Volume 1, No. 2 | January 12, 2021
Message from EPP Associate Dean Gina Anderson
Dear Educator Preparation Colleagues,

Welcome to the new year! My wish for all of us looking ahead is that 2021 will yield opportunities for improved health, meaningful and respectful human interactions, and economic stability. Despite so many of 2020’s challenges, our profession has responded with poise and creativity, as well as with the willingness to work together to meet those challenges. I look ahead with confidence that 2021 will offer even more opportunities for collaboration, innovation, and service. 

Never has there been a better time to focus organizations, groups, and community partners on the common goal of a better community and a stronger Texas. No single stakeholder or educational entity can effectively prepare educators in isolation. The horizon for innovation in educator preparation demands a robust and synergistic collaboration among interested partners in order to set in motion cascading benefits for individual teachers and students, schools, districts, and the communities they serve. 

This Winter 2021 issue of our newsletter showcases several ways TWU’s Educator Preparation Program (EPP) continues to engage in local, state-wide, national, and international collaborations. We aim to meet potential teacher candidates and educational leaders precisely where they are in order to help them achieve their academic and career goals. 

I am particularly proud of the TWU EPP’s dedication to forging partnerships with individual school districts and community colleges in order to provide pathways for high school graduates, college transfer students, and district paraprofessionals to continue their educator preparation here at TWU. These pathways are essential to serving current and future workforce needs not only for school districts but for all workplaces. As author and education expert David Halselkorn has said, “Teaching is the essential profession, the one that makes all other professions possible.”

The commitment to partnerships mentioned above and featured in this issue’s stories exemplifies the capabilities of TWU’s College of Professional Education to engage in collaborative programming that makes a difference. Of the more than 50 partnerships which are active, most involve EPP stakeholders. 

Read on to learn more about some of these partnerships and how faculty, staff, and administrators focus on and adapt to the needs of candidates and communities during a time that continues to remain uncertain and challenging.  

As always, thank you for your support of our candidates and EPP! We welcome your reflections and ideas. Please continue to stay in touch with us via our newsletters, as well as on our TWU Educator Preparation Program Web page, and don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


Sincerely,
College of Professional Development
COPE Dean Celebrates Collaboration
Although COVID-19 has brought on many challenges, there is still much to be grateful for. As a college which builds better communities by being a part of those communities, we continue to work to ensure all programs in the College of Professional Education focus on supporting students and families, who are the very building blocks of the communities we foster. 
 
The College’s Educator Preparation Program has increased efforts to build collaborations that provide school districts with the support they need. Whether through years-long partnerships designed to develop “homegrown” teachers in a district, or through a program in which Bilingual Education collegians provide K-12 students with homework support and tutoring, the EPP’s involvement centers on both immediate and future needs of communities served by Texas Woman’s University. 
 
In response to difficult social events of the last year, the College of Professional Education recently formed the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Committee, with a charter committing its work to ensuring “a representative, respectful, celebratory, curious, kind, engaged, equitable, discerning, and supportive environment for learning, study, research, teaching, and all other forms of collegiality arising within a diverse community established for the pursuit of higher education.” I want to thank our inaugural committee members Aimee Myers (Teacher Education), Jorge Figueroa (Teacher Education), Kristen Becker (SLIS), Rachel Simons (SLIS), Janice Elzy (Literacy & Learning), Abraham Hwang (HDFS&C), Whitney Mathison (HDFS&C), and Sharon Bailey (Office of the Dean), as well as COPE Student Representatives, undergraduate Blessing Svosve (Teacher Education) and graduate Karina Martin (SLIS).
 
In the face of ongoing pandemic constraints and calls to establish greater communal equity, the gift of this work with families and children, with teachers and students, will always bring me hope, lift my spirits, and offer joy. I wish the same for you this holiday season. Recent causes for celebration include:
 
  • Attending online events that celebrate our students 
  • Listening to students describe how they will use their research to support K-12 learners      
  • Attending online seminars that support students as they transition to teachers of record 
  • Listening to students excitedly report on signed contracts and discuss plans for their new teaching positions      
  • Hearing students involved in our COPE Emerging Leaders program report that they see themselves as leaders for the first time as a result of their participation    
 
Through the combined efforts of all of us in COPE, I am confident our graduates will lead the way for the next generation of students, families, and communities in a reimagined and more just world. 
 
