Spring 2008 Volume 14 Number 2
Neag School Ranked Among the Best! Four core programs in the top 20! The Neag School of Education is not only the #1 public graduate school of education in the Northeast and on the East Coast, we are now ranked the 12th best among public universities nationwide and 21st among the 278 public and private graduate schools of education in the U.S., according to the latest review in U.S. News & World Report. Also significant are the rankings of our core programs which are individually assessed by U.S. News. Four rank among the nation’s top 20: Elementary Education (13); Secondary Education (17); Curriculum and Instruction (19); and Special Education (20). Although the U.S. News rankings serve only as one of several barometers used by the Neag School to assess its reputation and quality of its programs, Richard Schwab, dean, describes the findings as “very encouraging.” “We look at those ranked ahead of us, like Harvard, Michigan State, and Ohio State, and see that we’re in very good company,” he says. Each year, U.S. News gathers opinion data from program directors, senior faculty, school superintendents, and deans to rank professional school programs. Statistical indicators supplied by each school are used to measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research, and students.
Kelsey Seddon, a junior in her first year of the IB/M Teacher Preparation program is coaching student Dahazia Stewart on a writing assignment.
“To have four of our key programs ranked among the country’s top 20 is something we can be extremely proud of.” The Neag School’s overall ranking (21) has climbed since 2003 when it was ranked #50. Last year, it was positioned at #31.
“Our mission is to prepare highly qualified teachers who are capable of meeting the diverse needs of their students,” Schwab says.
TNE Study Finds Neag Teacher Ed Grads Stay in Field Longer A recent study sponsored by the Teachers for a New Era (TNE) program shows that an overwhelming majority of graduates from the Neag School of Education stay in the classroom for 10 years or more, and in far greater numbers than their colleagues nationwide. “This study tells us in a powerful way that when teachers are given high quality, rigorous preparation such as they experience at the Neag School, they are more successful in meeting the diverse challenges of today’s classrooms,” says Richard Schwab, dean of the Neag School and a member of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. “Their commitment to teaching remains at a high level for a long time and, most important, they stay in the profession,” he adds.
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“We see our five-year program as the key to that high level of commitment and teacher retention.” Using data from the Connecticut State Department of Education, the study looked at more than 66,000 teachers who were working in Connecticut between 1994 and 2005. The group included 1,100 UConn graduates from either the Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s program or the Teacher Certification Program for College Graduates in the Neag School of Education.
TEACHERS FOR A NEW ERA
Seventy-three percent of them were still classroom teachers in Connecticut 10 years after graduating from these programs. Among the non-UConn graduates in the sample group, just 58 percent were still teaching after 10 years.
Scott Brown, a professor of educational psychology and director of TNE, adds,
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Federal Grant Promotes Math Instruction in Spanish Eliana Rojas believes students learn mathematics better when taught in their native language, and she has federal backing to put her theory into practice. The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Rojas a $1.5 million grant to prepare teachers of English language learners to accelerate their students’ academic achievement.
Eliana Rojas, assistant professor-inresidence of Curriculum and Instruction, teaches a class about mathematics instruction in Spanish.
The grant focuses on the preparation and professional development of math teachers who are bilingual and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), in order
to provide appropriate and effective instruction to adolescents who are learning the English language. “We are focusing on math literacy in the Hartford and Willimantic schools, in grades six to 10, the school years when, besides coping with physiological changes, Latino adolescents are coping with issues of immigration, assimilating to a new culture, and learning a new language,” says Rojas, a former Hartford math teacher now an assistant professor-in-residence in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction These schools, where Spanish-speaking children are concentrated, have up to now been offering bilingual language courses. Yet they
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ON THE INSIDE
Dual degree approved . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 PT aids UConn prof's recovery . . . . . . . . . .2 Department News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-5
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Neag School Ranked Among the Best! Schwab credits the school’s rise to the contributions made by his faculty and administration to help the school become more effective and efficient, and to the support it has received from several fronts.
4 Core Programs Rank in Top 20 13. Elementary Education 17. Secondary Education 19. Curriculum and Instruction 20. Special Education Source: U.S.News & World Report
“We’ve been able to heavily invest in the recruitment of top faculty and students, in improving the quality of our programs, increasing scholarship funds, and installing some of the best education technology available,” Schwab says.
“These advancements and more were made possible by the $21 million gift from UConn alum Ray Neag, and by the support we’ve received from the University and the State of Connecticut.” The state matched the 1999 Neag gift with $3.4 million. Schwab believes a key factor helping to build the Neag School’s reputation is its work with public schools in Connecticut and around the country. “Our faculty members are not glued to their offices focused only on teaching and publishing. They are working in partnership with classroom teachers to conduct research, consult, and share information about best practices,” he says. Through its research centers and school reform efforts, the Neag School is involved with some 6,400 schools in the country, in addition to about 70 percent of Connecticut’s school districts. That number is expected to grow with the Neag School’s role in the state’s CommPACT Schools initiative aimed at improving student achievement in some of the state’s most challenged cities. Partnerships within the University are vital as well Schwab says. Through the School’s involvement in the Teachers for a New Era project led by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the
Teachers and school administrators, who work with our teacher education students, are honored at the Teacher Appreciation reception held in May at the Rome Commons Ballroom. Associate Dean Thomas DeFranco (center) is seen here conversing with Jane Carey-Lyon (left), a science teacher at Windham High School, and the student she has been mentoring, Ryan Quinn, an IB/M teacher education student from Stonington.
