Logo: Oklahoma's Teacher Connection. Minority Teacher Recruitment Center.
Teacher Connection
Issue: # 1Fall 2010

Welcome to our own college of education newsletter -- the Teacher Connection!  Thanks to all of the colleges of ed and other entities who provided information for this, our very first effort. Using your news and feedback, I look forward to many more publications to come! I hope you find the enclosed information informative and enjoyable.
Lisa Holder
Dr. Lisa Holder 
Director of Teacher Education and Minority Teacher Recruitment Center


             Summer Institute Promotes Character Education Reform

All group

2010 Summer Institute Class


Flexibility, resourcefulness, patience and self-control are only four of the 49 character traits shared at the Summer Institute held July 15-16 for an audience of 40 teacher candidates representing most of the 22 colleges of education across the state.
"And don't leave out humor," stated Dr. Houston Davis, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education vice chancellor for academic affairs, the keynote speaker at the pilot program's evening banquet. "I would suggest that you also work a little humor in there -- education humor for new and future teachers."

Davis praised the teacher candidates for their commitment to education, stating that each one was among the brightest and best in Oklahoma.

"Teachers are engaged in some of the most important work imaginable, that of guiding our children in building their character and helping them fulfill their purpose in life," Davis said. 

A number of the corporate conference sponsors were also present at the evening banquet, acknowledging their support for the Character Education Institute -- the first of its kind. 

The Character Education Institute conducted workshop sessions to educate the future teachers on how to integrate character qualities into curriculum; reinforce positive behavior by using praise; build character language to bridge cultural differences; develop conflict resolution skills to improve classroom management; and cultivate long-lasting professional relationships. 

Susan Scott, University of Central Oklahoma professional teacher education professor and one of the institute's facilitators, said, "We must integrate the Character Education materials. This program cannot work as a stand-alone class; we are teaching our teacher candidates strategies of how to fold in the character education curricula into all core and extracurricular subjects -- Character Education is school reform."  

TyLee Record from Northwestern Oklahoma State University said, "This seminar was amazing and powerful! I plan on not only using what I have learned in my classroom, but in my everyday life as well."

Dr. Earlene Smith, the visionary for the institute, stated, "In 2005, I learned there were approximately 2,400 graduates of the teacher education programs in Oklahoma, and I began to envision the vast amount of impact it could have on our educational system if these students were trained as character educators."

"It's been said that the measure of a person's real character is what we do when we think that no one is looking. As you have undoubtedly come to realize, teaching is all about character. Outside of family, teachers are seen as having the greatest impact on our lives growing up," Davis concluded.

