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:
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:
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.