Every future teacher dreams of the day they will have their own classroom, but what’s it really like during that first year of teaching? The Baylor School of Education program in teacher education is designed to prepare graduates thoroughly for the classroom through rigorous coursework as well as intense faculty-guided field experiences. But can anything really prepare them for their first year of teaching? How did our graduates really do? Read the reflections of five of our 2018 graduates after their first year in the classroom.
Read the first-year reflections from 2018 BSEd graduates Gabby Salazar, Rebekah Tate, Jared Kloeker, Kristen Boyd, and Lauren Knapton.
With civics education largely disappearing from school curricula, in 2009, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor decided to address the issue by founding iCivics, a free online website that teaches civics concepts using educational games. The retired Justice’s vision for civics education has expanded over the years at Baylor University through the iEngage Summer Civics Institute.
From Aug. 5-9, 100 fifth- through ninth-grade students will learn about civics at the annual summer camp hosted by the Baylor School of Education through a grant from the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation.
iEngage is directed by education faculty members and camp co-founders Brooke Blevins, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the department of curriculum and instruction, and Karon LeCompte, Ph.D., associate professor of curriculum and instruction.
“In an era when civics education is rarely taught in elementary schools, iEngage provides pre-service in-service teachers an opportunity to not only learn about powerful civics education curriculum, but to actually put it into practice with students. We hope the experience will increase their focus on citizenship education in their own classrooms,” Blevins said.
Education professors and students from the National University of Costa Rica (NUCR) spent three weeks at the Baylor School of Education (SOE) this summer, under the guidance of senior lecturer Rick Strot. For nearly fifteen years, Strot has led Baylor SOE students to Costa Rica to study methods of teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) and complete service projects.
“As a result of the Baylor in Costa Rica program, this group has taken an initiative to visit us for the first time, thanks to a year of hard work with visas, passports, and all the small details that brought them here,” Strot said. “I’m so happy they made the trip to visit our programs, tour our professional development schools, see this beautiful campus, and experience the arrangments we have for our students.”
Baylor’s inaugural Beginning Teacher Institute brought early-career teachers together to provide development and training while connecting them with other educators and friends who are in the beginning stages of their careers.
This year’s institute was open to elementary teachers who graduated from Baylor general education, special education or gifted-and-talented programs in 2016, 2017 or 2018, with a plan to expand to secondary education graduates in 2020.
Alfred Binet created an IQ test more than a century ago to prove intelligence could be DEVELOPED in children — as long as they had the right teacher (like Maria Montessori, for example). But are we’re doing it all wrong now? Check out the perspective of Baylor School of Education associate professor Dr. Rishi Sriram, published in Scientific American.
Baylor School of Education’s Mathematics Teacher Academy (MTA) gathered over 50 Texas secondary and middle school teachers on June 25-27 to talk about . . . talking about math. This year’s theme was “mathematical discourse,” the conversation about mathematics in the classroom that empowers student learning.
MTA, now in its third year, included nationally known speakers and hands-on workshops, enabling the professional educators to share discourse-based planning and instruction techniques. Dr. Trena Wilkerson and Dr. Rachelle Rogers, faculty in Baylor SOE’s Department of Curriculum & Instruction, co-chaired MTA.
Rachel Renbarger, an educational psychology doctoral student at Baylor, is in the midst of a six-month data-analysis internship in Paris with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The OECD offers many internships — 40 in education alone. However, Renbarger was the only intern selected as a data analyst for the study on social and emotional skills. “Day to day, I’ll be doing a lot of teamwork and a lot of collaboration,” Renbarger said.
During her time working on the study, the main focus is on field data – working to make sure that everything is set to run smoothly later in the study. “I think it’s going to be really great to collaborate with people who are from outside the U.S., because I haven’t done that before,” Renbarger said.
Baylor’s Mathematics for Early Learners Academy (MELA) launched its fourth summer of math intervention for struggling young students on Monday, July 1. The program has proven effective in helping pre-K and kindergarten students who were identified as below level in mathematics to achieve and exceed grade level in their mathematics skills.
Founded in 2016 by the Baylor School of Education and Sandi Cooper, Ph.D., professor of mathematics education, the program is expanding this year, with 80 students from La Vega ISD and Waco ISD — 36 who just completed pre-K and 44 who just completed kindergarten. MELA 2019 is funded by a $74,000 grant from Waco’s Cooper Foundation. The partner school districts also provide significant support, including bus transportation and para-professional staff during MELA.
Baylor University today announced the installation of Jon Eckert, Ed.D., as the inaugural holder of The Lynda and Robert Copple Endowed Chair in Christian School Leadership within the School of Education. The installation was part of The Academy for Transformational Leadership, a continuing education and leadership training conference hosted by Baylor’s Center for Christian Education.
