Category Archives: Education

Students, faculty and staff attend N.C. Graduate Education Day in Raleigh

East Carolina University graduate students Molly Albecker, Spencer Miller and Kenyann Stanford traveled with their mentors and ECU Graduate School faculty to Raleigh as representatives for North Carolina Graduate Education Day held May 16 at the Legislative Building.

Albecker, a biology graduate student, Miller, who is earning a kinesiology graduate degree, and Stanford, a graduate student in educational leadership, visited with legislators and discussed their research interests to emphasize the importance and value of graduate education.

Between 2012 and 2022, the United States is projected to see a 16 percent increase in the number of jobs requiring a doctoral or professional degree and an 18.4 percent increase in jobs requiring a master’s degree. North Carolina is tied at 25th with the District of Columbia in the estimated percentage of residents age 25 and older with a graduate or professional degree. These individuals contribute to North Carolina’s technically skilled and entrepreneurial workforce that benefit the state’s economy.

Also attending from ECU were: Jeffrey Brault (kinesiology), Kathy Cox (graduate school), Paul Gemperline, dean of the graduate school, Tom McConnell (graduate school), Michael McCoy (biology), Heidi Puckett, graduate school, and Art Rouse (educational leadership).

ECU graduate students, mentors, and graduate school staff at North Carolina Graduate Education Day, NC Legislative Building, May 16, 2017; le to right: Michael McCoy (Biology), Tom McConnell (Graduate School), Jeffrey Brault (Kinesiology), Spencer Miller (Kinesiology), Molly Albecker (Biology), Paul Gemperline (Dean, Graduate School), Kenyann Stanford (Educational Leadership), Art Rouse (Educational Leadership), Kathy Cox (Graduate School), Heidi Puckett (Graduate School). (contributed photo)

ECU graduate students, mentors, and graduate school staff at North Carolina Graduate Education Day, NC Legislative Building, May 16, 2017; le to right: Michael McCoy (Biology), Tom McConnell (Graduate School), Jeffrey Brault (Kinesiology), Spencer Miller (Kinesiology), Molly Albecker (Biology), Paul Gemperline (Dean, Graduate School), Kenyann Stanford (Educational Leadership), Art Rouse (Educational Leadership), Kathy Cox (Graduate School), Heidi Puckett (Graduate School). (contributed photo)

 

 

-by Crystal Baity 

Thirty teachers from eastern North Carolina complete education graduate degrees

Thirty high school math teachers in eastern North Carolina recently earned their master’s degrees in education thanks to a unique blend of off campus, face to face and online classes led by East Carolina University faculty.

It was the largest graduating class in the history of the program, which usually only has a few students complete the master’s program for high school mathematics each year, said Dr. Rose Sinicrope, associate professor of mathematics education and a 2017 Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award recipient.

ECU faculty member Rose Sinicrope, left, and master’s graduate Anita Koen celebrate at the departmental graduation on May 6. (Contributed photos)

ECU faculty member Rose Sinicrope, left, and master’s graduate Anita Koen celebrate at the departmental graduation on May 6. (Contributed photos)

“Graduate level mathematics courses, which compose almost half the program, are taught face to face and it is very difficult for teachers to get to campus on time to attend classes. In the past, this was the major deterrent for many teachers,” said Sinicrope. “The second deterrent was North Carolina’s elimination of the teacher pay scale increase for graduate degrees in 2013.”

To combat those challenges, ECU faculty in the College of Education and Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences customized an off campus course of study to fit the teachers’ schedules as part of a revision to the undergraduate mathematics education degree program in 2013.

“We continue to work very hard to provide an education of the highest quality that is both affordable and accessible,” said Dr. Grant Hayes, dean of the College of Education. “There’s a critical need for teachers of secondary mathematics in our region and across the state. This is a testament to the hard work and dedicated efforts of our faculty and school partners and I applaud them for this achievement.”

The 30 teachers are from Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Edgecombe, Greene, Nash, Onslow, Pitt and Wayne counties. Twenty-nine teach in public schools while one teaches in private school. Teachers taught their full class loads during the two years of the program.

Graduation student speaker Anita Koen, math teacher at South Central High School and one of 30 high school math teachers from eastern North Carolina who received their master’s degree in education in May.

