P.O. Box 100547 Florence, SC 29502         (843) 661-1828

The mission of the Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty is to increase the achievement of children of poverty by improving the quality of undergraduate teacher preparation, graduate teacher preparation, and the professional development of in-service teachers.   
March 2017 E-Newsletter
Volume 12         Number 6 
Quick Links
Upcoming Events

2017 Events

Center of Excellence Research Consortium
March 14

Featured Speaker: 
David Berliner 


Summer Institute
June 27-28

Judy Willis 
Mike Kuczala 
Robyn Jackson 
Gerry Brooks 

Center Welcomes
New Assistant Director

Jennifer Szalwinski
The Center of Excellence is pleased to introduce Assistant Director, Jenny Szalwinski. She will come to the Center after twelve years in Lexington School District One where she taught 4th grade for nine years, followed by three years serving as the facilitator of the Personalized Learning Lab in a Competency-Based and Personalized Learning school.

While teaching fourth grade, Jenny sought resources that could help her better meet the needs of her students.  She committed then to the sequence of four graduate courses that lead to South Carolina's Add-On Certification for Teachers of Children of Poverty.  She is a member of the first cohort to complete the Endorsement requirements, and she will earn the Add-On Certification before the end of the year.  "This study changed my life!" says Szalwinski. "The first course caused me to realize that I, too, was a child of poverty, and it fired my desire to learn more about how to meet the needs of my under-resourced students." 

Three courses later, the Center's Assistant Director position became available and Jenny says she viewed this as an opportunity to expand her reach.  She has a passion for supporting the needs of teachers working in high poverty schools and looks forward to sharing her real-life experiences with strategies that were successful in her classrooms.  As Assistant Director, Szalwinski's goals are to build strong relationships with educators around the state and to use the Center's resources to provide long-term support for them.  She also will strive to instill a sense of urgency in leaders around the state for this important work.

Szalwinski earned a degree in Elementary Education from Mississippi University for Women.  In addition to her focused study on children of poverty, she will complete her Masters in Education Administration from the University of South Carolina later this year, and she previously earned both National Board and Gifted and Talented Certifications. 

Jenny will begin her work at the Center on March 20.  She may be reached then at jszalwinski@fmarion.edu or 843.661.1826.

Welcome, Jenny! 

2017 Research Consortium
Last Chance to Register! 
Dr. David Berliner  
To Keynote at the Research Consortium

Confronting Myths and Lies about Public Education
Date: March 14, 2017  
Time: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 
Location: SC History and Archives Building 
David C. Berliner is Regents' Professor Emeritus of Education at Arizona State University. He has also taught at the Universities of Arizona and Massachusetts, and at universities in Canada, Australia, The Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, and Switzerland. 

Professor Berliner has authored more than 200 published articles, technical reports, and book chapters.  Collateral Damage, co-authored with Sharon Nichols, explores the corruption of professional educators through high-stakes testing. His most recent book, 50 Myths and Lies that Threaten America's Public Schools, was co-authored with Gene V. Glass and students, and published in March, 2014. Berliner is the winner of numerous awards, most notably the Brock award and the AERA award for distinguished contributions to education, the E. L. Thorndike award from the APA for lifetime achievements, and the NEA "Friend of Education" award for his work on behalf of the education profession. 

Click here to register now!
Registration closes on March 10, 2017.
Final Call! 2017 Essay Contest
Need Some Extra Cash?
This Center-sponsored contest is intended to encourage participants to develop their own views about a central idea while concurrently substantiating these views with references to current research. The 2017 Essay Contest is open to FMU students and P-12 Teachers in South Carolina schools. Cash prizes will be awarded to authors of the four best essays that meet all contest criteria and receive the highest scores.
 For more information, please contact Dr. James Ritter at jritter@fmarion.edu. 

