Teacher Education Program (TEP) student Krystal Giles participated in a round-table discussion with Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock as part of the Make Your Mark campaign. The round-table, hosted by Denver Public Schools (DPS) Acting Superintendent Susana Cordova and Mayor Hancock, focused on the important role teachers of color play as advocates and role models for students of color.

The Make your Mark Campaign is an initiative dedicated to diversifying the faculty population working in Denver schools by recruiting educators of color. Mayor Hancock, DPS, six charter school networks, and several foundations have teamed up to lead this campaign. Their goal is to assure that the faculty working in Denver schools better reflects the diverse student population.

Diversifying teacher demographics is especially important in Denver. Statistics from Make Your Mark show that—in DPS—while over 75% of Denver students are of color, teachers of color make up less than 25% of the regions educators.

As part of the TEP field experience requirement, Giles, a Dual Degree Teacher Education candidate at MCE, works as an Apprentice Teacher at Barnum Elementary School in Denver. She was invited to participate in the round-table through the connections she developed during her field experience.

MCE promotes inclusive excellence and diversity in all of its programs, and recruits students who have a passion for inclusivity. Students like Giles are trained to become ideal candidates for schools looking to employ teachers dedicated to serving diverse populations.

The true value of our Teacher Preparation Programs is the student’s immediate immersion into the classroom under the mentorship and guidance of seasoned teachers and MCE faculty. The Denver Teacher Residency Master’s DegreeTeacher Education Master’s Degree, and Dual Undergraduate-Graduate Degree in Teacher Education prepare students for the realities of the 21st-century classroom.

As a proven student leader at the University of Denver (DU), Richard Maez has been involved in an impressive number of leadership activities on and off campus. He has been a member of the University’s Pioneer Leadership Program; external co-president of the DU Programming Board; coordinator of the Excelling Leaders Institute at the Center for Multicultural Excellence; and a fellow in the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education Undergraduate Fellowship Program. Maez is also involved with the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Program of Colorado, serving as chair of the four-day leadership seminar held every June for more than 200 Colorado high school sophomores. To add to his many accomplishments, Maez was recently awarded the Founders Day Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award by DU.

Maez is a participant in the Dual Undergraduate-Graduate Degree program offered by the Teacher Education Program (TEP) at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE). This program offers DU students the chance to complete an undergraduate degree of their choosing at the university. On completion of their undergraduate degree, students move on to complete their Master’s Degree at MCE. Candidates that complete the program finish with both an Undergraduate and Graduate Degree in under five years.

Maez, who has already completed the undergraduate portion of this program, will be completing his graduate degree at MCE in 2016. He says that his decision to continue his education at Morgridge was driven by “a passion for working with students”.

The TEP program focuses heavily on providing in context learning experiences for their students in order to equip candidates and turn their passion into purpose; a concept that Maez attributes as the key to his academic success.

Good day gold star 2We’d like to send a special congratulations to recent Teacher Education Program (TEP) graduate, Nina Jarnot. Nina has bas been awarded the Fox31 Good Day Gold Star Award, by Fox31 Denver. This monthly award goes to teachers who go above and beyond their call of duty.

With one week to go before the start of the 2014/2015 school year, Coyote Creek Elementary School in Highlands Ranch, CO, was in need of a second grade teacher. Nina quickly arrived to the rescue. She interviewed in the morning and by afternoon received a callback from administrators offering her the job, “It was a quick turnaround, but I was really thankful and excited,” Nina explains. The Good day gold star 3administrators aren’t alone in their approval of the new second grade teacher expresses one parent, “With her youth and enthusiasm, I think it really shines through, and I just think she’s a great asset to the school.”

The Morgridge College of Education and Teacher Education Program are proud of our very own, Nina Jarnot!

To see the Fox 31 segment highlighting Nina, follow this link:  http://www.covideo.com/p.php?s=51302bcd8b

“When I was growing up, I didn’t think I’d be a teacher. My parents were both teachers; my sister is a teacher; it’s the family occupation,” explains Aaron Stites, a fresh face in this year’s Teacher Education Program cohort at the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education. “I was a probation officer for the State of Colorado for over four years, volunteered for six months to teach in Latin America and ended up as the director of an education program down in Nicaragua for 22 months. I was the program coordinator for a teen homeless shelter for a year and worked for the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver in an educational summer camp teaching 5th grade. I learned firsthand, that teaching was what I enjoyed most.”

His work experience, time abroad, and his family’s influence, along with some inspiration from teachers back home in Grand Junction helped Aaron confirm his passion for teaching. After deciding on a career path, Aaron started researching Teacher Education programs in the state of Colorado. “DU is head and shoulders above other programs in the state,” commented Stites. “It’s a selective, one year program based on a gradual release model, where students are placed in cohorts for a brief classroom period before learning InContext with an apprentice teacher and a classroom of students. I applied, interviewed, got accepted, and now I’m here.”

