Program Co-sponsored by USF’s College of Education Recognizes Forest Park I.E. School for Character Efforts

Joliet, Ill. – Character.org, a national advocate and leader for character development in schools and communities, recently announced that 84 schools and 7 districts in 15 states are certified as National Schools of Character. Among these honorees is Forest Park I.E. School, the first Joliet school to be recognized as a National School of Character and the only Illinois National School of Character this year. 

 “We are pleased to announce and celebrate the schools and school districts who have earned this national recognition,” said Arthur Schwartz, Ed.D., president of Character.org. “Each of these schools and school districts has put in place a comprehensive approach to help their students understand, care about, and consistently practice the core values that will enable them to flourish in school, in relationships, in the workplace, and as citizens.” 

“Mr. Jacob Darley, principal, along with the Forest Park I.E. faculty and staff have created a school-wide character-building environment based on four pillars: responsibility, resourcefulness, respectfulness and responsiveness. These pillars permeate the entire school curriculum, service projects and school climate where the whole child philosophy cultivates character development in each child,” said Madonna Murphy, Ph.D., USF College of Education professor and Illinois Schools of Character Program coordinator. “The committee was especially impressed by the exemplary intrinsic motivation program at the school.  Forest Park I.E. School has a goal to help develop students of character who will grow to become productive members of society who are responsive to the needs of others.”

Joliet Public Schools District 86 Superintendent Theresa Rouse, Ed.D., commends the entire Forest Park I.E. School community on the honor.

“On behalf of the Joliet Public Schools District 86 Board of School Inspectors and the entire administration, we congratulate Forest Park on this national recognition. I applaud the students, staff, and parents for working together to make Forest Park a successful school,” Rouse said.

The Illinois Schools of Character program is sponsored by the College of Education at the University of St. Francis and the Will County Character Coalition established by James Glasgow, Will County States Attorney. The goal is to promote character education throughout Will County, in schools, youth organizations, parks and sports programs. 

After being named National Schools of Character, schools serve as models and mentors, helping other educators transform their school cultures and improve academics and student behavior. Darley and the Forest Park I.E. Character Committee are willing to assist any Joliet school seeking to become a National School of Character.

For more information about Schools of Character program, visit stfrancis.edu/academics/college-of-education/character or contact Madonna Murphy at mmurphy@stfrancis.edu.

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Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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USF to Offer Evening/Online M.Ed. Program Designed for Advancing Teachers and Career Changers

Joliet, Ill. – How many times has someone suggested to you, “You should be a teacher!” If people see you as a natural leader with the special ability to understand, communicate and work with young people, an M.Ed. with Illinois Professional Educator Licensure from the University of St. Francis (USF) will give you true fulfillment. All you need is a bachelor’s degree in any field and the desire to pursue a teaching career in one of the following areas:

  • Elementary Education (1-6);
  • Middle Grades Education: General Science, Language Arts, Mathematics or Social Science (5-8);
  • Secondary Education: Biology/Science, English/Language Arts, History/Social Sciences or Mathematics (9-12);
  • Special Education (K-Age 21), and;
  • Visual Arts Education (K-12).

“Starting in fall of 2020, the M.Ed. program will be delivered through convenient evening hybrid classes (which blends online and face-to-face learning) and fully online classes, which means you can work during the day and study at night. With continuous enrollment, you can complete the program in just under two years. Also, because USF is committed to placing talented people like you in classrooms, a discounted rate of $475 per credit hour is being offered—that’s more than 35% off USF’s regular graduate student tuition rate,” said Maggie Stevenson, graduate admissions counselor at USF.

WHY USF?

  • The University of St. Francis is accredited by both the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org) and the Illinois Board of Higher Education (ibhe.org). College of Education programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (ncate.org) and approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (isbe.net).
  • USF’s College of Education (COE) provides one of the best teacher education programs in the state.
  • Due to newly revised state requirements, COE is eliminating its basic skills test requirement, making the application process easier.
  • Small classes provide a student-centered learning environment, led by faculty with extensive experience who integrate leading-edge technology and model best practices.
  • Each student is guided by a full-time advisor and gets field experience through the duration of the program with support and supervision from COE.
  • 100% of COE students in Elementary, Secondary, Special and Visual Arts Education were hired to teach in the academic year immediately following their graduation.

For more information, visit stfrancis.edu/education and contact Maggie Stevenson, graduate admissions counselor, at 815-740-3389 or mstevenson@stfrancis.edu.

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Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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USF to Host Free Coding Workshop for Educators on April 2

This event has been postponed as a preventative measure in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. More information will follow when available.

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Joliet, Ill. – Area educators (grades 6-12) are invited to attend a free coding workshop designed around basic coding principles in the fun world of Karel the Dog from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Apr. 2, in the University of St. Francis’ (USF) LaVerne and Dorothy Brown Science Hall (Room B206) on the main USF campus at 500 Wilcox Street in Joliet. The event is sponsored by the USF Noyce STEM Educator Program.

No coding experience is required. In addition to basic coding principles, the session will focus on the importance of teaching computer science, as well as basics of the CodeHS platform and how it can help students to learn how to code. Attendees will make several Karel the Dog programs (in JavaScript) to share and will be able to take their knowledge and CodeHS materials back to the classroom to teach their own students to code, too! Educators can also earn two professional development (PD) clock hours for participating in the workshop.

Visit stfrancis.edu/real/professional-learning to register and for directions to campus. Please note that registration closes on Mar. 25 and that space is limited.