Topic for Education Majors/ P-12 Teachers:  
"Important Work: Teaching Children of Poverty"

Topic for Non-Education Majors: 
"Why Poverty Matters in Schools and In Life"
Entry Deadline is March 17, 2017

1st and 2nd Place prizes will be awarded to winners  
in each of the following entry categories:  
 - Non-Education Majors - 
- Education Students K-12 - 
- P-12 Teachers -

1st Place  -  $200          2nd Place  -  $150
Submissions must be turned in electronically!
Summer Institute 2017
Deadline Extended
Summer Institute Presentations

Educators learn best from other educators!  Your best practices can be featured in breakout sessions.  Do you have a classroom activity that has been very successful?  Are you finding ways to motivate your learners?  Have you used a brain-based strategy that has energized your classroom?  Now is the time to share with others.  Proposals are now being accepted and the process is simple.   Questions?  Call or email the Center.  
Deadline for Proposals:  April 21, 2017.

Click here for the Guidelines and Application!

New This Year 

Summer Institute 2017 Set for June 27-28

Keynote Speakers
Judy Willis
Mike Kuczala
Robyn Jackson
Gerry Brooks  
The Center of Excellence Summer Institute is a two-day event designed to provide participants with practical, research-based information that focuses on the needs and abilities of under-resourced learners. Four keynote addresses and specialized breakout sessions will focus on classroom strategies and best practices for under-resourced students around this year's theme:  
Challenges and Opportunities:
Teaching Children of Poverty.

Register online NOW!

Practicing Mindful Thinking

Great things are happening in Dawn Oswalt's fifth grade class at Oak Pointe Elementary School in Lexington/Richland School District Five because of her application of what she learned in a recent Center-led professional learning event.

After studying the importance of relationships and the impact of stress on learning, Oswalt began conducting check-ins with her students every morning to see how they were doing. She quickly found a few students with their thumbs down and wa
nted to help. This is when she realized mindful thinking may help give the students the power to help deal with their stress bo
th in and out of school. She used a short, two minute mindfulness-focused tummy exercise during which she guided her students to first imagine a balloon and then to put all of their stress into it.  Next students were instructed to tie up their balloons and imagine a beautiful place.  Wh en ready, the imaginary balloons were released and students visualized them rising higher and higher until they were completely out of sight.   Dawn says, "Those two minutes began changing these students' perceptions immediately. Within seconds students told me how much they loved it and how they felt more at peace." Throughout the week, Dawn noticed the lasting impact those two minutes had as students began asking if they could "do the balloon thing again." As a result, her classroom had shifted into a more peaceful environment where students were becoming more focused and ready to learn. Dawn encourages other teachers to find those two minutes for their students as well because once their stress have been managed, students can move to a place where academic achievement is possible.  

Dawn says, "So much has changed for me due to the Center.  They are constantly striving to educate teachers on the most up to date research, and their presentation of evidence to support suggested practices furthers the cause. They are providing teachers the opportunity to reflect on the whole child and how to support not only their academic needs but their social and emotional needs as well."

Thank you, Dawn Oswalt, for your important work!
Does your school have a success story that aligns with Center strategies? 
Send it to us so that others can learn from you! 
Spotlight on FMU Students 
Service Learning

This February, Dr. Lisa Midcalf and Dr. Patricia Boatwright, both Francis Marion University faculty, took their Education 190 classes to tour the Boys Club/Girls Club of Florence. Although currently enrolled in only their first education class,  these students are already learning the importance of community service.  After this initial tour, the students will be matched up with a buddy to mentor during the week. They will help the Boys and Girls Club members with homework, read with them, and be a friend. This community service learning project was established with the help of the Center.

Read what two students had to say about their trip:
It was amazing! I love the fact that there is a place where kids can go after school and still be involved with their education. Instead of doing something that could harm their future.

I enjoyed seeing the different classroom settings and how one instructor opened class with a chant!

                                     -Trevor Norris  
                                  -Samantha Black
Wealth of Resources
Need Resources? We have what you are looking for!

Did you know the Center of Excellence has a collection of more than 400 books and they are available for you to check out? Did you also know the Center website has hundreds of helpful articles that are free and just a click away?

Check out this recent addition to our Resource Library:
Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard
by Dan Heath and Chip Heath

Take a look at these Good Read Articles from our Facebook page:

(Ladd, Noguera, Reville, & Starr, 2016)  
(Ascione, 2017)  
FMU Center of Excellence | (843) 661-1828 | coe@fmarion.edu | http://www.fmucenterofexcellence.org
  520 Francis Marion Road Florence, SC 29506