Graduation student speaker Anita Koen, math teacher at South Central High School and one of 30 high school math teachers from eastern North Carolina who received their master’s degree in education in May.

The largest number, 14, are from Pitt County, and half of those teach at D. H. Conley High School in Greenville. Renea Baker, the mathematics department chair at Conley, encouraged her fellow teachers to participate, Sinicrope said.

Anita Koen, math teacher at South Central High School who was part of the newest MAED graduating class, was instrumental to the program’s success since most classes were held in Koen’s high school classroom, Sinicrope said.

Koen delivered the graduate student address at the departmental graduation on May 6, thanking the ECU professors for support and creating a cohort just for them. “They came to us at South Central to hold class at times that were not convenient to them but were convenient to us,” Koen said.

Sinicrope called the group the “Miracle 30.”

“Few believed that high school mathematics teachers would be willing to invest in their careers without financial support and gain,” Sinicrope said. “Few believed that ECU faculty would be willing to meet teachers at their schools and on their schedules. It was a miracle that not just a few but 30 high school mathematics teachers, who sacrifice personal gain by remaining in the classroom, were willing to sacrifice more because they believe in their students, in themselves, and in ECU.”

Sinicrope said her ECU colleague Dr. Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi coined the term ‘Mathematics Teaching Communities’ as part of the revision to the undergraduate mathematics education program.

“The undergraduate program and the graduate program are connected with a shared vision of transforming high school mathematics for eastern North Carolina students,” Sinicrope said.

 

 

-by Crystal Baity 

COE alum Principal of the Year for NC

East Carolina University alumnus Jason Griffin has been named the Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year for 2017.

Griffin is principal of Hertford Grammar School in Perquimans County, one of the smallest counties in the state.

ECU alumnus Jason Griffin. (contributed photo)

ECU alumnus Jason Griffin. (contributed photo)

Griffin received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in middle grades mathematics from ECU, a master’s in school administration from Elizabeth City State University and an education specialist degree from ECU.

At the awards ceremony on May 12, State Superintendent Mark Johnson said Griffin exemplifies the qualities of leadership essential for helping teachers excel and students to achieve.

“Hertford Grammar School’s strong progress is clear evidence of Jason’s leadership,” Johnson said. “He makes smart use of data to work with his teachers to personalize learning for all students. He delegates to help his teachers grow as leaders themselves, and he works to provide them with innovative strategies to improve teaching and learning for students.”

The Title I school, where nearly two thirds of the 400-plus students in third through fifth-grade are from low-income families, achieved a school grade of B for the first time last year. The school also was just one of six elementary schools in the state’s northeast education region to earn at least a B while also exceeding their targets for academic growth.

In naming Griffin Principal of the Year, Wells Fargo Senior Community Relations Manager Juan Austin said, “Our education system has never been at a more critical juncture than now, and with administrators like Jason, we can see how dedication and effort connects with students, staff and parents on so many levels at Hertford Grammar School.

“So I’m pleased that we have the opportunity to reward his outstanding work and hold up Jason’s example for others to hopefully follow.”

Griffin was one of eight regional finalists chosen earlier this year following interviews and school visits by the selection committee.

Griffin joined Hertford Grammar in 2011 as a third-grade teacher and served as dean of students before being named principal. He previously was a second-grade teacher at Perquimans Central School and started his education career as a third-grade teacher at E.J. Hayes Elementary School in Martin County.

He was teacher of the year for Perquimans County Schools in 2012 and participates in numerous leadership activities in the district. In his submission for the award, Griffin said his greatest accomplishment as principal was leading Hertford Grammar to its performance grade of B – noting that five years earlier, the school was facing “corrective action” from the state.

“I believe my leadership style, collaboration with our district personnel, hiring effective teachers and my understanding of schoolwide data has helped Hertford Grammar School become one of the most improved schools in Region I and in North Carolina,” he wrote.

As Wells Fargo Principal of the Year, Griffin will receive $3,000 for personal use and $3,000 for his school. He also will receive professional development and resources supporting global awareness in the curriculum for his staff thanks to Education First Tours, and a custom­made NC Principal of the Year signet ring and pendant from Jostens Inc.

