Carlow's Education Department
A Note From the Chair
We are thrilled to present our first Education Department newsletter. Every month, the newsletter will include highlights, news, special invitations, and a different theme with related feature stories. This month, our theme is all things Apprenticeship!
Our Education Department has had an exciting two years. Since August of 2017, we have:
Been awarded more than 3 million dollars in grants
National Science Foundation (NSF) https://www.carlow.edu/22395.aspx
C.W. Benedum Foundation. https://www.carlow.edu/20937.aspx
Anonymous Foundation https://www.carlow.edu/23699.aspx
PNC Charitable Trust
OCDEL and PA State Department of Education, and others
Hosted national authors/speakers and trainings
Dr. Fania Davis, Restorative Justice https://www.carlow.edu/22309.aspx
Mr. Don Wettrick, author of Pure Genius
Mr. Alfie Kohn, author of multiple books including Punished By Rewards
Learning Without Tears® Handwriting Workshop
Welcomed the largest freshmen/transfer and graduate education classes in seven years.
Launched first four-year apprenticeship program in early childhood education with approval from U.S. Department of Labor https://www.carlow.edu/22108.aspx
Created pre-apprenticeship partnerships with Pittsburgh Public Schools and Nazareth Prep High School.
Created a Laboratory School with our Campus School (for Birth through 8th grade!)
And…Launched graduate programs in Secondary Education, Art Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership with Principal Certification, and Early Childhood Supervision
But the best is yet to come!
I love our Carlow community and amazing faculty, staff, and students. It's my privilege to serve, teach, and lead here. Come visit us soon!
Dr. Keely Baronak
Chair, Education Department
Executive Director, Campus Laboratory School
Preparing Educators and Leaders since 1929
Recent Workshops & Trainings
Early Childhood Apprenticeship Program!
Carlow University's Education Department has worked with the early childhood community of Western Pennsylvania to create the first Department of Labor approved early childhood bachelor’s apprenticeship program for both certification and non-certification seeking early childhood professionals working in child care centers in PA. "According to data collected by Partner4Work, there is a substantial need for credentialed early childhood educators—and the need is projected to grow. There are 4,172 such available positions in Allegheny County alone, and that number is expected to reach 9,654 openings by 2026 (Morrow, 2019).
In 2018, Research for Action published, Patching the Leaky Pipeline: Recruiting and Retaining Teachers of Color in Pennsylvania. Their work highlighted what is also a national concern; "research shows that exposure to teachers of color has a positive impact on students of all races, and particularly on students of color." Yet, "only 4% of Pennsylvania’s teachers are people of color. This percentage is not only one of the lowest in the nation, but it is also starkly disparate from Pennsylvania’s own student population, where 29% of students are people of color."
For adult men and women who work in early childcare as teacher assistants or in school settings as paraprofessionals, taking time off from work to complete a bachelor's degree is not a viable option. In addition to the time and format of most traditional undergraduate courses, there are other barriers: navigating financial aid, securing scholarships, purchasing textbooks, arranging for transportation, accessing needed technology, taking and passing a myriad of certification tests, and completing extensive practicum placements across different grade levels.
Carlow's Apprenticeship Program addresses all of these barriers and provides a supportive non-traditional community of scholars and support to ensure successful degree attainment. Courses are offered one night a week or online. Twenty-four credits can be completed on-the-job with the alignment to course competencies and the support of coaches and mentors. Thanks to a large grant establishing Carlow as the Western PA Hub for Apprenticeship, students will receive financial support for certification tests and test preparation, bus passes for transportation, and textbooks via a loan program. Students will also receive a special scholarship for one-month to complete an extensive practicum in grades 2-4, and students will have access to technology throughout the program.
The Carlow apprenticeship program is designed to:
· reduce workforce barriers to credential and degree attainment;
· diversify the early childcare workforce pipeline;
· elevate the quality of childcare as evidenced through higher STARS ratings;
· increase higher quality caregiver interactions; and
· elevate scores on environmental rating scales through coordinating the efforts of key stakeholders and providing targeted apprenticeship supports.
Want to Learn More? Check Out Our Video!
Apprenticeship students studying computational thinking in early childhood STEM education work on a hands-on robotics project. Classes are offered in an accelerated and evening format.
One Million Dollar Grant: Western PA Apprenticeship Hub!
Carlow University is creating the Western Pennsylvania Early Childhood Apprenticeship Hub, which will improve the quality of childcare of throughout the state of Pennsylvania by making higher education more accessible to childcare workers.
