School of Education NewsLink, Fall 2016

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Message from the Dean

Dean Kevin Zook PhD with StudentsGreetings from the School of Education! Welcome to the first edition of our School Newsletter, SoE NewsLink. Our primary goal for SoE NewsLink is to keep in touch with you! We want you to be aware of School news, events, and initiatives. We would also welcome news from you to include in future editions. Let us know about your professional achievements, new positions, awards, and special projects.

These are exciting times in the School of Education. As you will read in the news that follows, we have been busy revising our master's programs and developing new blended and online delivery strategies, implementing the Project Excellence Grant, graduating the first students from our Doctoral Program, initiating the Educational Research Forum, adding a new full-time faculty member, and much, much more.

Thanks for reading SoE NewsLink . . . let's stay connected!




Kevin Zook, PhD
Dean, School of Education

Table of Contents

Project Excellence Grant | Master's Program Online | EdD Program Graduates
Faculty Spotlight: Diane Elliot | Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Wagner '15
Educational Research Forum | Faculty Achievements

Project Excellence Grant

SOE Newsletter Project Excellence 1Through Project EXCELLENCE, a three-year PA Department of Education-funded eligible-partnerships grant, Holy Family University has been working with the School District of Philadelphia and ASPIRA Schools to build sustainable relationships between the districts and Holy Family to develop and maintain high quality clinical experiences for pre-service teachers. School of Education faculty member, Dr. Patricia Joergensen, was instrumental in helping to obtain the grant and served as the Holy Family site coordinator.

The cornerstone of the grant-supported collaboration was the St. Cloud Co-teaching Model for student teaching. Special Education and General Education teachers have been using co-teaching for many years to meet the needs of all of the students in the classroom, those with and without IEPs. In the St. Cloud model, co-teaching is used during the student teaching experience so that the student teacher and cooperating teacher are working collaboratively from the very first day of student teaching. Co-teaching is defined as two teachers working together with groups of students and sharing the planning, organization, delivery and assessment of instruction and physical space (

Since January, 2014 forty-one Holy Family University student teachers and thirty-seven teachers from Hancock-LaBrum, Mayfair, Anne Frank, Comly, and Lawton Schools as well as the Antonia Pantoja Charter School have used co-teaching in forty-eight different classrooms. Through Project EXCELLENCE the co-teaching pairs (cooperating teacher & student teacher) and their university supervisors received information about the benefits and research-base for co-teaching. Pairs learned about and practiced using the following co-teaching strategies:

One Teach, One Observe: One teacher has primary instructional responsibility while the other gathers specific observational information on students or the (instructing) teacher.

One Teach, One Assist: One teacher has primary instructional responsibility while the other assists students' with their work, monitors behaviors, or corrects assignments.

Parallel Teaching: Each teacher instructs half the students. The two teachers address the same instructional material using the same teaching strategies.

Alternative (Differentiated) Teaching: Alternative teaching strategies provide two different approaches to teaching the same information. The learning outcome is the same for all students, but the avenue for getting there is different.

Supplemental Teaching: This strategy allows one teacher to work with students at their expected grade level, while the other teacher works with those students who need the information and/or materials extended or remediated.

Station Teaching: The co-teaching pair divides the instructional content into parts. Each teacher instructs one of the groups, and groups then rotate or spend a designated amount of time at each station.

Team Teaching: Well planned, team taught lessons, exhibit an invisible flow of instruction with no prescribed division of authority. Both teachers are actively involved in the lesson. From a student's perspective, there is no clearly defined leader, as both teachers share the instruction, are free to interject information, and available to assist students and answer questions.

SOE Newsletter Project Excellence 2The pairs also received training in professional relationship building and communication skills. The co-teaching model requires both the cooperating teacher and student teacher to be able to share ideas, discuss issues and alternatives and to deal with concerns when these arise. All of our participants role-played situations that prepare them to have difficult conversations with each other if needed.