The newly established chair was made possible through a gift from Lynda and Robert Copple of Frisco. The Copples are long-time supporters of Baylor University and members of the National Campaign Steering Committee for Give Light, Baylor’s recently announced $1.1 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign.
Baylor’s third annual Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools program has launched at Indian Spring Middle School and J.H. Hines Elementary School, both in-district charters through the Transformation Waco initiative of Waco ISD. The program will serve more than 170 students, providing quality literacy enrichment from June 12 – July 26. The program is free to students and includes field trips, special guests and meals.
Freedom Schools literacy program exposes students to culturally relevant books for maximum student engagement and the prevention of summer learning loss. Freedom Schools also offers curriculum in social action, character building and STEAM activities. Freedom Schools students, called “scholars,” will participate in community service and create a project for the National Day of Social Action focusing on gun violence and awareness.
The Baylor Center for Christian Education (CCE) will host the inaugural Academy for Transformational Leadership conference June 23-25 in Waco. The Academy is a professional development forum for leaders of preK-12 Christian schools who want to explore the philosophical, clinical and theological foundations of Christian schools and the role leadership plays within that environment.
Attendees will include more than 125 heads of public and private schools, including principals, school board members, financial managers and the directors of enrollment, marketing and spiritual life. This year’s theme is “The Essentials of Christian Educational Leadership.” During the course of three days, topics will include collaborative leadership, Christian education and its purpose, developing future leaders, managing institutional change for greater faithfulness, the primary role of the Christian school leader, effective board leadership, and development and fundraising.
More than 20 elementary classroom teachers who are recent graduates of Baylor School of Education (SOE) will be on campus June 21 – 22 for the inaugural Baylor Beginning Teacher Institute (BBTI).
The free professional development opportunity is offered as a benefit for Baylor graduates who are current elementary teachers and who earned degrees in general education, elementary education, special education, or gifted-and-talented programs in 2016, 2017, or 2018. By supporting early-career teachers, Baylor SOE hopes to improve retention in the teaching profession.
Baylor School of Education (SOE), in collaboration with the Heart of Texas Council for the Social Studies (HOTCSS), will host the Social Studies Academy (SSA) Summer Summit on June 18-20.
Launched in 2017, the three-day seminar is one of three annual events SSA hosts to bring together Central Texas social studies teachers and Baylor teacher-education faculty members. Together they share engaging curriculum from their own classrooms while developing professionalism and community involvement.
Baylor School of Education’s summer enrichment program for gifted and talented students, University for Young People (UYP), launches June 3, 2019.
Baylor UYP’s program for fourth-twelfth-grade students runs daily through June 21 on the Baylor campus. Classes are offered in three different one-week sessions, and students may sign up for two each week. Students may choose from dozens of courses, taking one class in the morning and one in the afternoon. Courses for 2019 include cooking for nutrition, water quality, robotics, art, poetry writing, improvisational acting, superhero physics, computer game design, and more.
Baylor School of Education and the Department of Educational Leadership hosted the 12th annual Christian Higher Education Leadership Seminar on the Baylor campus May 19-22. The seminar is sponsored by the International Association of Baptist Colleges and Universities (IABCU) and is geared toward leaders of faith-based colleges and universities.
The 30 participants included faculty, deans, program heads, and future administrators in Christian institutions of higher education from across the country. Speakers at this year’s Seminar comprised university professors, chaplains, provosts, directors, deans, and academic scholars.
The Spring 2019 issue of Baylor Impact is now available online. Check it out for stories about Baylor School of Education students, faculty, alumni and programs.
In this issue, you’ll learn the secrets to teaching with creativity from the new book by associate professor Dr. Todd Kettler. You’ll also read about the new MAT program, outstanding students and graduates, faculty who are leaders at the national level, upcoming events, Centennial updates — plus much, much more!
Connally Elementary School is celebrating a new greenhouse and outdoor learning environment, thanks to the work of Baylor assistant professor Dr. Stephanie Boddie and graduate students from the Baylor School of Education, Truett Seminary and the School of Engineering and Computer Science. Boddie holds joint faculty appointments in the School of Education, Truett Seminary and the School of Social Work.
The greenhouse project has spanned the entire academic year and began in the fall when Boddie taught the course “Education from a Gardener’s Perspective” to graduate education and seminary students. The first day of class was a literal walk through a garden. Then the class planned the space; for their midterm grade, the class collaborated to write a grant proposal. One of 900 applications submitted to the Whole Kids Foundation, the project received $2,000 to build the self-sufficient geodesic dome and support it with life-science lesson plans. Boddie’s fall students wrote the curriculum.
Dr. Lakia M. Scott, assistant professor in Baylor School of Education, received the Texas NAME Research Award on Friday, April 26, 2019. Scott was one of four difference-makers to be recognized, receiving the award for her prolific research focused on social issues in education, social justice, race, gender, and social class.
