Fall 2019 Newsletter

A closer look at... the Trauma-informed Practices Teacher Leader MAEd

Teachers looking for training in a fast-growing and indispensable discipline are invited to apply to the new Master of Arts in Education Teacher Leader cognate in Trauma-informed Practices. As with the STEAM cognate of the same program, the degree will be a 30-hour, four-semester program starting the summer of 2020—but the benefits can be put to use right away.

“We’ve had stakeholder meetings to find out the needs of schools, and one thing we heard over and over was that students were coming to school with great needs due to traumatic events, [manifesting] either in their academics or their behavior,” says Dr. Rosie Young, a former JCPS principal and the current chair of advanced graduate education programs with the School of Education. “There’s a lot of work being done in schools, including mental health counselors being hired, and so we saw that a practice around trauma-informed practices would be beneficial to teachers and schools.”

While JCPS and other districts have mental health counselors on staff, rarely does a school have one of its own; instead, one counselor may be shared among many schools.

In addition to empowering teachers to develop practices in wellness while creating trauma-informed classrooms and schools, the program also will give them guidance on how to advocate for students at all stages of their educational and emotional lives. As is the case with the STEAM cognate, Bellarmine will again be an innovator in the field of advanced education in this specialized field. “The great thing about it being online,” Dr. Young says, “is you can do it from anywhere. We hope it gets national attention.” And it’s not just for K-12 classroom teachers, but also for coaches, counselors—“anyone who wants to come and learn, not just for trauma-affected kids but for all students, and create a cooperative, collaborative, peaceful classroom.”

The School of Education is exploring the prospect of teachers being able to pursue both the trauma-informed teaching and STEAM cognates—perhaps earning a master’s degree in one and a Rank I in another, including 12 hours plus a three-hour capstone in each discipline. “We believe in making all of this possible,” says Dr. Young.

A closer look at... the STEAM Education Teacher Leader MAEd

Next year, teachers will have the opportunity to become a new kind of leader with the new Master of Arts in Education cognate in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) Education.

The new track, says Dr. Kristin Cook, associate dean and science educator, was born of a growing demand for STEM education that includes the spirit of the humanities. “STEAM initiatives have been burgeoning in our local district as well as nationally and internationally,” she says, tracing Bellarmine’s involvement back to a two-year Mathematics and Science Partnership grant that the School of Education received in 2015 to help develop STEAM labs in five area elementary schools. The labs, created to develop a strong base of STEAM knowledge, proved wildly popular, and from there, Dr. Cook and colleagues consulted with stakeholders, presented with national and regional professional organizations, and even co-authored a book (Step into STEAM, Corwin, 2019) to continue building STEAM scholarship. For these reasons, she says, Bellarmine was "perfectly poised to launch a strategic STEAM initiative.”

That initiative will make Bellarmine one of only a handful of universities to offer a STEAM-centric graduate program, and one of very few that is completely online—a feature that will make it accessible to teachers regardless of location. Dr. Cook says, “There are many definitions and variations of what constitutes STEAM, and this program will make for consistency and evidence-based practice that will be cohesive across districts and states.” The inclusion of the arts—the A in STEAM—further sets it apart from the many other STEM-focused programs offered elsewhere. “We are a liberal arts institution,” Dr. Cook says. “We value the arts. It’s a more inclusive approach to STEM and appeals to a broader base of learners.”

The 30-hour, four-semester, summer-to-summer Teacher Leader program is a Master of Arts in Education program designed to train K-12 instructors in leadership skills such as coaching and mentoring. Fifteen of those credit hours are devoted to STEAM instruction that, Dr. Cook says, will “really qualify and equip teachers to train the next generation of STEAM learners and teachers.”

A closer look at... the early-entry MAT

A year from now, outstanding seniors in in certain high-demand majors will be able to pursue a master’s degree and start their teaching careers ahead of many of their peers.

The new early-entry Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) will enable incoming seniors with a 3.0 cumulative/3.25 degree-area GPA to take master’s-level education coursework for undergraduate elective credit. Coupled with the passing of the Praxis exam (basic reading, writing and mathematics) or the GRE, they will earn teaching certification in the form of a master’s degree to teach in their major area at the middle or high school level.

According to Dr. Mary Ann Cahill, who chairs the program, “Seniors will take two Education courses in the fall, two in the spring, graduate with their undergraduate degree, then go for three additional semesters” to graduate in the spring of the following year. Under current Kentucky law, new teachers are not required to have a master’s degree if they already have an undergraduate degree in education. However, specialized training both in a particular content area—be it biology, chemistry, mathematics, English or history—and educational theory and practice make graduates more attractive to school districts. It also poises them to begin their careers earlier—and with a higher starting salary than those with just the one undergraduate degree.

