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From the Tampa Tribune

The Suncoast News and the Tampa Tribune featured an information session for the Elite Educator Program that was held at the college’s Tarpon Spring Campus on July 10.

The program is a partnership between SPC and Pinellas County Schools to prepare teachers to teach grades K-6 and provides an endorsement in ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) and Reading.

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Professors Emeriti banner

At Fall Faculty on Thursday, Aug. 14, St. Petersburg College will honor 10 Professors Emeriti who have been nominated by faculty and staff. Before this year’s Fall Faculty event, share your memories and congratulate this year’s emeriti on the SPC Faculty blog.

The annual Professors Emeriti awards honor some of the engaging, caring faculty who have helped generations of students succeed.

Read their stories on the SPC Faculty blog and take time to honor them with your well wishes. The comments you leave will be included in a keepsake book for each honoree.

The Professors Emeriti for 2014 are:

See the bios of previous honorees:

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St. Petersburg College has joined Pinellas County Schools to create a new Elite Educator Program to change the way teachers learn to teach. The program hopes to ensure future teachers are better prepared for the classroom and begins this August.

“The Elite Educator Program is a win-win,” Law said. “Our program helps to ensure students have the content knowledge, qualifications and confidence necessary to lead an elementary classroom, laying the foundation for their career in education and possible employment with Pinellas County Schools.”

From day one, students in the program take courses designed specifically for educators, including child and adolescent development, teaching students with exceptionalities and curriculum integration. They also will make more classroom visits to obtain practical knowledge, work with a mentor and attend monthly seminars.

Graduates of the four-year program earn a bachelor of science in Elementary Education (K-6) with an endorsement in ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) and Reading. Graduates also receive an internship and a guaranteed job with Pinellas County Schools.

Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Mike Grego hopes the program meets his broader goal of attracting and retaining the best teachers for Pinellas County’s public schools.

“I believe we as practitioners need to provide greater support and input into teacher preparation programs,” Grego said. “We need to better equip student teachers with the tools they need to be successful including more relevant and substantive coursework, especially in mathematics, science, reading and writing as well as strong communication skills.”

Read recent Tampa Bay Times and Clearwater Gazette coverage of the program or download the program flier.

 

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St. Petersburg College Early Childhood Education students, faculty and local professionals will attend an innovative workshop that trains teachers to use active, arts-based experiences to teach preschoolers about science, technology, engineering and math.

Funded by an SPC Innovation Grant, the workshops will have an immediate impact on the children in one local Head Start Center and continue to impact future teachers as SPC begins to implement the new method into their Early Childhood classes as early as this fall.

“We want to make sure everyone is aware of scholarly research on STEM to meet the unique needs of children in their setting,” said Anne Ryan, SPC professor and coordinator of Early Childhood A.S. degree program. “To me this is the incubator. We want to generate new ideas that get children excited to learn.”

Workshop for Professionals

On March 3-7, a Teaching Artist from the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts will spend the week with about 70 3-4 year olds and their teachers at a Tarpon Springs Head Start Center.

In anticipation of the art that these children will develop, highlights from the Wolf Trap program will be displayed at the Leepa-Rattner Museum during the month of September.

Workshop for SPC students and faculty

Students and faculty in SPC’s Early Childhood Education program can also learn about teaching STEM through the arts at a workshop on Thursday, March 6, 6-9 p.m. in the teaching auditorium at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art. Contact Anne Ryan to reserve your spot as space is limited. If space is available, the program will also be open to local early childhood professionals seeking continuing education credit.

SPC Early Childhood Education Program

SPC’s Early Childhood Education program serves students currently working in the early childhood field or those preparing for a career. The program is designed to give students a smooth transition from certificate to associate degree to bachelors degree.

“Well meet them where they are in their early childhood career and help them reach their next goal,” said Ryan.