Neag School is working closely with other schools and colleges on campus to improve teacher preparation. “We depend on the excellence of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Agriculture and School of Fine Arts, to assist us in addressing the complex needs and issues in education. Their efforts have made us stronger,” Schwab says.
Physical Therapy at Nayden plays vital role in UConn prof’s recovery Sjef van den Berg was told he would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. But thanks to the Neag School’s Nayden Rehabilitation Clinic and his own steely resolve, the retired UConn communication sciences professor has been slowly, steadily proving that prognosis wrong. The 61-year-old van den Berg was critically injured, and his wife, retired UConn professor Antonia Brancia, was killed, in a car accident on Long Island in May of 2007. The couple was there to attend the graduation of their son, Pieter, from Long Island University. Their vehicle was rear-ended by another traveling at high. The driver of that car was arrested and charged with second degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. For van den Berg, grief and emotional pain had to quickly give way to his recovery from the spinal cord injury he suffered in the crash, a process that began at North Shore Hospital on Long Island and continued at Burke Rehabilitation Clinic in White Plains, N.Y. where he spent six weeks in difficult, challenging physical therapy. Van den Berg says he couldn’t let the uphill battle defeat him.“That came to me the second night at Burke. It was very simple. I told myself I’m here to do a lot of work, because whatever the alternative is to doing the work is simply not acceptable.” The work continued at Nayden Clinic, under the guidance of physical therapist Richard Bohannon, a professor in the Neag School’s Department of Physical Therapy. “Sjef had a lot to build on,” Bohannon says. “He was generally fit; he could move his legs; he had some strength in his lower limbs. We knew we could make progress.” Making progress involved improving van den Berg’s trunk strength and his ability to move on the parallel bars, as well as getting him to walk with a walker. He left the wheelchair behind last October and from two visits a week to Nayden, van den Berg has now progressed to receiving home care with the help of a vast support network of friends and colleagues. Physical Therapy Professor Richard Bohannon (left) checks on the progress of his patient Sjef van den Berg (right) at the Nayden Rehabilitation Clinic. One year ago, the retired UConn Communications Sciences professor was critically injured in a car crash, and through physical therapy and the help of many friends, has made a remarkable recovery.
These days, it’s all about, as he puts it, “counting the milestones.” A recent one was being able to walk in his kitchen, without a walker. “Those two steps I took were steps I couldn’t have taken a few months ago, and I believe that two will become four and four will become sixteen and on and on.” But how long is “on and on”? It’s a question every physical therapy patient asks and van den Berg is no exception. There is no clear answer. “Where you end up is a function of where you start out,” Bohannon says. “Sjef started off very well, he never complained and he continued to show improvement. It also helps that he’s an upbeat guy.” But there are moments of anger and sadness too, which van den Berg says are “just part of the package. You can’t deny it, so you have to live it, embrace it, really. The physical therapy work I do is my lifeline. He (Dr. Bohannon) shows me what I need to do to get there.” While the Nayden Clinic is close to home for van den Berg, he also says it was the best choice for his recovery. “Being an academic, I was attracted to the fact that there is an academic connection here.” Bohannon stresses what he calls “our highly qualified therapists and the strong commitment to evidence-based practice. It’s an integration of clinical work, academic research and teaching.” Through it all, van den Berg says the past year has been one of discovery as well as recovery. “I found out that I’m a lot tougher than I thought I was or could possibly be. I’ve had great help from my doctors and from the Nayden Clinic. But I also rose to the challenge, and while I don’t know if I’ll ever be back to where I was before the accident, I do know that I’ll work hard to get as close as I can.”
Dual Degree Approved Teacher Prep to Benefit An exciting, but challenging, opportunity is now a reality for every Neag teacher education student, following the University Senate’s unanimous approval of a dual degree program with all the Colleges and Schools on the UConn campus. Scott Brown, director of the Teachers for a New project who Era spearheaded the twoyear effort, thinks most Neag teacher education students should take advantage of the dual degree opportunity. “It may not be for every student, but there are numerous advantages, especially for those who plan to be secondary school teachers,” says Brown, a professor of educational psychology. Although it requires more work, Brown promises it will result in more reward. “It makes our graduates extraordinary in a very special way and more employable. In five years, they’ll become “triple threats,” he says, by earning two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s. Brown and TNE design curriculum chair Mark Boyer created the program to give Neag students the opportunity to enhance their qualifications as teachers by having a degree in the subject they plan to teach. Most Neag students have been close to earning dual degrees, but usually ended up two or three courses short in their content area. With
this new program in place, students can lay out a better road map for their five years of course work. “But they should start early,” Brown advises. “We plan to work more closely with freshmen and sophomores through the Academic Center for Exploratory Studies (ACES) program to provide them as much information as we can about how this new program works. The sooner they commit to it, the better.” Creation of the dual degree program came in response to the federal No Child Left Behind act which calls for teachers “qualified in every classroom.” NCLB suggests that being qualified includes having a teacher hold a degree in his or her field of concentration. The obstacle for Neag students was UConn’s policy requiring at least 30 credits more than the highest minimum requirement of any of the degrees. New language from Brown and Boyer amended the rule so that the 30 additional credit policy can be “waived for a student who completes the requirements of both a teacher preparation degree and a bachelor’s degree in another school or college.”
