STEM program prospers at Woodburn location

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The Pacific Woodburn Campus continues to flourish with its Master of Arts in Teaching program. It now hosts the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program dedicated to helping start up the careers of future science and math teachers.

This program, consisting of ten to twelve students per cohort, is dedicated to each class developing as many skills as they can within the June-to-June, twelve month period. It is designed to be strictly for people aspiring to teach in secondary school math and science.

“One of the things that is very unique about the program is that it runs on a clinical model,” Director of Admissions for the College of Education Diana Watkins said. “These students are in the schools working alongside master teachers and our faculty in the Woodburn School District, so they get extensive time in the schools, they getting hands-on, real-life experience, which is great.”

Established in 2012, the Woodburn campus is placed right in the Woodburn School District. This school district is known for its diversity, both ethnically and linguistically, which is vital for these preservice teachers.

“One of the reasons we got this going in Woodburne is because becoming a teacher will equip you to teach, really at any school, especially schools that are becoming more diverse, ethnically, linguistically, etc,” Director of Pacific Woodburne campus Kevin Carr, Ph.D, said.

Woodburn’s actually a couple decades ahead of the curve, and they do things in very unique ways. They value multilingualism, and multiculturalism, multiliteracy, and so becoming a teacher there gives you a head start on what the future looks like in other districts.”

The teaching programs take advantage of this cultural diversity as much as they can when it comes to the first stages of the teaching experience.

“We look at the whole entire community as our campus,” Carr said.“The physical campus is an office for two faculty and a classroom, but it’s really the community as our campus, so we cooperate with the community college, library, the city itself as well as the school district.”

In this trilingual community that is focused mainly on the languages English, Spanish and Russian, students also receiving endorsements in English For Speakers of Other Languages, ESOL, along with their Oregon teaching license.

“They do not need to be fluent in another language,” Watkins said. “But that ESOL endorsement is going to help them understand language acquisition and different teaching methods, which will allow them to be effective with all of their students.”

The Woodburn MAT and STEM programs are not limiting their sights in Oregon. To create as much diversity as possible, their national recruitment has brought students in from different areas of the country as far as Boston, Mass. Those recruited compete to prove that they are best of the best.

“In June 2015, the cohorts will be 12-15 people each year,” Carr said. “And they’ll be truly the elite candidates.”

94 percent of the students that completed last year’s MAT are now teaching fulltime.

For students who are interested, there will be an informational meeting for students at the Woodburne campus onOct. 23, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


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