Colorado College News: Education, Meg O’Neill MAT ’13: Innovating a different type of classroom Fri, 16 Jun 2017 14:45:00 MDT <p></p> Two MAT Students Named to Educator Honor Roll Fri, 12 May 2017 15:45:00 MDT <p>Two Colorado College <a href="">Master of Arts in Teaching</a> (MAT) students have been recognized by the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE).</p> <p>Mike Pritts and Tricia Renee Cornelius were both named to the CDHE&rsquo;s inaugural Aspiring Educator Honor Roll and were honored earlier this week at the State Capitol in Denver.<br /><br />Pritts, an Army veteran who was named a <a href="">Tillman Scholar last year</a>, has a deep understanding of the challenges military families endure. He entered Colorado College's program with the expressed goal of working at Fountain Fort Carson High School, hoping to create a safe and welcoming family-like community for his students whose lives are filled with uncertainty. Pritts already has secured a job as a history teacher and football coach at the high school beginning next year.<br /><br />Cornelius was born to be a teacher, says Deb Mortenson, the education services manager at CC&rsquo;s Education Department who officially nominated the two MAT students. &ldquo;When she talks about her students, there is a light in her eye, a joy that cannot be suppressed. She is truly passionate about helping her students see their potential and giving everything of herself to help them achieve that,&rdquo; Mortenson says. &ldquo;Renee is dedicated to education as social justice and committed to ensuring all her students have access to high quality experiences.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;This ceremony recognizes the tremendous impact our future educators will have on their students and the state of Colorado broadly,&rdquo; says Kim Reed, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. &ldquo;Educators are training the next generation of artists, engineers, scientists, and health professionals who will power our economy and enliven our communities. They truly make all other professions possible. We want all teachers and administrators&mdash;and especially our young educators&mdash;to know Coloradans support and appreciate their invaluable work.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Jacob Kirksey ’15 Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Thu, 06 Apr 2017 10:15:00 MDT <p><strong>Jacob Kirksey &rsquo;15</strong>, who received a B.A. from Colorado College in economics and education, has been awarded a 2017 <a href="">NSF graduate research fellowship</a>. He currently is in the education policy doctorate program at the University of California&mdash;Santa Barbara&rsquo;s Gevirtz School, the university&rsquo;s graduate school of education. He is one of six recent Colorado College graduates to receive an NSF graduate research fellowship.</p> <p>Kirksey&rsquo;s research interests are in the economics of education. His research project examines which of the three information-processing skill sets &ndash; literacy, numeracy, and problem solving &ndash; are most important for attaining a STEM degree and achieving a STEM career for people with disabilities. Preparation for STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is especially relevant given the unique circumstances people with disabilities have when pursuing majors and careers, he says. The research could draw attention to a new paradigm for preparing people with disabilities to succeed in STEM: skill development.</p> <p>Professionally, Kirksey has worked for two nonprofit organizations, taught K-12 theatre in schools, and designed his own after-school programs. Through these positions, he has designed several workshops for teachers, parents, and students, focusing on issues related to school engagement. He also teaches a drama class at a nonprofit organization in Santa Barbara, California.<br /><br />Currently, Kirksey is working on research related to absenteeism, suspension rates, and special education policy. His interests also include teacher education and preparation in STEM fields and teacher agency in the policy landscape.</p> <p>While a student at Colorado College, Kirksey participated at the national level in speech and debate all four years and was named an <a href="">All-American in forensics</a> his senior year by the Pi Kappa Delta National Honor Society.</p> Planting the Seeds of Art and Writing Mon, 27 Mar 2017 11:00:00 MDT ]]> <p><strong>Maggie Mehlman &rsquo;19,</strong> <strong>Sophia Pray &rsquo;19, and Jilly Gibbs&nbsp;&rsquo;20</strong> sit in front of a large painting of a man and woman holding boxes of strawberries and fields in the distance, part of artist Don Coen&rsquo;s visiting migrant series on display at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Pray tells a group of fourth- and fifth-graders from nearby Taylor Elementary School that she likes the painting because it reminds her of California, where she is from.