Instant Impact

News from Baylor School of Education

March 15, 2018
by Baylor Instant Impact

Waco ISD-Baylor School of Education Partnership Wins National Award [03/15/2018]

Hillcrest PDS

Teacher Bianca Ochoa, M.S.Ed. ’93, Ph.D. ’13, with Sara Sommerfeldt, a junior elementary education major, at Hillcrest PDS in Waco ISD. (Matthew Minard/Baylor University)

For the second year in a row, the Baylor University School of Education has won a prestigious national honor in recognition of its Professional Development School (PDS) partnership with local schools.

The partnership between Baylor School of Education and Waco Independent School District to prepare future teachers has earned the Exemplary Professional Development School Achievement Award from the National Association for Professional Development Schools (NAPDS). The award will be presented March 17 to Baylor School of Education and Waco ISD, plus three other university-public school partnerships, at the NAPDS annual conference in Jacksonville, Florida.

The NAPDS award is given to a small number of school-university partnerships each year whose work creates and sustains genuine collaborative relationships between pre K-12 schools and higher education and prepares the next generation of teachers with valuable classroom experience. NAPDS cited the Baylor-Waco ISD partnership “for its mutually beneficial 25-year collaboration and its leadership in PDS work nationally.”




March 1, 2018
by Baylor Instant Impact

Education Students Study Abroad for Spring Break [03/01/2018]

SOE elementary education major Julianne Voigts in Octavio Paz Elementary in Queretaro, Mexico, in 2017

Students from the Baylor School of Education will participate in two study-abroad experiences during Spring Break the week of March 4-10. Undergraduate teacher-education students will be visiting schools and experiencing culture in Mexico and Costa Rica.

Queretaro, Mexico:

For the second year, students are traveling to Queretaro, Mexico, as part of the Carpenter Embedded Global Classroom. The trip is part of a semester-long class, “Social Issues in Education.” The imbedded structure gives students the opportunity to integrate and orient the global experience within their overall Baylor academic experience. Continue Reading →

February 1, 2018
by Baylor Instant Impact

School of Education PhD Candidate wins Outstanding Graduate Instructor Award [02/01/2018]

Corina Kaul, MA ’14, a PhD candidate in Educational Psychology, was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award from the Baylor Graduate School. Every semester, the Baylor Graduate School selects three graduate students for this award to celebrate their achievement in classroom instruction.

Kaul received the award for teaching The Developing Child in the Spring of 2017. It was her third semester teaching the course that discusses development and “emerging adulthood.”

“I enjoy teaching this class so much, because it gives students an opportunity to connect material we cover in class to experiences they have in their own lives,” Kaul said. “When they get those ‘a-ha’ moments, I get excited with them.”

The class is a collaboration with two Baylor School of Education faculty members, Dr. Janet Bagby and Dr. Tamara Hodges, and graduate student, Robin Wilson. Together they share information, plan activities, and work through ideas together. Continue Reading →

January 11, 2018
by Baylor Instant Impact

SOE College Prep Program Sees Promising Results [01/11/2018]

Enable for College mentor

School of Education graduate student Jacy Latta is a mentor for “EnAbled for College.”

Results from the first three years of the Baylor School of Education’s EnAbled for College program show that high-school students working with trained mentors are reaching the next level of education.

Research has proven that at-risk and disabled high school students are less likely to pursue a post-secondary education. And without that education, many continue to live below the poverty line.

The School of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology is working to change that with a grant from the AT&T Foundation. Through the EnAbled for College mentorship program, now in its fourth year, Baylor graduate students mentor high-school students in the greater Waco community.

EnAbled for College serves about 50 high schoolers each year, and 100 percent of the program participants who graduated in May 2017 applied to a post-secondary educational institution. Of those seniors who applied, 97 percent were accepted to college. Continue Reading →

December 5, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact

Baylor SOE Collaborates on Baylor Social Innovation Lab (BAY-SIC) Courses [12/05/2017]

Students experienced the river firsthand on a paddle trip.

The School of Education teamed up to offer a new kind of academic class at Baylor. This fall, Baylor launched a series of new classes to encourage collaboration among departments, faculty and students. Called “social innovation labs,” the classes are part of the wider Baylor Social Innovation Collaborative (BAY-SIC) initiative to develop deeper levels of problem solving through working with others and thinking differently.

The fall SOE offering was an interdisciplinary course called “Healthy River, Healthy Community.” The class encouraged students to investigate water issues around the world and in the Waco community. As faculty for the class, the SOE’s Dr. Sandi Cooper and Dr. Suzanne Nesmith were joined by instructors from Hankamer School of Business, the Department of Religion, College of Arts & Sciences, the Mayborn Museum, Informed Engagement, and the Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research. Cooper is professor of math education, and Nesmith is associate professor of science education and associate dean for undergraduate education. Continue Reading →

November 1, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact

Fall 2017 Issue of “Impact” is Online [11/01/2017]

The Fall 2017 issue of Baylor Impact is now available online. Check it out for stories about Baylor School of Education students, faculty, alumni and programs. In this issue, you’ll find statistics about the School’s outstanding faculty in the “Annual Update” section, leadership news, and important faculty accomplishments.

