Logo: Oklahoma's Teacher Connection. Minority Teacher Recruitment Center.
Issue: # 2
Layout Design and Editor:  Deena Thomas

Spring 2011 

Lisa Holder
Dr. Lisa Holder

Season of Change

     There's no doubt about it  -  2011 will bring about some big, big changes for education.  On a national level, of course, we will see the merger of NCATE and TEAC to form a new single accrediting body - CAEP. INTASC is revising its standards, and the new national Common Core standards for P-12 will be solidified with standard assessments following.
     On the state level, in addition to a new governor and many new faces at the legislature, we have a new State Superintendent of Schools, along with a new Secretary of Education.  Both Superintendent Janet Barresi and Dr. Phyllis Hudecki promise many positive changes for education in our state.  

     These are exciting times for sure! When we look at the end goal of educating children, we must continue to collaborate and work together for the good of everyone and embrace the changes that are coming our way.   

     Have a great spring 2011 semester, and enjoy YOUR newsletter!

Lisa Holder

Lisa Holder, Ed.D. 
Director of Teacher Education and Minority Teacher Recruitment Center

Newly-Elected SDE Chief, Janet Barresi, Stresses Transparent Communication to Achieve Educational Reform


Dr. Janet Barresi

    Dr. Barresi, the first Republican to hold the State Superintendent's post, recently took the helm after Sandy Garrett held the spot for twenty years.   

     More than 200 deans and higher education faculty from Oklahoma's 22 schools of education convened

at the annual Oklahoma Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (OACTE) conference at the University of Oklahoma this past November to hear Barresi's plans to move the state's common education system forward.   

     "Our overall approach is that our efforts will be student-centered, data driven, and research based," the new SDE chief told the attendees. 

      Barresi's first goal is to create a smooth transition.  Barresi stated, "I will expect my division heads to organize their divisions to achieve effective and efficient operation of SDE that focuses on our prime objective...improved academic achievement for all children in the state.  That's job one!"  

     Wayne Stewart, Dean of Education at Oklahoma Panhandle State University stated, "I was very pleased that Dr. Barresi met with us at the convention. She seemed to be very willing and eager to have the lines of communication open among the agencies, the common schools, and the teacher preparation institutions. I thought she handled herself very professionally, answered the questions presented to her in a clear concise manner, and was willing to spend the extra time after her short talk to visit with individuals on a one-to-one basis." 

     In explaining her further goals, Barresi provided a broad overview of what she calls the building block of reform - a rich and robust student data system.  

      "I will move quickly to work with the P-20 Data Council to develop a PreK-12 data system, using the best practices achieved in other states and within our state that will assist all stakeholders in their work with and for children," Barresi said. 

      Barresi also told the group that all education entities in the state must collaborate to prepare Oklahoma's children for the

demands of the 21st Century, which she wants to accomplish by focusing on reading and mathematics in the early grades. She assured her constituents that by the end of third grade, each student would be proficient in reading and in mathematics on the third grade level.  

      "Social promotion of students will end in third grade," Barresi said. 

     Barresi stressed that professional development was also key to improving teacher effectiveness in the classroom, particularly in working with students with different learning styles. Plus, she emphasized that it was vital to make the best use of the precious few state dollars, while attempting to obtain the best value for the dollars spent.  

     "I envision that at times professional development will be personalized to the individual need of a district and will take the form of on-sight workshops and instruction in order to maximize the benefits to the students," Barresi said.  

     Barresi also said testing must be reformed. "I anticipate that the work on a national level will be focused on a common group of assessments that will yield dependable data, yield efficiencies in administration of the test and drive down costs" she said. 

     To accomplish the goals set forth, Barresi said all stakeholders must work together by keeping strong lines of communication open to work for the common good of all children.   

     She reiterated, "I hope I have conveyed to you how critical it is that we all communicate with each other through every phase of this process.  I will pledge to you that the SDE will not be a silo of operations and functions.  I invite and value your input and your cooperation." 

      "I do believe that she has the best interest of the children of Oklahoma at heart and that she will involve everyone in the educational process to insure that Oklahoma students receive the best instruction, from the best instructors, that is possible," Stewart said. 