fields of English, History, Mathematics, the sciences and Modern Classical Languages. Now the mechanism is in place to get them there, with what should be tangible results. “The most powerful thing we’ll see is more enthusiasm in our graduates because they’ll have a deeper, richer understanding of their content area,” he says. “And we believe that will lead to a rise in learning and achievement in the students they teach.” And, not insignificantly, that enhanced achievement can be measured, with results that could demonstrate the effectiveness, maybe even the necessity, of dual degree teachers. Who could possibly be unhappy about the dual degree program? Probably some recent Neag graduates who were oh so close to that second degree while they were students. The rule change does not allow them to come back and pick up where they left off. Brown says that was a concession that had to be made for practical reasons. “The University Senate felt it had to draw a line in the sand. They said this is a special circumstance and had to be somewhat limited.” To help in the transition and guide new students through the various components, Brown and his TNE team are working with the academic advisory centers on campus while TNE Fellows are serving as liaisons for dual degree candidates advising them on the specific courses they need to take.
Brown says Neag students have always embraced the idea of dual degrees, especially those in the
Soliciting pledges wouldn’t be the biggest hurdle. The children would need to be equipped with bicycles and helmets and volunteers were needed.
Husky Sport Bike-a-Thon
The Husky Sport students, with graduate students Justin Evanovich and Rachel Madsen in the lead, contacted friends, families, UConn employees, and businesses, and distributed several thousand flyers seeking donations and help.
Saves Lives in Africa
“It really came down to word of mouth”, says Bruening, associate professor of sport management. “Families and friends became our advocates and supporters. We ended up with as many volunteers as we had children and more than enough bike equipment.” Kinesiology Professor Linda Pescatello, a member of the Connecticut Bicycle Coalition, helped spread the word through her network. Ads were placed in a community newspaper and then the event hit the big time when the Wholley brothers of Better Bedding offered to promote the effort in their Hartford Courant newspaper ads and in radio commercials. A Hartford health center donated 35 helmets. People came forward to donate 50 bicycles, some new, some used. Tolland Bicycle donated bike locks. Blimpies donated sandwiches to feed the children after the event.
“The whole day was just incredible!”
About 50 children from Hartford's North End, participate in Husky Sport's One-for-One Bike-a-thon to raise money for Emeka Okafor's favorite charity.
After riding the bike courses laid out around the park, the children played football and soccer and took part in games that taught nutrition and health lessons. At day’s end, Bruening Jennifer Bruening announced to the crowd that nearly Associate Professor $10,000 had been raised -- enough to purchase 633 blood testing kits. Then came the day’s final thrill; the drawing of names to give away the 50 bikes, along with items donated by UConn Athletics and the UConn Coop, and several cherished jerseys signed by Okafor.
A sunny Sunday afternoon in April at Hartford’s Keney Park couldn’t have been more enjoyable. The boisterous laughter of children filled the air as they played games on the acres of green lawn and pedaled bikes along the winding paths. Their fun that day would result in saving 633 lives in Africa–633. The One-for-One Bike-a-Thon, as it was called, was the product of Jennifer Bruening’s service learning class in the Department of Kinesiology. The class, open to all UConn students, takes part in Bruening’s outreach program called Husky Sport. UConn students mentor children from Hartford’s North End to encourage physical activity, good nutrition and healthy lifestyles. For the past five years, Husky Sport has worked through the John C. Clark Elementary School, the Kelvin D. Anderson Center, and the Hartford Catholic Worker House to run programs during school, after school and throughout the summer.
“The whole day was just incredible”, says Bruening. “The little kids, some of whom had never ridden a bike before, had a great time. The volunteers had fun and I heard from the city and nearby residents that they were thrilled to see the park so vibrant.” Preparing and orchestrating the bike-a-thon required a tremendous amount of resources.
Last fall, Husky Sport received a $250,000 gift from former UConn basketball star Emeka Okafor who’d heard about the program’s success and wanted to expand its reach. Okafor’s main charity had been Safe Blood for Africa – One Million Lives, and he serves as its spokesperson. Money raised by the international organization is used to purchase blood testing kids for African villages, hospitals and health care facilities to help avoid the passing of HIV contaminated blood. Bruening’s class decided that its spring semester project would be a fundraiser to thank Okafor for his gift.
“We are deeply appreciative of the hundreds of people who donated their time, those who supported us financially, and those who donated the needed equipment and food. We couldn’t have succeeded without them,” Bruening says. Financial donations are still being accepted. For details online go to: www.huskysport.uconn.edu.
EDCI Curriculum & Instruction News
In the hope of creating a valuable resource for educators across disciplines, members of the EDCI faculty have produced a new book called Interdisciplinary Education in the Age of Assessment. Associate Professors David Moss and Doug Kaufman served as co-editors and contributing chapter authors of the recently published work, along with former colleague Terry Osborn. Each chapter covers a major subject area (literacy, science, math, social studies, bilingual education, foreign language, educational policy) and discusses methods of assessing integrated/interdisciplinary curriculum and instruction. Other chapter authors include EDCI colleagues John Settlage, Wendy Glenn and Alan Marcus, as well as Professor Scott Brown from the Department of Educational Leadership. Assistant Professor-In-Residence Eliana Rojas has been appointed to a permanent position on a team of five U.S. educators responsible for evaluating the progress of the USAID/Guatemala Education Reform Project. The project’s goal is to improve access to and the quality of education in Central America’s largest country.
