Thailand Educational Experience

Current Simmons graduate students are invited to attend an information session about this thailandunique educational opportunity with Dr. Leanne Ketterlin Geller and Dr. Aki Kamata. The information sessions will be held on Wednesday, January 28, 4:45 pm in Simmons 221 and on Thursday, January 29, 4:45 pm in Simmons 144. Please see the attached flyer for more detailed information or contact Dr. Ketterlin Geller.

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The Future of Lifelong Learning

Infographic courtesy of Knewton
The Future of Lifelong Learning

Created by Knewton and Knewton

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An Education Professor Becomes Principal for a Day in Dallas ISD

Dr. Candace Walkington

As a professor whose days are spent at a computer analyzing data and writing articles, the life of a principal seems both mysterious and intriguing. What do these people who wield such power over students’ educational futures in Dallas ISD actually do with their days? What are their challenges and successes? As part of Dallas ISD’s “Principal for a Day” program, I got to find out this week.

Candace blog1I shadowed Principal Nicole Niewinski (left) from Marsh Middle School, which is in the North Dallas High feeder pattern. Marsh Middle School serves predominantly Hispanic students, the majority of whom are classified as economically disadvantaged. Nicole has been principal at the school for two years, and I met her because Marsh was recently one of eight Dallas ISD schools who received Gates Foundation funding for “personalized learning” initiatives.

Nicole’s typical day is a whirlwind – on the day I shadowed her, she arrived early in the morning to rehearse for a “Dance Off” challenge between school staff members and the Marsh dance team. From there, she walked the school, greeting students and staff and facilitating getting students through security checkpoints. After the morning announcements, Nicole called a meeting with her Assistant Principals. The semester is already in full swing, and they discussed how they would observe and mentor their teachers. Next Nicole brought me to see the home of Marsh’s Junior ROTC Leadership Cadet Corps, who are led by former marine Cpl. Miriam Gayton. One third of all Marsh students are part of this program, and Marsh houses a community-supported military museum (below).

Candace blog2Nicole then brought me to observe each of her mathematics teachers. Math instruction was the focus of my visit because I am planning to conduct a research study on personalized learning in 7th and 8th  grade mathematics classes at Marsh. The math classes are short – just 45 minutes – and the school has recently adopted a textbook series that focuses on basic skills. Some of the teachers are complementing their textbooks with projects – the seventh grade students are doing a “Mini-Me” project focusing on proportions.

The remainder of Nicole’s day was filled with short, outcome-focused meetings with students, staff like her Community Outreach liaison, and department heads. However, Nicole says that her favorite part of being principal is talking with students and supporting teachers in their professional development. Nicole and I finished our day with a swanky reception at the W Hotel in downtown Dallas.

Candace blog3Initiatives like “Principal for a Day” offer unique opportunities to build trust between administrators and community stakeholders like educational researchers. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to walk in Nicole’s shoes for a day, and look forward to working with her school to help Marsh students build better futures.

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Teacher Workshop with Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute

The Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute (DCII) invites you to two, upcoming events organized by the DCII Annual Fellows Seminar, “Religion and American Public Life: The Challenge of Pluralism”.

The American Bible Society and the Creation of Christian Nationalism

The idea of America as a Christian nation has swirled around American society as long as America has been around. Dr. John Fea will share his latest research on the American Bible Society (ABS), which was founded in 1816 by some of the same people involved in the political founding of the U.S., and continues its work today. By understanding the founding of the ABS, we gain critical insight into what Americans believed about Christian nationalism in the early-19th century, and perspective for the way forward today.
Thursday, October 9, 6-7:30pm

SMU, Caruth Hall, Room 147

Featuring: Dr. John Fea (Messiah College), Associate Professor and History Department Chair

Info and Registration:

Cost: FREE (seating is limited, so you must register)

Religion and the American Founding: Teacher Workshop

This full-day program will provide teachers with 6 hours of CPE credit. It will feature four workshops, focusing on TEKS standards for middle school and high school history, social studies, and government, particularly those dealing with teaching the role of religion in the American Founding Era.

Friday, October 10, 9am-4pm

SMU, Prothro Hall, The Great Hall

Featuring: Dr. John Fea (Messiah College); Dr. Eric Schlereth (UT-Dallas); and faculty from six SMU departments

Info and Registration:

Cost: $25 (for teachers seeking CPE credit); Free (for other attendees, but registration is still required)

For more information the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, visit

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Medal of Honor Character Development Program

The Medal of Honor Character Development Program training session will be offered in Dallas/DFW area October 24th. The information below is provided by their organization.

The Medal of Honor Foundation (Watch Video Here: ) offers – Medal of Honor Character Development.

This training and the curriculum kit have been designed for teachers to take back to the classroom environment to help their students to be “Upstanders” not “Bystanders” in their life.  This curriculum uses oral histories of the Medal of Honor recipients and focuses on core values of good citizens.  Examples of courage, commitment, sacrifice, integrity, citizenship and patriotism will be discussed. The goal is for students to understand that possessing these core values can change their lives and the lives of those around them.

Medal of Honor: Lessons of Personal Bravery and Self-Sacrifice, is a resource designed by teachers to provide students with opportunities to explore the important concepts of courage, commitment, sacrifice, patriotism, integrity, and citizenship and how these values can be exemplified in daily life.

While drawn from the personal accounts of living Medal of Honor recipients, this collection of lesson plans does not glorify or glamorize war. On the contrary, these dramatic “living histories” and the accompanying instructional activities encourage students to consider each concept from their own perspective. The character of these men is what stands out in each story. The Medal of Honor recipients demonstrate and articulate many of the abstract principles upon which our nation was founded in a way that makes those principles very real.

The depth and breadth of our students’ insight and reflection after interacting with these materials has been remarkable. We are confident that you will find these resources to be as rich and engaging as we have.

This link takes you to the Medal of Honor website where you can read more about the education program and see a sample lesson plan.

NOTE:  Medal of Honor recipients will be part of the training at certain times during the day.

WHERE: Westin Hotel, John Carpenter Fwy (DFW area)

WHEN: Friday, October 24, 2014

FEE: There is NO COST for attendance. Schools will be reimbursed for the cost of substitute teachers.

WHO: We encourage teachers from all subject areas, administrators, counselors and coaches to attend. This curriculum is geared for middle to high school students. Training can accommodate up to 100.

OTHER: Participants will receive full curriculum kit at no cost. Participants will learn best practices in the classroom and will receive complimentary breakfast and lunch


    • Tim Raynor, Col (Ret), American Airlines Pilot:  (847) 971-3728
    • Noel Wall, Director of Development and Education, Medal of Honor Foundation (864) 612-4549

Medal of Honor Flyer

Contact Info:

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January 2015
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