Bacone Professor Learns, Shares Ideas During South Africa Journey


This is article is a reprint from the Muskogee Phoenix.  


By Keith Purtell


   Children in South Africa and Oklahoma may benefit from an alliance recently formed by a group that includes Bacone College.
   Dr. Sally Nichols-Sharpe, director of teacher education and associate professor of Early Childhood Education, joined a delegation of 37 childhood education professionals who visited South Africa in October.
   They met with their counterparts to discuss common problems. Issues the group tackled included different approaches to building and supporting parenting skills and approaches to developing racial identity and pride.
   Nichols-Sharpe said she hopes the event will lead to an exchange of ideas between educators in multicultural environments. The apartheid system run by a white minority was overturned in 1994. Just as in the United States, there are tribal issues.
   "In South Africa, they have 11 official languages," she said. "There is a concern in South Africa that they may lose those tribal languages."
   Nichols-Sharpe said South Africa faces a challenge building an education system that reflects the country's diverse population. It is shared by U.S. education systems.
   "The majority of individuals in South Africa going into early childhood education are white middle-class women," she said.
   The new leaders in South Africa made a good impression on Nichols-Sharpe.
   "I met a woman in Soweto who works out of her own home to serve breakfast, lunch and tea to 400 children a day."
   Nichols-Sharpe said the delegation was led by Sue Russell, past president of the Governing Board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and Carol Brunson Day, president of the National Black Child Development Institute.
   "My hope is doing some collaborative research with their professors over there."
   Nichols-Sharpe said there are already plans for Bacone students majoring in early childhood education to use the Internet to communicate with South African early childhood education students.
   Bacone College Vice President Dr. Robert Brown said that faculty with experience working in a variety of culturally diverse settings enable those faculty to bring unique perspectives to their students.
   Brown added that this new international relationship will affect Bacone students.
   "Our students will be able to better understand the needs and challenges of providing effective early childhood education in a variety of settings," he said. "While various cultures may approach the educating of their young children in different ways, the basic needs of children remain constant regardless of their cultural environment."

Reach Keith Purtell at 918-684-2925 or kpurtell@muskogeephoenix.com.

Cameron University
Cameron spring 2011

Lawton Public Schools' alternatively certified teachers partake in staff development



REAL Grant Offers Professional Development for Lawton Public Schools' Alternatively Certified Teachers

     The Retaining Excellent Alternatively Licensed Teachers (REAL) grant awarded by the Minority Teacher Recruitment Center (MTRC) and authored and implemented by Cameron University professors, Dr. Jennifer Dennis and Dr. Courtney Glazer, held its first professional development day for 15 alternatively certified teachers from the Lawton Public Schools on Friday, November 19th at Cameron University. 

     REAL is a collaborative partnership between Cameron University and Lawton Public Schools designed to equip alternatively certified teachers with the same pedagogy taught to traditionally prepared teachers.  

     George Bryan, a sixth grade teacher at Tomlinson Middle School stated, "The sessions have been interesting and engaging, to say the least. The most helpful items, in my opinion, were the strategies that get students working together and utilizing higher-order thinking skills. One of these was a group assignment in which participants had to evaluate the importance of concepts, ordering them from most valuable to least valuable."   

     Bryan said attending the training sessions changed his viewpoint about teaching, stating each one helped him tremendously.  

     "At first, I was sort of led to believe that I would have to be on the spot every day, which made some aspects of teaching very intimidating. I've found numerous ways to put the focus and responsibility on the students, while I act as a facilitator to their learning, simply pointing them in the right direction," Bryan said. 

     ReGina Fahrquar, a Great Expectations facilitator, presented the topic Creating a Climate of Mutual Respect and Building Relationships. Farquar also facilitated a workshop  in December on classroom management, one of the most frequently sought after professional development sessions requested not only for alternatively certified personnel but for traditionally prepared teachers as well. 

   "Within the classroom management session, we were given ideas on how to stay calm any situation. It is easy as a young teacher to get frustrated and lose my cool. The REAL  presenter gave us some great hands-on ideas and tips on how to keep focused and not lose control," Jennifer Mason said.  

