James Madison University was well-represented at the Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics (VCTM) 2013 Annual Conference. The conference was held March 8 and 9 at The Founders Inn in Virginia Beach. Eric Imbrescia and Katherine Brown were both recognized by VCTM with awards.
Eric Imbrescia received the William C. Lowry Mathematics Educator of the Year Award for the Elementary School Level at the awards dinner on March 8. He is a third grade teacher at Peak View Elementary School and will be a two-time JMU teacher education graduate. Eric previously received his endorsement for early childhood education and will graduate this May with his Master of Education in K-8 Mathematics. He has spent much time in his classroom and working with area schools to improve mathematics instruction, so his award is much deserved.
Katherine Brown received the Edward A. Anderson Scholarship, a $2,000 award given annually by the VCTM. She is a senior from Abingdon, Virginia studying Math and Secondary Education and will remain at JMU next year for the Master of Arts in Teaching Program. She is dedicated to the field and loves her job as a tutor at the Science and Math Learning Center. Her dedication has paid off as Katherine is the first JMU student to receive this scholarship since 2003.
Congratulations to Eric Imbrescia and Katherine Brown on their outstanding achievements!
Alice Sayo was a fellow in JMU’s International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP) in the Spring of 2011. While at JMU, she shared her story and inspiration. Alice comes from a Maasai community in Kenya, a culture in which girls are often married at young ages and denied education. She, herself, was rescued from an early marriage and since then has been working tirelessly to help other girls. She firmly believes girls deserve an
education and wants to change the outlook for girls in her culture. Alice’s passion in rescuing Maasai girls and ensuring they are treated more humanely has led her to devote her life to education.
Through the work of Alice, Dr. Michelle Cude, and countless others who have donated, a school has been created for Maasai girls in Narok, Kenya: the Nasaruni Boarding School. The school has been officially recognized by the Kenyan government and opened its doors this January. The project is special because not only is the Nasaruni Boarding School Alice’s dream, but it is an internal Maasai movement for change. Efforts are being made to preserve many of the Maasai cultural traditions while leaving behind the traditions with negative consequences.
Progress is quickly being made on the school. Five acres of land were purchased last year near a road that leads to Nairobi. Eventually water will be put in, and when internet comes to the area, the school will be in a prime location. As of now, a temporary structure has been erected with two classrooms. The first day of class was held on January 14th and eighteen students currently attend the school. More are expected to attend in the future as the school has been approved for 225 students.
A number of organizations have already been involved in raising money to support the school, including Bowl of Good restaurant, a local church, and JMU Future Social Studies Educators. There is not yet furniture or desks in the school, so donations are welcome to provide the materials that are necessary for the school to be successful and effective.
Donations are tax deductible and checks can be made to the Anglican Mission in the Americas “AMIA”—be sure to include “Maasai Girls’ Boarding School in a note with the check. Mail to AMIA, PO BOX 3427, Pawleys Island, SC 29585. You may also donate on the AMIA website, www.theamia.org. Choose “special projects—other” and indicate Maasai Girls’ Boarding School.
Future Social Studies Educators are selling T-shirts, as well, to raise money for the school. Shirts can be ordered through Dr. Cude’s office and general questions can be directed to Danielle Brookover firstname.lastname@example.org.
To hear more of Alice’s story, click the link to watch a short video clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJQtuv7QBr0.
Four individuals have successfully transitioned mid-career to serve as project teachers in Hopewell, Va., public schools with help from James Madison University’s Middle Matters grant.
Under the direction of Dr. Cheryl Beverly, JMU was awarded a grant for the Middle Matters project in 2011 by the US Department of Education Office of Innovation and Improvement, as part of the Transitions to Teaching Grant Program. The project focuses on four main goals for Hopewell City Public Schools.
The four teachers are teaching mathematics, physical science, or life science at Carter G. Woodson Middle School and chemistry at Hopewell High School. A part-time field supervisor, Mary Robinson is in place and spends time in the classrooms each week. Dr. BJ Bryson spends one day a month at the middle school working with grade level teams. She is helping to further develop the knowledge and skills for educating and working with children of poverty and students with diverse needs.
Three of the six web-based modules have been made available to teachers, with three more modules tasked for completion. The leadership academies for middle school teachers and STEM teachers will soon be starting. The Hopewell House is open and operational and JMU’s Office of Outreach is working with Middle Matters to expand the use of the facility.
The College of Education is sponsoring a free showing of “Bully,” a documentary film that centers on bullying in American schools. Bullying remains an issue in our nation; it is thought that 13 million children will be bullied this year alone. The documentary closely follows the lives of five children and families who have been impacted by bullying, giving an intimate glimpse into bullying through the eyes of children.
“Bully” will be shown at 6:30 pm in the Memorial Hall Auditorium on Tuesday, January 29th and Wednesday, January 30th. Following the screening on Tuesday only, there will be a panel discussion open to questions from the audience. The panel will include faculty members from James Madison University and Eastern Mennonite University, along with a member of Harrisonburg’s community organization, YES! Alliance.
For more information about the documentary and to see a preview, visit the film’s website athttp://thebullyproject.com/indexflash.html#/video.
Since 1962, the US Teaching Assistantship Program in Austria has provided US college and university graduates with opportunities to work at secondary schools throughout Austria as teaching assistants.
US teaching assistants not only enhance the instruction of English as native speakers; they are also important resources for first hand information about the United States and the "American way of life." The Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, the Arts and Culture (BMUKK) finances this program, which is administered by the Austrian-American Educational Commission (Fulbright Commission). While the participants in this program contribute to the Fulbright goal of promoting mutual understanding, this is not a Fulbright grant program. For information on the Fulbright student program in Austria, please consult the Institute for International Education at http://us.fulbrightonline.org/ or the website of the Austrian-American Educational Commission at http://www.fulbright.at/
Click on the image for the complete story. Image courtesy of NBC12.
Five JMU alumni were honored by the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge as 2012 Dawbarn Award winners and received $9,600 each at a ceremony in Staunton, Va., Nov. 5.
Dawbarn Awards are presented annually to ten parents, teachers, administrators, coaches, school bus drivers, mentors, or volunteers who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to inspiring belief in the importance of education and learning, encouraging good citizenship and personal responsibility, and fostering high standards of achievement in learning among the young people of the public schools in the community of Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County.
More information is available at communityfoundationcbr.org.
Recent graduates of James Madison University’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) have taken the teaching world by storm. Three of the four finalists for the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) 2012 Outstanding First-Year Teacher honor graduated from the MAT program in 2011: Jamie Obendorfer, a mathematics teacher at Twain Middle School; Christina Piccinino, a social studies teacher at Frost Middle School; and Kathleen Stakem, a sixth grade teacher at Oak Hill Elementary School.
Jamie Obendorfer received the highest honor, being named the Outstanding First-Year Teacher for FCPS. She teaches seventh grade gifted and talented algebra, eighth grade algebra, and a double block class of algebra and algebra readiness initiative at Twain Middle School. When asked about her fellow finalists she said, “I wasn’t surprised to find out that three of the four finalists graduated with me from the MAT program at JMU. It just confirmed what I already knew—JMU prepared us for success!” She also attributes her success in the classroom to the relationships she builds with her students. “Teaching for me is so much more than just getting the kids to learn math—it’s first about showing the kids that I care about them as individuals and that I believe in their capability to learn and grow,” explained Obendorfer. Without a doubt, Jamie Obendorfer is making a positive impact on her students and the teaching profession. - By Marissa Bamford. Image courtesy of Jamie Obendorfer.