Category Archives: Education

ECU director named a top trailblazer in education  

An East Carolina University (ECU) director has been recognized by the Center for Digital Education as one of the country’s Top 30 Technologists, Transformers and Trailblazers of 2017 for his efforts to transform learning through the innovative use of technology.

Tim Hardison, an ECU alumnus and former Martin County Schools teacher, is developer and director of ECU’s MATCH Wellness program, an interdisciplinary, community-university partnership created to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity.

Tim Hardison, director of ECU’s MATCH Wellness program, has been honored by the Center for Digital Education as an innovator in education technology. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Tim Hardison, director of ECU’s MATCH Wellness program, has been honored by the Center for Digital Education as an innovator in education technology. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

MATCH stands for Motivating Adolescents with Technology to Choose HealthTM and targets seventh-grade students. It is currently supported by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) program.

Students are motivated through digital tools such as gamification, leader boards and trophy cases. Their schools use a Web-based management system to submit baseline data of height and weight, and fitness testing results. The program also uses an online behavioral survey to track sleeping and eating habits and technology uses. At the time MATCH was created, Hardison’s rural county had the lowest life expectancy in the state.

“When you’re trying to head off an epidemic like obesity, schools are the place we need to intervene,” said Hardison. “We’ve developed a program that meets teachers’ needs first, that just happens to produce unprecedented wellness outcomes, reducing these students’ risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and Type 2 diabetes.”

As part of ECU’s Pediatric Healthy Weight Research and Treatment Center, in the past decade MATCH has reached over 17,000 students in 49 public schools throughout the Carolinas and Mississippi—the state with the third-highest adult obesity rate in the nation. The program has prevented an estimated 1,500 cases of obesity.

Hardison said one key to MATCH’s success is that it teaches students about nutrition and physical activity at a time in their development when they’re beginning to make decisions independent of their families.

Fifteen percent of participants improve to a healthier weight. At 17 years of age, graduates of the program demonstrate decreased obesity when compared to their peers, and are twice as likely to have achieved a healthy weight.

The program has earned a “research tested” designation by the Center for Training, Research and Translation—an independent group that evaluates programs for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – and has gained national attention for its unparalleled long-term success.

The Center for Digital Education (CDE) is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy and funding. The 2017 Top 30 designees were selected based on their efforts to improve education through effective implementation of technology-rich solutions, their impact on student outcomes, and their overall initiative, creativity and leadership skills. They recently received their awards at the Digital Education Leadership Conversation event in Austin, Texas.

“Our winners have shown an immense amount of passion and courage as they take on education in an era that encompasses rapid changes. They have demonstrated a unique ability to use technology as a catalyst to transform education at all levels and to have a positive impact on student success,” said Dr. Kecia Ray, executive director, CDE. “I am thrilled to recognize this outstanding group for their work, and wish them the best as they continue to push the field forward with education technology.”

For more about this year’s Top 30 visit http://www.centerdigitaled.com/top30/.

For more about the MATCH Wellness program, visit https://www.matchwellness.org/

 

by Angela Todd, University Communications

College of Education dean to serve on state Principal Fellows Commission

Dr. Grant B. Hayes, dean of the East Carolina University College of Education, has been appointed to the North Carolina Principal Fellows Commission, the governing body of the Principal Fellows Program.

Dr. Grant B. Hayes (contributed photo)

Dr. Grant B. Hayes (contributed photo)

Created in 1993 by the General Assembly, the Principal Fellows Program is a competitive, merit-based scholarship that provides loans to individuals with relevant experience and exceptional academic ability who want to enter education administration in North Carolina public schools. The commission administers the program in collaboration with the State Education Assistance Authority.

Hayes is one of two deans from schools of education in the UNC system appointed by President Margaret Spellings. The commission requires that two deans serve on the 12-member board with the remaining members appointed by state organizations or elected officials.

“I am honored to be appointed to the commission and I look forward to working with the other members to do this important work,” Hayes said.

More than 1,200 fellows have completed the program since its inception. Individuals selected for the Principal Fellows Programs have the opportunity to attend school on a full-time basis and earn a master’s in school administration in two years. The program is offered at 11 UNC system campuses including ECU, and provides one year of full-time academic study and a one-year, full-time internship in a North Carolina public school.

 

-by Cole Dittmer, University Communications

Grant funds energy needs, education at community center

Dr. Ranjeet Agarwala (top left) and students at the Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Center test solar panels and a portable power station. (Photos by Erik Panarusky)

Dr. Ranjeet Agarwala (top left) and students at the Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Center test solar panels and a portable power station. (Photos by Erik Panarusky)

The Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Community Center will soon have some help with its electrical needs thanks to the sun, students and faculty in the East Carolina University College of Engineering and Technology, and a Constellation E2 Energy to Educate grant.