The UConn Board of Trustees has voted to promote Wendy Glenn to the position of associate professor with tenure. Glenn is coordinator of our English teacher education program. Her scholarly work focuses on teaching and teacher preparation, particularly as they relate to young adult literature. She is an elected member of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents executive board and serves on the board of the Connecticut Council of Teachers of English.
The Connecticut Department of Higher Education has awarded a Teacher Quality Professional grant to assistant professors Megan Staples and Mary Truxaw, who are members of the Center for
EDLR Educational Leadership News
Associate Professor Casey Cobb has been invited to serve on the Magnet Schools of America Blue Ribbon Panel. The organization is launching a new initiative to establish a National Institute for Magnet School Leadership. Cobb and the panel are charged with formulating the direction for the Institute, with the goal of developing it into a professional development resource for magnet school leaders by providing them with a high-quality venue for training, discussion and problem-solving.
The UConn Center for Education Policy Analysis joined 32 other education research centers from leading universities to form the Education Policy Alliance. Its major goal is to make scholarly research accessible to a broader audience, especially policymakers, as a means of increasing its impact on national education policy debates. The U.S. Department of Education has named Professor Barry Sheckley to a national panel of distinguished researchers, policymakers and practitioners to identify and address methods for strengthening math instruction for adults. It is part of a federal effort called “Strengthening America’s Adult Math Competitiveness Through Instruction.” Sheckley, who serves as department head, holds an endowed position as the Neag Professor of Adult Learning.
Kinesiology News Educational Leadership News
Members of the Connecticut Council for the Social Studies have elected Assistant Professor Alan Marcus as their president. Marcus’s research and teaching are focused on social studies education and teacher education. His work centers on the benefits and detriments of using film and television as teaching tools in the history classroom. More than 200 educators, health care specialists and parents attended the Northeast Media Literacy Conference in April. It was the largest group to attend the conference in its six year history. Professor Thomas Goodkind organized the day-long event which focused on the super hot topic “The New Media Literacies for Today’s Plugged-in Generation.” Michael Wesch, the producer of YouTube and Web 2.0, was a keynote speaker. He is a cultural anthropologist and digital enthnographer. The other keynoter, Anastasia Goodstein, is the author of Totally Wired -- What Teens and Tweens are Really Doing Online. She recommended to the audience that they experience for themselves how their kids are interacting and connecting on the Internet. In April, Associate Professor John Leach attended the 32nd International TESOL Convention in New York City. TESOL stands for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Leach is a former chair of the Higher Education Interest Section.
Lemons will work on behalf of the Connecticut Center for School Change, funded by the Fairfield County Community Foundation. Dr. Lemons is credited with organizing a successful Advanced Leadership Development Seminar, which brought superintendents from around New England to the Storrs campus in January. Panelists Richard Lemons, Jr. included superintendents from Windsor, New Britain, Stonington, Killingly and the Connecticut Center for School Change. The program was developed to help school district leaders early into their tenure to become more effective by identifying and studying real problems of practice. Associate Extension Professor Sue Saunders, coordinator of our Higher Education Student Affairs program, is receiving high marks for her leadership in organizing the American College Personnel Association’s 2008 conference. More than 4,000 people attended the conference in Atlanta this spring. In a letter, the organization’s president congratulated Saunders for her leadership and expertise. Sue Saunders
Starting this fall, Assistant Professor Richard Lemons will spend a day each week designing and leading the Urban School Leaders Fellowship. This leadership development program will target school leaders in Fairfield County’s urban districts who have earned principal’s certification but are not currently serving in that position.
Research in Mathematics Education (CRME). Beginning this summer, the pair will work with several Hartford schools to enhance students’ understanding of math through written and verbal discourse. They are calling it the Math ACCESS Project, Megan Staples which stands for Academic Mary Truxaw Content and Communication Equals Student Success. Other members of the team include CRME professors Tom DeFranco and Chuck Visonhaler and bilingual literacy expert Assistant Professor Elizabeth Howard.
An impressive honor for Associate Professor Douglas Casa, director of the Athletic Training program! In June he was presented with the Medal for Distinguished Athletic Training Research at the 2008 annual meeting of the National Athletic Trainers Association. The award is considered the highest honor for a researcher in this field. Casa and his Athletic Training team Douglas Casa were cited for their commitment to the advance of quality athletic training education and their dedication to the preparation of highly qualified professionals. The entry level Athletic Training Education program is coordinated by Assistant Professor-In-Residence Stephanie Mazerolle. The University received word this spring that the program had met all nationally Stephanie Mazerolle recognized standards and earned continuing accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. The accreditation stands for six years. Professor William Kraemer has been named a Fellow of the International Society for Sports Nutrition (ISSN). ISSN is dedicated to promoting and supporting the science and
Rather than exchanging gifts during the holidays, the EDLR faculty and staff donated money to fulfill a Connecticut teacher’s wish list. The program called “Backpack to Language” is an online program which matches the needs of classroom teachers with donors. The EDLR group selected a speech and language teacher who works with preschool special needs children. The teacher requested 16 back packs and a classroom storage rack for $500. She fills the back packs with books and materials related to classroom lessons. They can then be taken home to help students work on improving receptive and expressive language and literacy skills. The backpacks also contribute to greater parental involvement, on a daily basis, in a child’s learning.
application of sports nutrition and is the leading professional organization in the field. Dr. Kraemer has had a busy spring, fielding requests for interviews from a range of media including the Wall Street Journal , the New York Times, Vogue magazine and Prevention magazine. The UConn Board of Trustees has promoted two Kinesiology faculty members. Janet Fink, who joined the department last fall, has been granted tenure as an associate professor. Jennifer Bruening was promoted to the position of associate professor and granted tenure.
