In the BU Teacher Education Spotlight
February 21, 2011
Among all the stars in the Teacher Education professional community, there is one star that shines and twinkles with a special purpose for students, Mrs. Susie Stear, BS '86, MA '07. Susie is the Teacher Education Advising Coordinator whose responsibilities are most important for the connections between students and faculty and BU personnel. When there is a question about program logistics that others cannot answer, the common suggestion is, “Go ask Mrs. Stear.” During the academic year, Susie participates in a leadership role for convocations of students, explaining the many steps and details of each program (i.e., elementary, secondary, K-12, early childhood, learning behavior specialist). She provides a wonderful interpretation of the presentations that have been developed and presented by Dr. Jean Marie Grant. She has developed Facebook pages and maintains communication with students in a blog and through the educational platform Sakai. One of the roles that Susie has assumed is to create and develop brochures and other materials that can be used for prospective students and their families. She also participates as the main guide for regular meetings of families throughout the year. Faculty members are always partners with Susie, but she personally assumes much of the work.
In order to continue understanding the area schools, Susie participates in several of their programs. This past year, she has participated with students who take the elementary strategies course, ETE 205, at Manual High School to learn from one of their leaders about academic progress student conferences. Susie has occasionally taught the ETE 205 course and has also taught the diversity course, ETE 280.
With respect to the Peoria Community, Susie and her family participate as hosts for international students that belong to the Bradley coordinated organization Peoria Friends of International Students (PAFIS). Currently, the Stear family is host to Samarth Sreenath Alemane from India. They have been partners since 2008, sharing American and Indian cultures. One of the highlights of the PAFIS gatherings is the annual Harvest Dinner at which time international students have an opportunity to enjoy an authentic Thanksgiving meal with foods that accommodate their distinct cultures. Each year the PAFIS board selects students from among many applications to receive scholarships that are presented to them by Dr. Joanne Glasser, president of Bradley University.
A full listing of Susie Stear’s professional responsibilities may be found on the Department of Teacher Education.
Young Graduate Spotlight
For many years, the American High School has been subject to scrutiny, especially because of low graduation rates. One current estimate by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation puts it at around 33 percent on the average, with some districts upward from 50 percent. Those Bradley students who have chosen to teach subjects at the secondary level face several challenges, including the issue of raising the success rate for their students. Among the graduates, Trevor Butenhoff has become a part of a school community in Portland, Oregon, whose student population has one of the highest poverty rates in the metropolitan area, and yet has been acknowledged as “outstanding” by the State of Oregon. The school’s success is particularly evident in the areas of math and reading. Trevor is part of a team of math teachers at Franklin High School that has developed programs in the structure of academies.
In Trevor’s own words…
"The academy system is amazing. I work with an English and science teacher and we share a group of 75 students. We each have three sections of our subject, 25 students each. In addition to my three Academy Math classes I have an Academy Support class. This is a study hall where we three Academy teachers are in the same room and we hand pick students who need extra support. As an Academy team we are given time bi-weekly to sit together to discuss our little family of students and perhaps decide if they need to be added to support. Furthermore, I am given time to meet with the other three Academy Math teachers to collaborate on curriculum.
Our math department is also huge on collaboration. We get together by subject area before each chapter to find the essential understandings. We get together during the chapter to check in. And we get together before the chapter test to craft an assessment together. We also have space on our computer network where we have all of our supplemental material (worksheets, tests, etc) all organized by subject area and chapter. I have been a bit of a rogue in that I don't like to use my textbook (CPM Algebra Connections) for my freshmen Algebra course. It's a terrible attempt at discovery math. I have spent much of my four years here building my own curriculum from scratch. My schedule is rounded out by two sections of AP Calculus. Dream schedule!"
Trevor Butenhoff | Mathematics Teacher | Franklin High School
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