</p> <p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s good,&rdquo; Mehlman says of Pray&rsquo;s explanation as to why she likes the painting. &ldquo;She didn&rsquo;t just say &lsquo;I like it&rsquo; or &lsquo;it makes me happy,&rsquo; but told us why. She provided evidence for her personal connection to the art.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>David Figel &rsquo;20, Ana Ortiz-Mejias &rsquo;19</strong>, and <strong>Emily Gardner &rsquo;19</strong> tell the students to look at various paintings in the museum, asking them to find one they make a connection with. Prompts for connections include: Which piece of art reminds you of yourself? Someone you know? A place you have been? A time when you felt a strong emotion?</p> <p>Students put their hand on their head when they find a piece of art they connect to, then share their connections with their classmates. As they sit in a circle on the museum floor, Figel asks them what they learned.</p> <p>&ldquo;We learn more about each other when we share connections,&rdquo; one student replies.</p> <p>&ldquo;You can always learn something new about somebody,&rdquo; says another.</p> <p>The 13 Colorado College students working with the elementary-school children are in Associate Chair and Lecturer in Education Kris Stanec&rsquo;s Power of the Arts course, one of CC&rsquo;s community-based-learning classes. Intertwined with the class was a project called &ldquo;Multiple Narratives,&rdquo; which fosters engagement with art through a writing curriculum that begins with students making connections between themselves and a piece of art.</p> <p>The project also seeks to validate and support individual&rsquo;s various narratives and relationships to art. &ldquo;My approach challenges the common dominant narrative of museum education, in which the museum has the knowledge and visitors come to listen.&rdquo; Stanec says.</p> <p>Stanec is the Spring 2017 Mellon Faculty Fellow for the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Museum. The fellowship supports Stanec&rsquo;s work developing a curriculum to bring together CC students, Colorado Springs School District 11 teachers and students, and FAC docents with the museum&rsquo;s collections. The Mellon grant supports the development of the Colorado College and Fine Arts Center alliance, and provides funding for supplies such as art cards, schools&rsquo; transportation and museum admissions, and pays for the near para-professional assistance of <strong>Paige Harari &rsquo;17</strong>, who has worked closely with Stanec on the project.</p> <p>Every day during the first two weeks of Block 6, Stanec&rsquo;s class visited Taylor Elementary (full name: Alice Bemis Taylor Elementary, a serendipitous tie-in with the Fine Arts Center), working with the students in a series of writer workshops. There they used art cards, or photographs, of pieces in the FAC&rsquo;s permanent collection as writing prompts, engaging students with the art before they even entered the museum. The connections the students made with the artwork generated ideas, or &ldquo;seeds&rdquo; for their narrative pieces.</p> <p>In his combined class fourth- and fifth-grade class at Taylor Elementary, Kyle Gilliam stresses the importance of taking a seed and growing it into a small moment, or snapshot. Working with the children, CC students taking Stanec&rsquo;s class remind them to use emotion, the five senses, similes, and metaphors in their writing. The result: One girl selects a photo of a Western scene and writes, &ldquo;Bang, bang! I hear the sounds of gunshots in my ears. Popcorn bursts with flavor inside my mouth.&rdquo; She explains that the painting reminds her of watching Western movies with her grandmother.</p> <p>After the two weeks with the CC class, Gilliam says improvement in his students&rsquo; writing was clearly evident. &ldquo;Students went from a few sentences, mostly &lsquo;telling&rsquo; about the art card, then transformed into &lsquo;showing&rsquo; a wonderfully written narrative,&rdquo; he says. Asked who benefits most from the CC-Taylor Elementary partnership, Gilliam says he sees it as a win-win for everyone. &ldquo;I know that our young students benefit from the opportunity to interact with positive role models.&nbsp;Furthermore, this collaboration forms a connection between two learning communities that produces long-lasting benefits for all involved.