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MonarchTeach Showing Signs of Success

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ODU's MonarchTeach initiative has started with a bang. The program, a collaborative effort between ODU's Darden College of Education and the College of Sciences, was just approved by the Virginia General Assembly in 2012 and is not scheduled to graduate its first student until 2017, yet it is already showing signs of success.

In fact, current STEM students in this innovative program rave about the opportunities MonarchTeach has offered them. Students teach STEM lessons in elementary and middle school early in the program, and when students graduate they are licensed teachers.

"I always knew I wanted to teach, but it was exciting teaching lesson plans I developed for students sooner in my academic career than I had expected," says Jacob Newman, an ODU sophomore majoring in ocean, earth and atmospheric science. "Seeing the actual expression on each child's face when he or she grasped the concept I was teaching only reinforced my decision to teach," adds Newman."

Kirsten Young, a biology/pre-veterinarian major, agrees as she too raves about the program. "Since MonarchTeach is only one class a semester, it doesn't overload your schedule, and the work is easily managed with your STEM courses," says Young. "I would tell any student considering the program to give it a try. I had not considered teaching. However, during this program I not only gained detailed-oriented organizational and public speaking skills, but also learned that I loved teaching. Gaining my teaching license gives me more options in the future. I am now considering teaching when I graduate."

MonarchTeach Points of Pride:

  • Matriculation of students through the program continues to exceed expectations. Of the 64 students who completed the Step 1 course during the 2013-14 academic year, 30-32 are continuing in the program.
  • The Step 1 and Step 2 course and partnerships with Larchmont Elementary, Sewells Point Elementary, and Blair Middle continue to be very successful. Feedback from the students on the program is very positive.
  • Marketing of the program continues to be very successful as word about the program continues to spread within the ODU community. Staff has seen a marked interest in the program this semester.
  • The MonarchTeach Living Learning Community (LLC) has been approved to open in fall 2014. Located in Ireland House, the LLC will consist of 24 beds on the second floor of the dorm. To date, eight students (six females and two males) have committed to living in the LLC for the 2014-15 academic year. In addition, the program has just secured a commitment from an incoming freshman and will promote the LLC in the freshmen previews. Plans call for several additional freshmen to commit to the LLC by the end of the summer.
  • Through funding from the Dean's office in the College of Education, MonarchTeach hired four student workers for the MonarchTeach workroom. Each student works 10 hours a week, allowing the workroom to open Monday-Friday.
  • Eight faculty and staff members along with two MonarchTeach students attended the UTeach Institute conference at the end of May.
  • MonarchTeach faculty and staff, at the request of the Department of International Programs, hosted a meeting on June 9 with 18 delegates from the Thailand Ministry of Education, including the Minister and Deputy Minister of Education. The meeting consisted of a formal presentation on the MonarchTeach program followed by a hands-on activity facilitated by ODU master teachers.
  • Eleven MonarchTeach students are participating in 6-8 week summer internships. MonarchTeach faculty and staff oversee the internships to ensure bi-weekly visits to the sites. Sites secured for the internships include:
    • Virginia Aquarium
    • Space Grant Consortium
    • Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation
    • Portsmouth Public Schools
    • Norfolk Public Schools
    • Children's Museum
    • ODU Research - Dr. Fred Dobbs, Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Science Faculty
    • ODU Research - Dr. Stephen Burgin, Science Education Faculty
  • Dr. Rich Whittecar, MonarchTeach co-director, and Dr. Kim Baskette, project coordinator, will appear on the WHRO Virginia Tidewater Consortium (VTC) for Higher Education TV show on June 30 to discuss the need for more highly qualified STEM teachers and how the MonarchTeach program is addressing this need.
  • An application has been submitted for a MonarchTeach student organization. Kelley Clark, one of the program's master teachers, is currently working on the bylaws for the organization. The student organization should be up and running this fall.

Learn more about MonarchTeach.