I am proud to call COPE home!

All my best,
EPP Partnership Initiative
Service in Preparing Future Teachers
With Texas public school teacher turnover remaining above 30% in recent years and the pressures of a pandemic weighing heavily on institutions of higher learning, leadership in the College of Professional Education recognized that times were ripe for inventive collaborations. Curriculum designers in TWU COPE’s Departments of Teacher Education and Human Development, Family Studies, and Counseling have crafted unique programs that meet the specific needs of associate degree holders who want to complete their education degrees and the certification process. As an added benefit, newly-designed content for these transfer students can be completed entirely online. 

Spearheaded by COPE Dean, Lisa Huffman, and Associate Professor of Teacher Education, Rebecca Fredrickson, the team worked with administrators, advisors, staff, and faculty from both TWU and Texas community colleges to sequence degree plans so that associate’s degree programs dovetail with TWU’s pathways to certification. As a result of these relevant and timely partnerships, TWU is already welcoming new Pioneers to TWU from across the state, Pioneers who can study where they live and potentially stay in their areas as high-performing teachers.
iCivics Digital Learning Game
Counties Work: Texas
On Dec. 6th, TWU’s Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership, in partnership with iCivics, the nation’s premier non-profit civic education provider, announced the release of Counties Work: Texas, a new free digital learning game. Designed to introduce Texas students to the complexity of government in a relatable way, partners --who are both members of the Texas Civic Education Coalition-- hope that, through playing, students will acquire a lifelong commitment to civic participation. 

Faculty Spotlight
Multilingual Research Partnerships
Strong partnerships between universities and local independent school districts support the creation of equitable educational practices for all learners. TWU researcher and associate professor of literacy & learning Dr. Mandy Stewart focuses on using a multilingual approach to teach students who are acquiring English as an additional language (emergent bilinguals). Through a close partnership with the Denton Independent School District, Dr. Stewart and Vice Provost for Research and Innovation, Dr. Holly Hansen-Thomas, have contributed to innovative work on translanguaging in high school classrooms, discovering how even monolingual teachers can support rigorous learning by using all students’ languages. Since 2016, this team has been able to further the conversation of bilingual education in high school settings by working with teachers in various disciplines (such as algebra, English language arts, chemistry, U.S. history). 

Further collaboration continues in the neighboring Lewisville Independent School District. LISD supports research that Dr. Stewart and another TWU faculty member, Dr. Aimée Myers, conduct on “Biliteracy Development through Social Justice Inquiry” at the Lewisville High School Harmon. The research project grew out of learning about shared interests with that school’s award-winning English as a Second Language teacher, Ms. Holly Genova. Since its inception, the collaboration has flourished as a strong teacher-researcher partnership that connects theory with practice in an actual classroom, involving Ms. Genova’s newcomer students from more than 15 different countries. These educator-researchers have focused on opportunities to share their learning with other teachers, with the goal of influencing educational spaces for all emergent bilinguals and of demonstrating that we are all, indeed, better together.
New Exam for Certification #293
Science of Teaching Reading
Effective Jan. 1, 2021, candidates seeking certification in the following areas are required to take the new Science of Teaching Reading (293) exam

  • EC-3 Early Childhood
  • EC-6 Core Subjects
  • 4-8 Core Subjects
  • 4-8 English Language Arts and Reading

Candidates are encouraged to work in collaboration with their COPE advisor (copeadvising@twu.edu) to determine the most appropriate exam to take. Visit Texas Education Agency for more information about certification and the Science of Teaching Reading exam, as well as links to the preparation manual. 
Student Spotlight
Strength, Creativity, & Service in Diversity
Texas Woman’s University celebrates the strength and creativity that stem from celebrating cultural diversity and lived experience. International students also contribute to TWU’s diverse population. This issue’s Student Spotlight focuses on two women who journeyed from distant homelands seeking higher education, and selected the curriculum and community TWU offers. 