&rdquo;</p> <p>The CC course culminated with a visit to the Fine Arts Center by the children, many of whom had never been there. Prior to the big day, FAC docents joined the CC education course, discussing research on how people learn in informal contexts. The CC students and museum docents used education theory to co-create museum experiences that would meet the goals of both elementary school teachers and museum educators. &nbsp;Understanding how people learn enacted transformation that motivated viewers to look longer at the art.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was left speechless as I watched the students interact with art in a way that I&rsquo;ve never seen before,&rdquo; says Gilliam.&nbsp;&ldquo;They were fully engaged and thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and appreciated art in a new way.&rdquo;</p> <p>A highlight of the aptly named &ldquo;Multiple Narratives&rdquo; project was the elementary author-sharing portion of the venture, which took place at the FAC.</p> <p>The Taylor Elementary students had been revising and rehearsing their art-inspired narratives based on the FAC art cards for two weeks. During their visit to the Fine Arts Center, Weston Taylor and Chris Bittner of CC&rsquo;s ITS: Innovative Technology staff videoed each child as they read their narrative about their connection to a piece of art. The videos will preserve the students&rsquo; narratives and be available for other museum visitors to experience through a free augmented-reality app, Aurasma.</p> <p>Aurasma will allow the students to view themselves reading their narratives in front of the actual piece of art that inspired it. And, even more importantly, they can share their experience with their family, as each student received a free family pass to the Fine Arts Center. Through the app, other visitors can use the students&rsquo; stories as models for finding their own connections to the artwork, Stanec says.</p> <p>&ldquo;My hope is that the elementary students&rsquo; videos as well as the CC students&rsquo; augmented reality 'auras' created as assignments in the class are accessible to museum visitors in the future, as well as expanded upon by community members, artists, and museum educators for additional exhibits,&rdquo; she says.&nbsp;&ldquo;If this technology and the writers&rsquo; workshop curriculum with art cards used in this Mellon-funded pilot program become a sustainable part of the FAC, we can continue to work toward the co-creation of multiple narratives beyond this project.&rdquo;</p> MAT Student Mike Pritts Named Tillman Scholar Mon, 13 Jun 2016 13:15:00 MDT <p>Mike Pritts, a student in Colorado College&rsquo;s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program, has been named a Tillman Scholar by the Pat Tillman Foundation. The retired command sergeant major, who began the program June 1, is the first Colorado College student to receive this highly prestigious award. Tillman Scholars are selected based on&nbsp;their&nbsp;academic and leadership potential, sense of vocation, and deep commitment to creating positive change through their work in the fields of medicine, law, business, education, and the arts.<br /><br />Pritts, who retired from the Army in July 2015 with 30 years of service, spent almost 24 years as a Green Beret with the Army Special Forces. He&rsquo;s been stationed with the 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, worked as an instructor at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, and served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, where he helped expand access to education programs to enlisted service members.<br /><br />His last assignment was helping to manage the special operations training programs in Lebanon with the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.<br /><br />Pritts says he was drawn to CC&rsquo;s MAT program because the high number of student contact hours involved would help him develop his own teaching style. &ldquo;Education was a very large part of my service and I've been fortunate to teach soldiers from many of our partner nations around the world,&rdquo; Pritts says. &ldquo;Of all the accomplishments I have earned, I take the most pride in witnessing the achievements of those soldiers who I&rsquo;ve coached along the way.&rdquo;<br /><br />Since retiring from the Army, Pritts has been working as a guest teacher in Fountain &mdash; Fort Carson School District 8 to gain experience in high school and middle school classrooms. He intends to become a high school social studies teacher and continue to work with children from military families.