Student-Athletes volunteer time at Berkley Center

Throughout the month of April, UMKC student-athletes teamed up with the UMKC Edgar L. and Rheta A. Berkley Child and Family Development Center (CFDC) to celebrate “Month of the Young Child.”


This annual celebration, sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), occurs every April and focuses on promoting the benefits of outdoor play and recess in schools and early childhood programs.


Student-athletes from the women’s soccer, women’s basketball and men’s basketball teams visited the Berkley Center to interact with the children and engage in sports and outdoor activities during recess.  Paige Husa, a School of Education junior pursing Middle School Social Studies, was among them.  Husa is a center for the UMKC women’s basketball team.


“The children at Berkley absolutely love playing any type of game, especially basketball and soccer, with the UMKC student-athletes,” shared Polly Prendergast, director of Berkley CFDC. “We are so fortunate to have representation from both our women and men athletics teams each year during the Month of the Young Child. The children’s interactions with the student-athletes are so intentional and they seem to flourish with the interactions and relationships they build. Both the girls and the boys always have bright smiles on their faces and just delight in playing with the UMKC students.”


“I love volunteering at Berkley,” explained Husa.  “Not only because I have a blast playing with the kids, but I also get hands on experience for my future career in education. While I may be preparing to teach middle school kids, it is so neat to see how a child’s mind works at such a young age. Berkley gave both me and my teammates that opportunity.


Amelia Howard, assistant director of Academic Support at UMKC, noted “We always look forward to Month of the Young Child.  The student-athletes enjoy being able to interact and play with the children at the Berkley Center and show them how much fun playing sports can be.”


Since 1993, Berkley has been part of the UMKC School of Education and serves as a learning laboratory for early childhood education students. 

Take your career to the next level and teach in Japan

The UMKC School of Education’s Continuing and Professional Education division is collaborating with Musashino University (MU), Ariake Koto, Japan, on the launch of Chiyoda International School – Tokyo (CHIST) in 2018. CHIST will be a private, English speaking international school in Japan that is modeled after western K-12 schools in the United States.


MU will open the CHIST elementary school with one grade level in April 2018 and will add one additional grade level at the elementary, middle and high schools until all grade levels (1st -12th) have been instituted. CHIST aims to foster “abilities for deep understanding” in its students, by providing them with world cutting edge education that includes UbT (Understanding by Technology) and high-literacy education, which assists the students with playing important roles with diverse perspectives in various fields in the future.


The UMKC School of Education and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Education are currently recruiting teachers with at least three years of classroom experience on behalf of CHIST.  Those hired will begin in September 2017.


This opportunity allows teachers to help lead in the development of a new school and grow in their profession.  In addition to salary and housing allowances, enrichment and travel opportunities await.


To apply or for more information visit

New officers elected for School of Education Student Government

SOESG officers, L-R: Leah LeMon; incoming president Andie Drummond; outgoing president Breanna He; John Martinez, Tressa Canaday and Haley Jackson. Not pictured: Ayesha Mahomed, Anna-Marie Harness, Marina Khan and Austin Wetrich.

Congratulations to the new officers elected this spring to serve on the UMKC School of Education’s Student Government (SOESG) for the 2017-18 academic year:

  • Andie Drummond, president, Senior, Middle School Language Arts
  • Leah LeMon, vice president, Senior, Elementary Education
  • Ayesha Mahomed, secretary, Junior, Elementary Education
  • Anna-Marie Harness, treasurer, Sophomore, Elementary Education
  • Marina Khan, senator/representative, Ph.D. student, Counseling
  • Austin Wetrich, senator/representative, Junior, Elementary Education
  • John Martinez, student activity fund, Senior, Secondary Education
  • Haley Jackson, faculty meeting representative, Sophomore, Early Childhood Education
  • Tressa Canaday, faculty meeting representative, Senior, Early Childhood Education


SOESG officers strive to expand the students’ academic concerns and abilities; promote student involvement in the SOE and the University; act on all matters concerning students’ welfare; aid faculty and students in cooperative work; and to promote a professional attitude and feeling of responsibility.


Questions or concerns may be directed to

UMKC charter school students to benefit from ZooED curriculum

Photo credit: Kristen Reese

The Kansas City Zoo, in collaboration with UMKC’s Charter School Center and the School of Education’s Continuing and Professional Education, has introduced its ZooED curriculum to all nine School of Education sponsored charter schools in preparation for the 2017-18 academic year.