Don’t miss the cover story on the work of educational psychologists to improve student behavior in a local elementary school. A special web “Extra” provides a video profile of Rachel Vaughn, honored as the Texas Student Teacher of the Year. And if you enjoyed the alumni Q&A in the printed magazine, there are more exciting baseball insights on the website.

Read the issue at

School of Education graduates should receive a printed copy of Impact in the mail. If you are a graduate and did not receive a printed copy, please email

September 22, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact

Collaboration with Institute for Air Science Takes Young Students to New Heights [09/22/2017]

The Aviation Booklet Team (left-right): Dr. Suzanne Nesmith, Rachel Moore, Kylie Terry, Hannah Turney, Courtney Cole, Analise Sandager, Dr. Sandi Cooper

A love of flying starts early. That’s why Baylor’s Institute for Air Science wants to reach out to young students to spark an interest in flying and the science behind aviation.

While the department hosts numerous recruiting events to draw collegians to its bachelor’s degree programs in Aviation Sciences and Aviation Administration, faculty and staff wanted to also host community events and offer educational materials for students as young as elementary age.

Kelley Oliver, the Project Coordinator and Office Manager for the Institute, said that to do that effectively, they needed expertise. So they reached across campus to the School of Education — specifically Associate Dean and Associate Professor Dr. Suzanne Nesmith, a science educator for elementary grades, and Dr. Sandi Cooper, Professor and Coordinator of the Mathematics Education program and mathematics educator for elementary grades.

The pair was teaching a graduate course called STEM Teaching and Learning with Young Children. STEM curricula focus on the idea that students should be taught four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an applied approach. The class focused on building students’ understanding of how to develop and utilize STEM curriculum for young students in creative yet effective ways. Continue Reading →

September 11, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact

After-school Academics at the BCDD [09/11/2017]

Samantha Rivera gained experience teaching literacy in small groups at the Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities.

Autism might not be what you think it is. “Some behaviors associated with autism are much more manageable than people think, especially in academic settings,” said Dr. Tracey Sulak, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology. “You can integrate some children with autism into a regular academic setting, but you have to know how to do it.”

Baylor sophomores learned just that — and more — through a hands-on teaching experience offered at the Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities (BCDD) for the first time in the spring. Previously, the field experience associated with Sulak’s class, Literacy for Learners with Special Needs, was taught in a school setting. Sulak moved the class to an afternoon time slot so that she could create a community after-school academic program at the BCDD for children from multiple schools and also for children who were already clients of the BCDD’s behavior-based programs. Continue Reading →

August 7, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact

Ballpark Experience is a Hit with Sport Management Students [08/07/2017]

Sport Management marketing students with Dr. Jeff Petersen (far left) and Round Rock Express general manager Tim Jackson (far right) at Dell Diamond

Graduate students in Baylor School of Education’s (SOE) Sport Management program joined the roar of a Dell Diamond stadium crowd with cheers and claps as they enjoyed a game of the Round Rock Express minor league. But they weren’t there for the baseball action; they were there to see sports marketing in action. As the sweltering Texas sun finally sank over the horizon, Dr. Jeff Petersen’s marketing class settled in for the Triple-A game, ending a full afternoon visit to the stadium, where the students met with sports marketing professionals and toured Dell Diamond — all facilitated by Round Rock Express General Manager Tim Jackson, BA ’08, MSEd ’09, graduate of the Sport Management Program.

“The biggest thing is just getting [students] exposure,” said Petersen, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership. “We do this summer trip where we come here and get an immersive experience by visiting with the front office staff, touring the facility from a marketing perspective, and then watching some of the marketing happen.” Petersen has been taking his sports marketing classes to Dell Diamond for five years. Continue Reading →

July 14, 2017
by Baylor Instant Impact

Math for Early Learners Academy Expands for Year Two [07/14/2017]

MELA Class

Hands-on activities help pre-kindergarten students understand numbers.

Research done in kindergarten classrooms has shown that a pilot program of the Baylor School of Education helped young students gain an advantage in math understanding, as compared to their peers.

The Baylor School of Education has launched its second year of the Math for Early Learners Academy (MELA), a summer early-intervention program for early childhood students in Waco ISD.

Last summer the program enrolled one class of 17 students who were entering kindergarten. During the school year, the MELA research team evaluated the children’s progress in early fall and late spring of the school year.

MELA assessment

Dr. Sandi Cooper conducts an assessment during the first week of MELA on the Baylor campus.

“Midway through the fall semester, we conducted an assessment of all the kindergarten children at Brook Avenue Elementary, including our MELA students,” said Dr. Sandi Cooper, professor of mathematics education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction and founder and director of MELA. “From those results we saw that our MELA students were ahead of their peers, which we expected in the short term.”

Cooper said that researchers gave another assessment at the end of April. “Once again, we saw that the MELA students were ahead of their peers, without any other intervention during the school year,” Cooper said. “We were very pleased that MELA gave them a boost that kept them moving forward in mathematics learning throughout the entire academic year.” Continue Reading →