The year 2019 marks the 100th birthday of the Baylor School of Education as a separate academic unit at the University. During this year, numerous events and publications will celebrate the long commitment of Baylor University to K-12 as well as higher education and share a vision for the future.
To stay updated on all SOE Centennial news and learn more about our history, visit the Centennial website at baylor.edu/SOE/100 and follow the hashtag #baylorSOE100 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@baylorSOE).
Faculty members Dr. Sandi Cooper and Dr. Suzanne Nesmith were featured guests on the "Central Texas Living" program hosted by Ann Harder on KXXV-TV. Cooper and Nesmith won a national award from the School Science and Math Association for a series of professional development workshops for teachers and student teachers at Waco ISD schools.
Navigating life with a learning disability may bring various challenges. That is why on Thursday, Nov. 29, Baylor University invited 70 students ages 8 to 17 from Goldthwaite Independent School District to campus for a presentation by four Baylor School of Education graduate students about dyslexia and how to thrive despite challenges.
Graduate students Olivia Borba, Stephanie Fritz, Felicity Frost and Ally Yturralde are each working towards an educational specialist degree in school psychology. They are currently working in schools for a practicum, and this event exposed to them to children of all ages with academic struggles.
The School Science and Mathematics Association has awarded the Baylor University School of Education and Waco ISD collaborators the Award for Excellence in Integrating Science and Mathematics for highlighting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) use in two Waco ISD elementary schools. They received the award at the SSMA convention in October.
Sandi Cooper, Ph.D., professor of mathematics education, and Suzanne Nesmith, Ph.D., associate dean and associate professor of science education in curriculum and instruction, approached the principals of Mountainview Elementary and Bell’s Hill Elementary with the idea of working with a small group of teachers to learn the importance of STEM for early learners. The schools wanted to take it a step further and include every teacher on both campuses.
In this issue, you’ll meet the FIRST graduate of the SOE’s PhD in Higher Education Studies & Leadership program, learn about the SOE’s FIRST fully online program, read about an alumna with a Fulbright Scholarship and a new program for rural families of children with autism — plus much, much more!
School of Education graduates should have received a printed copy of Impact in the mail. If you are a graduate and did not receive a printed copy, please email BaylorImpact@baylor.edu. Also feel free to email us with any news that the School needs to know!
The Honorable Chet Edwards, former U.S. Representative and Baylor’s W.R. Poage Distinguished Chair of Public Service, will present “Education and Education Policy” on Thursday, Nov. 8, from 5 to 5:45 p.m. in room 101 (Packard Auditorium) of Marrs McLean Science Building. The event is sponsored by the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum & Instruction.
Ten years ago, Bryan Lizano was a fifth-grade boy in Costa Rica, carefully watching a group of Baylor School of Education students completing mission work at Santa Elena School. He noticed how different these Baylor students were. It wasn’t just their accents and the slang they used. It was all the knowledge they shared about a university they loved. Lizano, a Nicaraguan refugee, liked the image of Baylor they showed by their service projects — painting the school’s walls, teaching, and developing relationships with the students.
As the idea of Baylor became more vivid each year the students came back, Lizano realized he wanted to become a Baylor student himself. Through support from Baylor students and professors, a dream became reality for Lizano, a freshman interested in studying computer sciences and the first graduate of his technical high school to attend a university in the U.S., with a full tuition scholarship to Baylor.
Recently, the nation heard from former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve on the nation’s highest court, that she is officially stepping away from public life due to health reasons.
In her letter to the nation, O’Connor shared about her commitment to civics education and, specifically, the creation of iCivics – free online interactive games and curriculum designed to teach the core principles of civics to middle and high school students.
Brooke Blevins, Ph.D., serves as associate professor of social studies education and associate chair of the department of curriculum and instruction in Baylor’s School of Education. She and Karon LeCompte, Ph.D., associate professor of curriculum and instruction, conducted the first independent research study of iCivics effectiveness. Blevins and LeCompte also launched iEngage Summer Civics Institute. The researchers were honored by O’Connor for their research and commitment to iCivics and civics education.
Baylor School of Education hosted educators from dozens of school districts for the annual Baylor TAIR (Texas Association for the Improvement of Reading) Regional Conference on Oct. 1 and 2. Almost 900 educators gathered at the Region 12 Education Service Center for three different grade-level based conferences. Attendees shared knowledge and skills with each other while gaining unique insight from a variety of national speakers.
TAIR President Margaret Thomson, senior lecturer in the School of Education, says her favorite part of being involved with this conference has been getting to know educators from all over the region that have the same interests as she does. “Every year you can get new ideas and get re-energized,” Thomson said. “This conference is for educators all across the board, because I think the best teachers keep getting professional development — they keep updating their skills.”
