Instant Impact

News from Baylor School of Education

July 8, 2019
by Baylor Instant Impact
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An American Intern in Paris [07/08/2019]

Rachel Renbarger, an educational psychology doctoral student at Baylor, is in the midst of a six-month data-analysis internship in Paris with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The OECD offers many internships — 40 in education alone. However, Renbarger was the only intern selected as a data analyst for the study on social and emotional skills. “Day to day, I’ll be doing a lot of teamwork and a lot of collaboration,” Renbarger said.

During her time working on the study, the main focus is on field data – working to make sure that everything is set to run smoothly later in the study. “I think it’s going to be really great to collaborate with people who are from outside the U.S., because I haven’t done that before,” Renbarger said. Continue Reading →

July 3, 2019
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Research-proven Early-intervention Math Program Launches for 2019 [07/03/2019]

Dr. Sandi Cooper, professor and MELA director, with students

Baylor’s Mathematics for Early Learners Academy (MELA) launched its fourth summer of math intervention for struggling young students on Monday, July 1. The program has proven effective in helping pre-K and kindergarten students who were identified as below level in mathematics to achieve and exceed grade level in their mathematics skills.

Founded in 2016 by the Baylor School of Education and Sandi Cooper, Ph.D., professor of mathematics education, the program is expanding this year, with 80 students from La Vega ISD and Waco ISD — 36 who just completed pre-K and 44 who just completed kindergarten. MELA 2019 is funded by a $74,000 grant from Waco’s Cooper Foundation. The partner school districts also provide significant support, including bus transportation and para-professional staff during MELA.

READ MORE . . .

May 29, 2019
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Spring Issue of “Baylor Impact” is now Online [05/29/2019]

The Spring 2019 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 learn the secrets to teaching with creativity from the new book by associate professor Dr. Todd Kettler. You’ll also read about the new MAT program, outstanding students and graduates, faculty who are leaders at the national level, upcoming events, Centennial updates  — plus much, much more!

School of Education graduates should have received a printed copy of Impact in the mail. If you are a graduate and did not receive a printed copy, please email BaylorImpact@baylor.edu. Also feel free to email us with any news that the School needs to know!

May 23, 2019
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Baylor Students and Faculty Create Outdoor Learning Space at Local Elementary [05/23/2019]

Dr. Stephanie Boddie (right) celebrates the dedication of the greenhouse at Connally Elementary with principal Eric Cantu (center) and James Bates (left) of the Baylor School of Engineering and Computer Science.

Connally Elementary School is celebrating a new greenhouse and outdoor learning environment, thanks to the work of Baylor assistant professor Dr. Stephanie Boddie and graduate students from the Baylor School of Education, Truett Seminary and the School of Engineering and Computer Science. Boddie holds joint faculty appointments in the School of Education, Truett Seminary and the School of Social Work.

The greenhouse project has spanned the entire academic year and began in the fall when Boddie taught the course “Education from a Gardener’s Perspective” to graduate education and seminary students. The first day of class was a literal walk through a garden. Then the class planned the space; for their midterm grade, the class collaborated to write a grant proposal. One of 900 applications submitted to the Whole Kids Foundation, the project received $2,000 to build the self-sufficient geodesic dome and support it with life-science lesson plans. Boddie’s fall students wrote the curriculum. Continue Reading →

May 14, 2019
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Outstanding Seniors Honored by Baylor School of Education [05/14/2019]

SOE senior honorees with Interim Dean Terrill Saxon. L-R (back): Connor Galloway, Lindsey Carpenter, Saxon, Abby Olsen; (front): Meredith Steward, Megan Talley, Ashley Nock. Not pictured: Grace Wiley

Baylor School of Education (SOE) recognized seven seniors as outstanding students at the 34th Annual Senior Recognition Banquet April 25. Seniors were recognized for their excellence in academic and fieldwork in education programs and their readiness to impact the world.

EDICUT Preservice Educator of the Year Award

Meredith Steward

Meredith Steward

Meredith Steward, an all-level special education major from Boerne, Texas, was named the 2019 EDICUT Pre-Service Educator of the Year. This award, also known as the “Dean’s Award,” honors a student who most exemplifies the bright future for the teaching profession by the Education Deans of Independent Colleges and Universities in Texas (EDICUT).

Steward said, “I believe strongly in helping those in need. I pursue teaching in the special education field, because I am passionate about seeing every single student succeed in and outside the classroom.” Continue Reading →

May 9, 2019
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Baylor SOE Honors Memorable Teachers [05/09/2019]

Strzalka and Willemssen

Baylor School of Education senior Alyssa Strzalka nominated her high school band teacher, Steve Willemssen of Wheaton, Illinois.

Two teachers were honored at the annual Baylor University School of Education Senior Recognition Banquet on April 25. Following tradition, Baylor School of Education seniors had the opportunity to nominate teachers who had been influential in their lives. Students submitted a nomination essay about their teacher, and the awarded educators were chosen by a Baylor faculty committee.