     Mason is a ninth grade English teacher at Eisenhower High School. "I would most definitely recommend this program to others. The simple fact of being connected with other alternatively licensed teachers is enough for me. I do not come from an education background, and it is hard sometimes to remember I am not on the same level of teaching as a lot of our veteran teachers. Working with other people like me is  a much more comfortable environment. It is an environment where I feel good asking things, and where it is alright if I don't know it all," she said.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University


Martie Young 2011 Spring
Northwestern Oklahoma State University Education Pre-Service Teachers 


NWOSU's Pre-Service Teachers Partner with State, Community Shareholders  

     The Education Division at Northwestern Oklahoma State University takes pride in their alliances with community and state partners and works diligently to offer opportunities for teacher candidates to become even more involved with these partners. All elementary education, early childhood education, and special education majors in a joint "Creative Activities" class travel in May with professors Dr. Martie Young, Tisha Shipley, and Mary Ellen Nutter to the Oklahoma Special Olympics and volunteer hundreds of hours in this worthwhile endeavor. 

     Some of the comments commonly written in students' reflections include words such as 'life-changing,' 'eye-opening,'  and 'astounding.' This activity is a designated Service-Learning component of this required class.

Oklahoma Christian University


Oklahoma Christian University's School of Education Produces Music Video    

     In an attempt to provide prospective students a glimpse into Oklahoma Christian's education program, the School of Education launched a project to create a music video.
     This video was produced and performed by education majors, and it serves as a useful tool to expose the unity and pride that exists in the program. The title of the music video is "Teaching The World's Greatest." 

    The message is that children are our future, and they need to know that we believe in them. The video can be viewed from OC's public website or at the web address provided below.


Oklahoma City University


Oklahoma City University Lights the Campus    

     Each year Oklahoma City University extends an invitation to its university community and guests from surrounding neighborhoods to a Christmas holiday party. This year about 3000 guests participated in a free dinner, pictures with Santa, the lighting of campus holiday decorations, and a special religious service. 

Revised Oklahoma City 2011

OCU's community enjoy holiday activities.

     As part of this outreach, OCU invited all students from neighborhood schools, their parents, and their teachers to participate in a free buffet dinner and a Christmas-themed crafts workshop.  Students from the education department designed developmentally appropriate activities that would appeal to a wide variety of ages. Elementary and early childhood majors coordinated the planning for the event, including the purchase and organization of supplies, as well as the layout of the crafts workshop that occupied the downstairs area of the student center. 

      Neighborhood children had the choice of eight different hands-on activities which they could use a Christmas gifts or decorations. Education majors and faculty welcomed the guests and assisted the children at each craft area. An increasingly popular event, an estimated 500 neighborhood children and their families participated in the activities this year.  

Oklahoma State University
OSU Fry 2011 Winter
Dr. Pamela Fry
Fry Honored by Stillwater Public Education Foundation
     In recognition of her support of public education in Stillwater, Pamela Fry, former Dean of the College of Education and Director of OSU's Professional Education Unit, was recently honored with the 2010 Pioneer Service Award from the Stillwater Public Education Foundation. Fry was recognized for spearheading a partnership with Eskimo Joe's to create an annual T-shirt that celebrates teachers and the impact they make. Proceeds from the sales of the shirts are donated to the Stillwater Public Education Foundation, which provides grants for classroom teachers to support projects, and to future teacher scholarships in the OSU College of Education.
     Fry was recently named Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Education at OSU.

College of Education Graduate Receives Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
VanDorn OSU 2011
Kristy VanDorn
     OSU College of Education alumni Kristy VanDorn is one of 103 science and mathematics teachers from across the United States selected for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, considered the nation's highest honor for science and mathematics teaching. VanDorn teaches science at Deer Creek Middle School in Edmond, Oklahoma. She is a two-time OSU graduate with a bachelor's degree in elementary education (middle level science option) and a master's degree in natural and applied sciences. In 2009, she received the college's Rising Star Award and was a finalist for state Teacher of the Year.


OSU and Tulsa Public Schools Urban

Initative Launched

      OSU has created a partnership with Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) to prepare teachers for the urban classroom. OSU teacher candidates who have been admitted to the program will complete field experiences in TPS partner schools, participate in TPS professional development along side TPS teachers, and student teach in a TPS school district. Successful program graduates will be given priority hiring status. Partner schools include Celia Clinton, Disney and Mark Twain Elementary schools; Foster Middle School and Lewis & Clark Middle School; and Central High School and Hale High School. 

