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Department of Teacher Education
Fort Hays State University
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Rarick Hall 244
Phone: 785-628-4204
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News Archive

FHSU Professor Obtains National Research Priority Grant

Dr. Chris Jochum, chair of the Department of Teacher Education at Fort Hays State University, conducted research in Costa Rica this summer as part of a National Research Priority Grant from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

He is one of eight candidates nationwide to receive this competitively selected grant.

Jochum directed on-site research in San Jose to provide future and current Spanish teachers with opportunities to improve their language and teaching skills.

As part of his research, Jochum conducted interviews prior to leaving, throughout and after his trip to Costa Rica. Jochum also offered a workshop that focused on methods of teaching foreign languages and teaching English to students of other languages.

Jochum hopes to offer similar trips for all education majors at FHSU.

In PLACE Scholarship Opportunity

A grant designed to increase the number of highly qualified elementary teachers in underserved Kansas regions was awarded to Fort Hays State University's Department of Teacher Education. The In PLACE Education Project -- Innovative Pathways to Licensure and Competency in Elementary Education -- will receive $104,033 from the Kansas Board of Regents through its competitive Kansas Teacher Education Grant Program. The one-year grant, with opportunities to apply in subsequent years, includes $55,000 dedicated to scholarships for In PLACE elementary teacher candidates (students) who commit to teaching in underserved districts. The grant ties directly to efforts by FHSU's Department of Teacher Education to meet the critical need for quality Kansas educators.

posted 6/28/2016

Nationally Ranked Programs

U.S. News and World Report, in partnership with the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), has ranked our secondary education program 3rd in the nation and our elementary education program 12th in the nation.


Tiger Tots Nurtury Center to Become an ECU Lab School

Tiger Tots Nurtury Center is a daycare and preschool center for children of FHSU faculty, staff and students. This fall, the Department of Teacher Education has assumed the administration and directorship of Tiger Tots from the Office of Student Affairs. Early Childhood Unified faculty members Ms. Natalie Unruh, Director, and Ms. Sara Stroup, Education Director, are hard at work to bring exciting new changes to the center. Plans are underway for Tiger Tots to become a lab school where Early Childhood Unified majors will participate in extensive residency-model clinical experiences. For more information about Tiger Tots, watch the interview below and visit their website.

Young Makers' Conference

The Department of Teacher Education and the Science and Mathematics Education Institute (SMEI) delivered the first ever biennial Young Makers' Conference on October 9th from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center and Memorial Union. Featured topics were drones, Lots O' Bots, coding, literature, NAO Robot, and Rapunzel. The Hays Daily News was on-hand to cover the event. Read the article on the Hays Daily News website .

Elementary and Secondary Teacher Ed Programs #6 Best Value in Nation; #1 in Kansas

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) has launched the first ever consumer guide to Colleges of Education. In the first publication released on September 30, 2015, the Elementary and Secondary Teacher Education programs in the College of Education were ranked the #6 best value in the nation; #1 in Kansas. The consumer guide, called Path to Teach, looks at both the quality of education programs -- how well they prepare teacher candidates for the classroom -- and cost -- the price of tuition, average financial aid awarded, teacher salaries in the state -- to determine which programs are the Best Value to aspiring teachers. See how all of the Colleges of Education in Kansas compare to each other.

2015 FHSU Teachers of Promise

The Kansas State Department of Education invites Kansas colleges and universities with teacher preparation programs to select two pre-service teachers as Teachers of Promise. Students given this honor attend the Kansas Teacher of the Year award banquet and participate in specific professional learning and recognition opportunities. The 2015 FHSU Teachers of Promise are Banner Goolsby and Karla Reza-Martinez. Read more about this honor on the KSDE website.

Dr. Lorie Cook Benjamin wins Faculty Service Award

Congratulations to Teacher Education Associate Professor, Dr. Lorie Cook-Benjamin, who won the Fall 2015 Faculty Service Award! Each semester, the University selects three outstanding faculty for their achievements in teaching, research/scholarly activity and service. Recipients receive a $500 monetary award for their selection as faculty of excellence. These awards are supported by Commerce Bank, the Academic Council and the Office of the Provost. The criteria for these awards are specific to each academic college and departments within their academic units.



Two Teacher Education Alumni Receive 2014 Kansas Cable Telecommunications Horizon Award

Valerie Harris, who teaches at Central Elementary School in Goodland and Alex Toepfer, teacher at Washburn Rural High School in the Topeka area, received Horizon awards in January. The awards, presented in partnership with the Kansas Department of Education (KSDE), recognize outstanding first year teachers in elementary and high school teaching positions. Harris and Toepfer are two of thirty-two Kansas first-year teachers who will be honored on February 21st at the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network State Education Conference. Read more about the award and recipients on the KSDE website.