Through the co-teaching model, student teachers were fully immersed in all aspects of teaching from the start of the student teaching experience. Through collaborative planning, instruction, assessment and reflection, student teachers were able to understand their classroom teachers' rationale for specific actions. Ideally, every cooperating teacher includes the student teacher in the classroom, makes time for co-planning and discusses the pros and cons of various instructional choices. The co-teaching model defines these collaborative practices as the norm. Here are some comments from our grant participants regarding co-teaching:

• (Co-teaching) allows us to personalize instruction based on need.
• We are able to reach more children.
• We are able to spend more time with the students who are struggling and this helps them improve.
• Children become more engaged during instruction and grades are improving.
• Assessment is immediate and problems are caught quickly.
• With guided reading you get to all groups. One teach and One assist really helps with those children who get lost or confused easily.
• Deeper understanding of children strengths and weaknesses more individualized instruction.
• Students get more feedback and it helps us differentiate.
• As a student teacher it was helpful to be seen as a teacher from the beginning of the experience, that way the students respected me right away.
• I have had more opportunity to test new strategies.
• For me, as a student teacher I have been able to learn more about management from the experience.
• We are always communicating throughout the day- more so than if we were using the old model of student teaching. More collaboration is necessary with co-teaching.

SOE Newsletter Project Excellence 3In addition to co-teaching during student teaching, Project EXCELLENCE also helped to support Family Math Nights at two of our partner schools, Hancock-LaBrum and Lawton. Holy Family University graduate students taking the course, Teaching Mathematics Methods, have the opportunity to use the math activities they develop for their "Math Tote for Families" and bring these to the LaBrum and Lawton School families. The Family Math Nights have been a great success! Holy Family students have been able to meet parents and children and see the "fruit" of their work, and parents and children have been provided opportunities to do math together. It has been a win-win for pre-service teachers and families.

Although the three-year grant comes to a close at the end of September, 2016, the projects and work that have been initiated with grant support will continue. Dr. Joergensen will continue to work with our partner schools to document the impact of co-teaching on the clinical practice of pre-service and in-service teachers. The Family Math Nights will continue to serve as a way to expose pre-service teachers, particularly graduate students, to the important role of families in children's lives and academic development.

Our Master's Programs – Revised and Ready for Online Delivery

The School of Education is now prepared to offer our six master's programs in an eight-week cohort delivery model that is structured in a blended format or completely online. In the blended format, classes will meet in person three times during the eight-week period on weeks one, four, and seven. In the online format, classes will be completely online, with no face-to-face meetings. The first cohorts have already begun, and more will be added for this coming fall and spring semesters. Not only are the cohort classes designed to increase convenience for our master's students, they are also more affordable—offered at a substantial tuition discount.

The coordinator for the initiative is Dr. Roseanna Wright, special education faculty member in the School of Education. Dr. Wright has been at the forefront of moving the University to develop blended and online courses. In addition to serving as the coordinator for this initiative, Dr. Wright also serves as the chair of the University committee that provides guidance and oversight for online learning: Committee for the Oversight of Blended and Online Learning (COBOL). According to Dr. Wright,

Blended and online course delivery formats are in demand in higher education. At Holy Family, we have increased our capacity to provide both blended and online options through the creation of an oversight committee (Committee for the Oversight of Blended and Online Learning), systematic reviews of blended and online courses based on Quality Matters standards, and a greatly improved IT infrastructure. The blended/online cohort program provides options to graduate students for both blended and online learning along with an accelerated, eight week, course session. The program has grown rapidly from two cohorts starting this summer to an anticipated six cohorts starting in the fall.

The School of Education faculty recently restructured all six master's programs. All programs now include a common core of nine credits that focus on three master's level topics: (a) Educational Research, (b) Legal, Political and Social Issues, and (c) Communication. In addition to providing this foundational set of core courses, all programs were streamlined and reduced from 36 credits to 30 credits. Our six master's courses include the following:

1. Reading Specialist
2. TESOL and ESL
3. Educational Leadership (includes principal certification)
4. Special Education Advanced Practice
5. Special Education Initial Certification
6. General Master's Degree (with electives from preceding five programs)

If you are looking for master's degree opportunities to further your professional development, we invite you to check out our six restructured programs and our new blended/online cohort plan.

EdD Program Graduates First Doctoral Students at Holy Family University

At the May 2015 Commencement at the Kimmel Center, the School of Education made University history by hooding the first three doctoral graduates to complete our program in Educational Leadership and Professional Studies.