OSU Expands Professional Education Unit Certifications

       The OSU Professional Education Unit certifications have recently expanded to include Family and Consumer Sciences, Business Information and Technology Education, Marketing Education and Technology Education.

University of Central Oklahoma

University of Central Oklahoma Teacher Education Program Hosts 300 LEAP and ACE Students  

     Drs. Susan C. Scott and Frederick Hammond hosted seven high school LEAP and ACE classes as part of the Minority Teacher Recruitment Office's grant program. Overall they, along with Mrs. Goldie Thompson with OSRHE and student volunteers, worked with over 300 students on the UCO campus or by visiting their respective school sites.

     The dual purpose of the program is to encourage college success and minority teacher recruitment. The public schools that took advantage of the opportunity included N. W. Classen, Mrs. Lott; Great Plains Technology Center, Mrs. Judy Holland; Midwest City High School, Mrs. Patty Hunt; Edmond Santa Fe, Mrs. Melody Wright; Choctaw High School, Mrs. Patti Dennis and Ms. Jennifer Pursell; and Newcastle High School, Ms. Jennifer Bryant.   


Service Learning at UCO

      Drs. Jennifer J. Endicott and Susan C. Scott provided the opportunity for teacher candidates enrolled in Foundations of American Education (PTE 3023) to participate in several service learning projects. The projects included tutoring elementary students at a high poverty school that also had a high percentage of English language learners; writing letters to third grade students in a high poverty school; and writing answers to "Questions about College" from high school students who attended a LEAP or ACE

Day on the UCO campus. 

UCO Professors to Write Children's Book 

    Drs. Susan C. Scott, Daniel Vincent and Candice Schilz have started their second children's book with teacher lesson plans as part of a integrated service learning project incorporating students from Social Studies in the Elementary Schools, Visual Arts for Elementary Teachers and the American Democracy Project. The book, Going Green Begins with Me, is a sequel to their first book Citizenship Begins with Me. The first book, funded and printed through UCO Central Copy by ADP, was given to each family who participated in the Naturalization Ceremony that was hosted on the UCO campus on September 24, 2010. Plans are being formulated to get the books into metro classrooms once funding can be found.


UCO Recieves $400,000 Grant from Inasmuch Foundation for Urban Teacher Program
     As a member of the University of Central Oklahoma's Urban Teacher Preparation Academy's (UTPA) first cohort, senior Elementary Education major Sherri Drwenski finds herself transforming as an educator as she heads toward the halfway point of her year-long student teaching experience at Linwood Elementary in Oklahoma City.
     "One of the most important things the UTPA is doing is giving me the confidence that I can be successful teaching in this urban setting," Drwenski said.
     The Inasmuch Foundation put its confidence behind the UTPA and the impact it is having on future teachers like Drwenski, announcing a $400,000 grant to the UCO Foundation to support the program.
     A partnership between Central and Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS), the UTPA prepares students to teach in high-need urban schools through an intensive clinical and mentorship program, the first of its kind in the state.
     "We are grateful to our partners at the Inasmuch Foundation for seeing our vision of establishing an innovative initiative in the UTPA," said Bill Pink, Ph.D., associate dean of Central's College of Education and Professional Studies.
     "This support strengthens our initiative tremendously."
     The UTPA provides students with a full year of clinical experience (student teaching) in an OKCPS classroom, followed by continued mentorship and professional development throughout the first two years of their teaching careers.  
     Drwenski, one of nine selected as a part of the UTPA's first cohort, began her clinical experience in August and is already getting to teach lessons she prepared and integrate her own creativity into them.  She said a standout experience for her thus far was a science unit she taught for a couple of weeks to Linwood's two 5th grade classes.
     "We finished the unit by doing a shadow puppet show for the whole school.  All of the students have a part in the performance, and were very eager to participate.  I received a lot of support from the art and music teachers to make the performance a success."
     On top of their classroom experience, UTPA students are offered professional development opportunities including experience in working with English language learners and their families, classroom management methods for students from culturally diverse backgrounds, practice in understanding the needs of students in economically challenging environments and teaching literacy.
     The Inasmuch Foundation grant will assist in the hiring of UTPA program staff, constructing an electronic framework for professional development, providing more scholarships to increase cohort sizes and start-up costs associated with the UTPA's new Academy Apprenticeship Program.
     The Academy Apprenticeship Program will provide high school students in OKCPS with the opportunity to visit Central for a series of workshops about the teaching profession.  The goal is to encourage them to attend Central and become a member of a UTPA cohort.
     Drwenski, herself, is encouraged as she prepares for her second UTPA semester.
     "It is exciting to be a part of something that is so vital and rewarding.  I look forward to seeing how the students continue to learn and master new material and teaching even more units to them."
     For more information about the UTPA, visit www.uco.edu/ceps/utpa.

