School of Education Undergraduate Newsletter
We are delighted to welcome students from the Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) major and minor into the School of Education family. Faculty member Rachel de Nijs, a registered SLP, oversees this growing program, which currently serves seven undergraduate majors and three minors.
Join with us in celebrating the first two CSD graduates from the School of Education! Each has been accepted into a highly ranked graduate program for next year:
Congratulations, Kaitlyn and Michelle!
As the world transitioned out of intense quarantines and back to opportunities for global travel, two School of Education students took advantage of opportunities to study abroad:
Kayleen Sperr ’22 spent the fall 2021 semester at Stranmillis University College in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She writes, “My experience exceeded all my expectations!” The Stranmillis University College program specifically caters to prospective teachers. Kayleen notes, “I was able to meet students who are studying to be teachers from all over Europe. It was fascinating to learn how they have been trained to teach, and to hear what different countries prioritize with their education. Another highlight was spending two days a week in Stranmillis Primary School teaching P2 students, aged 5-6. I loved observing how play is a central part of the curriculum in Northern Ireland, and learning how to create lessons that are supported by the Northern Irish curriculum standards. Belfast is also in a great location, making it easy to travel throughout the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Finally, all the people in Northern Ireland are extremely friendly and quickly welcomed me into their community with open arms. I am so grateful that I had the chance to study and teach internationally; I believe that it has made me a more confident, flexible, and adaptable teacher.”
Jillian Pontz ’24 spent the spring 2022 semester studying in the community of Desamparados outside San José, Costa Rica, with the missions organization Students International. Coursework in Spanish grammar and literature, Costa Rican cultures and missions in Latin America have helped support her Spanish minor, but she has also taken advantage of the opportunity to do an education internship. Jillian writes, “I am doing an internship in the tutoring center run by Students International. I get to work with students ranging from grades 1-6 on concepts they are learning in school and putting those ideas into practice in their homework. It has been a dream being able to apply what I have learned in my methods classes at Gordon in Spanish! It combines so many aspects of what I love to learn, and I get to do it with some of the sweetest kiddos I’ve ever met. I am so grateful to have this experience, and I know it will define how I teach in the future as well as my ability to walk alongside families and students who speak Spanish.”
Diversity in Schools and Communities, a School of Education course offering, has recently become the first course at Gordon College to be approved in meeting the new core curriculum Shalom Statement outcomes. During fall 2020, the Gordon College faculty voted to adapt the Core Curriculum to include these Shalom outcomes as a response to student and general concerns regarding race, multiculturalism and diversity.
The Gordon Shalom Statement defines shalom as “a right ordering of relationships and actions resulting in the affirmation of human dignity and the flourishing of community. Shalom courses in the core curriculum will allow Gordon students to examine historical racial inequities, reflect on their own cultural context, develop cultural competence, and describe and participate in God’s reconciling work in bringing shalom to this world.
Diversity in Schools and Communities is an adaptation of Context of the Urban Schools, a popular course developed in 2011 through a grant from a family who saw the need in urban school settings and wanted to fund the preparation of future teachers for these diverse settings. Diversity in Schools and Communities builds on this legacy, providing students opportunity to study the impacts of economics, culture and multiculturalism, race, politics, government and social ethics on diverse schools and their student populations. This course will be required for all education majors beginning with the 2022-2023 academic year.
Professor Kamp, who has been teaching Context of the Urban Schools for a number of years and will also teach Diversity in Schools and Communities, notes that his goals for students who come through this class are to “create and raise awareness, deepen understanding, elicit and encourage empathy, and evoke response and reaction.” Through this course, Kamp emphasizes the importance of shalom, especially in school communities. He states that “you cannot have shalomwithout justice.” Raising awareness and gaining understanding is essential even for teachers who will not be teaching in urban settings. Diversity impacts education everywhere, not just in urban schools. This shalom-based course will serve as an excellent foundation for equipping future teachers to equitably serve all students.
May 2022 marks an exciting new chapter for the middle/secondary licensure program at Gordon. We are celebrating the graduation of the Gordon College School of Education’s final three undergraduate Secondary Teacher Candidates: Melody Chan (biology), Priscilla Chow (art) and Gabby Hunt (Spanish and ESL). All three teacher candidates are completing their full-time practicum at Beverly High School, where both Priscilla and Gabby are also serving as part-time, long-term substitute teachers in their fields.
We have shifted completion of middle/secondary licensure for grades 5-12 to the graduate school. This allows individuals working toward initial licensure to work full time while completing coursework and practicum placements. Students may also choose to continue taking courses beyond initial licensure requirements to complete a full professional master’s degree. Students first complete all of the requirements for an undergraduate major in the content area they hope to teach (a subject typically taught in schools). During their junior and senior year, they may take advantage of the Gordon Plus program, completing up to 12 credits of graduate-level coursework that count towards both the undergraduate 120 credit requirement and graduate-level licensure requirements.
After graduating with their undergraduate degree, students move seamlessly into the Graduate Education program to complete the licensure program. Students may also choose to complete one of the various Master of Education programs at this time. Depending on how quickly students are able to complete their undergraduate major requirements, it is possible that they may be able to obtain their Massachusetts teaching license and finish a Masters of Arts in Education within 4.5-5 years of beginning at Gordon as a freshman.
The School of Education faculty are excited about this program as it presents many more opportunities for Gordon students who may desire to one day teach at the middle or high school level in the content area about which they are passionate.
The Bachelor’s +1 program is available to any Gordon student, irrespective of licensure area.
Chair of Undergraduate Education, Professor of Early Childhood and Elementary Education
Graduate Education Advising
Interim Dean of the School of Education, Professor of Early Childhood and Elementary Education
Many of you have heard about the passing of School of Education Dean Dr. Janet Arndt in December. Dr. Arndt played many roles to keep both undergraduate and graduate programs running smoothly. She leaves big shoes to fill! We are grateful for the fantastic team of faculty and program administrators who have all stepped up to take on additional responsibilities. We specifically wanted to highlight the following individuals who have taken on new roles:
We have initiated a national search for a new Dean for the School of Education. Please join us in praying for this search, that God would provide a visionary leader with a passion for Christ, for Gordon and for education.
Finally, when you see Mary Riso, Sara Sennott, Renie Rich and Linda Ramsdell, please provide a work of thanks and encouragement. Each one has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to provide new levels of administrative support during this time of transition.
Many thanks to Mariah Morgan ‘22 for her research and writing that contributed to many of the articles appearing in this newsletter.