Monday, September 15, 2014

Every Child Deserves to Have Someone Be Crazy About Them

Speak to anyone and they will name the teacher who made a difference in their lives. Whether the teacher was a source of encouragement to succeed and pursue opportunities outside of their comfort zone, someone who made them feel valued, or perhaps the person that rescued them from a harmful situation, the thing that all influential teachers have with their students is rapport.

 As the new academic year commences, we should remember that establishing rapport with each and every student is critical to students’ academic success and overall mental health. By seizing the opportunity to build rapport with each student, the teacher is validating the student’s importance in the school community. As a result, students may feel safer, experience a sense of belonging to a community, and be motivated to work hard in the classroom. Students who have rapport with their teacher feel safer to talk to the teacher regarding serious issues that may be impacting their physical or mental health.

I’ve learned through my experience that a great way to establish rapport is to greet each student individually by name when he or she enters the classroom. This lets the students know that they are welcome and you are excited to have them in the classroom. Rapport may be very easy to establish with some students, whereas, others may make you work for it. These students may have a history of behavioral issues, academic failures, or persistent issues at home. To make these students feel part of the classroom community, I advise new and experienced teachers to find opportunities for brief conversations. Talk with these students about general topics, not academics or behavior, to demonstrate that you, as a teacher, value what the students see as important. You may just find your name mentioned some day when someone describes the teacher who helped them reach their potential.

As the late newscaster Andy Rooney once said, “Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives.”

Kate Nichols, Director 
McDowell Institute for Teacher Excellence in Positive Behavior Support

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Harvard Professional Development Opportunity

This summer, I had the opportunity to attend a Harvard Professional Development Program for Academic Leaders – Institute for Management and Leadership in Education (MLE). It was two weeks of magic and, as Oprah used to call them, “ah-ha moments” for me. It wasn’t so much what I learned how to do (there were wonderful sessions on academic planning, academic assessment and budgeting in the “new normal” of higher education, to name a few) but more what I learned about myself.

I have been proud and humbled to lead the College of Education for the last five years – and have tried each day to work on my skills to maximize the benefits of the College. However, at Harvard I learned I must continue to grow these skills and develop others in order to truly lead this great College, which I believe is the true foundation of this university. This means leading our team to effectively make decisions that will benefit us all. And, enjoying the journey that the College is on, both on campus and with our external partners.

For this upcoming academic year, this will mean a renewed focus upon our mission to educate ethical individuals and be a resource to the community within the tenants of our conceptual framework – which, among other things, focuses upon our collective beliefs of valuing lifelong learning and engaging in collaborative endeavors. I look forward to this upcoming academic year as a time to expand the COE’s academic reputation across the campus and the region. We have just begun to shine.

— Elizabeth Mauch, Dean

Friday, August 1, 2014

Professor Feather has national impact through textbooks

Dr. Ralph Feather has been writing middle and high school science textbooks longer than most of our students have been alive. He recently published one more -- a three-textbook series in Texas for middle school science, iScience for Texas, Grades 6, 7, & 8, copyright 2015, with McGraw-Hill Education.

Dr. Feather, professor of science education, education foundations, and educational research in the Department of Teaching and Learning, published his first textbook in 1988. Since then, he has authored more than 60 titles for Merrill Pub. Co., Glencoe Pub. Co., and McGraw-Hill Education.

He also published a six-textbook nationwide series for middle school, iScience Grades 6, 7, & 8, iScience Life Science, iScience Earth and Space Science, and iScience Physical Science, copyright 2012, with McGraw-Hill Education. In addition, Dr. Feather published a high school text, Physical Science with Earth Science, copyright 2012 and a three-textbook series, Florida iScience, Grades 6, 7, & 8, copyright 2012, all with McGraw-Hill Education.

Think of how many students Dr. Feather has helped to educate – not only on Bloomsburg’s campus but also in school systems across the country. This is just one example of the vast reach of our College of Education.

— Elizabeth Mauch, Dean

Friday, July 11, 2014

Mini-conference focuses on the serious business of play

Bloomsburg University’s College of Education recently hosted the 5th Annual Mini-Conference on Play, Development, and Early Childhood Education. In partnership with Penn State University’s College of Education and Syracuse University’s Jack Reilly Institute for Early Childhood and Provider Education, this year’s conference focused on the promotion of developmentally and culturally appropriate practices in early childhood development and education by emphasizing the interplay among ecological niches, child development, and early education. Dr. Michael Patte organized the event, in keeping with his many distinguished accomplishments in the area of play.

