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.”


Tatum to keynote 2017 Urban Education and Community Forum

Alfred Tatum, Ph.D., will keynote the 2017 Urban Education and Community Forum on April 3.

Research makes it clear that young Black males fall below their peers in other racial groups when it comes to literacy rates, high school graduation rates and college readiness.


Alfred Tatum, Ph.D., a literary expert who serves as dean and professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will offer ways to unbind the narrative that is suffocating the literacy development of so many of our nation’s children as the keynote presenter at the eighth annual Urban Education and Community Forum sponsored by the School of Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  Tatum also will discuss a model that aims to advance the literacy development of low- and high-performing readers and writers, paying specific attention to Black boys in grades 3-12.


Tatum has written more than 50 publications on the topic, including Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males: Closing the Achievement GapReading For Their Life: (Re) building the Textual Lineages of African American Adolescent Males and Fearless Voices: Engaging the Next Generation of African American Male Writers.  Tatum produced four major reading and writing programs used by millions of students throughout the country and served for 10 years on the national reading committee for the National Assessment of Educational Progress.


This year’s forum, “What it takes for effective urban education: Advancing the Literacy Development of African American Boys,” is scheduled from 5-6:30 p.m. Monday, April 3, in Room 401 of the UMKC Student Union, 5100 Cherry St., Kansas City, Mo., with doors opening at 4:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are requested by March 27.

Science and social studies teachers now have second chance to take online 8-week Population Connection course

High demand for the Fall section of Making the Population Connection: Exploring the Human-Environmental Nexus in Today’s Middle and High School Classroom prompted Population Education to again offer its eight-week, online asynchronous professional development course this Spring in partnership with the UMKC School of Education.


world with footprintsDesigned for science and social studies educators of grades 6-12, the course is perfect for teachers of Environmental Science, World Geography, Human Geography, Biology/Life Science, World History, or the AP counterparts. Presented topics focus on global development, human quality of life, natural resources, and environmental sustainability.


Participants will discover student-centered learning strategies that use contemporary issues and real-world data to explore the impacts of human population, and acquire dozens of classroom-ready, standards-aligned activities and resources to immediately apply in the classroom.


By the end of this course, participants will have:

  1. A comprehensive suite of lessons and activities that meet individual state learning standards, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Common Core Standards (CSS), and the C4 Framework for Social Studies
  2. Formative and summative assessments that examine human population dynamics and environmental change
  3. Multimedia resources to extend learning in the classroom, and promote data literacy, mapping, and tech integration
  4. One graduate credit or 45 professional development clock hours, a digital badge, and certificate of completion


Dates: March 13-May 12, 2017

Cost: $80.00 flat program fee


Additional cost: plus $80.00 to earn 4.5 CEUs (45 clock hours) or $155.00 for online graduate credit through UMKC School of Education division of Continuing and Professional Education.  Questions may be directed to


Register today.

Call for Proposals issued for inaugural conference on new teacher induction

The UMKC School of Education’s division of Continuing and Professional Education, in collaboration with the School of Education academic divisions of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies, and Educational Leadership, Policy and Foundations; the UMKC Regional Professional Development Center; and contributing UMKC charter schools, has created a New Teacher Induction (NTI) program designed to address schools’ need for induction and initial hours of ongoing support for first year teachers or those new to the district per DESE and KSDE requirements.



The NTI program incorporates the Missouri and Kansas Educator Evaluation processes as a foundation and expands outward to meet or exceed the underlying mission to improve student achievement and increase teacher retention.


The program will deliver a series of three courses over the academic school year.


The initial course will introduce and expand teachers’ understanding of educational philosophy, law and best practices in the teaching profession. This will be implemented through an annual conference titled Induction of New Teachers into Urban Education (INTUE), where teachers will receive 15 clock hours of planned and directed continuing education activities. The conference is expected to draw 100 new teachers from Missouri and Kansas, their mentors, and/or school administrators.


The NTI program is designed to create a community of practitioners; thereby, experts in the field, educational specialists and school leaders are invited to join in the collaborative efforts to create a foundation and support system for new teachers entering the urban education environment. Consequently, the NTI committee has opened a request for workshop proposals (RFP). The 50 minute workshops have designated topics and learning objectives set by the NTI Program Committee. Detailed guidelines and a proposal form can be found online.   The deadline for proposal submission is April 1, 2017.


Questions may be directed to Annetta Toomey.


If you are interested in learning more about NTI for your district for Fall 2018, contact Mike Strohschein, Ed.D. A waiting list is already forming.