Baylor School of Education’s EnAbled for College project recently received a $75,000 renewal grant from the AT&T Foundation. The mentoring program increases marginalized high school students’ likeliness of choosing higher education by covering topics ranging from completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to how to talk to a professor.
The program began with graduate students from the Department of Educational Psychology mentoring 52 disabled, at-risk or low socioeconomic status high school students through the process of reaching higher education. Since 2014, the program has served more than 150 students in McLennan County in Central Texas. Of those students, 71 percent were from low socioeconomic homes, 48 percent had a disability, and 74 percent were first generation students. With the help of the EnAbled program, 97 percent of the participants were accepted into college.
Baylor School of Education is hosting the annual Homecoming Tailgate on Saturday, Nov. 3, after the parade and before the game. It's free, but registration is required. Register here: https://baylor.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6Rld1x3zT176RqR
After learning about 360º film technology, known as Cinematic Virtual Reality (CVR) in a Baylor Film and Digital Media course, SOE doctoral student Amanda Gardner became interested in its implications for high school English classroom learning. For her dissertation, she created a 360-degree experience to teach about the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Dr. Lakia Scott, assistant professor in the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum & Instruction, received the 2018 Baylor Diversity Enhancement Award, presented at a reception in the President’s Suite of McLane Stadium on Sept. 6.
In presenting the award, Eloisa Haynes, assistant director of advancement services and chair of the Campus Diversity Committee, said the award “recognizes the efforts of one individual within the Baylor community who actively strengthens and promotes respect for diversity through innovative leadership and service or through practices and programs designed to enhance a climate of understanding and respect throughout the campus community.”
She said the committee singled out Scott for her efforts in promoting the recruitment and retention of first-generation college students; serving as advisor to the multicultural student organization ROOTS; mentoring young women of color; establishing a reputation for being empathetic and supportive of students from traditionally marginalized backgrounds; and focusing her research on multicultural awareness, diversity practices and urban literacy.”
Baylor School of Education has launched searches for five faculty positions within all three departments of the School for tenured and clinical positions that will begin in August of 2019.
Baylor’s School of Education, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2019, ranks among the nation’s top 20 education schools located at private universities. With 50 full-time faculty members, the School’s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring.
Baylor School of Education’s Learning Resources Center (LRC) underwent a renovation this summer and is hosting a grand re-opening Thursday, Sept. 6, from 3-4 p.m. The LRC has changed a lot, thanks to a grant of $100,000 from an anonymous donor. During the grand re-opening, the LRC and Media Center will showcase the renovations, give away door prizes, and provide refreshments in the LRC.
A survey last year found that School of Education students needed more resources for collaboration and conference-style studying. When Pam Voyles, Librarian and Director of the Learning Resources Center, joined the SOE team in March of 2018, she jumped wholeheartedly into the makeover to ensure students have a modern and comfortable space to work.
“Over the past six months, we’ve touched every book in the library,” Voyles said. “We’re weeding out what we don’t need, ordering what we do, and logging everything online so students can find exactly what they need,” Voyles said. “We’ve also upgraded the details like installing bright lettering, so students can find the right areas they need quickly, and making sure there are enough electrical outlets in the tables for laptops.”
Baylor University School of Education and Baylor Movie Mondays, a program of Baylor’s Department of Student Activities, will host a showing of the documentary BACKPACK FULL OF CASH, narrated by Matt Damon and billed as “a film exploring the real cost of privatizing America’s public schools.”
The movie will show at 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 10, in the SBC Theatre of the Mayborn Museum Complex. It will be the semester’s first installment of Movie Monday. It is free and open to the public.
After the film, an expert panel of education leaders will discuss the film and how the issues explored in it apply to Waco-area schools.
Marcus Nelson, superintendent, Waco ISD Bonnie Lesley, co-founder, Texas Kids Can’t Wait Matthew Polk, executive director, Prosper Waco Alexis Neumann, superintendent, Rapoport Academy Public School
The Baylor School of Education prepares graduates for the classroom through rigorous coursework as well as intense faculty-guided field experiences. But how did the 2017 grads really do in their own classrooms? Read the reflections of five graduates after their first year of teaching. (BTW, job placement for our May 2017 BSEd graduates seeking teaching positions was 100 percent!)
Dr. Matt Thomas joined the Baylor School of Education (SOE) on Aug. 1 as executive director of the SOE’s Center for Christian Education. Founded in 1985, the CCE is dedicated to advancing evidence-based approaches to educational improvement and values-driven leadership through a range of programming and resources.