Kansas Teacher of the Year Visited FHSU Campus

On Friday, February 27th, the Department of Teacher Education, College of Education and Technology and Kansas National Education Association welcomed to the FHSU campus Kansas Teacher of the Year 2015, Shannon Ralph (Dodge City High School, biology). Watch the video below and listen as Shannon Ralph and other nominees shared the exciting news about what's happening in Kansas classrooms.

Teacher Education Students Participated in Volcanes Spring Break Service Project

During FHSU's Spring Break, March 13th to March 22nd, several Teacher Education majors travelled with professors Dr. Lorie Cook-Benjamin and Dr. Sherri Brantley to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The trip gave students the opportunity to experience the diversity of the local culture and to help out at the Volcanes Community Education Project School. At the school, Teacher Education majors administered assessments to measure oral language skills, as well as read books and taught English to the Volcanes students. The Department of Teacher Education has an ongoing relationship with the Volcanes Community Education Project. You can read more about and donate to the project at the Envision Volcanes Go Fund Me webpage. More information is also available on their Facebook page.


Teacher Education Instructor Ms. Sarah Rhodes Receives Mortar Board "Top Prof" Award

Ms. Sarah Rhodes won a 2015 "Top Professor" award from the FHSU chapter of Mortar Board Society. Mortar Board is a Senior Honor Society, a group based on scholarship, leadership, and service. At the end of every spring semester, each member has the chance to nominate a professor he/she thought went above and beyond in the classroom, put in extra effort to assist students, built strong relationships, provided advice for after graduation, etc. This year 16 faculty were nominated. Ms. Sarah Rhodes is an instructor of science and social studies methods courses in The Department of Teacher Education. Congratulations on receiving this honor!


NCTQ Gives Special Commendation to Curriculum & Assessment Course

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), in addition to ranking our elementary and secondary programs 12th and 3rd in the nation, gave special commendation to the curriculum and assessment course offered in our Elementary Education program. In their 2014 Teacher Prep Review: A review of the nation's teacher preparation programs (2nd ed.), NCTQ states on page 46: "After evaluations of 690 programs on the Assessment and Data Standard, we commend the undergraduate elementary program at Fort Hays State University (KS) for the first evidence of comprehensive preparation of candidates for the data analysis tasks they will face from their earliest days on the job. This program stands out because it requires its candidates (working both individually and collaboratively) to practice analyzing and assessing the instructional implications of sets of mock data from both classroom and standardized assessments, rather than simply classroom assessments." In addition to this publication, NCTQ will soon feature this assignment on their Resources for Programs page in an effort to assist preparation programs in other institutions to improve their coverage of these important topics.

"Nao" Robots Enter Teaching Curriculum

Nao is an autonomous, programmable humanoid robot developed by Aldebaran Robotics. FHSU recently purchased two of the Nao robots, which will be introduced into the curriculum in various ways. The two Nao robots are owned jointly by the Science and Mathematics Institute, Forsyth Library and the Division of Student Affairs. Dr. Paul Adams, director of the Institute and interim dean of the College of Education and Technology, received funding from the FHSU Foundation to acquire the two robots. The robots are housed in the MakerSpace room in Forsyth Library, where they are available for research, teaching and public demonstrations. Dr. Diane Plunkett, assistant professor of teacher education in the Department of Teacher Education, will participate in local research with the robots. Her doctoral dissertation was on the quality of interaction when assistive technology is involved, and she saw a demonstration of Nao last spring. She will take the robots into local elementary classrooms, working not only with children but also in teaching special ed teachers.

Read the full press release.


Teacher Education Students Give Back on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Dr. Valerie Zelenka, Assistant Professor in the Department of Teacher Education, received a Volunteer Service Grant for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and delivered the planned program with the help of Mrs. Sara Stroup, Department of Teacher Education Instructor, on January 23. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, students from the Department of Teacher Education read books "to stimulate discussions about Dr. King's dream of peace, love and justice" to Washington Elementary School students in Hays with the help from a grant, says Zelenka. "The grant resources were used to purchase books about Martin Luther King Jr. and other inspirational leaders. The books will be donated to classroom libraries and the school library at Washington Elementary, which educates our community's most diverse and economically disadvantaged student population." Students then created their own "dream cloud" that included a personal dream or hope, and hung them up inside the school's common areas. This service activity was part of a service week honoring MLK Jr. sponsored by FHSU's Center for Student Involvement and Center for Civic Learning and part of the Read4Respect Bullying Prevention Project at Washington Elementary School.


Best and Worst States for Teachers: ECTV Interview with Dr. Adam Holden

Eagle Communications Television interviewed Dr. Adam Holden, Department of Teacher Education Chair, about a recent WalletHub ranking of best and worst states for teachers.

Spring Story Festival, March 26th

Excited children, stories and activities filled the upper level of the Memorial Union Thursday, March 26th when energized Teacher Education students hosted a Story Festival. Each semester, Mrs. Mary Meckenstock's Children's Literature class, TEEL 260, engages with pre-school and elementary school age children from the community. Teacher Education students also guided the children through story related learning activities. Read more about the story festival at the Hays Daily News website.

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