Oklahoma Association of Colleges of Education
Year-End Oklahoma Association of Colleges of Education Awards
Left: OACTE President Lois Lawler-Brown awards Ronna Vanderslice, Cameron University Teacher Education Dean, the Jane Morse Award for her contributions made to the profession. Right: Past OACTE President and current Northeastern State University teacher education dean Kay Grant congratulates retiring OACTE President Lois Lawler-Brown, Oklahoma City University's dean of teacher education.
Cameron University
Community Commitment Expressed in Mural Project
The following articles were taken from the Cameron University's Good Stuff newsletter.
Cameron faculty and staff joined Student Oklahoma Education Association (SOEA) and Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) for a community project to paint murals on the gym walls at Swinney Elementary school for the purpose of demonstrating how a teacher's attitude transfers to his or her students. 
The murals, painted over a three-day period, focused on the benefits on nutrition and exercise in creating a healthy body and mind connection. The works of art were unveiled in February during a school assembly.
Featured on the local KSWO Channel 7 News, Melissa Price, SOEA and KDP president stated, "The teachers' attitude will transfer to the students, and the students' attitude will affect the teacher. If everyone is motivated to come and learn, then it will make the day so much better for the students." Nicole Maloney, Swinney Elementary PE instructor said, "I think if they can understand it and see it on the walls, I can explain it a lot better, so as they walk in, they are going to see them and ask questions." 
Service + Development = Success
The Student Oklahoma Education Association (SOEA) at Cameron University was recently named Outstanding Chapter for the state of Oklahoma. The award is a great achievement for SOEA and Cameron University.
The first Annual Teacher Education Preview Night was held in February. This gathering provided Cameron's future teachers with first-rate information and assistance from the departments of education, physical education, romance languages, English, math, biology, social studies and chemistry.
Northeastern State University
Five teacher candidates enjoy traveling on a Vienna subway.
NSU Embarks Upon 
International Field Experience 
Unlike the traditional field experience when pre-candidate teachers visit the state's urban and rural districts, Northeastern State University has ventured out from their normal boundaries, traveling outside the United States to gain an international field experience in Vienna. 
Cindi Fries, a NSU Educational Foundations and Leadership instructor, has organized the international initiative, a 10-day field experience that extends over a 10-week period called Normally PRE II.
This year, nine pre-internship II teacher candidates have been preapproved to take the trip to Vienna, and students are required to spend five of the 10 days at the Vienna International School. The remaining five days will be completed in the traditional one day a week for the fall semester, so they can teach and be observed.
This global field project offers a unique, diverse field experience and is an optional opportunity that does not require candidates to be enrolled in a foreign university; however, involvement in the program could delay their original graduation date. 
Fries said the college of education hopes this is a model that can be replicated in other locations as faculty build a network of international relationships.
Northwestern Oklahoma State University
Robyn Walker, Early Childhood Education, Alva, Okla.; Halee Hogner, Special Education, Denver, Colo.; and Sarah Ferrell Bellamy, Ag Education, Burlington, Okla., in New Orleans
NWOSU New Orleans
NWOSU Travels to New Orleans for a NEA Service Learning Project
Teacher education candidates from Northwestern Oklahoma State University traveled to the National Student Education Conference of NEA in New Orleans this past June to participate in a service learning project, volunteering with the children of New Orleans at the Louisiana Children's Museum.  
The teacher education candidates spent an entire day reading and working on art projects with the children and their families. NWOSU encourages and supports their candidates to become actively involved in professional organizations, and President Janet Cunningham supports these efforts by helping send Oklahoma Student Education Association members to national conference each year. 
Oklahoma City University
OCU Offers Classroom Connections Professional
To model the value of professional development for teacher candidates, Oklahoma City University sponsored an entire professional development day, Classroom Connections, in February. The teacher candidates' response was overwhelmingly favorable on the evaluation survey. One teacher candidate thought the day flew by quickly, writing, "The speakers were so interesting that it did not seem to take very long, even though it did!" Another acknowledged the difficult issues teachers face, writing, "Recognizing signs of child abuse is a skill every teacher should have. I thought it was a necessary but unpleasant presentation." A third candidate wrote that all the sessions attended were "super-informative."
It was exciting that the teacher candidates were so engaged in learning that they stayed almost an hour past the official ending time with extra questions. In fact, many stayed even later to talk about their learning with each other. Sessions included a keynote address, "Believe!" by Heather Hancock, a young woman with Down's syndrome; Recognizing the Signs of Child Abuse by Larry McCallister, a forensic interviewer of child abuse victims; Questioning Strategies, a workshop on thoughtful questioning techniques with Putnam City teachers Sarah Jones and Brittany Grundy; and Gangs in Oklahoma City Schools with Oklahoma City Police Department Sgt. Jermaine Johnson.
Oklahoma Panhandle State University
OPSU Hosts MATH-ESE 5.0 for Area Mathematics Teachers
OPSU's Math-Ese 5.0 Participants
For the fifth year in a row, Oklahoma Panhandle State University hosted a weeklong Math-ESE 5.0 conference for 25 Oklahoma mathematics teachers, representing 15 schools from the Panhandle and the surrounding area May 24-June 1.   
The Math-Ese 5.0: Toys to Tools -- Using Technology to Link Mathematical Concepts with Context reflected the 2010 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics focus and contained training in information literacy, including mathematical and technology terminology, reading comprehension, and application techniques of using technology to teach mathematics.

The conference's goal was to incorporate technology into the teaching of mathematics, featuring breakout sessions that included social networking (blogs, wikis and Ning). Participants also created a MathEse5 wiki, a MathEse5 blog and a MathEse5 Facebook group. Other technology used included SmartBoard and Google Docs, where conference participants posted daily reflection evaluations.
Conference participants will be returning to the OPSU campus in November 2010, to present the results of their lessons and all accompanying data which will be posted on the Math-Ese 5.0 Tool Kit.
Oklahoma State University

  Canada reviews the children's work at Rosa Parks Elementary School. 

