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Institute for Learning Partnership

Category Archive: UW-Green Bay Education Program

Four PDC graduates among Teachers of Distinction

Congratulations to all those selected as Teachers of Distinction, but especially to PDC graduates Jessica Dresser (Webster Elementary), Nancie Brennan (Edison Middle), Lawrence DeCleene (Doty Elementary), and JoAnna Kloster, Baird Elementary. Here’s a video from Channel 11 about the award, which is the first step towards the Golden Apple Awards.

First Nations Studies is earning well-deserved attention

 

Tribal Elder Shirley Barber talks with students

 UW-Green Bay is helping current and future educators learn more about the history, culture, sovereignty and contemporary issues of American Indians, helping them learn so they can also teach.

Recently, the First Nations Studies program has earned the UW-System’s top award for diversity education, and some well-deserved attention from local media. Here are links to a recent story and video about First Nations Studies by the Green Bay Press-Gazette. And here’s something more from University Communications.

Some background: A Wisconsin law,  “Act 31” requires that K-12 students learn about federally recognized American Indian tribes and bands in Wisconsin. To help schools meet these requirements, the Center for First Nations Studies, under the direction of the Education program, was created. Additionally, UW-Green Bay offers students the opportunity to major or minor in First Nations Studies.

Its commitment to First Nations Studies was one of the reasons cited in naming UW-Green Bay’s Education program the top undergraduate program in the state by the UW System Board of Regents.

“We’re the only school in the UW System that requires pre-service teachers to complete a three-credit course in First Nations Studies,” said Prof. Lisa Poupart, who chairs the First Nations program, and co-chairs the First Nations Center with Prof. Tim Kaufman, Education program chair.

Poupart said this may be the only program in the nation that has four tribal Elders, from different regional tribes, who are part of the teaching staff. Each Elder is a scholar with considerable experience, and teaches in the tradition of First Nations oral teaching and learning. Students and practicing teachers gain a deeper knowledge of American Indian history and culture, and in turn are better prepared to teach students.

“It’s integral to the way we prepare successful educators,” said Kaufman. “It gives our pre-service teachers an advantage in more fully understanding this culture and the impact it has on teaching and learning.”

The First Nations Studies program is of interest to both American Indian and non-Indian students who wish to learn more about the traditional cultures and knowledge of indigenous people as well as the changes experienced by American Indian nations as a result of Euro-American contact.

The program offers a major and a minor. The minor strengthens numerous degrees including those in business, history, social work, etc.,  The degrees prepare students to live and work in an increasingly diverse community and also equip students with skills to work cooperatively and effectively with tribal governments and businesses.

Through the Center for First Nations Studies, UW-Green Bay Education students and faculty offer consultation and services to teachers and school districts regarding curriculum, materials and instructional methodology in American Indian studies.

For example, a recent day found Poupart in Madison, participating in an in-service program for middle school teachers. A few days’ earlier students from UW-Manitowoc visited UW-Green Bay to learn from Elder Shirley Barber.

The Center for First Nations Studies not only serves as an Act 31 resource center for professional and pre-service educators, it also has the mission of helping UW-Green Bay retain American Indian students, said Poupart.

While tribes and bands have their own history and traditions, there is a core set of values that extend across each —  respect, reciprocity, responsibility and relationships.

“It seems to me that more people are starting to appreciate the unique approach in using Elders and teaching,” Kaufman said. “The bottom line is these Elders are the highest authority and teachers in regards to knowledge about Native American culture. It’s encouraging that we’re seeing a buy-in to the (First Nations) programs from students to staff to faculty.”

Spending an afternoon with an Elder introduces students to forms of teaching different from a typical lecture hall that may hold 200 students. In fact, non-Indian students are sometimes uneasy in their first encounter with a tribal Elder, Poupart said. They worry they may inadvertently say something politically incorrect. But soon the apprehension evaporates and they can engage in honest education about Wisconsin’s First Nations.

Neither Poupart nor Kaufman is satisfied with the number of  University students with American Indian heritage (120), trailing UW-Madison (178) and UW-Milwaukee (141).  “We should have a number that reflects the proximity to the American Indian population. Sixty percent of Wisconsin’s American Indian population lies within 100 miles of Green Bay,” Poupart says. Kaufman sees an opportunity for growth.

“I think the work we’re doing through the center will have an impact on increasing the enrollment of Native American students in the University and Education program,” he said.