The Texas Chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education (TXNAME) is a state-affiliated chapter in Region 5 of the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME). The association promotes the understanding of unique cultural heritage, the eradication of discrimination, and the development of culturally sustaining curricula, among other things. Each year, the association awards educators and community leaders who stand for these values and inspire others to do the same.
Dr. Scott receives her award from Dr. Brandon Fox of Stephen F. Austin State University, director of Region 5 NAME.
Scott was honored in part for her extensive research with Baylor’s Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom School, which provides a summer literacy program for students from culturally diverse and low socioeconomic backgrounds every summer in Waco. Additionally, Scott has conducted research in rural Ghana and has led research on human trafficking curriculum for high school students.
Take a moment to consider this question. If asked on the spot, how would you define literacy to someone else?
As a literacy educator and researcher, I often get asked about literacy development for children and youth. One way I respond to such questions is by asking how literacy is being defined.
Oftentimes the answer to this question revolves around basic functions of reading and writing. Relatedly, public discourse, that is the everyday ways we hear and talk about literacy, tends to reflect linear, simplistic understandings of literacy. For example, people are generally categorized as “literate” or “illiterate,” equating “literate” to being able to read and write.
The classes are all taught, the papers all graded, and Dr. Larry Browning has mostly cleaned out his familiar office as he prepares for a well-earned retirement. After 42 years with Baylor University, Browning is thankful for the fond memories he’s made and the people he has shared them with.
“Over 42 years the change has been phenomenal,” Browning said. He recalled earlier times at Baylor when Fountain Mall was a parking lot and mornings were spent drinking coffee in the faculty lounge of the SUB before classes. “We’d go in there and sit and waste an hour every morning eating cookies and drinking coffee,” Browning said.
Browning has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in Reading, Social Studies and Curriculum in the School of Education. Since 2006, he has served as the chair of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction.
Baylor School of Education (SOE) recognized seven seniors as outstanding students at the 34th Annual Senior Recognition Banquet April 25. Seniors were recognized for their excellence in academic and fieldwork in education programs and their readiness to impact the world.
Two teachers were honored at the annual Baylor University School of Education Senior Recognition Banquet on April 25. Following tradition, Baylor School of Education seniors had the opportunity to nominate teachers who had been influential in their lives. Students submitted a nomination essay about their teacher, and the awarded educators were chosen by a Baylor faculty committee.
This year, Steve Willemssen of Aurora, Illinois, and Andy McCoy of Georgetown, Texas, were honored with the Baylor School of Education’s “Most Memorable Teacher” award.
For 35 years, the popular McGraw-Hill historical text series Taking Sides: Clashing Views in U.S. History has been edited and authored by former history professors. Now the baton has been passed to Baylor School of Education faculty Dr. Tony L. Talbert and Dr. Kevin R. Magill. The duo’s background in social studies and pedagogy brands their writing of the 18th edition with a unique edge of cultural and social consideration while consciously reaching for the reader’s attention. Since 1985, the most successful companion classroom resource has analyzed historical nuances between facts to provide a well-rounded perspective for students and educators.
Flip through a traditional American history textbook and you will find the expected ญญญญ– a linear progression of facts, drawn from primary resources, about what happened before and after the Civil War. Every event from the American Revolution to the Civil Rights movement is covered and drilled down to the basics. But Magill and Talbert do not find the past so simply compartmentalized.
Waco kindergarten teacher Cathy Henson will receive the Centennial Outstanding Mentor Award – a first for the Baylor School of Education – during the SOE’s Senior Banquet on Thursday, April 25, 2019, at the Baylor Club.
The Centennial SOE Outstanding Mentor honor is being awarded in conjunction with the SOE’s year-long Centennial anniversary celebration. Henson was chosen from among a field of educators nominated by current and former SOE students, faculty, staff and partners. Alexandria Knight, Henson’s student teaching intern this year, nominated her mentor along with three of Henson’s former interns: Landreigh Knapp, BSEd ’18; Carmen Gutierrez Rodarte, BSEd ’16; and Lauren Ancell, BSEd ’17.
A native of Teague, Texas, Henson received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Baylor in 1973. She has taught school for 34 years — in Burleson, Marlin and Waco — and now teaches kindergarten at Parkdale Elementary School in Waco ISD, where she has been since 2005.
Senior teaching interns in the Baylor School of Education (SOE) will present their “Action Research” projects next week at the Action Research Symposium. Through research in the classrooms where they are student teaching, the Baylor seniors are learning to improve their own teaching practice.
The symposium will be Tuesday, April 16, from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Lee Lockwood Library, 2801 West Waco Drive. Baylor faculty members, plus teachers and administrators from Baylor’s partner schools, will get to see the project results and discuss them with students.
While working in classrooms this year, Baylor seniors have conducted studies to gauge the effects of allowing students choice in their learning topics, implementing various teaching approaches, using physical activity in the classroom, and more.