College of Education Newsletter

August 2019

Message from the Dean:

Welcome to the 2019-20 Academic Year!!!!

Once again, we are excited to welcome our new and returning students. This year our Opening Faculty & Staff Meeting focused on the power of positivity with an emphasis on the successes we've had over the past four years. In 2015 at my first Opening Meeting, I asked faculty to identify areas for improvement. As a group we identified 38 unique areas that we wanted to work on. I've been quietly watching us make progress on these areas over the past four years. In fact, we have made significant progress in 27 of the 38 areas... plus several areas that didn't show up on our list four years ago. Most significant are improvements in publicizing and promoting our success (through our monthly newsletter and the COE Facebook page); expanding our partnerships with area P-12 schools and community agencies; collaborations with the Arch Ford Education Services; advocacy and involvement with state legislative committees; expansion of our focus on the science of reading and International Dyslexia Accreditation; expanding community services including BearsRead and Hour of Code; continuation and expansion of P-12 camps; implementation of our New Teacher Induction program and Novice Teacher Conference; introduction of our Library and Literacy Conference; updates to the Mashburn classrooms; incorporation of technology (Apple Distinguished School and AACTE Technology Innovation Award); increase in grant applications; efforts to support all students; special efforts to support diverse students; focus on educational equity and inclusion; continuation of data collection and use of data for decision making; improved unified field/internship processes and support; hiring and retaining high quality faculty; expansion of recruitment activities including leadership in the Teacher Cadet program and new plans for graduate recruitment; expansion of graduate programs; implementation of new databases to ensure our candidates' success; and increase of interdepartmental collaboration!!! Our positive attitude and determination has resulted in tremendous accomplishments. I can't wait to see what lies ahead.

Welcome Back Faculty and Staff!

COE Freshmen Welcome:

The UCA College of Education held its Freshmen Welcome event on Monday, August 19th. During the event, entering freshmen that have declared an education major met with the COE Dean, faculty, staff, and student ambassadors. The Freshmen Welcome included new/transfer students enrolled in UCA for the first time.

Approximately 70 students participated in the event which consisted of a welcome from the COE faculty, a scavenger hunt game to get the students familiar with Mashburn, and advice from Advising.

New student, Maddie Herrera, said, "I’m majoring in elementary education. I’m super excited but nervous to be here at UCA! This first meeting has made me fall in love with the the education program!"

iPad Launch Party:

The College of Education (COE) hosted an iPad Launch Party on Tuesday, August 20th in Mashburn 103. Fifteen COE students, representing Elementary, Literacy, and Special Education (ELSE), Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS), and Middle Level attended the event.

Six stations were set up to give students an interactive experience with different iPad apps.

* Wormhole Challenge - Students created a video in iMovie using the green screen effect.

* Shape Your Destiny - Students created a shape in Keynote and filled it with an image.

* Sonic Boom - Students used beat sequencer, live loops, and voice to create unique beats in Garage Band.

* Capture the Stars - Students created a Clips video.

* Constellation - Students used images of individual letters to spell out their name or a word that inspires them in Pages.

* Supernova - Students were shown iPad tips and tricks.

The event was facilitated by: Dr. Victoria Groves-Scott, Dr. Michael Mills, Dr. Jason Trumble, Ms. Michelle Buchanan, Ms. Melissa Earls, Ms. Ashton Hankins, and Ms. Jessica Herring-Watson.

Students also enjoyed pizza and door prizes!

GirlsCode Camp:

On Thursday, July 25th, the UCA College of Education held its first annual GirlsCode camp. The camp, geared towards girls in grades 5-8, had 31 participants.

The camp, directed by Ashton Hankins and facilitated by Melissa Earls, Jessica Herring-Watson, Dr. Helen Hu, and Dr. Erin Shaw, guided the girls through a fun-filled day of coding themed activities. Activities included: Spherograph Art, Secret Code with Spheros, Lego Mindstorms, Blackout Poetry with Makey Makes and Scratch, Breakout EDU, Swift Coding, Ozobots, Draw Like a Robot, and a guest speaker.

Arkansas Teacher of the Year Semi-Finalists:

The College of Education is proud to announce that three of the four Arkansas Teacher of the Year semi-finalists are graduates of UCA education programs. If selected as Arkansas Teacher of the Year, the winner will receive cash awards, will spend the 2020-2021 school year on paid leave from their regular classroom jobs to compete for the National Teacher of the Year honor, serve as an ex-officio member of the Arkansas Board of Education, and will travel the state to participate in teacher and student programs.

You can read more about each finalist below.