Wells Fargo also will provide Griffin with a stipend to travel across the state as an ambassador for education. He will serve as a member of the State Superintendent’s Principals’ Advisory Committee, as an advisor to the State Board of Education and also to the board of directors for the NC Public School Forum. In addition, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction will sponsor Griffin’s enrollment and completion of the Education Policy Fellowship Program and he will compete for national recognition through the NC Principals and Assistant Principals Association. He also will chair the 2018 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year Selection Committee.

(Information provided by State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction news release).

 

 

-by Crystal Baity 

Special education major receives Bassman Honors Thesis Award

Sarah Bonin, an East Carolina University College of Education student majoring in special education from Cary, has received the 2016-2017 Michael F. Bassman Honors Thesis Award.

Sarah Bonin received a 2016-2017 Thesis Award. (contributed photo)

Sarah Bonin received a 2016-2017 Thesis Award. (contributed photo)

One student is selected each year for the outstanding senior Honors College thesis or project and a $500 award. Bonin created a reading and math curriculum for students in third through fifth grades, and is believed to be the first education student to win the award, said Dr. Guili Zhang, professor and interim chair of the Department of Special Education, Foundations and Research.

“Your personal achievements and accomplishments exemplify the very best of the Honors College and ECU,” said Bryna Coonin, coordinator of the award, in an email announcing Bonin’s selection.

Bonin was nominated by Dr. Melissa Hudson, her senior project mentor, in collaboration with Dr. Linda Patriarca, who has been Bonin’s instructor and internship supervisor this year. Faculty member Debbie Metcalf also provided a support letter.

Bonin will be recognized at the Honors College departmental graduation ceremony on May 3 at Rock Springs Center in Greenville. Bonin will be moving to Durham to begin her career as a kindergarten through fifth grade resource teacher at Glenn Elementary School in the Durham Public Schools system.

 

 

-by Crystal Baity

ECU’s College of Education inducts 12 into Educators Hall of Fame

Twelve educators and advocates from across North Carolina were inducted into East Carolina University’s Educators Hall of Fame on Jan. 28.

The 18th annual event raised more than $20,000 for student scholarships in the ECU College of Education.

The inductees were Carla Frinsko of Winterville, Dr. Robert C. Hanes of Charlotte, Dr. B. Grant Hayes of Greenville, the late Ruth Barnhill Jackson of Greenville, Gwenlyn Goodson Jeffreys of Greensboro, Peggy Jackson Nelson of Greenville, Dr. Katherine O’Connor of Hillsborough, the late Patricia Peoples of Greenville, Dr. John A Swope of Greenville, Sandra Warren of Snow Hill, Dr. Kathi Wilhite of Tarboro, and Mary Alice Yarbrough of Greenville.

 ECU’s College of Education inducted 12 people into the Hall of Fame on Jan. 28. They include, from left to right, seated, Dr. Katherine O’Connor, Mary Alice Yarbrough, Dr. Kathi Wilhite, Carla Frinsko and Peggy Jackson Nelson, and left to right, standing, Dr. John Swope, Hazel Walker in honor of Patricia Peoples, Sandra Warren, Elizabeth Cousar for Dr. Robert Hanes, and Dr. Grant Hayes, dean of the College of Education. (contributed photo)

ECU’s College of Education inducted 12 people into the Hall of Fame on Jan. 28. They include, from left to right, seated, Dr. Katherine O’Connor, Mary Alice Yarbrough, Dr. Kathi Wilhite, Carla Frinsko and Peggy Jackson Nelson, and left to right, standing, Dr. John Swope, Hazel Walker in honor of Patricia Peoples, Sandra Warren, Elizabeth Cousar for Dr. Robert Hanes, and Dr. Grant Hayes, dean of the College of Education. (contributed photo)

A special guest at the ceremony was Bob Sawyer, retired teacher, ECU alumnus and former Dean’s Advisory Council member, who had the idea for creating the Hall of Fame. Sawyer, an ECU swimmer and charter member of the university’s Sports Hall of Fame, believed that teachers deserved the same recognition as athletes.

Each inductee was sponsored with a monetary gift of $1,000 or more in support of the Educators Hall of Fame scholarship endowment and will be recognized with a plaque on the Hall of Fame wall in the college. Annual interest from the endowment is used to fund merit-based scholarships for College of Education students.