“The focus of the Apprenticeship Hub is on opening access and reducing barriers to school enrollment and degree attainment for working adults,” said Keely Baronak, EdD, executive director of The Campus Laboratory School at Carlow and chair of the Department of Education. “This is especially critical for diversification of the teacher pipelines.”
The $1 Million grant from an anonymous donor will support Carlow’s efforts to reduce those barriers and encourage more childcare workers to complete their degrees or pursue advanced degrees.
"We are thrilled to receive this funding which has the potential to improve early childhood education throughout western Pa.,” said Baronak. “This work dovetails with our $1.2 million grant award this past spring awarded by NSF in support of STEM scholarships for those pursing teaching certification in Biology, Chemistry, General Science, and Math."
Carlow’s Apprenticeship Hub is the first four-year apprenticeship model in early childhood education approved by Department of Labor.
The Hub will provide supports necessary to elevate the current childcare workforce, support degree completion, and increase the quality of childcare through the state. This will be accomplished by addressing any barriers that may prevent childcare workers from attaining their bachelor’s degree or any additional credentials.
Students in Carlow’s apprenticeship program will complete 24 credits of their degree on-the-job with the support of mentors and coaches. Additional education courses will be completed in the evening and online to accommodate working adults. In addition, a one-month paid practicum in an elementary setting will provide invaluable field experiences needed in pursuit of Pre K-4 teacher certification.
In 2018, Carlow University’s Early Childhood Education Program was awarded an Innovative Programs for Pennsylvania’s Early Childhood Education Workforce grant from the state’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning. The grant was awarded to ensure that early childhood education professionals have the required knowledge and skills to help all young children learn and develop. Through this grant, Carlow developed the first four-year Early Childhood Education Apprenticeship Program in the state of Pennsylvania. Rae Ann Hirsh, D.Ed., program director for Early Childhood Education led this project and will directly oversee the new work of the Apprenticeship Hub. She is also an invited member of the Higher Education Consortium, a group working to bring apprenticeship programs to institutions of higher education across Pennsylvania.
“Our new apprenticeship program not only provides a pathway to credential and degree attainment for child care professionals, but also a supportive pathway for high quality care for Pennsylvania’s children,” said Hirsh.
Carlow’s Education Department – via the Apprenticeship Hub – will be coordinating the efforts of several community partners. Carlow’s Apprenticeship Program will also align with pre-apprenticeship high school partnerships that the university has already established. The Teacher Education Program recently finalized a formal articulation agreement with Nazareth Prep and Pittsburgh Public Schools through their Career and Technical Education.
For more information about how to qualify for the Western Pennsylvania Apprenticeship Hub, please contact Rae Ann Hirsh, D.Ed. at firstname.lastname@example.org or Pam Zimmerman at email@example.com or call (412) 578-6014.
Meet Dr. Rae Ann Hirsh
Students at Carlow find personal and professional champions in our faculty and staff. One of those champions, Dr. Rae Ann Hirsh, was once a student at Carlow herself. Her love for teaching started in high school. “I went through a CTE (Career and Technical Education) program in high school for those interested in Education; I was working at age sixteen in a child care center.” She attended and completed a two-year associate degree program at CCAC and then finished her undergraduate degree in Elementary and Special Education. After teaching at-risk kindergarten and learning support students in elementary grades for several years in Penn Hills, she worked as a curriculum development specialist and middle grades teacher at a private school.
It was then that Rae Ann was encouraged to pursue her graduate degree at Carlow. “Several colleagues and former professors of mine said I needed to attend Carlow University for my graduate degree in Early Childhood.” And so, she did. “I loved Carlow as a student. I was mentored by Dr. Roberta Schomburg, and she truly had the greatest impact on my life. She is so knowledgeable, so kind, and so supportive of me as a person and as a professional. It was Dr. Schomburg who supported my thesis and encouraged me to publish my thesis as a textbook.”