Professor Lawrence Armstrong was invited to deliver two keynote Jennifer Bruening lectures at regional meetings of the American College of Sports Medicine, including the Southwest Chapter meeting in San Diego and the Southeast Chapter meeting in Birmingham, Alabama. Larry Armstrong
The Council for Exceptional Children has selected Associate Professor Michael Coyne as the recipient of its prestigious 2008 Early Career Research Award. The committee was impressed, it wrote, with the methodological rigor, breadth of questions asked, and the importance of the topics Dr. Coyne has chosen to study. His work focuses primarily on literacy and Michael Coyne literacy instruction. He is the co-director of two federally funded research projects, and the author of 14 refereed journal articles, eight book chapters and one book, with a second in development. Donald Leu, the Neag Professor of Literacy and Technology, received two recent honors. In April, he was presented with the William Friday Medal for Outstanding Work in Education from the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University. In March, Central Connecticut State University presented him with its Advocate for Reading Professionals Award for his “significant literacy contributions” in Connecticut.
The Board of Trustees recently promoted three Department of Educational Psychology faculty members. Melissa Bray of the School Psychology program has been elevated to a professor with tenure. Robert Colbert of the Counseling Program and D. Betsy McCoach of Measurement, Evaluation and Assessment have been elevated to associate professors with tenure. The Oxford University Press has invited Professors Melissa Bray and Thomas Kehle to edit the Handbook of School Psychology. It will be one of 14 handbooks comprising the Oxford Library of Psychology. The pair also serve as co-editors of the Handbook of Behavior Interventions to be published Melissa Bray by the American Psychology Thomas Kehle Association. It has been a rewarding spring for Dr. Kehle. He has been appointed associate editor of Psychology in the Schools and was the recipient of the School Psychology Quarterly’s Reviewer of the Year Award.
Professor James O’Neil has been elected to Fellow status by the American Psychology Association’s Division 56 (trauma psychology). This makes six APA divisions which have granted him this honor.
The Department of Physical Therapy welcomed a new assistant professor in January. Anjana Bhat joined us following completion of her post-doctoral work at Johns Hopkins. Her research focuses on the detection and treatment of autism.
The UConn Board of Trustees has promoted two physical therapy faculty members. Professor Craig Denegar, who also serves as department head, was granted tenure. Jeffrey Kinsella-Shaw was elevated to associate professor with tenure. He has been on the faculty Craig Denegar Kinsellasince 2002 and works with the Jeffery Shaw Center for Ecological Study of Perception and Action. His research team focuses on how perception and action can be compromised by changes in muscles and limbs due to age, disease or injury.
Educational Educational Psychology News Psychology News
Dr. McCoach is co-editor of a new book, Multilevel Modeling of Educational Data, which was sponsored by the American Educational Research Association. It’s the latest in a series on Quantitative Methods in Education and Behavioral Sciences, and examines the effects of groups or contexts on individual outcomes. Multilevel modeling techniques enable educational researchers to more appropriately model data that occur within multiple hierarchies such as the classroom, school and/or district.
Professor Hariharan Swaminathan and Associate Professor Jane Rogers have been appointed associate editors for the Journal of Educational Measurement. The journal is the most prestigious in the field of educational measurement. The two are faculty of the Measurement, Evaluation and Assessment program. Dr. Swaminathan also serves as department head.
Another impressive honor for Professor Richard Bohannon! He is the 2008 recipient of the American Physical Therapy Association’s Jules M. Rothstein Golden Pen Award for Scientific Writing. The award recognizes an association member who has demonstrated superior writing skills in an article published in the journal Physical Therapy.
We’re happy to report that construction has finally Anjana Bhat started on the Nayden Rehabilitation Clinic’s future home. It will be located at the Human Development and Family Relations building on campus. Once completed, the new offices will provide sufficient space for excellent patient care and expanded opportunities for the clinical education of our PT students.
Physical Therapy News
All UConn PT alums are urged to become members of the Neag School Alumni Society. Pam Roberts currently serves on the Neag School Alumni Board and welcomes suggestions, assistance, and involvement from all. The Connecticut Physical Therapy Association has selected Melissa Morales, a student in our Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, for its Minority Physical Therapy Student Scholarship. Melissa is from Seymour, Conn., and is currently in her second year of the DPT program.
Continued from page 1 problem-solving issues involving environmental change, social responsibility, and health. Rojas says English language learners learn better when lessons are embedded in thematic units.
Federal Grant Promotes Math Instruction in Spanish have been plagued by a generally inadequate mathematics placement system and a dysfunctional curriculum, says Rojas.
“They will be building bridges of communication through a mathematical curriculum with these three elements,” says Rojas, who also sees continued learning in a native language as a human rights issue.