Since 1999, the Hall of Fame has recognized the service and contributions of more than 455 individuals who have impacted the field of education and ECU’s College of Education. The program has raised more than $560,000 toward a goal of $1 million for the endowment.

For more information, contact Terah Archie, director of the Office of Community Relations and Outreach, at Archiet15@ecu.edu or 252-737-1257.

 

 

-by Crystal Baity

New master’s program is designed for practicing teachers

East Carolina University’s College of Education is offering practicing teachers a way to earn their master’s degree in just over a year.

The Department of Elementary Education and Middle Grades Education is seeking 20 outstanding teachers to begin courses this summer focusing on teacher leadership.

Applicants must hold an elementary teaching license to apply. Applications are due April 15.

All courses are online for the six-semester schedule beginning Summer First Session and ending in Summer Second Session 2018. The intent is that students can complete the program while they are teaching, said Dr. Carol Greene, the department’s graduate coordinator.

The practicing teacher master’s degree program follows a recently announced program for new education graduates. Students who will be graduating in May can enroll in a similar yearlong master’s program in leadership. Applications are due April 1 for that group.

To complete an online application, go to http://www.ecu.edu/gradschool/ or contact Carol Greene for more information at greeneh@ecu.edu or 252-328-5316.

 

 

-by Crystal Baity

ECU assistant professor honored by NCCEC

An East Carolina University College of Education faculty member has been honored by a state organization for her dedicated service to students majoring in special education.

(Contributed photo)

(Contributed photo)

Dr. Stacy Weiss, assistant professor in the ECU Department of Special Education, Foundations & Research, was recognized for three years of service as state student coordinator by the N.C. Council for Exceptional Children.

“Dr. Weiss’ efforts made a significant contribution to our organization that has helped us to better serve educators and students with exceptionalities in our state, and we are truly thankful for her service,” said council president Glennda McKeithan in an email announcing the commendation.

As state student coordinator, Weiss collaborated with faculty advisors of 10 student CEC chapters at colleges and universities across North Carolina. Weiss also is co-faculty advisor for the ECU chapter.

During Weiss’ tenure, she assisted several faculty advisors in starting new chapters at their respective colleges and universities. She also coordinated student volunteers for the council’s annual conferences and facilitated the call for proposals, selection process and poster presentations for undergraduate and graduate student research. She oversaw the fundraising, nomination and selection process for the annual Outstanding Undergraduate Student Scholarship. She also solicited and wrote news items on student activities and involvement for the NCCEC newsletter, and fielded questions from faculty advisors and students about participation in NCCEC events.

The local chapters give student teachers in special education and other related professional areas the opportunity to learn more about issues surrounding the education of individuals with disabilities. The chapters also help future educators develop leadership skills.

The NCCEC provides state and local support through its annual conference, regional training and electronic newsletter. The council offers awards to recognize outstanding K-12 students with disabilities, leaders in the field of special education and K-12 teachers. It also provides scholarships for students and mini-grants for current NCCEC members.

 

 

-by Crystal Baity


Politics and kids: Explaining a contentious election

The 2016 election season has come to a close, but the polarized attitudes surrounding the campaigns may still continue to impact our children. The amount of negative campaigning, especially in swing states like North Carolina, has been difficult to conceal from our youngest citizens, according to two child development experts at East Carolina University.

Amanda Blakley works with students at the Nancy Darden Child Development Center on campus. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Amanda Blakley works with students at the Nancy Darden Child Development Center on campus. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

“Children in elementary schools were talking about the candidates and what they have heard on television or from parents. I’ve had to answer questions from my own school-age children about topics they discussed in school,” said Dr. Sheresa Blanchard, assistant professor of human development and family science at ECU.

Blanchard and her colleague, Melissa Nolan, director of the Nancy Darden Child Development Center at ECU, offers tips for discussing the outcome of the election with children.
 

Display good sportsmanship

Whether your candidate wins or loses, it’s an opportunity for adults to display good sportsmanship. Children mirror the emotions and attitudes of their parents, and the emotions this election year have run high.

“Remain calm. It’s a fact that children respond to how we react and will feed into it. If parents are frustrated, angry or happy about the outcome, it’s OK to identify those feelings and calmly put them into words,” said Blanchard.

