Category Archives: Education

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.

ECU College of Education dean named to state board

Dr. Grant Hayes, dean of East Carolina University’s College of Education, has been elected to the board of directors of the Public School Forum of North Carolina. His two-year term began July 1. 

The organization’s mission is to “shape a world-class public school education that supports all children in reaching their full potential and drives a vibrant North Carolina economy,” according to the Forum’s website at www.ncforum.org.

Dr. Grant Hayes (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Dr. Grant Hayes (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Established 30 years ago, the Forum has launched several programs including the Beginning Teacher Network, Education Policy Fellowship Program, Teaching Fellows Program and the NC Center for Afterschool Programs.

“The Forum is composed of an impressive and well-rounded group of individuals who are working hard to advance and improve North Carolina’s public schools through research, policy and advocacy,” said Hayes. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this work.” 

Each year, the organization chooses 10 education issues to address; the 2016 list is below:

  • Direct adequate resources to public schools, teachers and leaders
  • Transform the profession to make North Carolina a teaching destination again
  • Emphasize quality, not quantity, in charter school growth
  • Elevate race as a focal point of public education
  • Fix the broken A-F grading system
  • Support the state’s struggling schools
  • Maintain high standards for North Carolina
  • Make evidence-based decisions on expansion of private school vouchers
  • Expand access to high quality early childhood education
  • Build bridges for students through expanded learning. 

To follow or join conversations, the Forum can be found on Twitter at #EdTalksNC, on Facebook and at www.edtalks.ncforum.org/.

–Jessica Nottingham

College of Education recruiting STEM tutors

East Carolina University’s College of Education is recruiting 54 paid tutoring positions in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

As part of a new AmeriCorps grant project titled STEM-Corps East, tutors have the potential to work with 1,000 elementary and middle school students in eastern North Carolina on improving and developing math and science skills.

Tutors will commit to 12 months of AmeriCorps service beginning in September. Positions are available in both public schools and afterschool programs, such as Cub Scouts, in Beaufort, Lenoir and Pitt counties.

Ideal candidates include ECU students, community college students, retired teachers and recent college graduates who have a background in or are pursuing a STEM- or education-related career.

Tutors will earn a yearly living stipend of $5,000 providing at least 900 service hours, and will receive an education award valued up to $2,887.50 to repay student loans, continue education or transfer to a family member (available for tutors age 55 and up).

Officials say many public school students in eastern North Carolina are scoring below levels 4 or 5 on statewide standardized tests that are indicators of having mastered prerequisite knowledge and skills to be successful in postsecondary education or a career. Only 25 percent of students in eighth-grade math classes scored at level 4 or 5, and 53 percent scored at level 4 or 5 in eighth-grade science classes.

For more information, visit www.ecu.edu/stem-corps or contact Betty Beacham at beachamb@ecu.edu or 252-328-4357. 

ECU STEM-Corps East is an initiative of N.C. Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service and the ECU College of Education in partnership with school districts, community colleges and community groups in Beaufort, Lenoir and Pitt counties.

–Crystal Baity

College of Education launches partnership with Panasonic Foundation, four rural school districts

East Carolina University’s College of Education is celebrating a new partnership with the Panasonic Foundation and four eastern North Carolina school districts.

The Panasonic Foundation works nationwide with schools to break the link between race, poverty and educational outcomes by improving the academic and social success of students.

Scott Thompson, assistant executive director of the Panasonic Foundation

Scott Thompson, assistant executive director of the Panasonic Foundation (Photos by Jessica Nottingham for ECU News Services)

In a ceremony March 7, the foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with ECU and Duplin, Jones, Pender and Sampson county school districts. It’s the first time Panasonic will work in a rural setting with a university.

“We are really excited about this opportunity,” said Scott Thompson, assistant executive director of the Panasonic Foundation. “Our work has been almost entirely urban, and we recognize that rural districts serving children in poverty much like our urban districts have incredibly important work to do. They can be a lot more isolated and neglected in a certain sense to the philanthropic resources that are out there. This is an opportunity to bring folks together and learn from each other.”

Superintendents and school board members from each school district and representatives from the College of Education attended the ceremony held at the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU.

“To the educational leaders in the room, I would like to recognize your work— it is incredibly important work,” Thompson said. “Thousands of eastern North Carolina students are represented here tonight. Their lives are going to be deeply influenced by what happens in their K-12 experience.”

Panasonic will fund one national coach (who also will work in districts across the country) and the ECU College of Education will fund one full-time teaching faculty member to work with the national coach and eastern North Carolina school districts.

Pender County education superintendent Terri Cobb and administrators with ECU’s Matt Militello and Art Rouse, and Panasonic Foundation assistant executive director Scott Thompson

Pender County education superintendent Terri Cobb and administrators with ECU’s Matt Militello and Art Rouse, and Panasonic Foundation assistant executive director Scott Thompson

COE faculty also will provide professional development based on the needs of the teachers in the school districts.

Last year, ECU began talks with Panasonic to build and add a rural consortium to their network. College of Education faculty members sought districts that fit the criteria and qualified as possible partners. In April, Panasonic’s executive director visited with ECU and in the school districts that were picked. Representatives from the school districts have met with ECU officials over the past 10 months to develop a plan of action.

Matt Militello1 COE.jpg

Matt Militello, Wells Fargo Distinguished Professor in Educational Leadership (contributed photo)

“These types of partnerships (schools, universities, and business foundations) are unique,” said Matt Militello, program coordinator and Wells Fargo Endowed Chair of Educational Leadership at ECU. “We are happy to be on the cutting edge of changing the paradigms and models that will ultimately support district needs in order to improve student achievement.”

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