Instant Impact

News from Baylor School of Education

August 13, 2018
by Baylor Instant Impact

Baylor to Host September Showing of Public Education Documentary BACKPACK FULL OF CASH [08/13/2018]

Baylor University School of Education and Baylor Movie Mondays, a program of Baylor’s Department of Student Activities, will host a showing of the documentary BACKPACK FULL OF CASH, narrated by Matt Damon and billed as “a film exploring the real cost of privatizing America’s public schools.”

The movie will show at 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 10, in the SBC Theatre of the Mayborn Museum Complex. It is free and open to the public.

After the film, an expert panel of education leaders will discuss the film and how the issues explored in it apply to Waco-area schools.

Panelists include:

  • Marcus Nelson, superintendentWaco ISD
  • Bonnie Lesley, co-founder, Texas Kids Can’t Wait
  • Matthew Polk, executive director, Prosper Waco
  • Alexis Neumann, superintendent, Rapoport Academy Public School
  • Erin Wolfe, director of communication, Harmony Public Schools

For those unable to attend on Monday, a second showing will be offered on Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 5:30 p.m. in Packard Auditorium (Room 101) of Marrs McLean Science Building on the Baylor campus. Following the Tuesday showing, Talbert will facilitate a discussion of the issues and their impact for educators and preK-12 students. Continue Reading →

August 9, 2018
by Baylor Instant Impact

First-Year Teacher Reflections: How Did our 2017 Grads Do? [08/09/2018]

The Baylor School of Education prepares graduates for the classroom through rigorous coursework as well as intense faculty-guided field experiences. But how did the 2017 grads really do in their own classrooms? Read the reflections of five graduates after their first year of teaching. (BTW, job placement for our May 2017 BSEd graduates seeking teaching positions was 100 percent!)

Trevor Taylor, BSEd ’17
High School English
Wagner High School, Judson ISD

“A week (literally seven days) after crossing the stage and becoming a Baylor alum, I was offered my dream job of being a high school English teacher at Wagner High School in San Antonio. Many of us hope to make a difference in the world around us. We strive to leave a legacy. We desire to leave the world a better place than the way we found it. I felt called to pursue this mission in the community that raised me, so there was no better place for me to begin my career as a world changer than in the exact same halls that I walked as a high school student.” Continue Reading →

August 8, 2018
by Baylor Instant Impact

SOE Center for Christian Education Welcomes Executive Director [08/08/2018]

Dr. Matt Thomas joined the Baylor School of Education (SOE) on Aug. 1 as executive director of the SOE’s Center for Christian Education. Founded in 1985, the CCE is dedicated to advancing evidence-based approaches to educational improvement and values-driven leadership through a range of programming and resources.

SOE Interim Dean Dr. Terrill Saxon said the center will undergo an expansion as the result of a significant gift to the SOE from Lynda, BSEd ’79 (MA ’85 in education from Texas Wesleyan College), and Robert, BBA ’80, MPA ’81, Copple of Frisco, and this appointment is an important first step in realizing an ambitious agenda for the center’s future.

“Matt’s background in Christian education and his commitment to the training of strong Christian leaders make him a perfect fit for the expanded role of the SOE’s Center for Christian Education,” Saxon said. “His expertise will launch a new era for the center and help shape its future.”

Thomas comes to Baylor from a position in California, where he served as executive director of a national radio ministry broadcasting on more than 600 stations. For more than 20 years, he has served in various roles within Christian schools, seminaries and Christian higher education institutions. His experience includes a stint as head principal of a diverse Christian school in Southern California. Continue Reading →

July 27, 2018
by Baylor Instant Impact

Annual iEngage Civics Education Camp will Focus on Civil Engagement & Building Consensus [07/27/2018]

Rep. Bill Flores talks to iEngage summer campers.

One hundred fifth- through ninth-graders will learn about civics and how to be engaged, active citizens during the annual Baylor University iEngage Summer Civics Institute July 30-Aug. 3 on the Baylor campus. The camp, in its sixth year, is hosted by Baylor School of Education through a grant from the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation.

The iEngage camp’s curriculum teaches children about civic action and political participation, as they meet local civic leaders and elected officials before developing an action plan for civic change. During the weeklong camp, they learn about the structure of government and other civic-related topics by playing digital games on, a free online website founded by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor that teaches civics concepts using educational games.

iEngage is directed by education faculty members and camp co-founders Brooke Blevins, Ph.D., associate professor of curriculum and instruction, and Karon LeCompte, Ph.D., associate professor of curriculum and instruction.

This year’s iEngage will focus on civil discourse and engagement as a means to build consensus, the co-founders said. Students will divide into groups, and each student will advocate for the community issue that they would like the group to address. Then the group must come to a consensus.

READ MORE . . . .

July 26, 2018
by Baylor Instant Impact

Local Teachers Join Baylor Science Educators for EPA-funded Field-based Experience at Lake Waco Wetlands [07/26/2017]

A federal grant of $91,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), plus matching support of $30,000 from Baylor University, will bring together Baylor scientists, science educators and local teachers in an effort to teach the next generation about water quality and reuse.

Dr. Bryan Brooks & Dr. Suzanne Nesmith

From July 30 through Aug. 3, 20 Waco-area science teachers from grades 4-12 will participate in a field-based professional-development experience based at the Lake Waco Wetlands (LWW). The program – “Immersed in the Wetlands: An Environmental Academy for Educators” – will engage the educators in inquiry- and field-based environmental education methods, so they then can share those methods with their own students in local classrooms.