The best students are merged into mainstream classrooms, she says, and all other English language learners are transferred out of bilingual programs after 30 months. Yet it takes more than eight years to acquire more or less comfortable proficiency in a new language, she says.
“I feel very strongly about this,” she says. “If you lose your language, you lose the spirit of your culture. And mathematics is a good avenue for students to develop both their first and their new language, because the ability to think logically and reason deductively are embedded in every domain of learning.”
“We know a large percentage of Latino adolescents are failing mathematics, and a large percentage are dropping out of high school in 10th grade,” Rojas says. “So we need to find ways for the students to continue to learn mathematics in Spanish.” “In order to do that,” she adds, “we have to invest in training Spanish bilingual mathematics teachers and teachers committed to working with such students, and instill in them effective research-based methods of teaching and learning.”
Top Six Languages Spoken by Connecticut ELL Students
School counselors, administrators, and parents also are part of the project. Rojas says that when teachers are assured of support and interest, they can integrate change into instruction. A research group working on these topics will be led by Xae Alicia Reyes, an associate professor of curriculum and instruction, through the Institute of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies. Faculty involved will develop workshops and seminars in cross-cultural communication in schools, to help build culturally responsive learning environments. “Native Spanish speakers see mathematics as a continuum,” Rojas says. “Here we compartmentalize it into algebra, geometry, and pre–calculus.” Latinos also take a more cooperative approach to learning math, she adds, whereas in America the process is individualized. Many of the problems lie in cultural differences says Rojas. To address these deficiencies, Rojas created an intermediate algebra and precalculus course in Spanish, which she piloted at UConn in fall 2005. Part of the new grant will be used to strengthen and implement that course. Teachers participating in the project will develop courses concentrating on
Total Conn. ELL Students
Source: Conn. Education Data and Research 2005
Counseling Internship Provides Valuable Real-World Experience Student and Community Benefit Leave it to a track star to make a leap of faith. As a UConn undergraduate student, Deirdre Mullen was a three-time All-American in the high jump. These days, as a graduate of the Neag School’s master’s degree program in School Counseling, she is jump-starting employment careers for special needs students in a pioneering program in Wallingford. Mullen, a Princeton, New Jersey native, wasn’t completely sure of what she was getting herself into, but is now firmly convinced that it was the right step for her and for her students. “It’s not a ‘pity party,’” she says. “This is good labor. They are good workers.” With the guidance of Professor Orv Karan, coordinator of the Neag School’s Counseling Program, Mullen, a certified school counselor, works as a “transition specialist” at Lyman Hall High School, serving 18- to 21-year-olds trying to reach their next step after graduation. “These are the kids who fall through the cracks,” says Karan. “They’re too high-level for adult longterm programs, but lack the independent skills to step out of the high school environment without some additional support.” Karan established the relationship between the Neag School and Lyman Hall last year after assessing a 19 year old student at the request of the student’s family. He saw an opportunity for one of his Neag students—Mullen, as it turned out—to gain valuable experience by working in an internship with the high school’s transition program, a bit of a departure from the norm. “Though transition work is not typically what school counselors do, they are supposed to be leaders. That’s what we’re training them to be,” Karan says. Lyman Hall’s Special Education Coordinator, Janice Lautier, calls it “a perfect fit.”
For Mullen, it didn’t end with the ten-month internship. Once she’d gotten her master’s, the high school hired her to continue the program with a new group of transition students, and that, says Karan, is what makes the high school/Neag School relationship unique. “First of all, look at her level of certification, even as an intern: a master ’s-level candidate ready to function as a preprofessional. That isn’t always the case in programs like these.”
“We want them out working and socializing,” Mullen says, “because they’re not high school students. They’re 18 to 21 years old.”
praises Lautier Mullen for what she calls “a natural Dierdre Mullen (center) is surrounded by her students in the ability with special Independent Community and Employment Training program. needs students. She Beginning on the left are students: Adam Kaminski, Michael is patient and Canty, Maria Garcia, and Jesse Bickford. encouraging. That is rare in someone who hasn’t worked in special completing 3000 hours of education,” she says. passing a national exam.
"I can't think of a better way for us to prepare future educational leaders than to have our students actively participate in the development of real-world, innovate programs...." Professor Orv Karan
Mullen is currently guiding four students, providing them with a combination of class work and field work. “We have books and texts,” she says. “But when topics come up, we discuss them.”
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Brown credits TNE’s tracking and support of its new teachers during their first two years of employment for helping them stay in the profession.
As for Karan, his next step may be setting up similar partnerships between the Neag School and school systems across Connecticut. “These collaborations are a win-win for all involved,” he says. “I can’t think of a better way for us to prepare future educational leaders than to have our students actively participate in the development of real-world, innovative programs that put their creative ideas into practice”. Additionally, by placing transition students in the community as good employees, Karan believes it will help change peoples' attitudes and expectation of what special needs workers can accomplish.
“I’ve seen 30-year-olds who are burned out in the classroom, and 50- and 60-year-olds with a high level of excitement and enthusiasm,” he says.“ Time alone isn’t the key. It’s a teacher’s passion for teaching and learning that keeps him or her working at and dedicated to the job every day.”
The second part of the study consisted of a questionnaire sent to more than 1,400 UConn education graduates from roughly the same time frame, 1994 to 2005.
Schwab, who has written extensively about job stress, says schools can head off burnout by continuing to be “vibrant learning communities, with leaders who reinforce the importance of student achievement.”