EdD Commencement 2015

Lauren Durkin
Dissertation: Exploring Undergraduate Music Education Learning Experiences: The Impact on Pre-service Teachers' Perceived Confidence To Teach Music.
Dissertation Committee Chair: Dr. Elizabeth Jones

Michelina Serianni
Dissertation: Students' Perceptions of College Readiness and Retention
Dissertation Committee Chair: Dr. Elizabeth Jones

Donna Tortu
Dissertation: General and Special Education Teachers' Perceptions of Inclusion
Dissertation Committee Chair: Dr. Brian Berry

At the most recent Commencement ceremony in May 2016, the following four graduates were hooded.

EdD Commencement 2016

Carol A. Braunsar
Dissertation: Fifth and Sixth-Grade Students' Motivation to Read and Parent or Guardian Involvement
Dissertation Committee Chair: Dr. Helen Hoffner

Brian D. Caughie
Dissertation: The Perceived Impact of the Layered Curriculum Model on Student Engagement
Dissertation Committee Chair: Dr. Elizabeth Jones

Patricia A. Erickson
Dissertation: An Examination on the Use of the Survey of Adolescent Reading Attitude as a Prediction of Students' Time Spent Reading E-books and Print for Self-Selected Reading
Dissertation Committee Chair: Dr. Kathleen Quinn

Sandra Ann Molden
Dissertation: Teacher and Parent Perceptions and Preferences Regarding Effective School to Home Communication
Dissertation Committee Chair: Dr. Roger Gee

Congratulations to all seven doctoral program graduates! We wish you well in all your future professional endeavors!

Are you thinking about taking the next step in your educational journey? Our EdD program in Educational Leadership and Professional Studies can open up numerous professional opportunities and put you on a path to greater influence and leadership in the field of education.

Faculty Spotlight: The School of Education Welcomes Diane Elliott

School of Education Professor Diane ElliotThe School of Education welcomes Diane Cardenas Elliott, a new full-time faculty member who joins us this fall. Diane's primary teaching responsibilities will support the doctoral program in the areas of statistics and quantitative research methodology. She will serve as a member of the Doctoral Program Faculty and provide consultation and guidance for doctoral dissertations.

Originally from New Jersey, Diane is coming to us from North Carolina where she taught education and statistics courses at North Carolina State University and William Peace University. Before relocating to North Carolina, Diane taught at Bloomsburg University and served as an AERA Postdoctoral Fellow appointed at the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Diane's research focuses on issues of educational equity and examines the intersection of K-12 and higher education. She seeks to understand disparities in educational attainment by analyzing the education trajectories of disadvantaged students. Currently, she is the principle investigator on a longitudinal, mixed methods study tracking the educational trajectories of a group of men of color. Diane's research also examines issues of educational equity from an assessment perspective, focusing on the evaluation and assessment of student learning and programmatic interventions aimed at improving educational outcomes of students.

In her spare time, Diane enjoys running, reading, and taking care of her children, Jack (7), Lily (4), and Bode (her 13 year-old German Shorthair). A warm welcome to Diane Elliott!

Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Wagner, Class of '15

School of Education Alumni Alumna Sarah WagnerIn 2015 I graduated from Holy Family University with my Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood and Special Education. I can say with confidence that choosing to obtain my undergraduate degree and teacher certification from Holy Family has positively impacted my life and my career. I graduated with incredible memories, meaningful friendships, and most importantly, the knowledge and confidence to pursue my passion for education.

By August following my graduation in May, I was offered a job as a 6th-8th grade autistic support teacher at the Alternative Middle Years (AMY) at James Martin School in the School District of Philadelphia! While this was an older age group than I originally thought I wanted to teach, my professors at Holy Family instilled in me an unwavering enthusiasm and an understanding that all children deserve a dedicated teacher. So I went for it! In September 2015, I began my teaching career and since then I have never felt happier or more fulfilled.

During my first year, I was able to work closely with the creators of a new curriculum being used by my school district and provide data to help with the future development of the program. My experiences at Holy Family equipped me with the knowledge and tools I needed to take on research and development opportunities such as this. I am so thrilled with the progress my students are making in all aspects of their education and I can't wait to see this continue as I grow as an educator. While I was taught the importance of content, curriculum, and classroom management, I was also shown that the best thing I can do for my students is to believe in them just as my professors believed in me.

In the next year, I will be pursuing my master's degree. I want to be the best I can be for my students, so that is why I plan to go back to Holy Family University for the Special Education Advanced Practice program. I am looking forward once again to being part of a school that feels like being part of a family.