“I’m a strong proponent of inquiry-based science, where students are actually doing science and looking for an answer to a question,” said Suzanne Nesmith, Ph.D., associate dean and associate professor in the Baylor School of Education, who is principal investigator of the EPA grant. “Very few educators have these field-based experiences in their own preparation, so they might not be comfortable with doing science in the field and are typically not providing these opportunities to their own students. You cannot help children build an understanding of the environment and have skills and abilities to take action if you simply talk to them in a classroom.”


July 24, 2018
by Baylor Instant Impact

Math Teachers Attend Three-Day Conference at Baylor [07/24/2018]

Keynote speaker Dr. Hiroko Kawaguchi Warshauer of Texas State

Baylor School of Education is welcoming 50 middle and secondary mathematics teachers from across Texas to the Mathematics Teacher Academy (MTA) on the Baylor campus July 24-26.

Teachers are coming from 26 schools, including districts in the Houston, Dallas and San Antonio areas. This is the second year the SOE’s Department of Curriculum & Instruction has offered this professional development opportunity, which is co-directed by Dr. Trena Wilkerson, professor of secondary mathematics, and Dr. Rachelle Rogers, clinical associate professor of middle grades mathematics.

The theme of this year’s academy is “Supporting Students in Productive Struggle Across Mathematical Content Areas.” Continue Reading →

July 19, 2018
by Baylor Instant Impact

Teachers Flock to Baylor for Summer Literacy Institute [07/19/2018]

Presenters are well-known reading experts, including Kylene Beers – advisor at Columbia University, previously senior reading researcher at the Comer School Development Program at Yale University, and author of “When Kids Can’t Read.”

Baylor University’s School of Education will host 240 teachers for a three-day Summer Literacy Institute July 24-26 at the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation.

Launched in 2016, the Summer Literacy Institute is an annual professional development event that focuses on practical help for teachers. This year’s conference addresses struggling readers and writers in grades 4 through 12, covering strategies for engagement, comprehension, vocabulary and revision.

“Students should understand the basics of reading and writing by the end of the third grade,” said Margaret Thomson, senior lecturer in the School of Education and a conference co-director. “But many students do not go beyond basics skills and develop the ability to comprehend complex text and write at the level required in today’s workplace.”


July 17, 2018
by cameron_bocanegra

Follow-up Assessments Show early-intervention Program Improves Students’ early Math Skills [07/17/2018]

The Math for Early Learners Academy (MELA), now in its third year sponsored by the Baylor University School of Education, is underway through July 27 at Baylor’s Mayborn Museum, and research is showing that the summer early-intervention program serving early childhood students in Waco ISD is showing positive results.

Baylor faculty and graduate students have conducted follow-up math assessments of the students both of the previous years and found that the program is making a difference.

“After participating in MELA, students who were previously identified as being consistently below their peers in mathematics were found to be indistinguishable from their peers on a test of broad math ability,” said Sandi Cooper, Ph.D., professor of mathematics education in the department of curriculum and instruction and founder and director of MELA. “This suggests that participating in MELA enabled these students to not only make progress in math ability but also to close the gap between them and their peers.”



July 12, 2018
by Baylor Instant Impact

SOE Welcomes Students from Valley Mills with Superhero Theme [07/12/2018]

The School of Education welcomed 50 students and seven teachers from the Valley Mills ISD (VMISD) After School Centers on Education (ACE) program to the Baylor University School of Education on Thursday, June 14. Dr. Tony L. Talbert and Dr. Sandra Talbert chose a superhero theme for the visit, inducting the students into the “Green and Gold Illuminate League” based on the students’ strong educational powers.

Katherine Argo, VMISD-ACE director, chose Baylor University as the group’s first summer field trip location and asked the Talberts to introduce her first- through sixth-grade students to the many educational opportunities they can choose for their futures.

The Talberts captured the VMISD-ACE students’ attention by telling them that they all have unique superpowers. Donning a red cape emblazoned with a golden “S,” Dr. Tony Talbert became the character of “Super Teacher” and asked the students, “How many of you can tell me your favorite superheroine and a superhero?”  Enthusiastically the students called out their favorite characters — Wonder Woman, Black Panther, Batgirl, Batman, Supergirl and Superman. Continue Reading →

July 3, 2018
by Baylor Instant Impact

SOE Doc Student Cara Cliburn Allen Wins Scholar Award for Food Insecurity Research [07/02/2018]

Doctoral student Cara Cliburn Allen received a Scholar Award for her work on food insecurity among college students.

Surviving on dry cereal and ramen can be typical for a surprising number of college students, even at Baylor. This realization led School of Education doctoral candidate Cara Cliburn Allen to focus her research in Higher Education Studies on food insecurity — the inability to access three nutritious meals a day.

Her passion and interest in “at-risk” student populations led to a recent $15,000 scholarship award from the P.E.O. Scholar Awards program, a merit-based award for women conducting research in a doctoral program, that she will use to further her study on how food insecurity shapes students’ identity formation. P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization), founded in 1869, is a philanthropic organization with more than 6,000 chapters dedicated to supporting higher education for women; celebrating the advancement of women; educating women through scholarships, grants, awards, and loans; and motivating women to achieve their highest aspirations. Continue Reading →