Lautier is aiming to make the transition specialist a formal position, part of the Wallingford school budget, and one that would also include the cost of transporting students to their job sites, which Mullen does now.
But Brown says longevity isn’t the only thing that matters.
A national average for the 10-year time frame is harder to ascertain, because data is difficult to obtain. For a five-year period, the retention average nationally is roughly 50 percent.
Those who left cited “burnout,” as well as “changing career interests.”
They are not the only ones with major goals in mind. For Mullen, it may be to become a Licensed Professional Counselor, which she can do after supervised work and
When a school is accepting of teachers’ new ideas, Brown says, that can go a long way toward encouraging them to stay.
TNE Study Finds Neag Teacher Ed Grads Stay in Field Longer
Eighty-one percent of respondents who stayed in teaching indicated that they did so because they enjoyed working with students and felt a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in helping them learn.
She also works to convince employers to take on her students for non-paying jobs that could lead to full- or part-time work. Each student keeps a journal, noting the challenges they faced and the aspects of the job they enjoyed. Most of what they will learn, though, won’t be found in a high school classroom.
A 2007 graduate of the Neag School’s IB/M teacher preparation program, Bill Conroy, is a classroom teacher at Batchelder Elementary School in Hartford.
TNE sponsors workshops that deal with everything from coping with “Meet the Parents Night” to innovation in the classroom. “We think of Neag graduates as change agents in the schools where they’re hired,” Brown says. “While they have to be adaptable to the culture of their particular school setting, we also want them to be willing to try the new approaches they’ve learned during their preparation at the Neag School.”
The report, Who Stays and Who Leaves? A Study of Teacher Retention among University of Connecticut Neag School of Education Graduates by Xing Liu and Scott W. Brown, is available at www.tne.uconn.edu.
School Choice and NCLB Conferences Serve to Inform Educators (NCLB) is affecting schools and student. The March conference, No Child Left Behind: Positives, Obstacles and Solutions, was organized by Neag School Assessment Director Mary Yakimowski. In addition to the School, Teachers for a New Era and the Connecticut Testing Network co-sponsored the day-long event. Zollie Stevenson, director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office on Student Achievement and School Accountability, shared highlights of several national studies funded by the U.S. Department of Education that analyzed NCLB’s impact on Title I program implementation and accountability.
Some of the hottest topics in education drew national experts to the Neag School for two conferences. The UConn Center for Education Policy Analysis organized a two-day symposium in November entitled Public School Choice in a Post-Desegregation World. Researchers from across the country presented their work on topics ranging from the impact of landmark Supreme Court decisions to the effectiveness of grassroots-level school racial integration programs.
Among the findings he talked about: 13 percent of U.S. schools were identified as needing improvement, and they tended to be high poverty schools, high minority enrollment, middle schools, and/or large urban schools; High poverty schools continue to receive less funding per low income student than low poverty schools. Participation in school choice has more than doubled. School participation in supplemental services increased more than ten-fold; Students receiving supplemental educational services generally experienced gains in reading and math achievement that were statistically significant. Seventy-two percent of schools missed AYP in 2004-05 either the “all students” group or “two or more” subgroups; Of the schools that missed making Annual Yearly Program (AYP), 43 percent were based on the lack of achievement of the “All Students” group, and the largest subgroup missing AYP (38%) was “Students with Disabilities.
“It was the first conference of its kind and very much needed,” says Casey Cobb, associate professor of education policy and director of the policy center. “We invited many of the top researchers in the field and got a 90% acceptance,” he says. The Magnet Schools of America and the State of Connecticut Department of Education cosponsored the event with the policy center.
Casey Cobb, associate professor of Educational Leadership, speaks with John Brittain during a conference on public school choice. Brittain, a former UConn law professor, was lead counsel in the Hartford school desegregation case.
“It’s a tribute to the Neag School’s reputation that so many experts, whose time is extremely valuable, were willing to take part in the Center’s first major conference,” Cobb says. His team was grappling with questions about school choice research designs and wanted to learn from what others were doing and thus the symposium started taking shape. Presenters included: John Brittain, former dean of the UConn School of Law, now chief counsel with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Maree Sneed, an attorney whose firm was involved in both the Seattle and Louisville school choice cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court; Luis Huerta from the University of California, Berkeley, whose research has focused on school finance policy, and Claire Smrekar of Vanderbilt University, whose current research is aimed at the effect of school choice on both schools and neighborhoods.
Zollie Stevenson Jr. of the U.S. Department of Education, speaks during a March 19 conference on assessment, NCLB: Solutions, Obstacles and Solutions. Seated at right is Shuana Tucker, assistant professor in Educational Leadership.
As executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Gene Wilhoit focused on the positives and obstacles states across the country are experiencing. He said that assessments were playing a much more important role in education, and teacher requirements are moving to align with student needs. Wilhoit pointed to the lack of common standards from state to state makes it difficult to achieve a general goal.
from Connecticut News Commissioner of Education Mark McQuillan was grim. Projections indicate that in three years, 568 Connecticut schools will be “in need of improvement.” With this in mind, the Connecticut Department of Education has reorganized and created two new bureaus: Accountability, Compliance, and Monitoring and School and District Improvement. An accountability plan has been devised to align Connecticut directly with NCLB accountability standards. McQuillan stated that there is much optimism about these changes, but he also cited foreseeable obstacles. Finding sufficient resources to boost schools is an issue and local resistance to make changes within struggling schools is a challenge.