TWU student Saumi Liyanage left her home in Sri Lanka to pursue higher education in America. Liyanage’s connections to community through schooling, marriage, and work inspired her to consider U.S. citizenship, an aspiration that deepened as teaching reinforced her sense of purpose. Liyanage gained U.S. citizenship in October 2020 while working toward a Reading Specialist Certificate and Certificate of Biliteracy as part of Arlington ISD’s Reading Education cohort at TWU. She plans to graduate with a Master of Education in reading education in Spring 2023.

A native of Vietnam, mathematics education student and Terry Foundation Scholar Nhi Chau’s lived experience during the COVID-19 pandemic has involved sacrifice --as well as the resolve to strengthen her teaching skills in support of her students. The pandemic both foiled her study and travel plans, and led to forfeiture of a prestigious scholarship she had earned. Chau has remained committed to her work with her students saying, “This experience has encouraged me to strengthen many traits that are essential to being an educator.”
TWU - Your Partner for Continuing Professional Education
Relevant Learning for Teachers & Paraprofessionals
At its core, teaching is a collaborative enterprise. Continuing Professional Education (CPE) is a crucial form of partnership. The EPP’s CPE sessions at TWU are spaces where the latest research can be shared with education professionals. They provide opportunities to learn evidence-based classroom practices while benefiting from one another’s experience and expertise. 

TWU’s College of Professional Education and the Educator Preparation Program offer periodic CPE opportunities throughout the year, and welcome your suggestions for future topics. The current schedule through the 2021 academic year can be found here.
Pioneer Early Literacy Series
Collaborating with Necessity ~ Sharing Literacy Expertise
The Department of Literacy and Learning and the Reading Recovery Center at Texas Woman's University have provided professional development for literacy students and education professionals for more than 30 years. TWU tenured and/or full-time faculty, as well as special guest speakers, share the latest research, proven methods, and coming trends in K-6 early literacy education for children. Attendees come from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Canada. Training events like the following have averaged 1,000 to 1,200 attendees each year:

  • Fall and Spring Reading Recovery Teacher Leader Series
  • Billie J. Askew Reading Recovery and K-6 Literacy Institute
  • Spicola Forum
  • Summer Literacy Institute

With the advent of COVID-19 and the cancellation of the 2020 Askew Early Literacy Institute, a new event was created to provide professional development in a synchronous, online format. The 2020-21 TWU Pioneer Early Literacy Series offers four Saturday morning sessions, scheduled across two semesters. 

TWU’s nationally-recognized speakers include: Dr. Nancy Anderson, Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Kaye, Dr. JaNiece Elzy, and Dr. Annette Torres Elías. Fall session resources included articles written by Dr. Anderson and Dr. Kaye, as published in The Reading Teacher, and the national Journal of Reading Recovery. Participants are eligible to receive Continuing Professional Education credit from TWU’s Educator Preparation Program.

The first two sessions attracted approximately 120 participants who rated them a success. More than 90% of respondents evaluated the sessions as “excellent,” while 92% said that they were “very likely” to return for another training from the Department of Literacy and Learning at TWU. 

Two remaining sessions in the series take place in January and February of 2021. They will focus on evidence-based practices for teaching readers who struggle and on the instructional implications of bilingual first-graders’ own strategies for processing phonological information. Registration for these 2021 sessions is ongoing.

Join TWU's Educator Preparation Program
Supporting the Future Teachers of Texas
Like all departments in the College of Professional Education, the Educator Preparation Program serves communities. These communities include first generation college students, communities of scholar-practitioners researching more effective ways to teach English language learners, communities of associate degree holders seeking to complete teaching certification, or communities of school and district leaders working to keep quality teachers in their communities classrooms. Their efforts change children’s lives.

Please consider becoming a partner and supporting our work through a designated gift to the College of Professional Education and its support of the Educator Preparation Program.
Stoddard Hall 211
P.O. Box 425769
Denton, TX 76204-5769
phone 940.898.2735 | fax 940.898.2830
Sharon G. Bailey, MA, Editor