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St. Petersburg College’s (SPC) College of Education (COE) has been awarded a three-year, $5 million grant from the Florida Department of Education that will be used to restructure SPC’s College of Education elementary education programs.

TeachingDubbed the St. Petersburg College Centers of Excellence in Elementary Teacher Preparation, the program is a joint partnership between SPC and Pinellas County Schools, in collaboration with The New Teacher Project and Learning Sciences International. SPC is the only state college in Florida to receive the grant and was one of only four recipients statewide.

“This project is going to completely transform our elementary teacher preparation model at St. Petersburg College, which will in turn have enormous impact on Pinellas County students,” said St. Petersburg College President Bill Law. “We know that student achievement is inextricably linked to the effectiveness of the teacher in the classroom. This partnership will ensure our students receive the knowledge, experience and coaching necessary to become highly effective teachers equipped to increase the learning gains of their students.”

Through revamped and expanded curriculum, future teachers will gain a deeper knowledge of core subjects, with an increase in the number of required content-specific courses focused on math, science, and social studies. Additionally, they will take on richer and longer field experiences in the classroom, and learn through research-based approaches that incorporate coaching best practices and real-world teacher evaluation models.

“The College of Education is honored to be the recipient of the FLDOE Centers of Excellence in Elementary Teacher Preparation grant,” said Dr. Kimberly J. Hartman, Dean of the College of Education. “The redesign of the COE elementary education program will prepare our graduates to increase K-5 student learning and to be the most adept elementary educators in the state.”

SPC has long been a model for preparing qualified teachers: it was the first college in the Florida College System to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education. More recently, St. Petersburg College responded to a request from Dr. Michael A. Grego, Superintendent of Pinellas County Schools, to improve the pipeline of effective teachers by developing the Elite Educator Program. While the Elite Educator Program focuses on the first two years of study, the new Centers of Excellence in Elementary Teacher Preparation will expand on this partnership by focusing on the final two years of the bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

As nearly two-thirds of SPC’s Elementary Education bachelor’s degree graduates go to work for Pinellas County Schools, officials expect that K-5 student achievement will be substantially impacted.

“Pinellas County Schools is pleased to build on its strong partnership with St. Petersburg College to prepare future teachers for the classroom,” said Dr. Grego. “This project will help provide new teachers the resources, experience and feedback they need to be effective and to support student achievement.”

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Tampa Bay area educators attend the Florida Standards training at the Clearwater Campus.

Tampa Bay area educators attend the Florida Standards training at the Clearwater Campus.

St. Petersburg College held a Florida Standards training session earlier this week for nearly 75 teachers and school administrators from the Tampa Bay area. The professional development event, held at the Clearwater Campus, was part of a $7.2 million Florida Department of Education grant.

The grant supports the successful implementation of the Florida Standards, the state’s academic content standards for K-12 students. The standards were designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to be ready for careers and college-level coursework.

Indian River State College is the lead institution on the grant, which was awarded to 11 state colleges and two state universities. Together, the institutions will deliver professional development on instructional tools that implement the Florida Standards.

SPC received $325,000 under the grant to develop training on the Interim Assessment Item Bank, which will give teachers a valid and reliable way to diagnose strengths and weaknesses, predict difficulties, set instructional goals, and monitor learning.

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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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