Other Upcoming Early Childhood events

Early Care and Education Conference – Preschool Track
Saturday, April 26, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus

SPC Week – Early Childhood Info Sessions
Wednesday, March 5, 4 and 6 p.m.
St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus

Related Links

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St. Petersburg College Science Professor Shannon McQuaig was part of a Fox 13 news report looking at germs and silverware. The report looked at iFork products – flatware that includes a small bead of steel on the underside of each piece so the utensil doesn’t rest on the table.

McQuaig gathered samples from dining tables at four restaurants as part of the report’s look at the benefit of using the iFork products.

The report also is available on the college’s YouTube channel.

 

 

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SPC College of Education alumna Katelyn Pilsbury

Katelyn Pilsbury

SPC College of Education grad Katelyn Pilsbury has been named Florida’s Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Rookie Teacher of the Year. The award, given annually by the Florida Council for Exceptional Children, honors the state’s best new ESE teacher during their first three years of work.

Pilsbury, 25, is a full-time Autistic Spectrum Disorder kindergarten teacher at Plumb Elementary School in Clearwater. She emotionally recounted how her principal last year, Seymour Brown III, told her that she was the first teacher he had nominated for this award in 30 years.

“I always knew I’d be a good teacher and love my students,” said Pilsbury. “But I never thought I’d be a teacher that would win an award for what I did.”

This year’s winner will be announced at an awards dinner on Friday, Oct. 18.

Preparing for success

Pilsbury completed a bachelor’s degree in Exceptional Student Education (K-12) with a certification in Elementary Education with ESOL and Reading Endorsements at SPC. This summer, she also completed her Autism endorsement at SPC.

“I had personal relationships with my SPC teachers,” said Pilsbury. “They cared about me. If I didn’t get something they took the time to really explain it.”

In the classroom

Currently in her second year of teaching at Plumb Elementary, Pinellas County’s largest elementary school, Pilsbury leads a team of two ESE associates to provide the individual attention the six children, all boys, in their class require. Today’s lesson was focused on the difference between day and night.

Click to enlarge
In the classroom Learning about Whole Body Language Spelling my name

“What do you see in the day?” she said slowly. “Yes, the sun. What color is the sun? Yes, the sun is yellow.”

The cadence in her voice and simple repetitive phrasing have a calming effect on the children. Her classroom is cheerful, orderly and filled with bulletin boards and learning resources specifically designed to help autistic students learn. They each have their own color chair.

“Caden, sit in the green chair,” she says.

He comes back, sits down and the lesson continues. In this class, the lesson is as much about staying focused, following directions and listening as it is about the sun, the moon and the stars.

SPC Education Internships

All College of Education students at SPC are given extensive experience in public schools including diverse placements in elementary, middle and high schools. The role veteran educators’ play in coming alongside new teachers like Pilsbury is priceless.

“I learned so much in my final internships,” Pilsbury said. “That was when I really knew I was ready to be a teacher and have my own class.”

Her final internship was at Blanton Elementary School, where she was mentored by veteran teacher Kathleen Hehn in a K-2 classroom for Independent Varying Exceptionalities (IVE). The Kindergarten-Grade 2 children in her class had a variety of special needs stemming from Traumatic Brain Injuries, Seizure Disorders and Downs Syndrome.

Hands on learning

In her first year of teaching, Pilsbury worked with funding from USF’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) to plant a garden on campus that the kids worked in. The produce stand they created brought a new level of excitement and learning to her class.

Click to enlarge
Hands on learning project pelican Hands on learning project

“They were exchanging money and communicating with others,” she said. “They said things like ‘What would you like?’ It was so exciting.”

She is applying for grants for the same project again this year in partnership with CARD, the Partnership for Effective Programs for Students with Autism (PEPSA) and The Florida Farm Bureau.

Local CEC chapter hosts state conference

Pilsbury was the winner of the local version of the same award in April. Since that time, she also was named Vice President of the Suncoast 176 Chapter of the CEC.