Canada with children
OSU COE Hosts Successful Brock Symposium
The Oklahoma State University College of Education hosted the 2010 Brock Symposium on Excellence in Education, which featured Geoffrey Canada, this year's Brock Laureate and the founder and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone. The Brock Prize annually recognizes an individual for innovative and effective ideas in education that result in a significant impact on the practice or understanding of the field of education.
A record number of more than 330 participants attended the symposium on the OSU-Tulsa campus. The day's activities included a tour of community schools in the Union and Tulsa public school districts, a conversation with Canada, and breakout discussion groups. Canada also gave a public lecture at the Union Public Schools Multipurpose Activity Center.
Oklahoma State University College of Education's Occupational Education Program has been ranked among the nation's best. The program moved up to No. 6 in the 2010 U.S. News and World Report national rankings.
OSU was ranked No. 7 in 2009 and has enjoyed a lengthy stay in the top 10 on the list of Best Educational School Specialty Rankings in the Technical/Vocational category. Rankings are based on factors such as research record and reputation of faculty and graduate students. 
International Student Teaching Opportunities
Since the inception of Oklahoma State University's international program in 2003, more than 100 students have completed student teaching internships abroad, in either Costa Rica or England, including 14 teacher candidates in 2009. The opportunity is available for elementary, secondary or K-12 teacher candidates. College of Education students must apply for the opportunity and go through a selective interview process. 
The international program is similar in length and structure to what a student completing a student teaching internship in the United States experiences. Students are paired with cooperating teachers who are certified and recommended by their principals. The international option is aimed at broadening candidates' perspectives on education to include local, national and global views. 
Celebration of Teaching
The Oklahoma State University College of Education hosted its 20th annual Celebration of Teaching in April 2010. 
Educators and future educators, as well as high school and college students from around the state heard National Teacher of the Year Anthony Mullen and Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Brian M. Grimm speak and participated in breakout sessions covering a variety of professional development topics. During a luncheon, the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year organization presented Oklahoma First Lady Kim Henry with its Vision Award and honored State Superintendent Sandy Garrett with a Lifetime Oklahoma Teacher of the Year honor.
The Celebration of Teaching is supported by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Minority Teacher Recruitment Center.
New Five-Year Special Education Program
This spring, Oklahoma State University graduated its first student from the
Professional Program in Special Education, a new five-year dual degree program that couples an undergraduate education degree with a graduate degree in special education. Students enter the program their senior year prior to their student teaching internship in elementary or secondary education. They delay the student teaching internship and begin the graduate special education coursework and clinical experiences.
Upon completion of the majority of the graduate special education courses, students complete a combined student internship in elementary or secondary education and special education. At the end of the internship semester, students graduate with a Bachelor of Science (in elementary or secondary education) and a Master of Science degree simultaneously, making them eligible for certification in elementary or secondary education and in P-12 special education. Students enrolled full time in the program are able to complete the graduate degree in three semesters, adding just 12 months to their studies.
St. Gregory's University
SGU Hosts Little Axe Graduation

St. Gregory's University hosted the graduation ceremony for 84 Little Axe High School seniors May 25 at 8 p.m. inside W.P. Wood Field House on SGU's campus. Approximately 2,000 guests attended.

"We're just happy to be able to help in some way," said SGU's Trilbya Anderson, who coordinated the event with Little Axe. "Those seniors had been working toward graduation day for quite some time, so we wanted to make this event as special and memorable as possible for them."

According to the Associated Press, the school year is likely over for Little Axe after violent storms swept through the area May 10. A tornado with winds estimated at 136 mph wiped out a building that housed the superintendent's office, and it caused significant damage to the district's football stadium. Little Axe students, faculty and staff have been assisting with the cleanup effort.
"Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Little Axe community as well as the many people in Oklahoma affected by the recent storms," Anderson said. 

SGU Hosts Great Expectations Training
The Department of Education at St Gregory's University hosted Great Expectations training for early childhood teachers May 25-28. This training, which is a professional development program that introduces teachers to skills that create academic excitement and help students get along with one another, was provided through a grant written by the Wewoka Public Schools Head Start Co-op.
Participants were primarily Head Start teachers, but openings were also made available to teacher candidates from both SGU and Oklahoma Baptist University, in addition to early childhood teachers from surrounding public school districts. 
Writing Project
Students from the Shawnee area participated in a writing workshop sponsored by St. Gregory's University student Kara Pekah. This was a two-part project intended to motivate mid-level students to become active writers. The workshop taught the six traits to improve written pieces and structuring, research, and inspiration tips on how to write well in general.