For more information call 920-465-2185 or visit www.uwgb.edu/fns/.

First Nations Studies wins Regents Diversity Award

Congratulations to our colleagues in First Nations Studies for winning the Regents Diversity Award. Click here to read a story about the Regents Award.

Sharing the good news of 2011

When our friends at University Communications began assessing the top 10 “good news” stories of 2011, they took notice of what’s happening in our neighborhood: Phuture Phoenix welcomes its 10,000th visitor, and UW-Green Bay’s Education program was named the best in the UW System. All it all, despite some rough patches, it was a good year. And we’ve got more “good news” on the horizon. Read more here.

Yanke gets Press-Gazette nod for Whitney Radder Award

UW-Green Bay student Mark Yanke, who was presented with the Whitney Radder Phuture Phoenix Phenomenal Role Model Award for the fall semester, was featured in the Dec. 27 Green Bay Press-Gazette. Well done Mark!

 

Education remains a priority for Wisconsin, says Dean Mattison

Dean Sue Joseph Mattison offers observastions on education and the Institute.

In mid-summer, Sue Joseph Mattison, an academic administrator with experience in health and education, assumed her post as UW-Green Bay Dean of the College of Professional Studies. Mattison, who has a distinguished record as a scholar and academic leader, oversees academic offerings and community services in the areas of teacher education, business administration, nursing and social work, majors that account for about one-third of UW-Green Bay’s 6,600 students. Additionally, her position entails leadership in developing community partnerships with professional organizations in those fields. Here’s Mattison’s initial thoughts about education in Northeastern Wisconsin:

Q. What is your impression of education in this region?

Wisconsin is known for its strong support of education at all levels. It’s been a challenging time for educators, and certainly more resources are needed to support education, but I’m overwhelmed by the professionalism of educators in Green Bay and the Northeastern Wisconsin region, and how they work to maintain a quality curriculum for their students.  I believe education is still a top priority for residents of the state.  

 

Q. What are your thoughts about the Institute for Learning Partnership and professional development for educators?

I see how every Institute staff member is extremely focused and committed to serving the needs of students and educators in the northeast Wisconsin region, by supporting educators working to solve challenging issues within their own schools and districts.  Learning about the outstanding projects completed by in-service educators/graduates of the Professional Development Certificate, as well as relevant continuing educational opportunities with the ILP Fall Conference, shows the critical importance of the work done by Institute staff.  In addition, the overwhelming success of the Phuture Phoenix program is resulting in expanded educational attainment for students in Green Bay and surrounding communities.  I had a great time mingling with the Phuture Phoenix fifth graders, and got caught up in the excitement during their field trip day on the UW-Green Bay campus this fall.  In all aspects of their work, I have been extremely impressed by the ILP staff members.

 

Q. Could you share some of your thoughts about preparing future teachers at a time when there are so many challenges confronting the education profession?

I understand the enormous challenges faced by educators, but even so – I can think of no better profession than to be an educator.  My daughter just started college this fall, and is majoring in music education.  She said she wants to be able to instill the love of music in high school kids, just as that love of music was brought into her own life.  That is exactly the kind of educators we want to prepare – those who would do the job for the love of inspiring others.  And yet there is no doubt in my mind that we must hold greater esteem for the importance of those who choose to be educators, and the many challenges they face.  I saw a very illuminating cartoon about the use of standardized testing as a way to measure teacher performance – an elephant, monkey, turtle, and other animals were standing in front of the teacher’s desk, and the teacher said, “Okay, now for our final exam, go climb that tree.”  The sad part is the teacher will face severe consequences when the elephant and turtle can’t climb the tree. 

Q. Do you worry the political and economic climate will discourage some students from becoming educators and drive others from their chosen profession?

I do worry about the effect of the current political and economic climate.  However, the people of Wisconsin have a lot of common sense, and still recognize the importance of their political and economic support of teachers – the economic, social, business, political, public health, and cultural future of our state depends on an educated population.  We will think of new ways to work together and keep moving forward. 

Q. Could you share some of your ideas on how the Institute could better serve the needs of the region?

To address changes in legislation and teacher professional development compensation, the Institute staff is meeting with area school district administrators and educators to develop innovative professional development opportunities.  The population of Green Bay and Northeastern Wisconsin is rapidly becoming more diverse, which brings many interesting educational opportunities. Education faculty, ILP staff, and I have been meeting with community leaders to begin to address the needs of diverse learners through innovative curriculum for pre-service and in-service teachers.  I am very proud of the entire Institute staff, how committed they are to serving the needs of educators and schools in the region, and their creative vision to move the Institute forward in the face of multiple challenges – truly an amazing group of individuals.