In keeping with the mission of the three sponsoring institutions to promote children’s safety and optimal development, featured topics this year included: “A Look Inside Tocati, The International Festival of Street Games” presented by Michael Patte of Bloomsburg University, “International Perspectives on Play: Themes from a New Volume” presented by Jaipaul L. Roopnarine of Syracuse University, “Teaching Teachers to Play for ECE and More” presented by James E. Johnson and Serap Sevimli-Celik of Penn State University, and “Kids Want Play-Friendly Parents and Teachers…Why?” presented by Belma Tugrul of Hacettepe University.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Multicultural literature and math education

Frank D’Angelo, assistant professor of early childhood and adolescent education, has co-authored an article for Teaching Children Mathematics — an official journal of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. His collaborator on the piece is Nevin Iliev, an ESL teacher and graduate student in elementary education at Bloomsburg University. Their article, entitled “Teaching Mathematics through Multicultural Literature,” discusses the importance and benefits of incorporating culturally relevant texts into mathematics lessons, especially as classrooms increasingly reflect the diverse nature of our society.

D’Angelo and Iliev argue that multicultural literature that focuses on mathematics and features familiar concepts, such as counting, enables children to move beyond their current knowledge base, forge culturally relevant mathematical connections, and understand from an early age that math concepts are universal in nature. In this way, the integration of multicultural literature into the classroom fosters more globally aware students.

If you would like to learn more, the full article can be found here:

Monday, May 12, 2014

College Student Affairs grad students at NASPA Convention

The annual national conference of NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education held in Baltimore, MD, this year was attended by thirteen graduate students from Bloomsburg University’s own Counseling and College Student Affairs program.

The conference ran March 16th-29th, during which time students attended educational sessions, learned about opportunities for involvement in NASPA, and expanded their understanding of college student learning and development. Amongst others, sessions included “Navigating the Role of a New Professional: Transition, Trials, and Tips in the First Year,” “Effective Practices in Partnering with Academic Affairs,” and “Orienting Parents and Families: How is Higher Education Serving the Parents of Students of Color, First-generation, and Low-income Students?”

The opportunity for these thirteen students to participate in the conference was made possible by generous funding from the Bloomsburg University Foundation.

The College of Education is proud of these students for representing the university and the College Student Affairs program at this event as well as for the enthusiasm and engagement they displayed while in attendance.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

College awarded $2.2 million Department of Education Grant

The College of Education has been awarded $2.2 million by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through its Eligible Partnerships Postsecondary grant program.

This grant will fund a new project, Pre-Service Differently, which will be led by Bloomsburg University, in collaboration with Kutztown University, the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, PLS 3rd Learning, Research for Better Schools, as well as seven local school districts – Bloomsburg, Central Columbia, Mount Carmel, Shamokin, Millville, Warrior Run, and Columbia-Montour Vocational Technical School.

Pre-Service Differently will implement an online tool aligned to the PA Standards Aligned System to provide a continuous feedback loop to improve teacher preparation, induction, and professional development programs.

For Bloomsburg University education majors, this project translates into improved field experiences through the use of customized software. The software will provide budding teachers with assessment as well as modules that they can complete to increase their teaching ability and be matched with appropriate cooperating teachers for student teaching. Ultimately, this project aims to provide pre-service and novice teachers with the skills to increase student achievement in English language arts and mathematics.

Friday, April 11, 2014

McDowell Institute Nets State Grant

Bloomsburg University’s McDowell Institute for Teacher Excellence in Positive Behavior Support has received a Pennsylvania Safe Schools/Healthy Students Partnership (PA SS/HS) award of approximately $863,000 from the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health. The PA SS/HS Partnership is, in turn, funded by a multi-million dollar federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The goal of the PA SS/HS Partnership is to create safe and supportive schools and communities in three Local Education Agencies – Northeastern School District in York County, Carbon-Lehigh Intermediate Unit in Lehigh County, and Penncrest School District in Crawford County.

The project also involves cooperation with state-level departments of education, public welfare, and juvenile justice in concert with their local counterparts. The project aims to decrease bullying, youth violence, and criminal behavior as well as promote healthy development, social and emotional learning, and academic achievement of children and youth.

Dr. Timothy Knoster, professor of special education, will serve as the lead evaluator and chief designer and provider of technical assistance for the project. He will be responsible for developing, organizing, and providing technical assistance to state and local level parties involved in the project’s implementation.

Congratulations to the McDowell Institute and Dr. Knoster!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Reading Program Receives National Recognition

The Master’s in Reading program at Bloomsburg University has been nationally recognized by the International Reading Association through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation’s Specialized Program Association.

The International Reading Association is a non-profit, global network committed to worldwide literacy. It reviews advanced programs that prepare students for careers in reading education, specifically reading specialists and literacy coaches. In order to receive national recognition, a program must meet high professional standards, as documented through a performance-based assessment system.

This is a landmark achievement for Bloomsburg University’s reading program, which has never before received this designation. A special thanks and congratulations to Dr. Virginia Bonomo and Dr. Cherie Roberts, who were instrumental in this process.

Additionally, three other Bloomsburg University programs – mid-level education, special education, and English – maintained their national recognition through the Specialized Program Association process.

To learn more about Bloomsburg’s Master of Education in Reading program, visit