One of those charter schools, University Academy (UA), trained 17 teachers, grades kindergarten to 2nd grade, on the ZooED program last month.  “I like how the lessons are all tied to standards!  It makes it easier to add into our curriculum when I already know what standards it ties into and how,” said Lauren Miller, second grade teacher at UA.  “I also like the books that were chosen.  They are a great mixture of fiction and non-fiction, as well as interesting to the kids.”


In the first part of the program the students will Meet the Animal, which can introduce students to up to 26 different animals.  The lessons are all based on Math, Language Arts, and College and Career Readiness Standards, with geography, science, art and poetry as additional elements to the curriculum.  There has been immediate engagement from the students. “I have students asking to read the provided books during independent reading time,” said Ruth Godwin, first grade teacher at UA.  They love sharing the information with the class.”


Another benefit to the ZooED program is the development of a community partnership.  “Some of our kids do not get the experience of places such as the Zoo,” explained Miller.  “This, as well as other programs, enables them to go to places they might not get to otherwise.”


The second part of the program, Manage the Animal, is recommended for grades 4-6.  In this project-based part, students will learn about zoo careers and take on the roles of zookeepers, veterinarians, nutritionists and educators.  For the third part of the program, Maintain the Animal, students will learn about the role of genetics in animal conservation.  This portion is recommended for grades 8 and up.


For more information on the ZooED program, how to become a ZooED teacher or to schedule ZooED curriculum training for your charter school, visit the KC Zoo website.


UMKC School of Education programs earn top-tier designations

DESE releases performance report


The School of Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City is celebrating after release of a new performance report from the state agency that oversees Missouri’s public schools.


Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in March released its first-ever Annual Performance Reports for teacher preparation programs at colleges and universities in the state. Fourteen of UMKC’s certification programs received “Tier 1” designations.

“We were extremely gratified to earn Tier 1 designations for all of our ranked programs,” said Justin Perry, Ph.D., dean of the UMKC School of Education.  “This is a testament to the quality of instruction our faculty provides, and the talent and dedication of our students and alumni.”


According to DESE, the Annual Performance Reports are based on five years of reporting by educator preparation programs at Missouri colleges and universities. The programs reported how many candidates passed the certification exam within two tries and the content area grade point average for teacher candidates. The results also include survey results from first-year teachers, new principals and the principals’ supervisors as to the preparation program’s effectiveness.


In their presentation to the State Board, DESE articulated three purposes for the APR: “accredit the certification programs, provide annual data to guide continuous improvement of certification programs, and inform the public about quality.”


Link to full report.



Alfred Tatum Encourages Challenging African American Boys with Advanced Texts

National statistics on literacy are discouraging, but Justin Perry, dean of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Education, says that he is encouraged by recent news of local efforts to combat those daunting statistics.


However, there is still a lot of work to do, especially for advancing the literacy development of African-American boys, a subject that Alfred Tatum, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois at Chicago, has researched and written about for nearly 25 years — a topic about which nearly 400 elementary and secondary educators and administrators, community members and even children flocked to the UMKC Student Union to hear.


The UMKC School of Education’s eighth annual Urban Education and Community Forum on April 3 featured Tatum as the keynote speaker. Tatum discussed ways to unbind the narrative suffocating the literacy development of so many of our nation’s children. He also presented a model aimed to advance the literacy development of low- and high-performing readers and writers, specifically black males in grades three through 12.


“Literacy is about decoding text, decoding the universe,” Tatum said. “It improves our lives and the public good.”


His presentation, Text as a Tool of Protection,” paralleled the lack of writing and reading skills to “muzzles on mouths,” indicating that literacy is a restoration of identity. Tatum said that there is power in the ability to read and write and suggested that educators challenge children to understand, become knowledgeable about and write about advanced texts.


However, Tatum acknowledged that mediocracy and the creation of reading levels have taken over America’s schools.


Schools, according to Tatum, are now focused more on teaching to the test and teaching grade-level texts. But, Tatum said, “When you level text, you level lives.” Tatum says it is just a matter of children’s literacy, because “powerful texts, in tandem with powerful reading and writing instruction, can have a significant influence on the lives of all students.”


He challenged the audience to be conscientious of how they speak to and about children, explaining that how society talks about black boys impacts their literacy development.  He warned against labeling low-performing readers as “at risk” and implying that they are destined for failure if they do not know the alphabet by the time they begin kindergarten.