 

Grant workshops scheduled Jan. 25,26

Elementary students use iPads to improve skills

 The Institute for Learning Partnership annually awards educators in CESA 7 and 8 thousands of dollars in grants which can help improve teaching and close the achievement gap.

In these times of budget belt-tightening, we know that a grant is especially valuable. So we’ll help educators navigate the requirements of grant application.

 The Institute’s Action Research Grant Writing Workshops will be offered from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, January 25, 2012, in the 1965 Room, University Union, UW-Green Bay and from 3:30 -6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 26 in the CESA 8 Office, Gillett. Registration is required. Call 920-465-5555, or fax 920-465-5070.

What sorts of projects win grant approval?

 This year students at Robinson Elementary School, Laona, are on the edge of the digital revolution. A $7,500 grant from the Institute, allowed teachers Cara Shepherd and Sheryl Hendricks to purchase iPads for differentiated instruction.

 Robinson is one of six schools in CESA 7 and CESA 8 that received about $35,000 in Institute grants to improve teaching and learning and close the achievement gap. The Institute has awarded $745,000 to school districts since its inception in 1998. Other 2011-12 awards and the project directors and project titles are:

— Anne Sullivan Elementary School, Green Bay, Mai Lee Thor and James R. Haese: Hmong Bilingual Literacy Program, $3,600.

— Wequiock Elementary School, Green Bay, Shirley Paulson: AVID Eighth Grade Writing Project, $6,728.

 — Bowler Elementary Schools, Bowler, Melody Krueger: Improving Reading Skills Through Guided Reading, $3,591.

— Bowler Elementary School, Bowler, Judith Munsey: Improving Classroom Practice Through Differentiation, $7,481.

Oconto Middle School, Oconto, Jenny Holmgren: Engaging Generation iBORED and Disadvantaged Students, $6,090.

 So how do educators apply? Application forms and guidelines for the Institute‘s Teaching and Learning Grants are available online at: www.uwgb.edu/learnpart. Grant proposals are due in the Institute’s office in Wood Hall 410, by 4:30 p.m., March 8, 2012.

By embracing diversity, Schultz is becoming a better teacher

 

Alison Schultz with her research project at the annual ILP Fall Conference

The professional challenge for first-grade teacher and 2011 UW-Green Bay master’s degree graduate Alison Schultz isn’t unique. In fact, a growing number of educators work each day to improve learning by being culturally responsive to the needs of their students and families. In Schultz’s case, many of the families that attend Green Bay’s Nicolet Elementary School moved to Green Bay from Mexico.

 However, when considering her project for her Master’s Degree in Applied Leadership for Teaching and Learning at UW-Green Bay, Schultz saw the value in getting to know her students and their families at a deeper level.  Part of her research included a project,  “Portraits of Mexican Immigrants,’” in which she interviewed four families from the Nicolet School community. Schultz said her goal was to better understand her students’ families, their lives in Mexico, their journey to the United States and their adjustment to daily life in the U.S.

 A number of common themes emerged among the interviewees:

— a dangerous journey to the United States with coyotes (those who smuggle people into the U.S. for cash)

—little or inconsistent education in Mexico

—employment in the service industry in Green Bay: meat-packing, roofing, mechanics, etc.

—language barrier with children often having to translate for parents

—hopes for a college education for their children

—learn English but preserve the Spanish language

—great appreciation of teachers/school

—loss of traditions from homeland (Day of the Dead, etc.) and gaining assimilation to U.S. customs

—concern about driver’s license expiration (can’t be renewed without proof of citizenship)

—striving to gain U.S. citizenship

 The project helped Schultz understand how educators can help these families in transition. She encourages those with multicultural classrooms to consider cultural nights and incorporate various multicultural material and language into the classroom, while providing a school atmosphere rich in both languages. To reach the families of her students, she suggests providing homework (with answer keys), family letters and other correspondence, if possible, in the native language; working with school administration to provide English classes for parents after school; provide for translators and provide multiple bilingual programs (one way, two way transitional and bridging).

Phuture Phoenix featured in Green Bay Press Gazette

Click here to view the article as a PDF!

Phuture Phoenix Pilot Program at Jefferson Elementary School