“The nice thing is, you can get the master’s degree and start with a [current] $48,900 salary with JCPS,” says Dr. Cahill. “That’s huge as an entry-level salary.” She adds that there are also grants and loan forgiveness opportunities available for new teachers who meet the state’s eligibility requirements.

For students wishing to plan ahead, an extra year will be billed at the MAT tuition rate, currently $665 a credit hour, and students will meet one night a week and five full Saturdays each semester.

The School of Education joins the Rubel School of Business, the Department of Communication, the Lansing School of Nursing and Clinical Sciences, and the School of Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences in offering an early-entry master’s program.

Students pursuing the early-entry MAT will need to go through the graduate admissions process by the spring of their junior year for fall entry to the program. Interested students are encouraged to speak with their advisors before the Office of Admission begins accepting applications later this fall, or to get in touch with the graduate admissions coordinator, Sarah Schuble (sschuble@bellarmine.edu).

Bellarmine Ed alums named Teachers of the Year

Melanie CallahanSeveral Knights received Teacher of the Year honors this summer.

Two out of the three Kentucky educators recognized by the state are alumni: Melanie Callahan (MAT ’00) (pictured left) is Kentucky’s Elementary School Teacher of the Year. She teaches fourth grade at London Elementary in Laurel County and said, “My goal as 2020 Kentucky Elementary Teacher of the Year is to be a positive voice for the field of education and the arts... I want to increase awareness of issues and policies limiting our kids' potential... I want to encourage families and communities to support our schools—all schools—as a way of combating poverty, hunger, and disengagement throughout the commonwealth.”

Matthew Kaufmann (B.A. ’02), who teaches English at Moore High School here in Louisville, was named Kentucky High School Teacher of the Year.

At the district level, Julie Cummings (B.A. ’89) from Eisenhower Elementary received Jefferson County Public Schools’ Elementary School Principal of the Year honors, while Chenoweth Elementary AP Terry Dikes (MAEd ’01, Ed.S. ’14) was named Elementary School Assistant of the Year.

Bellarmine = Summer destination for teachers from across the state

This summer, the School of Education hosted three workshops and conferences for teachers from all over Kentucky.

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For two weeks in June, Bellarmine Ed and Computer Science presented the GenCyber Knights camp for middle and high school students. Two dozen teachers each week explored cyber security and citizenship concepts, principles and topics. The workshop, which was funded through a $100,000 grant from the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation, prepared teachers to bring fun and unique experiences back with them to the classroom. That same month, the two-day Imagining the Future of Learning conference (cohosted with the Archdiocese of Louisville, Oldham County Schools and Christian Academy of Louisville) took teachers on a deeper dive into topics such as robotics, computational thinking and coding, discerning real news from fake, and “sketchnoting”—an integration of words and photos by which students can absorb concepts.

Late July saw Frazier Hall go purple with the arrival of the KyGoDigital workshop, which attracted nearly 400 teachers to campus. Bellarmine, one of eight stops on the statewide tour, facilitated teachers to “Create, Connect [and] Share” innovative classroom technology, from making YouTube videos more accessible to virtual reality to breaking down language barriers between ESL students and their peers.

Knights in South Africa

Students in South Africa

In May, Dr. Mary Ann Cahill and Dr. Belinda Harlow took a group of students to South Africa, where they spent three days in Johannesburg studying apartheid, then visited Port Elizabeth to work with Nelson Mandela University and offer service at the Seyisi Primary School and Maranatha Children's Home. They also enjoyed sightseeing, which included three safaris and exploring the beautiful Tsitsikamma National Park.

Grace Perkins (B.A. ‘21) is an experienced overseas traveler, but studying abroad was a new angle for her. Encouraged by other students’ study abroad stories, she took the plunge and found South Africa was different in all the right ways. “I’d never been that far away,” she says. “You’re fully immersed—I learned something every day.” Grace hopes to teach abroad in the future and is cognizant of how travel opens worlds. “There are so many things outside of Kentucky,” she says. “You can be content teaching in Kentucky the rest of your life, but I went 10,000 miles away. I can go anywhere.” Her next adventure will be the Alternative Spring Break trip to Guatemala this coming March.

Teacher candidates inducted

New student induction

On August 27, the Annsley Thornton School of Education inducted 38 new teacher candidates into the Master of Arts in Teaching and Bachelor of Arts programs. Many of the inductees had family on hand to help them celebrate their next step.

Ed.S. candidates present capstones

Student giving capstone presentation

Seven Ed.S. candidates presented their capstone research action projects in July. Each will receive an Educational Specialist degree in Instructional Leadership and School Administration, which will prepare them for principal certification. L-R: Brandy Howard (“Collaboration and Consistency: The Key to Writing Success”), Melanie French (“Providing Literacy Intervention to Increase Student Achievement”), Lauren Gant (“Targeting Low Attendance to Improve Reading Achievement”), Jenny Adams (“Improving Reading Scores with Focused Fluency Instruction”), Shayla King (“Closing the Achievement Gap”), Adrianne Tytus (“Mathematical Minds”) and Sarah Oros (“Summit Learning Program: Impact on Achievement of 6th Grade Students in Reading”).