Following his presentation, Tatum engaged in a Q & A session with audience members, both children and educators. Topics of discussion included how to challenge black boys to recognize their individual value, incorporating differentiation into the classroom without crippling students, presenting advanced texts despite the curriculum of required reading and, for one adolescent boy, how to launch a book club with his peers.

School of Education faculty, staff, alumni and students among those presenting at AERA

The annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) will be April 27-May 1 in San Antonio and is centered around the theme of “Knowledge to Action: Achieving the Promise of Equal Educational Opportunity.”  The AERA annual meeting is the largest gathering of scholars in the field of education research, showcasing ground-breaking, innovative studies in a diverse array of areas—from early education through higher education, from digital learning to second language literacy.


UMKC School of Education faculty, staff, alumni and students (in bold, below) are among those presenting:


Greim, R., & Friend, J. (2017, April). Perceptions of Climate of NCAA Division I Athletic Departments by LGBT and Non-LGBT Student-Athletes.


Johnson, K. & Friend, J.  (2017, April). “Invisible Life in the Academy: Experiences of African American Women Staff in Higher Education”


Hollins, E., Bell, C. V., & Warner, C. (March 2017). Redesigning preservice teacher preparation:  Meeting new demands for accountability.  Session accepted for the 69th Annual Meeting of American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Tampa, FL.


Maher, M. A., Roksa, J., & Custer, S. (2017, April). Exploring URM students’ paths to the biomedical science Ph.D.


Nash, K. (April 2017).  High Leverage Early Literacy Practices in Urban Schools.


Nash, K. (April 2017).  High Leverage Early Literacy Practices in Urban Schools (with Dr. Etta Hollins and Ms. Leah Panther).


Peterman, N. (April 2017).  AERA Symposium “Consuming identities: Identity and agency in adolescent transactions with branded young adult literature”.  Symposium title: “Critically Engaging with Children’s and Young Adult Literature by, about, and with Latinas/os”.


Schlein, C., Friend, J., & Caruthers, L. (2017, April). Suppressed curriculum histories and emerging futures of desegregation: Experiences of African American educators and students.


Schlein, C., & Taft, J. R. (2017, April). Intercultural competence at the intersection of culture and behavior in social studies classrooms.


Schlein, C., Ukpokodu, O., & Waddell, J. (2017, April). An exploration of exemplar educators in diverse and urban schools.


Strekalova-Hughes, E., & Wang, X. C. (2017, April). Image of refugees in children’s literature: A content analysis.


Taft, R. J., Barger, R., & Lee, D. (2017, April). Observations from the Field on Behavior Intervention Support Team.


Wang, X. C., & Strekalova-Hughes, E. (2017, April). “I don’t want sad stories!”: Refugee families’ storytelling with young children.


Warner, C., Hollins, E., & Bell, C. V. (April 2017). Leveraging reform mandates for program improvement: Developing transparency, cohesion, and shared ownership in an urban teacher preparation program. Poster.


Wilson, J., & Caruthers, L. (2017, April). Jigsaw giftedness: A multifaceted approach to support African American males.


Wilson, J., & Caruthers, L. (2017, April). Invictus Minds: A critical heuristic case study of giftedness in African American males.


Wofford, A., Maher, M. A., Roksa, J., & Feldon, D. F. (2017, April). The early emergence of doctoral student attrition: Perspectives on early departure in the biomedical sciences.

Graduate students recognized for contributions to research

University of Missouri-Kansas City graduate students across campus were recognized February 9 at the annual Community of Scholars event, sponsored by the School of Graduate Studies, for their superior efforts in graduate research.  School of Education doctoral students (and alums) were among those honored:


Podium presentation winner

  • 1st place – Rhianna Thomas, Curriculum & Instruction and Educational Foundations

SGS Research Grant Recipients

  • Michelle Farrell, Counseling Psychology
  • Jessica LaFollette, Curriculum & Instruction and Educational Leadership, Policy & Foundations
  • Dea Marx, Higher Education
  • Joanna Maung, Counseling Psychology
  • Leah Panther, Curriculum & Instruction and Educational Leadership, Policy & Foundations

Opportunity Fellowships

  • Mirella Flores, Counseling Psychology
  • Alyssa Joiner, Counseling Psychology
  • Marina Khan, Counseling Psychology