School of Education Initiates Educational Research Forum

The School of Education held its first-ever Educational Research Forum in early May. The purpose of the Forum is to show-case the dissertation research of our doctoral students, as well as the research activities of our School faculty members. Six presentations included five doctoral students, Carol Braunsar, Brian Caughie, Ellie Ingbritsen, Sandra Molden, and Dianna Sand (see dissertation titles above). In addition one of our faculty members, Dr. Roger Gee presented A Corpus-based Study: Frequency Levels of the Defining Vocabulary Found in Five Online Dictionaries.

The Educational Research Forum is free and open to the public. We look forward to greeting you and your friends and colleagues at next year's Forum, which will be held in April or May. Check back here at the next edition of SoE NewsLink for more information!

Faculty Achievements in Teaching, Scholarship, and Service

Faculty in the School of Education continue to stay on the cutting edge of teaching, scholarship, and service. Here are some of their recent activities and achievements:

  • Dr. Maria Agnew served as the keynote speaker for the Archdiocesan Principal's Conference.
  • Dr. Gerry Arango presented I Love You Even When You Drive Me Nuts: Creating Positive Caregiving Relationships at the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council. Dr. Arango also coordinated the 2nd annual Caregiving Symposium at the University in February 2016.
  • New Jersey Department of Education in-service presentations to teachers were delivered by Dr. Brian Berry on the topics of Structuring Learning Experiences and Community Based Instruction.
  • In March 2016, Dr. Roger Gee presented The Defining Vocabulary of Mid-Frequency Vocabulary in Online Dictionaries at the 8th International Conference on Corpus Linguistics in Málaga, Spain. In September 2015, Dr. Gee presented Evidence from a Learner Corpus: What Aspects of Vocabulary Use are Predicted by a Test of Vocabulary Recognition? at the Learner Corpus Research conference in Cuijk, Netherlands. Dr. Gee also presented Adjective Word Order: More Than Before Nouns at the 23rd Peru TESOL Convention in Trujillo, Peru.
  • A grant of $12,193 was awarded to Dr. Kim Heuschkel by Pennsylvania Key to support her work in Early Childhood Education Degree Coursework Alignment with the Pennsylvania Core Knowledge Competencies for Early Childhood and School-Age Professionals. Dr. Heuschkel also presented Making Friends: Technology, Social Media and Early Childhood Education at the fall conference of the Bucks County Association for the Education of Young Children.
  • Dr. Helen Hoffner published two instructor resource guides to accompany textbooks published by Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall: Instructor's Resource Manual and Test Bank to accompany the textbook, Literacy for the 21st Century: A Balanced Approach and Instructor's Guide to accompany the textbook, All Children Read: Teaching for Literacy in Today's Diverse Classrooms. Dr. Hoffner also is in the process of publishing a book, Catholic Treasures and Traditions (Schiffer Publishing). Part of the book will focus on the development of Catholic school textbooks and the Catholic educational system.
  • Dr. Patricia Joergensen presented at the fall conference of the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators (PAC-TE): Cultivating and Supporting an Active Online Learning Community throughout the Clinical Experience. Dr. Joergensen also presented Teacher Candidates as Co-Teachers: The End of Sink or Swim at the National Student Teaching and Supervision Conference at West Chester University.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Jones reviewed a draft of the book, Teaching Online: A Guide to Theory, Research, and Practice (Johns Hopkins University Press). Dr. Jones and Dianna Sand (doctoral student and adjunct instructor) presented Integrating Common Assessments in First Year College Success Courses at the Faculty of the Future Conference in Newtown, PA.
  • Dr. Janet McNellis, Associate Dean of the School of Education, serves as an Associate Editor for Pennsylvania Teacher Educator, the professional journal of the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators (PAC-TE).
  • Dr. Kathleen Quinn published two reviews in the Buros 20th Mental Measurements Yearbook: the Observation Survey and the Test of Word Finding, 3rd edition.
  • A Study of the Writing Attitudes of College Students was presented by Dr. Donna Rafter at the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers, Costa Mesa, California.
  • Dr. Kevin Zook, Dean of the School of Education, is currently serving a two-year term as the President of the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators. Prior to his term as President of PAC-TE, Dr. Zook served for two years as President-Elect and Chair of the Government Relations Committee. Following the two-year term as President, he will serve an additional two years as Past-President. PAC-TE is the largest organization of teacher educators in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.