This year, Steve Willemssen of Aurora, Illinois, and Andy McCoy of Georgetown, Texas, were honored with the Baylor School of Education’s “Most Memorable Teacher” award. Continue Reading →

April 12, 2019
by Baylor Instant Impact
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SOE Students to Present Research Projects [4/12/2019]

Erin Coleman - Action Research

Baylor master’s student Erin Coleman with her research poster from the Action Research Symposium of 2018

Senior teaching interns in the Baylor School of Education (SOE) will present their “Action Research” projects next week at the Action Research Symposium. Through research in the classrooms where they are student teaching, the Baylor seniors are learning to improve their own teaching practice.

The symposium will be Tuesday, April 16, from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Lee Lockwood Library, 2801 West Waco Drive. Baylor faculty members, plus teachers and administrators from Baylor’s partner schools, will get to see the project results and discuss them with students.

While working in classrooms this year, Baylor seniors have conducted studies to gauge the effects of allowing students choice in their learning topics, implementing various teaching approaches, using physical activity in the classroom, and more. Continue Reading →

February 11, 2019
by Baylor Instant Impact
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Baylor Senior Learns Research and Grad School Prep through Baylor McNair Scholars Program [02/11/2019]

Senior Olivia Moses presented her research on campus during the McNair Scholars Symposium last fall.

Many seniors feel the pressure of the unknown that inevitably comes as they anticipate life after college. For elementary education senior Olivia Moses, however, this pressure began to subside due to her involvement with the Baylor McNair Scholars Program.

Last fall, Moses was among Baylor’s first group of McNair Scholars, chosen after the program launched at Baylor. Over 150 other universities have the program, giving McNair students a broad network of resources and support.

The McNair Scholars Program is a federally funded program that helps low-income and first-generation undergraduates — as well as students who come from groups underrepresented in graduate education — prepare for the path to doctoral degree programs through a variety of scholarly activities, including immersion in research with a mentor. The program also provides financial planning for graduate school success, summer research internships with stipends, and the opportunity to attend academic conferences.

Moses found her place in the McNair program as an elementary education major conducting research on media literacy. For her research project, Moses analyzed the animated movie Megamind with a group of students that were participants in Baylor School of Education’s Freedom School program last summer. “The basic question is, ‘What experience do 10-11-year-olds have with analyzing and pulling out themes, and making media messages?’” Moses said. Megamind proved to be an interesting movie to work with, because the main character is a villain, rather than a hero. “There are a lot of topsy-turvy moments between good and evil, so I really wanted them to tackle that.” Continue Reading →

January 18, 2019
by Baylor Instant Impact
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EdD K-12 Leadership Student to Receive TASA Scholarship [01/18/2019]

Courtney Jerkins, a student in the EdD in K-12 Educational Leadership program in the Baylor School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership, is one of two educational leaders statewide to receive a special TASA scholarship.

Jerkins, Coordinator of Elementary Science/Social Studies and English Learners for Midway ISD near Waco, will receive the 2019 Johnny L. Veselka Scholarship from the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) at the group’s Midwinter Conference Jan. 27-30 in Austin. The scholarship recognizes the leadership of Dr. Johnny L. Veselka, who dedicated nearly 44 years of service to the association, including 32 years as TASA’s executive director. TASA awards the scholarship annually to two outstanding doctoral students pursuing careers in educational leadership, with particular emphasis on the superintendency.

Jerkins said, “I am pursuing the superintendency because it is a culmination of all of the things that have shaped my life thus far — a desire to serve others, a passion for education, a desire to support students and teachers, and now a desire to work with entire communities to promote student success.” Continue Reading →

October 30, 2018
by Baylor Instant Impact
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SOE Mission Trip Helps Costa Rican Student Enroll at Baylor [10/30/2018]

Bryan Lizano

Costa Rica freshman Bryan Lizano (second from left) is greeted at the Waco airport by Baylor faculty (l-r) Dr. Randy Wood, Dr. Trena Wilkerson and Dr. Debra Burleson.

Ten years ago, Bryan Lizano was a fifth-grade boy in Costa Rica, carefully watching a group of Baylor School of Education students completing mission work at Santa Elena School. He noticed how different these Baylor students were. It wasn’t just their accents and the slang they used. It was all the knowledge they shared about a university they loved. Lizano, a Nicaraguan refugee, liked the image of Baylor they showed by their service projects — painting the school’s walls, teaching, and developing relationships with the students.

Bryan Lizano

Bryan (back row, third from right) with the Baylor volunteers at Santa Elena School in March 2017.

As the idea of Baylor became more vivid each year the students came back, Lizano realized he wanted to become a Baylor student himself. Through support from Baylor students and professors, a dream became reality for Lizano, a freshman interested in studying computer sciences and the first graduate of his technical high school to attend a university in the U.S., with a full tuition scholarship to Baylor.

“Because we’ve know Bryan so long from the trips, he was always an active part of our activities; when he got here, it felt like he had already been a part of the Baylor family for years,” said Dr. Trena Wilkerson, professor in the School of Education. “Our Costa Rica mission students helped him to understand what Baylor is and what we stand for. They saw what a tremendous young man he is.” Continue Reading →