"The workshop covered some of the things they learn in class, but it also illustrated the fun aspects of writing as well as some good tips," Pekah said. "Hopefully, the writing contest will encourage our area students to continue to sharpen their writing skills."
The essay contest was a friendly competition for young writers to practice and embellish their ambitions to write following what they were already learning in class and in the workshop. The contest, open to Pottawatomie County students ages 12-15, was part of Pekah's senior leadership project. Three winners were selected and received prizes donated by Shawnee vendors. Pekah said she decided to develop the contest for her leadership project, because she wanted students to maintain an interest in writing.  
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
Class Offered to Assist Teachers
In response to a recent survey, the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma's  Division of Education and Speech Language Pathology will be offering a class especially designed for teachers who have students with special needs in their regular education classrooms.
EDUC 4884 ST/Differentiated Instruction 1 will be offered at USAO on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 4-6 p.m., Aug. 31 through Dec 7. The class will focus on a wide range of identified and unidentified special needs evident in today's classrooms. The first half of each class will focus on the conditions, causes and possible medical or psychological interventions available for the condition.
The second half of each class will focus on interventions, modifications and adaptations the teacher can take back to the class the next day and put into immediate action. Without breaching confidentiality, specific cases will be discussed and used as examples and case studies in the class. The entire class will be very hands-on and practical. Some assistive technology made available through a grant will be available to prepare course projects. The classes will be team taught by Dr. Cylathia Daniel and Kathy Plummer.
Daniel is an assistant professor of deaf education at USAO. She has taught children with special needs for 11 years in public schools in Texas and Kansas and overseas in Okinawa, Japan.
Plummer is a special education teacher and counselor at Friend School with 20 years of experience with children with special needs. 
The course is not reading and writing intensive, but participants will be asked to write lesson plan adaptations, participate in IEP related activities and participate fully in class discussions and activities.  
University of Central Oklahoma
UCO's New Educational Program State's First for Inner-City
The following article was taken from the University of Central Oklahoma's Live Central newsletter.
The University of Central Oklahoma's College of Education and Professional Studies recently launched the first full-fledged partnership program in Oklahoma to prepare teachers for the reality of working in high-need, inner-city classrooms. Called the Urban Teacher Preparation Academy, it incorporates the Apple iPod Touch and one-on-one mentorship experiences for a new level of teacher support. The added levels of support are intended to give teachers the skills they need, when they need them. 
"One of the problems with teachers in urban settings is that they quickly get burned out. They don't last," said Dr. Bill Pink, associate dean of UCO's College of Education and Professional Studies. "We looked at our teacher preparation program and realized we could better prepare them for the unique challenges they will face."
There has been a nationwide call for such an effort. Inner-city schools tend to have a more diverse ethnic population, including students with various levels of unstable home lives plus a number of other special needs that pose teaching challenges that have not been adequately addressed in the past. 
To launch the program, UCO formed a unique partnership with the Oklahoma City Public Schools, which agreed to hire the Urban Academy students as teaching assistants.
"The potential here is phenomenal," Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Karl Springer saidm during a presentation to his school board. 
Nine UCO students will be working in Linwood Elementary, Taft Middle School and Capitol Hill High School starting this fall. 
Dr. James Machell, dean of UCO's College of Education and Professional Studies, is excited about the academy's possibilities.
The University of Tulsa
Math Improvement Project Adds Leverage to Training 
The University of Tulsa Offers Fall Training
Middle-level mathematics teachers, those who teach sixth, seventh, and/or eighth grades, were granted the opportunity to gain valuable training at an eight-day Math Improvement Project, a Mathematics Academy, a  Learning Community Academy and the Online Courses for both the MA and LCA, plus earn $1,000 after completing the course.
The MIP project was funded by the state Legislature to provide support to middle school mathematics teachers to complete the Middle Level Intermediate Mathematics Oklahoma Subject Area test and other trainings. 
The training offered curriculum and assessment through four big ideas in middle school mathematics -- proportionality and similar figures, patterns and functions, polygons and angles, and sampling and probability -- and will be used to think about student metacognition and develop reflective thinking.
The LCA sites included The University of Tulsa, St. Gregory's University and Northeastern State University this summer. 
The 14-day MA and LCA online courses will be offered this fall on TU's campus, and for those traveling more than 60 miles to the MIP program, lodging will be provided the night prior to the session, as well as each night until the last day. 
For additional information or to request a registration form, contact mary-stewart@utulsa.edu or fax the request to 918-631-3501.
In This Issue
Summer Institute Promotes Character Education Reform
Year-End Oklahoma Association of Colleges of Education Awards
Campus News: CU
Campus News: NSU
Campus News: NWOSU
Campus News: OCU
Campus News: OPSU
Campus News: OSU
Campus News: SGU
Campus News: USAO
Campus News: UCO
Campus News: TU
Register NOW!


    Richard Beach

Literacy media scholar Dr. Richard Beach, from the University of Minnesota, will keynote the conversation for the third annual literacy conference -- 21st Century Learning Environments.