural competence.
The St. Louis Cultural Competence Institute will take place June 16-20, 2014. This will be the first year that the institute will be held in St. Louis. The lineup will include:
- Meeting with a panel of teachers, community advocates and higher education officials who serve the North City area of St. Louis, to better understand the issues they face
- Increasing perspectives surrounding the needs of students with disabilities, by participating in a Disability Awareness Walk on the SLU Campus and visiting the Missouri School for the Blind
- Learning more about working with African American students, refugee populations and LGBTQI students.
The Cultural Competence in a Global Society Institute is scheduled for July 14-18, 2014, and takes place in New York. Subject matter will cover:
- Conversations with newly immigrated high school students from Brooklyn International High School to learn about how to help them adapt to different educational experiences in a new country
- Broadening perspectives to better understand and respect the needs of African American students which will include participating in a Harlem Walk
- Learning more about working with students of different faith, which will include visits to the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and the Islamic Cultural Center
- Expanding knowledge of how to work with Asian, Hispanic and Latino students through panel discussions and visits to various neighborhood\
Students who attended the first NY Institute.
Daily sessions begin anywhere from 9–10 a.m. and end at approximately 4:30 p.m. There are also several evening activities scheduled during each institute, one of which will be a performance of “Crossing the Blvd” at the NYIT Auditorium on Broadway.
These summer institutes are very popular, and Brian states that he has no problem filling the available spots. The course is restricted and only available to graduate students or those with graduate degrees. First preference is given to counselors and counseling students.
Missouri Educator Profile (MEP): The MEP is an assessment of work style preferences used to support the development of effective educator work habits and is not used for admission into any specific program. The results are presented in a report so that the student can better understand their own current work habits and compare to those of effective educators. The MEP includes both a pre-test and a post-test. The pre-test is taken prior to being admitted into the Teacher Education Program (TEP) and the post-test is taken during Practicum I.
Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA): This assessment replaces the College Basic Academic Subjects Examination (CBASE),which was previously used as an entry assessment for Missouri teacher preparation programs. The MoGEA also serves as an exit assessment for the Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT) degree.
Missouri Pre-service Teacher Assessment (MoPTA): The MoPTA will assess the instructional capability of teacher candidates prior to receiving a license. There is still conversation taking place about whether or not this assessment will have a pre-test and a post-test. This test will be more about pedagogy and will include different pieces of evidence showing how the student teaches. The MoPTA is designed to develop more effective teachers in the classroom, identify strengths and areas for improvement of practice and contribute to a development plan for professional growth.
Content Area Assessments: These assessments will replace the Praxis and the results should indicate that a student has a specific level of knowledge in their chosen content area(s). Students will take these assessments during the end of their junior year.
While attempting to increase the quality of the teacher workforce, by implementing these new assessments, there will also be in increase in the GPA required to exit the program. Currently students must maintain a 2.5 or higher to remain in the TEP. Going forward a 2.75 GPA will be expected in order to graduate.
Other notable changes within the College of Education include the addition of dual certification or endorsement of other content areas. By adding special education or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) to several of the general education degrees, students are able to increase their skillset and become more marketable in a field that has recently become very competitive.