<br /><br />&ldquo;After serving for 30 years, I have a great sense of attachment to the military community,&rdquo; Pritts says. &ldquo;We sometimes forget how much our military families endure while supporting a service member. These families are uprooted every three to four years and many never have the opportunity to live in one location for a long time. Kids are constantly leaving friends and entering a new and unfamiliar environment. I really want to help these kids with this transition in my classroom and build a family-like community that welcomes its new members and stays in touch with those who have moved on.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Having led organizations from 12 to over 1,000 in both peacetime and combat, as a high school teacher, Mike&rsquo;s leadership experience will be put to work in the classroom and with his fellow faculty members while keeping him engaged with his military family community,&rdquo; notes the Tillman Scholars program.</p> <p>The Pat Tillman Foundation was established following Tillman&rsquo;s death in April 2004 while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan. The Tillman Scholars program, founded in 2008, supports active-duty service members, veterans, and military spouses by investing in their higher education. The scholarship program covers direct study-related expenses, including tuition and fees, books, and living expenses for scholars w pursuing undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate degrees as a full-time student at a public or private, U.S.-based accredited institution.</p> Education Department Receives Grant for Summer Program Scholarships Mon, 08 Feb 2016 13:00:00 MST <p>The Education Department at Colorado College has received a $20,000 grant from the Salazar Family Foundation in Denver to support CC&rsquo;s children&rsquo;s summer programs. Of the funding, $15,000 will be used to provide scholarships for&nbsp;area children&nbsp;who receive free or reduced lunch at school, enabling them to attend CC&rsquo;s Gifted and Talented+ and Whiz Bang Science programs. The remaining $5,000 will be used for instructional supplies and transportation for children to and from Harrison School District 2.</p> <p>Associate Professor and Chair of the Education Department Mike Taber says the grant enables Colorado College to provide as many as 78 new scholarships. &ldquo;We are very pleased that the college has received these funds,&rdquo; Taber says. &ldquo;Colorado College and the Education Department are committed to providing enriched learning opportunities for our youth while we also prepare the next generation of teacher scholars.&rdquo;</p> <p>CC&rsquo;s <a href="">Gifted and Talented+</a> program, now in its 35th year, is a three-week program offered in June for students entering grade 1 through 10 in the fall. The Gifted and Talented+ program includes Conversations of Humankind, which previously was run as a separate program. This year the program will be offered June 6-24.</p> <p><a href="">Whiz Bang Science</a> is a two-week science program held in July for young &ldquo;scientists&rdquo; entering grade 1 through 10 in the fall. The theme for 2016 is &ldquo;The Science and Engineering of Toys,&rdquo; and the program will be offered July 11-22.</p> TREE Program Offers Multi-disciplinary Educational Approach Mon, 01 Feb 2016 11:15:00 MST ]]> <p><a href="">Colorado College&rsquo;s TREE semester</a> (Teaching and Research in Environmental Education) is now accepting applications from undergraduate students who wish to live and learn in a community at the Catamount Center outside Woodland Park, Colorado. The TREE semester is open to students of all academic interests, but is specifically designed for those interested in exploring both environmental and educational fields in a critical context.<br /><br />TREE students will develop their own 5th-grade curriculum and work with local elementary school students in outdoor and classroom settings. &nbsp;The program is an opportunity for undergraduate students to gain more than 100 hours of teaching experience toward professional licensure, while living, learning, and conducting their own independent research in a spectacular mountain setting. Students will work with master educators, including Colorado College faculty, local naturalists, anthropologists, and 5th-grade teachers from a partner school, Columbine Elementary.<br /><br />The TREE semester&rsquo;s multi-disciplinary approach to curriculum, from its direct connections to environmental science and education, to its emphasis on child development and the sociology of education, offers opportunities for students of varying academic interests. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis through April 15.