CET students partnered with the center to study its needs, equipment, appliances and layout, then conducted an energy audit to calculate the total energy consumption and the rate of energy consumption on a daily and monthly basis, said Dr. Ranjeet Agarwala, assistant professor in the Department of Technology Systems.

“We had originally talked about putting solar panels on the roof,” Agarwala said, but based on the center’s needs, a more portable and adaptable system was chosen.

The $37,500 grant funded the purchase of 18 100-watt solar panels and nine portable power stations. Each power station can be charged from the solar panels and can provide power for anything from charging a cell phone to running a refrigerator.

Deborah Moody, director of LGCC, said the center’s campus includes six buildings, so the flexibility of the portable systems made perfect sense.

“We wanted it to be simple and never have an excuse not to use it,” she said.

The panels and power packs can be used during outdoor events, instead of running extension cords everywhere. They will also allow the center to function during power outages.

“Last year when we had the hurricane, we still had to come in because the community still has needs,” Moody said. “But we didn’t have any power in the building. So this would allow us to charge our laptops and go to work like we usually do.”

Agarwala shows students at the Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Center how the unit can power a computer.

Agarwala shows students at the Lucille Gorham Intergenerational Center how the unit can power a computer.

 

In addition to offsetting daily energy consumption needs, powering events and emergency use, there’s an educational component. The center has STEM-based after-school and summer programs, and the students will be able to learn about topics ranging from energy conservation to converting units of power.

Each power station has multiple AC and DC outlets, as well as a digital display showing energy input and usage. The panels and the power stations can be connected in different combinations depending on specific energy needs.

During a demonstration of the equipment, the students were able to see how much energy was being generated by the solar panels and the impact of shadows, as well as the amount of energy drawn by a charging cell phone.

“It’s exciting to watch the kids light up,” Moody said. “We want to get them excited and interested in these fields to prime them and train them, and then have them grow up and contribute to the community.

“We also want the youth to help us think of other ways to use these to help save energy. And then they’ll become advocates at home with their parents, and tell them, ‘These are things we can do to save energy in the house.’”

The LGCC opened in 2007 and is operated through a partnership between ECU, the City of Greenville and Pitt Community College. Constellation’s E2 Energy to Educate grants fund student projects focusing on energy science, technology and education.

The solar panels and power stations, funded by an E2 Energy to Educate grant from Constellation, will be used for events, emergency power and daily energy needs at the center.

The solar panels and power stations, funded by an E2 Energy to Educate grant from Constellation, will be used for events, emergency power and daily energy needs at the center.

 

By Jules Norwood

ECU music education major selected for national achievement award

East Carolina University senior music education major Lauren Lewis has been selected as one of this year’s recipients of the Shannon Kelly Kane Scholarship and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Collegiate Professional Achievement Award. These recognitions are given to college members who have served their NAfME collegiate chapter in an exemplary manner with dedication to NAfME and music education.

Each year two graduating music education students are selected from a national pool for the Kane Scholarship. Lewis is ECU NAfME chapter president.

ECU music education student Lauren Lewis (center) accepts the 2017 Kane Scholarship and Collegiate Professional Achievement Award. Pictured with NC Music Educators Association officers. (contributed photo)

ECU music education student Lauren Lewis (center) accepts the 2017 Kane Scholarship and Collegiate Professional Achievement Award. Pictured with NC Music Educators Association officers. (contributed photo)

In addition, Lewis and fellow ECU music education major Jordan Harris were among 97 college students and more than 200 professional music educators who participated in the NAfME Hill Day Collegiate Advocacy Summit event beginning June 29 in Washington, DC, where Lewis accepted the Kane Scholarship and the professional achievement award. Annually the single largest gathering of music education advocates on Capitol Hill, NAfME Hill Day is imperative to ensuring the continued preservation of school-based music programs across America.

“It was such an honor to be awarded the Shannon Kelly Kane Scholarship at this year’s Hill Day Advocacy Summit—Mrs. Kane was such a wonderful inspiration to music educators and to be given an award in her memory was very touching,” Lewis said. “I am so thankful for all of the support given at East Carolina University that allowed me to participate in such an amazing organization such as NAfME and attend Hill Day 2017.”

The Collegiate Advocacy Summit informs prospective young music educators about the most pressing music education policy issues of our time and helps them to engage with music education advocacy.  Hill Day music advocates conduct more than 200 meetings with members of Congress and their staffs each year during the three-day event.

“Hill Day was such a wonderful opportunity for professional development, meeting new people and advocating for music education,” Lewis said. “The sense of community and support gave me the confidence and inspiration to continue working in my own local chapter and advocating in my own state.

“The opportunity to meet future colleagues from across the country, learn from wonderful educators and make a difference in legislature concerning music education was an amazing experience that has made me more excited than ever to become a music educator.”

 

 

-by Harley Dartt, University Communications

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

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