Catherine "Cathy" Beckham

Cathy attended Hendrix College where she received a Bachelor's Degree in Business & Economics with an Emphasis in Accounting. During her senior year at Hendrix, she decided she wanted to be a teacher. Cathy graduated in May and immediately enrolled in summer courses at UCA to obtain her teaching certification. Cathy shared, "I believe that teaching for me is part of God's plan for my life. I absolutely love what I do each day at Mountain Home High School Career Academies."

Cathy said UCA had a strong teaching program when she was in college and that is the reason why she chose to attend there, "I had excellent instructors while I was there and I believe that UCA truly prepared me for life in the classroom." Cathy has been teaching 26 years now, 22 of those in the Mountain Home School District. She currently teaches Orientation to Teaching I & II and supervises the senior interns at Mountain Home High School Career Academies

Cathy stated, "It is an honor to be one of four state semi-finalists for Arkansas Teacher of the Year. I am very thankful to be able to represent Mountain Home Public Schools on this journey. I continue to promote the UCA teacher education program to my students in my Orientation to Teaching classes at the high school."

Joel Lookadoo

Joel is a graduate of the UCA Math Education program and currently teaches 9th grade Algebra I at Lakeside Junior High School in the Springdale School District. He is beginning his 7th year in education all of which have been at Lakeside Junior High. When asked what lead him to teaching Joel stated, "I had some great coaches and teachers while I was in school that taught me, not only subjects or courses, but they taught me the importance of becoming the best version of myself that I could be. Their passion for people and helping students is what led me to teaching because I wanted to be able to do the same for students."

According to Joel, he chose UCA to further his education because they had a great reputation when it came to developing teachers and he wanted to be a part of it. He added, "And honestly, the scholarship opportunities was a big reason also."

Joel shared, "I loved my time at UCA and felt like I grew so much. It is easy to want to try and coast through classes and internships, but I was told once by a guest speaker in one of our classes to "take advantage of every learning opportunity" and to "treat every day like a job interview." I really took that to heart and still try to implement that every day. I also remember the work of Dr. Jean McGehee in my math education classes. Her love for education and learning was as contagious as her laugh. I learned so much from being in her classes."

Joel stated, "I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be a state semi-finalist and for the chance to get to represent my school and district throughout Arkansas. I have been fortunate to work with an incredible staff and team in Springdale that loves students and focuses on helping them grow. Their work is inspiring and drives me to continuously look for ways to improve. This recognition is really a team award."

Melissa Spence

Melissa is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program at UCA. She currently teaches 1st grade at Theodore Jones Elementary in Conway.

When asked what lead her to teaching, Melissa said, "After working in marketing for six years, I knew that something was missing. I wanted to add more meaning to my life and to make an impact in the lives of others. I have been around education my whole life. My mom was in education for 38 years. Seeing her make a lasting impression with her students and the impact she had on them inspired me to go into teaching when I had the opportunity."

Melissa shared, "When I went back to school, UCA had a Master of Arts in Teaching program for elementary education. I already had a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, so this was the perfect fit. It allowed me to build upon the skills and knowledge I gained with my bachelor's degree. Being a non-traditional student, I was able to take night classes and get my master's degree in 1-1/2 years." Melissa added, "The courses that I took helped prepare me for success in the classroom."

Melissa is beginning her seventh year of teaching this school year. Her first two years, she taught 1st grade at Mayflower Elementary School. Her third year, she was hired by Conway Public Schools as a third grade teacher at Theodore Jones Elementary. From my fourth year to now, Melissa has taught first grade at Theodore Jones Elementary.

Melissa stated, "Being recognized as Theodore Jones Elementary's Teacher of the Year in April, then Conway Public School's District Teacher of the Year in May was such a huge honor. To be nominated by my peers and then chosen is really special to me. Then to go on to be selected as one of the 15 Regional Finalists for Arkansas Teacher of the Year, and one of four Semi-Finalists is truly an exciting and wonderful honor. I am so proud to stand among amazing educators from all corners of our great state and represent Conway Public Schools"

Faculty News:

Dr. Amy Thompson and Dr. Stefanie Sorbet

Dr. Amy Thompson and Dr. Stefanie Sorbet (Department of Elementary, Literacy, and Special Eduction) recently submitted the chapter, "The Impact of Self-Efficacy on Leveraging Technology in the Classroom," to the book "Leveraging Technology to Improve School Safety and Student Wellbeing." The chapter was accepted and the book is set for release in October 2019.

"Leveraging Technology to Improve School Safety and Student Wellbeing" is edited by Dr. Stacey Loyless, Dr. Shelly Albritton, Dr. Charlotte Green (all from the Department of Leadership Studies at UCA) and Dr. Stephanie Huffman (Missouri State University).