Years later, Dr. Rae Ann Hirsh returned to Carlow University as a faculty member in Early Childhood. “It was incredible to return to the school I love and teach with my mentor and inspiration. As a faculty member, Dr. Roberta Schomburg connected me with the whole early childhood community, specifically Trying Together (then PAECY); I traveled with her to Harrisburg and engaged in early childhood leadership at the state level.” Dr. Rae Ann Hirsh now leads the undergraduate and graduate early childhood program at Carlow University. She is the chief architect of the State’s first-ever four-year apprenticeship program in early childhood, and she is connecting with high schools in the region for a pre-apprenticeship pipeline. “We have incredible momentum right now as a department. It feels great to lead efforts to create pathways and eliminate barriers to degree completion in higher education.” In addition, Rae Ann leads our technology and STEM initiatives, and she helps coordinate our relationship with Carnegie Mellon University as a campus satellite of the CREATE Lab.
Students love her hands-on classes, infusion of robotic technology, project-based classroom learning and real-life engagement in community service and social justice advocacy. Allison Hyradil, a Carlow alumna and current Carlow University graduate student in our MEd program, credits Rae Ann for her success as a student. “Dr. Hirsh loves her students and believes in them. She is passionate about Education, and her classes are exciting, relevant, and provide great opportunities to build community with other educators.”
Rae Ann and her family live in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. She and her husband Gary have two adult children, Tori, a recent graduate of Carlow in Art, and Gabi, a current student at Carlow majoring in neuroscience. Rae Ann raises butterflies and is a master cookie baker! She can be found most days teaching classes, building robots, and advising students in AJP.
Picture Highlights of Carlow's Pre-Apprenticeship Program with Nazareth Prep HS
What is Pre-Apprenticeship?
For students in high school, a pre-apprecenticeship track provides a pathway to college credit and on-the-job experience. For students at Nazareth Prep High School in Pittsburgh, this experience is integral to their curriculum.
"Nazareth Prep is committed to partnering with local companies to help close the employment to education gap, and develop career pathways though its signature Corporate Internship Program. The program pairs students with Pittsburgh employers to work on-site one day each week for the entire school year. This work experience reinforces the future-ready skills introduced in the classroom, including communication, complex thinking, and decision making. Sponsoring companies, in turn, are developing Pittsburgh’s skilled workforce, while creating a diverse pool of future applicants for themselves" (https//www.nazarethprep.org/internship-program).
Two days a week, students in 9th-12th grade spend the day at Carlow University. Half of the day, students intern at the Campus Lab School and in the Early Learning Center working directly with children and young students. The other half of the day, Nazareth Prep students attend their own college class on campus and earn college credit. In between, students eat in the University cafeteria and usually make a stop at the Starbucks Coffee Shop before heading home for the day. Nazareth Prep coordinates and provides transportation to and from Carlow University. Crystal Rose, Instructor in Education at Carlow, serves as the Pre-Apprenticeship Director. At the end of each year of the apprenticeship, students can earn 3 college credits in Early Childhood.
Meet Ms. Crystal Rose
Crytal Rose was born and raised in Pittsburgh and attended Pittsburgh Public Schools. After earning her undergraduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh in Social Sciences and Child Development, she graduated from Carlow University with an MEd in Early Childhood Education and a special focus in Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and, later, Autism Spectrum Disorders. She is currently completing her EdD in leadership and administration at Point Park University.
Crystal has held various positions in the field of Early Childhood Education: infant/toddler family service specialist, classroom lead teacher, and PQAS certified childcare director. For several years, she has also served as a supervisor of student teachers for Carlow’s Early Childhood Education Program, and she now takes the reins as the director of the Pre-Apprenticeship Program.
“I am very proud to have the opportunity to prepare pre-service teachers, student teachers and apprenticeship students for their classroom experiences here at Carlow, where I was once a student. In preparing pre-service teachers, I am most excited about connecting with high school students who have expressed the desire to work as educators in Early Childhood (Birth to grade 4). The students from Nazareth Prep have shown up each week determined to learn early childhood pedagogy, eager to assist teachers, and committed to positively engage in all activities. As high school students express an interest in pursuing a future in Education, I am happy to be a part of the pre-apprenticeship program giving them the opportunity to begin such a journey!” shared Crystal.
Crystal resides in Pittsburgh with her three children, daughters Cailah and Kennedy, and son Christopher.
Early childhood education program offered at Pittsburgh's Milliones!
Dr. Rae Ann Hirsh was a featured speaker at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at UPrep/Milliones HIgh School in the Hill District to launch a new CTE Program in Early Childhood. High school students can earn their Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential while in the program and nine college credits at Carlow.
"The district’s new Early Childhood Education program is designed to not only teach students the aspects of teaching and working with young children, from birth through elementary age, but also to give them real-life apprenticeship experience working in childcare and educational settings. And through an articulation agreement with Carlow University, students completing the program earn nine credits towards a degree" https://newpittsburghcourier.com/2019/08/20/early-childhood-education-program-to-be-offered-at-pittsburgh-milliones/).