 

Choose your words carefully

Try to remain as neutral as possible when talking about the outcome of the election.

“Children do not have the cognitive ability to rationalize exaggerated comments. If they overhear an adult say, ‘the world will end’ if their candidate loses, children believe the world will end,” said Blanchard.

These kinds of statements can lead to fear and uncertainty. Nolan encourages parents to reassure their children that they are still safe and will be taken care of no matter the outcome.
 

Be honest 

Blanchard and Nolan agree that it’s OK to be honest with your children and share what you are feeling. Give them the space and the opportunity to share their emotions too and ask questions. Ask them how they feel about what they’ve seen and heard.

“Don’t give children more information than what they want,” said Nolan. She suggests encouraging children to ask questions and for adults to stick with short honest answers.

“Adults tend to give too much information,” she added.

 

Recognize teachable moments

Use opportunities that arise to teach and model, tolerance.

“Parents can explain that even though they may not agree with the person in office, we should still respect them and find a way to move on,” said Nolan.

Blanchard said parents can try to find optimism in the situation.

 

Jessica Pate, Collier Taylor, Finley Charles, and Marai Blanchard play at ECU's Darden Center.

Jessica Pate, Collier Taylor, Finley Charles, and Marai Blanchard play at ECU’s Darden Center.


Meet our experts:

Dr. Sheresa Blanchard is an assistant professor of human development and family science at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. Her research interests include early childhood education, parenting and family-centered practices.

Melissa Nolan, M.S. is the director of East Carolina University’s Nancy Darden Child Development Center, part of the Department of Human Development and Family Science. Her expertise includes best practices in early childhood education and child care administration.

*Note to editors and reporters: If you’re interested in speaking to one of these two experts, contact ECU News Services at 252-328-6481. 

ECU College of Education honors scholarship recipients and donors

More than 100 students in East Carolina University’s College of Education have received a record amount of scholarship support for this academic year.

More than $550,000 in merit and need-based scholarships has been distributed to 106 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral education students. The awards range from $250 to $20,000. All education students are eligible to receive some of the awards while others are earmarked for specific education majors or programs.

“Attracting the best students and ensuring access to an East Carolina University education rank among our highest priorities at ECU—and scholarships help us accomplish both of these objectives,” said Chris Dyba, vice chancellor for advancement at ECU, who spoke Aug. 26 at the College of Education’s Scholarship Recipient and Donor Recognition Ceremony at Rock Springs Center.

At center, Dr. Paul Gemperline, dean of the ECU Graduate School, stands with graduate students (left to right) Lauren Master, Sarah Burke, Paula Howell, Idella Wilson and Matesha Jones who received Master in Teacher (MAT) Tuition grants-in-aid. The scholarships are awarded to students who show outstanding promise for significant contributions to the field of education. The funds support MAT students during their full-time internship semester and are funded by the ECU Graduate School.

At center, Dr. Paul Gemperline, dean of the ECU Graduate School, stands with graduate students (left to right) Lauren Master, Sarah Burke, Paula Howell, Idella Wilson and Matesha Jones who received Master in Teacher (MAT) Tuition grants-in-aid. The scholarships are awarded to students who show outstanding promise for significant contributions to the field of education. The funds support MAT students during their full-time internship semester and are funded by the ECU Graduate School.

At the event, Dr. Grant Hayes, dean of the College of Education, acknowledged the importance of student support.

“The college is committed to preparing talented education professionals in many fields, including counseling, adult education, educational leadership, and library science, to name a few,” said Hayes at the ceremony. “It is inspiring to see how our donors are making it possible for these exceptional individuals to pursue their passions and impact the lives of others in a positive way.”

Scholarships are often established with private funds to honor or remember influential educators and support the academic pursuits of future education professionals. 

“For many of our students, the importance of scholarships and financial aid cannot be overstated,” said Dyba. “Today’s shifting economy poses a significant challenge, but donors like you turn our students’ dreams into a reality.”

ECU’s College of Education is the largest producer of new teachers in the state and the oldest professional school on campus. The mission of the College of Education is the preparation of professional educators and allied practitioners, including teachers, counselors, media coordinators, special education professionals, and principals and administrators.

For more information, visit ECU’s university scholarships website at www.ecu.edu/universityscholarships.

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