Brittain and Sneed stressed the necessity of increasing public awareness of the importance of racial diversity and integration to the education of white and minority students. “We must define those concepts more broadly,” said Brittain. “We must view them as integral to the larger issue of American democracy and pluralism.” About 100 educators turned out for to hear the latest from several influential experts at the national and state levels on how on how No Child Left Behind
“Challenging” Student Thrives to Earn National Teaching Award By his own admission, John Nguyen was not what you would call a “conventional” student as he made his way through the Neag School’s Integrated Bachelor’s/ Master’s program. That unconventional approach has served him well as a faculty member at New Haven’s James Hillhouse High School and likely paved the way for his earning a prestigious national honor.
As a teacher, he is following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who was a social worker in Massachusetts and a chemistry teacher in Viet Nam before coming to the United States in the exodus of 1975. While his family was a force in shaping Nguyen’s life, so was Neag School professor Thomas Weinland (now retired). “I probably caused him more trouble than anything, but he stuck with me,” Nguyen says.
Nguyen has been selected as an Educator of the Year by the Milken Family Foundation—an award which is accompanied with a $25,000 check.
That “trouble” mostly involved all the work Nguyen did away from the classroom, like studying in London, interning for the Connecticut State Department of Education and the National Council for Social Studies in Washington, D.C. and taking advantage of other opportunities away from the campus.
“It’s flattering to both the Neag School and to Hillhouse,” the 32-year-old Nguyen says of the award, which came as a complete surprise to him. He hadn’t been aware his Hillhouse colleagues had nominated him, and the Milken selection process is kept confidential.
Weinland remembers Nguyen as a student who was “talented, creative and a delight,” and with a grin he adds, Nguyen believes a key factor in his nomination was “Nguyen certainly explored the limits. He added spice to his work in China with a “sister school” program that John Nguyen (center), a 1999 graduate of the Neag my job as teacher and advisor. But his achievements since connects Hillhouse to Zaozhuang Middle School #3 in School’s IB/M teacher preparation program and a graduation have made us all very proud.” the Shandong Province. He also serves as a citywide teacher at New Haven’s Hillhouse High School, is social studies curriculum writer, a citywide Beginning surprised to learn he has been selected as a 2008 Having earned the distinction as a Milken Educator, Educator Support and Training (BEST) social studies Milken Educator Award and is presented with a Nguyen could easily look for a job in a less challenging mentor and a departmental team leader. $25,000 check. school district, but that’s not his style. Nguyen plans to donate a portion of the award money to Hillhouse and While the China trip was an enriching experience for Nguyen, the 1999 Neag is determined to continue his work there. grad has had many such experiences on his way to becoming a social studies teacher. Between his freshman and sophomore years at UConn, he took time “We all help each other here,” Nguyen says. “It’s not always the easiest job, off to join AmeriCorps, the national service organization created to be a but I’m definitely a public school teacher at heart. I want to be here for a “domestic Peace Corps.” His assignments included work with the American while.” Red Cross during the floods in New Orleans and Houston and the Boys and Girls Clubs in Maryland. “It was important to me,” Nguyen says of that period in his life. “I felt that any community service experience I could get would be helpful to me later as a classroom teacher.”
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As we close out another academic year, the Neag School family has much to be proud of. In this issue of Spotlight you’ll read how the recent Teachers for a New Era survey found that graduates of our teacher preparation programs stay in the field far longer than their colleagues nationwide; how the high quality care and expertise offered by our Physical Therapy department and the Nayden Rehabilitation Clinic contributed to the recovery of a retired UConn faculty member; how our school counseling program developed a method for assisting young adults otherwise destined to fall through the cracks, how our Husky Sport outreach program worked with Hartford children to organize a bike-a-thon that raised enough money to save 633 lives in Africa, and how the latest rankings have confirmed what we’ve believed to be true: The Neag School is one of the nation’s top schools of education in the country.
All faculty members have had opportunities to provide input about how the Conceptual Framework should be implemented. This summer, while our faculty members prepare their courses for the coming year, they will ensure that all courses and programs are explicitly aligned with the goals of our Conceptual Framework. This work will form the core of our upcoming NCATE accreditation review which will take place during the 2010-2011 Academic Year. During the summer, Associate Dean Thomas DeFranco will lead a team of elected and appointed faculty members through the process of completing a comprehensive strategic plan for the Neag School that will guide us for the next five years. Our work will complement the University’s new strategic plan which identifies the Neag School as a central player in the University’s future growth. In addition, the committee will make recommendations regarding policies that need to be adjusted to fully implement the Conceptual Framework. We will share highlights of the plan in future issues of Spotlight. Wishing you all a relaxing and rejuvenating summer. Best Wishes,
Dean Richard L. Schwab
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Neag School of Education
To keep us on this successful path, this past year we worked to revise and enhance the Conceptual Framework for our educator preparation programs. The Conceptual Framework provides direction for our programs, courses, teaching, candidate performance, faculty scholarship and service, and unit accountability for our educator preparation programs. It is defined by three themes: Learning, Leading, and Lighting the Way. All of these themes serve as the unifying link connecting the various elements that contribute to the mission of the Neag School and its partners.
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