MacQuarrie Fellowship

  • Jennifer Schaafsma, Counseling Psychology

Graduate Alumni Fellowship

  • Sydney Morgan, Counseling Psychology

Preparing Future Faculty Awards

Year 1

  • Wen Wen Chong, Counseling Psychology
  • Sathya Jeevandba, Counseling Psychology
  • Colleen Kelly, Educational Leadership, Policy & Foundations and Public Affairs & Administration

Year 2

  • Sydney Morgan, Counseling Psychology
  • Jessica Ross, Counseling Psychology

Outstanding Dissertation Honorable Mentions

  • Erdem Demiroz (M.A. ’11, Ph.D., ’16), Interdisciplinary/Curriculum and Instruction and Mathematics
  • Morgan Grotewiel (Ph.D. ’16), Counseling Psychology
  • Kimberly Johnson (M.A. ’03, Ed.S. ’05, Ed.D., ’16), Higher Education Administration

For more information, visit the UMKC website.

Integrating visual arts in classrooms birth to kindergarten focus of February 16 workshop

Interact with other educators and gain information for planning, implementing and evaluating developmentally appropriate materials, activities, environment and instructional strategies for using art as a form of expression and communication in your own classrooms for children birth to kindergarten.


Such an opportunity awaits at the Berkley Child and Family Development Center (1012 East 52nd Street, Kansas City) for a two-hour workshop, “Integrating the Visual Arts Throughout the Classroom”, on February 16 beginning at 6:30 p.m.  You will leave with some great resources, including books, websites, recipes and activity ideas.


Cost is $24 with 0.2 CEUs available through the UMKC School of Education’s office of Continuing and Professional Education.  Enroll today.

David Sharp named School of Education Alumni Achievement Awardee

The University of Missouri-Kansas City has named its 2017 Alumni Award recipients and will honor these 16 alumni and one family at an awards luncheon on April 20.  UMKC’s Alumni Association will highlight recipients’ stories and accomplishments at the luncheon, and many of the honorees will visit classrooms this spring to share their stories with current students.


The School of Education’s Alumni Achievement Award honoree is David Sharp (M.A. ’99, Ed.Sp. ‘03), a veteran who has served as principal of Lee’s Summit West High School (Lee’s Summit, Mo.) since 2011, and previously was director of Summit Technology Academy, also in Lee’s Summit.


Born and raised in both Kansas City and south Chicago where his dad was a police officer, Sharp struggled in school and was told by his high school guidance counselor that he really didn’t fit the pedigree of those who go to college. A graduate of William Chrisman High School in Independence, Mo., he chose to enter the military and decided if he survived his tour of duty, he would return to school and “do something right.” As it turns out, Sharp was the first in his family to graduate from college.


Sharp’s decision to become a teacher honored the “long lineage of teachers that helped me through school, and [because] I was one of those at-risk kids,” he said.  Although, “if someone would have told me I would be a principal when I was younger, I would have laughed,” he added.  “I was going to go into the family business, because I came from a lot of headstrong people and was going to be a Chicago cop, no question.”


Instead, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Missouri, his master’s degree and Educational Specialist degree in Higher Education Administration—both from UMKC, and earned his Ed.D. from Baker University.


Characterized by those who nominated him as “the consummate professional” who “uses his experiences to encourage students to rise above and fulfill their potential,” Sharp was named Principal of the Year for 2015 by Greater Kansas City Missouri Principals Association and Missouri’s 2015 High School Principal of the Year by the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals.  Under his leadership at Lee’s Summit West, the school has earned many accolades, including:

  • Three-time US News and World Report Silver Medalist for America’s Best High Schools
  • Two-time Platinum Award as a High Achievement School for High Schools That Work
  • Missouri Gold Star School 2013
  • National Blue Ribbon School 2013
  • Annual ACT scores ranking among highest in Kansas City Missouri Metro
  • A Missouri Top 40 High School for college prep

Paul Rutherford, Ph.D. (’99), a past Alumni Achievement Awardee and instructor at Lee’s Summit Technology Academy, claims Sharp’s “sense of loyalty, commitment to his school, its faculty, staff, parents and students, is, in my estimation, at the highest level that I have witnessed in a public school administrator in my 34 years as an educator, both at the public and collegiate level.  He will never compromise the progress of our students and their preparation for the various professions they [are] headed towards, and he sees himself as merely a part of the bigger whole, encouraging and inspiring those who work, not for him but beside him.”