Instructor Lea Sloan has been part of computer science education since she was bitten by the teaching coding bug in 2004. She has taught computer science courses to high school students, college students, and corporate web developers. Lea is currently the Director of Professional Development for CodeHS, a comprehensive platform for teaching coding and computer science, and previously served as the organization’s Computer Science Curriculum Developer.

Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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Coding workshop (small)

College of Education Hosts Annual Breakfast with the Bishop

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis’ College of Education, in partnership with the Diocese of Joliet, hosted its annual Breakfast with the Bishop on Thursday, Jan. 16. The event, celebrated as part of Catholic Schools Week 2020, welcomed student representatives from each of the 54 Joliet Diocesan schools and included a prayer service and a special message from Diocese of Joliet Superintendent of Schools Rev. John Belmonte, S.J. 

Each year, the event culminates with a presentation ceremony for the Bishop’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, awarded by the University of St. Francis to an outstanding Catholic school teacher from the Joliet Diocese who demonstrates excellence in teaching; is recognized as a Christian role model among students, faculty, and administration; and serves the educational community by sharing time and talents for the greater good. This year’s award was presented to St. Raphael Catholic School (Naperville) first grade teacher Nicole Lacy.

“Nicole has a selfless devotion to her students, staff, and families at St. Raphael School. In her classroom, each child is viewed as an individual, receiving instruction that is tailored to their needs academically, spiritually, socially as well as emotionally. Her ability to assess students and provide for their development is exemplary,” St. Raphael Catholic School Principal Mavis DeMar said of Lacy in her nomination letter.

“Nicole also devotes her time to St. Raphael Church. She serves as a Eucharistic Minister, provides food for the funeral luncheon ministry, sings in the choir, and tends to the candles in the chapel. Nicole does all of these things willingly, while touching people’s hearts with her fine work ethic and profound love for the church and her students, which is what makes her stand out,” DeMar added.

John Gambro, Ed.D., Dean of USF’s College of Education, enjoys that the event is an opportunity to celebrate the work of educators within the local Catholic school community.

“The Breakfast with the Bishop event is a wonderful opportunity for us to recognize and celebrate the outstanding work that takes place on our diocesan schools.  To gather with student and parent representatives from every school in the diocese is a unique experience and it always demonstrates the tremendous impact that our schools have on student learning and spiritual development. In addition, we appreciate the opportunity to honor some of the exemplary Catholic school teachers within the Joliet Diocese, and we are able to do that with the Bishop’s Award for Excellence in Teaching,” Gambro said.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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India, United States Literacy Partnership Eyed by USF and Florida State University

Joliet, Ill. –  According to the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development’s 2018 Statistics At a Glance, as many as eight million students in India drop out of school by the time they reach eighth grade. One of the primary causes of the dropouts is the low quality of education at the primary grade level, including the absence of effective reading programs. In an effort to address improve these conditions and provide better educational opportunities for children, the University of St. Francis (USF) in Joliet, Ill., and the Florida Center for Reading Research Florida State University (FSU-FCRR) are entering a five-year partnership with the National Council of Education Research Training (NCERT) in India to establish a sustainable National Center for Reading Intervention and Research (NCRIR) in India.

“Currently, there is no nationwide resource center for reading and reading intervention in India. Existing resources are few in number and are mostly locally organized. There is a clear dearth in reading intervention and use of evidence-based practices in India. The access to materials and resources remain limited to the few private schools that can afford them. The proposed partnership seeks to empower the main government organization at the National level (NCERT) that monitors state and territorial initiatives in education,” said Srimani Chakravarthi, Ph. D., USF College of Education professor.

The goal of the project is to establish a sustainable National Center for Reading Intervention and Research (NCRIR) in India for developing, training and promoting reading research and dissemination of evidence-based practices in reading, by forming a partnership between the National Center for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in India and University of St. Francis-  College of Education (USF) and Florida State University -Florida Center for Reading Research (FSU-FCRR).

“The primary output of this alliance is to develop a sustainable National Center for Reading Intervention and Research in India with a sustainable resources for reading intervention and research. The outcomes of this alliance, primarily through the National Center are to equip educational institutions and teacher training centers in India with resources and methods to teach reading to students using evidence-based practices and assess the impact of using reading interventions. The long term impact of the National Center will be on improving reading fluency and comprehension in elementary school students, with improved percent of students reading at grade level and reduce drop-outs in school,” Chakravarthi added.

The proposed partnership intends to train approximately five educators from India for ten semesters over the course of the five-year partnership. The educators will be identified and selected to represent varied sectors (state and district-based). The five educators will be instructed in a semester-long ‘train the trainer’ model focusing on evidence-based reading practices and assessments in the U.S. partner universities (USF and FSU), together with resources from Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) and National Center on Improving Literacy (NCIL).

“The science of teaching reading has changed significantly in the past few decades, with substantial research on practices that work,” Chakravarthi added. “In the West, there has been a shift in literacy practices to using research-based methods of teaching, and data-based decision making process to inform interventions for reading, with emphasis on student outcomes rather than just the processes.”

While USF and FSU-FCRR has offered to train the personnel from India, the hosting of personnel will require room and board expenses each year, for the projected five years of training, for ten members each year. The estimated cost is about $240,000 each year for a total of $1.2 million for five years. Work on the partnership will continue in early 2020, as Chakravarthi and four key personnel from FSU-FCRR – Dr. Hugh Catts, Dr. Yaacov Pletscher, Dr. John Mathias and Jesse Torres –  will visit New Delhi, India from between January 6th through January 10th, 2020, to meet with NCERT director, Dr. Hrushikesh Senapaty.

For more information about the partnership or to become a philanthropic supporter of the collaborative literacy effort, please contact Srimani Chakravarthi at schakravarthi@stfrancis.edu.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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