A Day in the Life of an Apprentice Teacher_1Among several cognate options, Aaron selected focused coursework around culturally and linguistically diverse learners for his masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Before starting classes at Morgridge College of Education, Aaron received his apprentice teacher and classroom assignment at Bryant-Webster Elementary School in the Denver Public School System to learn from and teach with Ginger Skelton and her 5th grade classroom. Bryant-Webster is the only early childhood education through 8th grade dual-language school in the state. Students at Bryant-Webster are on the course to be bilingual, bi-cultural and bi-literate in both Spanish and English by the 8th grade.

The first quarter of classes at DU started with four intensive courses: Second Language Acquisition with Dr. Maria Salazar, Teaching and Learning Environments with Jessica Lerner, Special Education with Dr. Molly Leamon, and Teaching Mathematics for Elementary Teachers with Dr. Richard Kitchen and Dr. Terrence Blackman. Stites elaborates: “In a matter of weeks, everything we’ve learned feels like six months of coursework. But I’ve already developed baseline fundamentals of managing a classroom, working with diverse populations and breaking down the subject most elementary teachers fear the most, math. All of these classes moved quickly to get us in our classrooms where it all comes together with experiential learning. You start with your classroom on their first day of school and observe the apprentice teacher for a while; eventually, you teach a lesson, then a few lessons, a full day, and ultimately a full week. It’s overwhelming, everything teachers have to do, but we get to see the whole process, from day one to the end of the year, all with the same group of kids.”

Before students filled the classrooms and hallways, Aaron joined Ginger and other Bryant-Webster faculty and administration for professional development, reviewing the philosophies of the school and the district and setting goals for the 2013-2014 academic year. Aaron describes his first few weeks in his apprentice classroom: “It has been rewarding to observe Ginger the past few weeks. She is a consummate professional and with 16 years of teaching experience, she has everything set up perfectly and collaborates often with other teachers. That first week with students is all about establishing expectations, behaviors and routines. It surprised me how much she went over transitions like changing classrooms or sitting down for floor time, but the kids really responded to it. I am excited to get to know my 5th grade classroom better; it’s a really interesting age because the kids are getting ready to transition to the next level, but are still definitely kids.”

Throughout the year, the InContext learning at Bryant-Webster will be coupled with many more classes at MCE. Stites reflects on his experience at MCE so far: “My cohort is filled with people of all different ages, from various places and diverse backgrounds. People came from occupations such as finance, the corporate world, international education, or are recent graduates. Most of the students are from Colorado, but many of my fellow classmates are from New York, California, and Tennessee (as well as other states). It’s enlightening for everyone when you have that kind of diversity. And each professor I’ve had has been extraordinary; no matter what the situation, they’ve ‘been there, done that’. Our teachers do the things that we need to do in our classroom, like setting up different ways of learning and displaying objectives for the day; they are modeling how to be an effective teacher.”

There are months to go and there is much to learn, but when asked what his dream job is, Aaron answers, “I’m concentrated on being a good teacher, to feel like I’ve made an impact and that my kids are getting the knowledge and understanding they need to move on to the next level … that, is my dream job.”

Click here to learn more about the program Aaron Stites is in, the Teacher Education Preparation program.

Barth Quenzer, Teacher Education Program graduate and DU change agent, was recently recognized for his exceptional teaching at Brown International Academy when he received the $25,000 Milken Educator Award. Barth’s passion for helping kids and active involvement in writing new art standards for Colorado contribute to the qualities that make Barth a model teacher for the state and the nation. With a natural tendency to teach and engage his classroom, Barth is impacting the way his students view and learn art.

At Brown International Academy, Quenzer has established a classroom for kindergarten through fifth grade students that isn’t just about teaching art, but teaching students to be artists.  Quenzer created a collaborative art space for his students to be artists in their specific talents, working together toward a greater vision. Barth also runs the after-school art club further elaborating on the importance of collaboration and community when it comes to understanding art.

Starting in 1985, the Milken Educator Awards were created to give educators the recognition they deserve. The Milken Educator Awards celebrate and ignite excellence in the education sector. Each year, outstanding teachers across the nation are selected to receive the Milken Educator Awards based on instructional practices, educational accomplishments, contributions to education, and inspiring classroom presence. Quenzer was one of the 40 teachers recognized nationwide this year by the Milken Family Foundation. Like many Milken Educators, Barth is and will continue to be an agent of change in reforming and strengthening K-12 education for years to come.

Among other professional achievements, Barth has also been awarded the 2012 Elementary Art Educator of the Year from the Colorado Art Education Association (CAEA) and the 2009 Mile High Teacher of the Year Award. Barth has been selected to serve as Content Collaborative member by the Colorado Department of Education to develop assessment and effective teaching strategies in visual arts.

Barth was Morgridge College of Education’s featured guest for the Winter Signature Event on January 17, 2013.

Find out more about Barth and the Milken Educator awards here

 


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