Wheaton Educators Support Local Schools
Over the past few years, many of those involved in teacher education at Wheaton College have been and continue to be involved in local elementary, middle and high schools. This strengthens partnerships and ensures that methods instructors are in tune with current trends found in schools, not just in the curricular or pedagogical theories. Almost all education faculty and instructors are involved in supervising one or more practica, including the methods practicum and the student teaching experience. But in addition to these responsibilities, individual faculty and instructors are often assisting local schools in other ways.
For instance, Prof. Leong has worked with Wheaton North High School to organize a science field trip to the Meyer Science facility on the topic of forensics. Dr. Jon Eckert has also supported science education in District 200 (Wheaton/Warrenville) by teaching a number of science classes for elementary school children in their local schools. He also recently led a science workshop for teachers in the district during the county-wide institute day. Prof. Vroom has supported local after school tutoring programs, particularly ones targeting English language learners. The students enrolled in the Literacy Assessment class have also been helpful in the literacy learning of young students in local schools, thanks to the planning of Dr. Morrison. Dr. Yontz, a music education professor, has directed band concerts in Edman Chapel planned specifically for the children from schools in the community. And Dr. Lederhouse has provided math curriculum support for teachers and students at our partnership school in Chicago, Cleveland Elementary School. Other initiatives and collaborative efforts are being considered, but it is clear that the Wheaton Teacher Education Program (WheTEP) is connected with and supporting K-12 education in the area.
Mentoring to Alumni Research: An Encouraging Word
The Faculty Student Mentoring Initiative at Wheaton College has allowed professors in departments funded by the mentoring initiative to form small cohorts of students and partner with them in projects, initiatives and research. Each year, Dr. Eckert forms a research group with undergraduate students to track recent alumni of the Wheaton Teacher Education Program (WheTEP) to learn about the influence Wheaton College had on these graduates and to find out what they do after graduation. According to McKenna Fitzharris '17, "we met weekly as a group where we pray for graduates we regularly correspond with and analyze data from the annual survey we sent out." The data obtained, with a 90% response rate, results in the information available on the WheTEACH website, which is maintained by the students involved in this mentoring group.
As is evident in the graph, about 90% of recent graduates were employed in education that first year after graduation, in public, private and international settings. Graduates also appear to value the strong liberal arts preparation they have experienced at Wheaton College, too. More information about these and other alumni responses are available on the WheTEACH website. McKenna also notes that they research and maintain the licensure and teaching requirements for all fifty states in the U.S., so very practical information is tabulated for those conducting a job search. Overall, this particular mentoring initiative encourages both the undergraduates connecting with alumni, as well as the alumni reporting back to the next generation of educators.
The 2015 data from last May's graduation class has also been compiled and posted on the WheTEACH website and can be viewed here. Survey responses were collected from 94% of those who completed Wheaton's teacher education program last year, providing helpful data on where these alumni are today.
Special Education Endorsement Offered by Wheaton College
The Wheaton Teacher Education program now offer the courses leading to a special education endorsement that can be added to an initial Illinois teaching license. In the 2014-15 academic year, the Education Department was successful in a national search to fill the position of Ann Haskins Assistant Professor of Special Education. Thomas Boehm was recruited and hired and more information about him is found at the top of this page. Feel free to contact him for more information about this endorsement or to discuss meeting the needs of learners with disabilities.