She and a team of other members of the local chapter are busy finalizing plans to host this year’s Florida CEC Annual Conference, Going to Bat for Kids, Oct. 17-19 at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront.

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Elizabeth Rasmussen

Elizabeth Rasmussen

St. Petersburg College alumna Elizabeth Rasmussen was one of 48 teachers from around the country chosen to study at Georgetown University this summer as a James Madison Graduate Fellowship recipient.

“The James Madison Fellowship is in many ways one of the greatest honors a social studies teacher can earn. I was in shock, and I still am sometimes, that I earned such an honor,” said Elizabeth, 27, a ninth and 12th grade social studies teacher at Fort Meade Middle Senior High School in Polk County. “In a way it was validation to all the hard work that I have poured into my career since Day 1. I have always strived to grow and learn from mistakes and be better than I was before.

Elizabeth was one of two fellows from Florida. She is a master’s degree student at the University of South Florida studying curriculum and instruction with a concentration in secondary education. The fellowship funds up to $24,000 of her study costs. As part of the fellowship, she studied at the Foundations of Constitutionalism at Georgetown University for a month this summer.

“I got to partake in a number of amazing experiences such as debating a mock Supreme Court case in front of a Federal Court Judge, visiting a number of historic sites such as Mount Vernon and Monticello, and visiting the U.S. Supreme Court on the day of the historic DOMA and Prop 8 decisions,” she said. She also was able to meet Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Elizabeth said SPC had a significant impact on her education.

“I can honestly say that I remember more professors from my experience at SPC than that of any other college experience,” she said. “That is not to say I had bad professors at the other schools, but at SPC Seminole, my instructors were more concerned about me as a person and not as a number.”

As a homeschooler, Elizabeth got her start in college at age 16 when she dual-enrolled at SPC .

“By this point in my academic career, regular high school curriculum was not challenging me, and my parents and family thought dual-enrollment would be my best option,” Elizabeth said. “The opportunity to earn college credit while in high school was also a motivating factor.”

By the time she graduated high school in 2004, she had earned 38 credits toward her Associate in Arts degree. She graduated from SPC in May 2005 and was a finalist for the Apollo Award, the college’s highest honor for lower division students. She then graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in education-social science education from the University of North Florida in 2007. She plans to pursue a doctorate in education and to eventually teach college one day.

“I firmly believe I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t attended SPC,” she said. “SPC taught me at an early age to shoot for my dreams and that nothing was ever impossible if I worked hard and tried.”

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St. Petersburg College Professor Shannon McQuaig was interviewed in a Fox 13 report that said tests showed a high level of bacteria at Gandy Beach.

“It’s a little concerning knowing that we have high levels of bacterial counts and seeing the large amount of people that come to this beach,” McQuaig said in the report. The county’s Health Department director said the department planned to get with the college and students to find out more about their testing and to get some of their own samples from the area.

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St. Petersburg College was mentioned in a report by the Tampa Tribune about the challenges Pinellas County teachers, particularly new teachers, face in the upcoming school year.

“Although the school district is requiring all teachers to go through Common Core training with their schools, many new college graduates may be better suited for the shift in teaching, which focuses more on reading and writing and expects students to be able to defend their answers,” according to the article, which noted that SPC already teaches to the Common Core.

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993937_10151936538538368_1322746859_n-1Do you have a bachelor’s degree or higher and want to teach?

Join St. Petersburg College at an information session on Wednesday, June 12, 5:30-6:30 p.m. for the Educator Preparation Institute (EPI) – a one-year professional teacher certification program for professionals with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

SPC’s state-approved Educator Preparation Institute is a sequential, three-semester program leading to Florida Professional Certification. The Institute is primarily for students with a non-education bachelor’s degree or higher who want to become Florida certified teachers.

This session will be held at the Clearwater Campus in the (ES) building room 104. Financial Aid now available. Please RSVP online or call 727-791-2521 for more information.

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