Welcome to Dr. Caitlin Murphy and Dr. Ali Taylor

This fall, with the retirement of Dr. Dottie Willis and the departure of Dr. Belinda Harlow, come two (somewhat) new faculty faces.

When she heard about an opening for a professor of adolescent literacy at Bellarmine, Louisville native and Ohio State Ph.D. student Caitlin Murphy was hesitant to tell her family she could be coming home—not because she didn’t want them to know, but because it sounded too good to be true.

Caitlin MurphyDr. Murphy never intended to go very far, but in 2006, when she finished her bachelor’s degree, the Louisville public school job market was saturated. The opposite was true in Northern Virginia, though, and she taught 10th grade English amongst a teacher shortage there. As the only teacher there without a master’s degree, she went on to study English Education at Wake Forest University and returned to Kentucky to join the pioneering staff at Martha Layne Collins High School in Shelby County. Five years in, she took up a former principal on his advice to pursue a Rank I—“and he said, ‘You know, a Rank I could be a Ph.D,’” she says. Off to Columbus she went.

Dr. Murphy will be the first to tell you that an encouraging word can make all the difference; in her case, it was from a high school math teacher. “He made me feel successful with something I’d had trouble with all my life, and that was very powerful,” she says. “He was one of the most transformational teachers I ever had, and that changed me as a learner.” He shared her enthusiasm when she received her first A in algebra, and that further added to her drive to become a teacher. “I knew I wanted to be a high school English teacher, to build relationships and work with youth—not a top-down sort of thing.” But soon, she knew she could do even more as a professor: “I did my Ph.D. so I could grow new teachers,” she says.

As for the Bellarmine position, she learned about it from a friend who had met Dr. Elizabeth Dinkins at a conference the three of them attended last fall. She was “shocked” when she learned of the opening back in her hometown, in her very specialty: “Adolescent literacy!” she thought. “Man, this is so perfect”—and it remains so. To her, Dr. Murphy says, literacy “is so much more than reading and writing. It’s our way of communicating with people, communicating with different groups, communicating with different cultures.”

Ali TaylorDr. Alexandra “Ali” Taylor may already be familiar to some in the School of Education, having successfully defended her dissertation this past March—and before then, she received her bachelor’s degree from the School. (She earned her master’s in Elementary Education and attained her principal certification at Indiana University Southeast in between.) During all her graduate studies, she worked as a special education teacher in Southern Indiana—and even on her maternity leave last year, she didn’t stop. “When my daughter [Eleanor, born last October] was six days old, I went into the field to collect data for my dissertation,” Dr. Taylor says.

Despite activity being the default for her, being a first-time assistant professor came with its own set of surprises: “I was always so into my role as a student I didn’t consider how much work my professors did. I value how much time they took to get to know me in the small classes.” There are as many as 19 students in Dr. Taylor’s undergraduate classes—a bit over the norm at Bellarmine—but she aims to be as accessible to them as her mentors were to her. “I learned their names and give a lot of feedback. I get there early to talk to students about their lives and just be there for them.”

Dr. Taylor says she always wanted to be a teacher, with her concentration born of growing up with a sibling who has special needs. “Seeing the unique challenges he had as a student made me want to be a special ed teacher,” she says of her brother. Regarding how she hopes to share that interest with the next generation of teachers—and her own child—she says, “I want to impact future special ed teachers and tell them how I was successful in the field. [And] I hope my daughter sees how important education is.”

And the award goes to...

David PaigeTwo members of the Bellarmine Ed community received “the Oscars of Bellarmine,” the Bellie. Dr. David Paige was recognized for his literacy work in India with the Homines Pro Aliis Award for Service to Others, and Bryan Hamann, Ph.D. student in Leadership and Higher Education and associate director of Bellarmine Student Activities, was honored with the award for Community, Collegiality and Civility “for consistently demonstrating and elevating the ideals of community, collegiality and civility.” Dr. Donovan presents these awards annually to faculty and staff members who exemplify one of nine university values.

Grant news

In addition to the aforementioned GenCyber grant, the School of Education received an $18,000 grant from WHAS’ Crusade for Children that has allowed partial tuition support for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in special education courses. The nationwide demand for special educators is expected to grow by over 30 percent over the next decade.

Additionally, a $125,000 National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Capacity Building Grant awarded to the School of Education aims to build pathways through collaborative partnerships for students interested in STEM to become middle and high school math and science teachers.