<br /><br />In addition to providing opportunities for current undergraduates, the Catamount Center is hiring recent alumni and other qualified individuals with a bachelor&rsquo;s degree for a four-month residential <a href="">TREE Fellowship Program</a>. TREE fellows will provide teaching and research support to undergraduate students enrolled in the TREE semester and should have experience and enthusiasm for environmental science and outdoor education.</p> Una Ng-Brasch Named "Woman of Influence" Wed, 18 Nov 2015 14:15:00 MST <p>Una Ng-Brasch, administrative assistant in Colorado College&rsquo;s Education Department, has been named a "Woman of Influence" by the <em>Colorado Springs Business Journal</em> for her professional accomplishments and dedication to the community.<br /><br />Ng-Brasch, along with her husband Ron Brasch, was recognized as Business Leader in the Arts in 2013 by the Regional Business Alliance and the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region. She also received the Rising Star Award in 2008 from the <em>Colorado Springs Business Journal</em>.<br /><br />Currently Ng-Brasch serves as vice president on the board of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and as a board member of the Pikes Peak Library District Foundation. She also is active with many other cultural and community nonprofits, including the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.<br /><br />Both education and a desire to make meaningful contributions were touchstones in Ng-Brasch&rsquo;s family life growing up in Toronto. She was born in New York, where her father worked as a scientist at Columbia University. Later, Ng-Brasch&rsquo;s mother became one of Canada&rsquo;s foremost theology educators while a professor at Emmanuel College at the University of Toronto.<br /><br />&ldquo;Growing up I was often the quietest person in the room, and I always appreciated whenever someone took the time to reach out to me.&nbsp; Now, I try to reach out individually to people so they can feel that they belong and are valued,&rdquo; Ng-Brasch said.<br /><br />Ng-Brasch will be among the 13 women honored at the annual &ldquo;Women of Influence&rdquo; luncheon on Nov. 19.</p> Education Department Receives $1.1 Million Grant to Partner with Local Schools Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:45:00 MDT <p>Four faculty members at Colorado College have received a National Science Foundation grant for $1,190,012 to support CC&rsquo;s Noyce Scholarship Program. The grant was awarded by NFS&rsquo;s Directorate for Education &amp; Human Resources/Division of Undergraduate Education to Mike Taber, associate professor of education; Manya Whitaker, assistant professor of education; Howard Drossman, professor of environmental science and education; and Tina Valtierra, assistant professor of education.<br /><br /><a href="">The Education Department</a>&nbsp;faculty members requested the funds so that they could better strategically partner with two local districts &mdash; Colorado Springs School District 11 and Harrison School District 2. The program will increase the number of Colorado College science and mathematics majors who graduate and complete the &ldquo;9th semester&rdquo; teacher preparation program or the 5th year <a href="">Master of Arts in Teaching Program</a>&nbsp;and commit to teaching in under-resourced schools. Both Colorado Springs School District 11 and Harrison School District 2 have a high percentage of ethnic minority students as well as a high percentage of students eligible for free or reduced price lunches. Harrison School District 2, in particular, also has a high teacher turnover rate.<br /><br />&ldquo;The NSF funds are, naturally, a wonderful incentive for science and mathematics majors to consider education as a career,&rdquo; said Taber, who is the principal investigator on the grant. &ldquo;By engaging first-year students and sophomores in community-based science and math learning environments through paid internships, we will build a CC community of undergraduates who then become excited about education. Our aim is to provide an excellent pathway to teaching for these science and math majors through scholarship in their junior, senior, and Master of Arts in Teaching years.&rdquo;<br /><br />The five-year grant will support 29 Noyce STEM Teaching Scholars. Additionally, it provides semester-long internships in local K-12 settings and summer internships for first-year and sophomore students to work with local school districts to develop their skills both as classroom teachers and as education researchers.<br /><br />&ldquo;This award is a great example of our strategic plan in action,&rdquo; said Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler. &ldquo;Mike Taber was the first recipient of an internal grant, now known as the SEGway program, designed to support faculty efforts to secure external funding.