Literacy Spotlight Series!
Carlow's Education Department is proud to present a series of workshops advancing Literacy Instruction and the Science of Teaching Reading and Writing!
First Workshop: Saturday, December 7th from 10:00am to 1:00pm in AJ Palumbo
Teaching Text Structures through Nursery Rhymes
Nursery Rhymes are the forgotten and most underutilized gem in language and literacy development and learning. In this knowledge session, participants will practice ways to mine these familiar treasures for elements of phonemic awareness, author’s craft, text- structures, meaning, and oral and written emulation. Nursery Rhymes are not just for early language and literacy development, but also for high level use with students in elementary and intermediate grades and beyond. All participants will receive a children’s book!
ACT 48 Hours Available
RSVP Through EVENTBRITE:
For a full listing of workshop titles and dates, please see attachment below.
New Club! Carlow Future Educators
The club's first service project is two-fold:
a Book and School Supply Drive to support Sunday School programs in area churches served by Blessed Be Educators and a Toy Drive to support families at a Homeless Shelter in Pittsburgh.
For more information, or to donate, contact club President Elaina Tkaczenko: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graduate Programs in Education!
MEd Program Options
Curriculum and Instruction
tracks: Dyslexia, Online Teaching, Autism, ESL, STEM, EC Leadership
Early Childhood Education
Educational Leadership with Principal Certification option
Early Childhood Supervision
For more information about our programs, contact:
Mrs. Ann Bisignani, Education Graduate Coordinator: email@example.com
Welcome to Carlow Education!
New Faculty Member Val Piccini!
This August, our Education Department welcomed a new faculty member in Reading.
Val Piccini is a graduate of Duquesne University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, and Wilmington University, where she obtained her Master’s Degree in Reading with Disabilities. Val currently now serves as a Reading Specialist and Instructor in the Education Department within the College of Learning and Innovation. She is also the Coordinator of Professional Development at Carlow’s Campus Laboratory School.
Throughout her literacy career, Val has served as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, intervention coordinator, and literacy coach and staff developer. Most recently, Val served as a Reading Specialist in the Franklin Regional School District where she established and designed a third space learning environment; instructing both colleagues and students side-by side in a unique literacy lab setting. She is a Lead Teacher Consultant for the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project and the Founding Director of Writers of Westmoreland, a hub of the Project where she designs and facilitates literacy professional development in schools and school districts. Through Writers of Westmoreland, Val also coordinates and directs Young Writer’s Institutes for students rising in grades 4th-12th.
Val is on fire for reading and writing and initiatives involving the advancement of evidenced based literacy instruction that affords all students the opportunity to learn to read.
She is coordinating our Dyslexia track, teaching courses, leading a series of community-based literacy workshops, and building a proposal for a Reading Specialist program.
Val Piccini is pictured (right) with undergraduate students Elaina Tkaczenko (middle) and Kasey Wolford (left).
Out and About...
Congratulations to Education students Kirsten Barron and Maura Bell recognized at the Legacy Scholarship reception for their scholarship awards!
Class Project Complete!
Graduate student in Early Childhood Education, Miquel Price-Wheeler, presented the results of her child observations and case study research in Child Development class.
Our wonderful administrative assistant, Debra Campbell, loves her new stand-up desk options! We appreciate all of her work and great patience with our many, many departmental projects! She is an incredible person to have on our team.
Class Project Complete!
Math Class Magic
Graduate Students in Early Childhood Education (from l-r Jenna, Vanessa, and Megan) enjoy a hands-on math project in their evening Methods course.
Sarah Zeffiro, MEd in Art Education, presented her thesis Creative Inquiry project entitled Art and Learning: As an Artist and Educator, How Can I Better Understand the Connection between Art and Learning?
Bob Niziol, an MEd candidate for principal certification, speaks with Education Graduate Coordinator, Ann Bisignani. Bob is an educator in Bentworth School District
Math Class Magic
Conferences at Carlow!
Saturday, February 29th
"Trauma Informed Practices in PreK-12th grade:
Mindfulness and Meditation in Action."
Saturday, April 25th
Dyslexia Conference: Literacy and Learning
Keynote Speaker, Dr. Anita Archer!
Pittsburgh Branch of the International Dyslexia Association