SOE Interim Dean Dr. Terrill Saxon said the center will undergo an expansion as the result of a significant gift to the SOE from Lynda, BSEd ’79 (MA ’85 in education from Texas Wesleyan College), and Robert, BBA ’80, MPA ’81, Copple of Frisco, and this appointment is an important first step in realizing an ambitious agenda for the center’s future.
“Matt’s background in Christian education and his commitment to the training of strong Christian leaders make him a perfect fit for the expanded role of the SOE’s Center for Christian Education,” Saxon said. “His expertise will launch a new era for the center and help shape its future.”
One hundred fifth- through ninth-graders will learn about civics and how to be engaged, active citizens during the annual Baylor University iEngage Summer Civics Institute July 30-Aug. 3 on the Baylor campus. The camp, in its sixth year, is hosted by Baylor School of Education through a grant from the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation.
The iEngage camp’s curriculum teaches children about civic action and political participation, as they meet local civic leaders and elected officials before developing an action plan for civic change. During the weeklong camp, they learn about the structure of government and other civic-related topics by playing digital games on www.iCivics.org, a free online website founded by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor that teaches civics concepts using educational games.
A federal grant of $91,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), plus matching support of $30,000 from Baylor University, will bring together Baylor scientists, science educators and local teachers in an effort to teach the next generation about water quality and reuse.
From July 30 through Aug. 3, 20 Waco-area science teachers from grades 4-12 will participate in a field-based professional-development experience based at the Lake Waco Wetlands (LWW). The program – “Immersed in the Wetlands: An Environmental Academy for Educators” – will engage the educators in inquiry- and field-based environmental education methods, so they then can share those methods with their own students in local classrooms.
Baylor School of Education is welcoming 50 middle and secondary mathematics teachers from across Texas to the Mathematics Teacher Academy (MTA) on the Baylor campus July 24-26.
Teachers are coming from 26 schools, including districts in the Houston, Dallas and San Antonio areas. This is the second year the SOE’s Department of Curriculum & Instruction has offered this professional development opportunity, which is co-directed by Dr. Trena Wilkerson, professor of secondary mathematics, and Dr. Rachelle Rogers, clinical associate professor of middle grades mathematics.
The theme of this year’s academy is “Supporting Students in Productive Struggle Across Mathematical Content Areas.”
Baylor University’s School of Education will host 240 teachers for a three-day Summer Literacy Institute July 24-26 at the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation.
Launched in 2016, the Summer Literacy Institute is an annual professional development event that focuses on practical help for teachers. This year’s conference addresses struggling readers and writers in grades 4 through 12, covering strategies for engagement, comprehension, vocabulary and revision.
“Students should understand the basics of reading and writing by the end of the third grade,” said Margaret Thomson, senior lecturer in the School of Education and a conference co-director. “But many students do not go beyond basics skills and develop the ability to comprehend complex text and write at the level required in today’s workplace.”
The Math for Early Learners Academy (MELA), now in its third year sponsored by the Baylor University School of Education, is underway through July 27 at Baylor’s Mayborn Museum, and research is showing that the summer early-intervention program serving early childhood students in Waco ISD is showing positive results.
Baylor faculty and graduate students have conducted follow-up math assessments of the students both of the previous years and found that the program is making a difference.
“After participating in MELA, students who were previously identified as being consistently below their peers in mathematics were found to be indistinguishable from their peers on a test of broad math ability,” said Sandi Cooper, Ph.D., professor of mathematics education in the department of curriculum and instruction and founder and director of MELA. “This suggests that participating in MELA enabled these students to not only make progress in math ability but also to close the gap between them and their peers.”
The School of Education welcomed 50 students and seven teachers from the Valley Mills ISD (VMISD) After School Centers on Education (ACE) program to the Baylor University School of Education on Thursday, June 14. Dr. Tony L. Talbert and Dr. Sandra Talbert chose a superhero theme for the visit, inducting the students into the “Green and Gold Illuminate League” based on the students’ strong educational powers.
The Talberts captured the VMISD-ACE students’ attention by telling them that they all have unique superpowers. Donning a red cape emblazoned with a golden “S,” Dr. Tony Talbert became the character of “Super Teacher” and asked the students, “How many of you can tell me your favorite superheroine and a superhero?” Enthusiastically the students called out their favorite characters — Wonder Woman, Black Panther, Batgirl, Batman, Supergirl and Superman.
Surviving on dry cereal and ramen can be typical for a surprising number of college students, even at Baylor. This realization led School of Education doctoral candidate Cara Cliburn Allen to focus her research in Higher Education Studies on food insecurity — the inability to access three nutritious meals a day.
Her passion and interest in “at-risk” student populations led to a recent $15,000 scholarship award from the P.E.O. Scholar Awards program, a merit-based award for women conducting research in a doctoral program, that she will use to further her study on how food insecurity shapes students’ identity formation.