Media Contact: Adrienne Nobles, Director of Communications and Marketing, University of Central Oklahoma, (405) 974-2103, anobles@uco.edu


University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma


University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma Renovation Projects Enhance Teacher Preparation 

Campus renovation has resulted in exceptional facilities for Deaf Education and Art on the USAO campus. Canning Hall, built in 1935 as a dormitory for women attending Oklahoma College for Women, now houses a unique partnership providing services for the deaf. Renovation and expansion of the original 1918 steam plant provides extended opportunities for art majors. Both buildings are part of the OCW National Historic District.   

      Canning Hall was gutted and redesigned to serve as a new kind of deaf education facility. Completed in 2008, the new Canning Hall provides services to deaf persons of all ages, as well as educational opportunities to college students who wish to pursue careers serving the deaf. 

     The new Canning represents a unique public-private partnership that brings two separate state schools providing education and services for the deaf together -- USAO and the Oklahoma School for the Deaf. "Coalescing distinct programs for deaf persons into one facility is an exciting prospect," said USAO President John Feaver, "both for our students and faculty in Oklahoma's only deaf education program at a public university, but also for all Oklahomans who need deaf services for family members of all ages." Jane Brooks School, a Satellite of Oklahoma School for the Deaf, operates on the first floor of Canning Hall. Classes for Deaf Education majors along with an ASL Lab and faculty offices can be found on the second floor of the wholly re-imagined building named after the college's first graduate. 

     The art complex renovation project was also completed in 2008. With the old smoke stack reluctantly removed and substantial space added, the "Art Annex" serves art majors and future art teachers with classes and studios for ceramic hand-building, pottery on the wheel, sculpture, and jewelry making. 

Minority Teacher Recruitment Center News

Website Links Students to Oklahoma's Higher Ed Study Abroad Programs

      The Oklahoma Study Abroad (SA) website is now accessible by visiting www.okhighered.org/okglobaled/study-abroad.

     SA is a statewide initiative that offers a one-stop shop website for college students looking for a study-abroad program.  Students can access a complete list of participating higher education institutions with study abroad program opportunities and their links. When a link is clicked, the link will connect the interested student to the respective institution's study abroad offering(s).
To learn more about Oklahoma's Study Abroad programs, visit www.okhighered.org/okglobaled/study-abroad.

TSEIP Reminder
     The Teacher Shortage Employment Incentive Program (TSEIP) is a legislative ruling administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. TSEIP was designed to recruit and retain mathematics and science teachers in Oklahoma. Successful candidates will be reimbursed eligible student loan expenses (a set amount, which may vary yearly) or an equivalent cash benefit upon fulfillment of the following requirements: a) complete an approved professional teacher education program from an Oklahoma-accredited teacher education unit (must include a student teaching requirement); b) hold a valid certificate to teach math or science at the secondary level; and c) teach for five (5) consecutive years in Oklahoma's secondary public schools. Teachers with alternative or emergency certificates do not qualify for this program. 
Don't forget that it is time to have qualified teacher candidates apply for this outstanding opportunity before they graduate! 
     You can access all necessary documents and contact information at www.okhighered.org/tseip.

In This Issue
Campus News: Bacone
Campus News: Cameron
Campus News: NWOSU
Campus News: OC
Campus News: OKCU
Campus News: OSU
Campus News: UCO
Campus News: USAO