&rdquo;<br /><br />The Education Department also is partnering with Colorado College's&nbsp;<a href="">Collaborative for Community Engagement </a>to support Noyce STEM Academic Year Internships, in keeping with CC&rsquo;s collaborative nature. <br /><br />&ldquo;There are many hands involved in building institutional capacity &mdash; thanks to everyone who participated in the effort in bringing these funds to CC,&rdquo; Tiefenthaler said.</p> Jacob Kirksey ’15 Selected as All-American in Forensics Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:15:00 MDT <p>The Pi Kappa Delta National Honor Society inducted 10 students as All-Americans, including <b>Jacob Kirksey &rsquo;15</b>, the captain of the speech and debate team at CC. Selection as an All-American is the highest honor awarded at the national tournament, recognizing outstanding seniors with successful careers in forensics, and strong academic and service backgrounds.</p> <p>The Pi Kappa Delta National Honor Society for competitive forensics hosts one of the largest speech and debate competitions in the country. It draws hundreds of competitors from colleges and universities across the United States, including <a href="">CC&rsquo;s own speech and debate team</a>.</p> <p>&ldquo;I have never witnessed a dual discipline and motivation for the arts and communication like I&rsquo;ve seen in this young man over his four years at CC. Jacob&rsquo;s ruthless determination to present only the best product is evidenced by scrapping a speech the night before competition and re-writing an entire persuasive just because the former &lsquo;wasn&rsquo;t good enough,&rsquo; &rdquo; said Sarah Hinkle, CC speech and debate coach.</p> <p>He participated at the national level in speech and debate in each of his four years at CC, competing in a variety of events from team debates, limited preparation speaking on current event topics, prepared platform speeches, and acting. Kirksey says his strongest event is impromptu speaking, in which participants have two minutes to prepare a five-minute speech that interprets a given quotation, asserts a thesis, and gives examples on how to apply the quotation to daily life. He focused also on the after-dinner speaking event, preparing a ten-minute speech that incorporates humor into a serious topic and is persuasive in nature. He chose color-blindness and the Black Lives Matter movement for his topic this year.</p> <p>&ldquo;Winning and traveling across the country is wonderful, but the best part of competing is discovering your own personal growth,&rdquo; Kirksey said of his experience on the team. &ldquo;Every tournament you are pushed to do even better than you did before, and this creates a very important routine for always bettering yourself.&rdquo;</p> <p>Earlier this year, Kirksey and his debate partner reached the quarterfinals of the Pan American Universities Debate Championship tournament. They competed against hundreds of schools competing from across the Western Hemisphere, the equivalent of reaching a medaling heat of the Pan American Games.</p> <p>&ldquo;What has impressed me about Jacob is not his competitive success, as CC has a long history of successful speech and debate students, but his willingness to extend his expertise to the community and enrich the lives of young people in Colorado Springs,&rdquo; said Julian Plaza, one of CC&rsquo;s speech and debate coaches.</p> <p>Kirksey also used the skillset he developed through forensics competitions to inspire and start his own company. Kids Are Dramatic is a social justice theatre company that works with Title I public schools, which include higher numbers of at-risk students, and with nonprofits and after-school programs, to create process-oriented drama classes for students to express themselves. He also serves as advocacy director at the local nonprofit group Imagination Celebration where he networks with professionals in the Pikes Peak Region to develop and evaluate educational programs.</p> <p>Kirksey, a double major in economics and education, began his debate career in high school in Lubbock, Texas, where he initially found his passion for the event. &ldquo;Speech and debate created a space for me to succeed in high school and see my potential. It forced me to be confident and enhances nearly every aspect of my academic and professional life.&rdquo;</p> <p>After graduation in May, Kirksey will begin the education policy doctorate program at the University of California-Santa Barbara. &ldquo;If I didn&rsquo;t have the skill set I developed and enhanced through speech and debate, I wouldn&rsquo;t be as established and confident in my work. Hopefully I&rsquo;ll be a professor at age 26.&rdquo;</p>