Category Archives: Elementary Ed

CEHD alumni honored with Outstanding Achievement Award

David Metzen, Eric Kaler, and John Haugo

 

CEHD alumni John Haugo and David Metzen received the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA)  on June 19 at an evening reception at Eastcliff.  They were recognized for their significant contributions to Minnesota’s educational system and given their awards by President Eric Kaler. The OAA is the University of Minnesota’s highest award for graduates.

John Haugo was an innovative tech entrepreneur before it was cool. After working as a teacher for many years, Haugo went on to earn an M.A. (’64) and Ph.D. (’68) from CEHD. He had a specialty in information systems and, after finishing his doctorate, led the implementation of computer networks across Minnesota State University campuses.

He was later appointed to a governor’s task force to study the potential use of computers in education, which led to his position as executive director of the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium, or MECC. Early on, Haugo realized the educational potential of personal desktop computers and the importance of teaching students how to use them. Because of his efforts at MECC, all public schools in Minnesota had Apple computers with instructional software, and teachers were trained how to incorporate them into their lesson plans. Haugo eventually moved on to launch his entrepreneurial career and founded several software companies focused on health care delivery and resource management. One of his colleagues said, “John could have used his entrepreneurial skills in any type of business, but he wanted to improve the world.”

David Metzen went from being a U of M hockey standout to having an exemplary career in the field of public education. Metzen has a B.S. (’64), M.A. (’70) and Ed.D. (’73) from CEHD. He started his career as a teacher in his hometown of South Saint Paul, soon advancing to the position of principal and later superintendent. A parent from that time shared, “On the first day of school, Dave took our daughter by the hand and walked her to her classroom, all the while telling her how great school was going to be. She not only believed him then, she is now a 9th grade English teacher in the Minneapolis public schools.” As a lifelong resident and passionate supporter of his community, Metzen realized the importance of strong public schools as a civic point of pride. To ensure the ongoing health of the district, he established one of the first school foundations in Minnesota, the South Saint Paul Educational Foundation.

The University of Minnesota was influenced by Metzen’s thoughtful leadership as a Board of Regents member for 12 years, including two years as chair. He wanted to ensure that college education remained affordable for all students. During his time as a regent, the board oversaw the reorganization of General College and the College of Human Ecology, bringing together several programs under the umbrella of the new College of Education and Human Development. After his regents term ended, Metzen continued his leadership for college affordability as Minnesota’s Commissioner of Higher Education.

In their acceptance remarks, both Haugo and Metzen acknowledged the importance of the University of Minnesota to their lives and to the state. We are proud to have such distinguished alumni affiliated with CEHD!

All college alumni are invited to stay connected through the CEHD Alumni Society.

C&I student, Fadumo Mohamed, wins CEHD Multicultural Recognition Award

Lori Helman, Fadumo Mohamed and her parents, Anthony Albecker, Vichet Chhuon

Fadumo Mohamed, a senior in the Elementary Education Foundations program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction received the CEHD Student Multicultural Recognition Award this year. The award is given to a candidate who has made outstanding multicultural efforts to the CEHD community in community outreach as part of their extracurricular or professional work.

Mohamed was nominated by her McNair Scholars program advisor, Lori Helman, on the strength of her many outreach activities. She worked as a literacy mentor in Pratt Community School as part of the America Reads program where she became interested in creating an effective mentoring program for Somali-American youth in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood.

The existing government programs designed to support positive extracurricular activities were transforming into programs to monitor youth for potential future terrorist threats. This was creating a divisive and mistrustful atmosphere in the community, so Mohamed urged the community school to not take the government funding for these programs that offered tutoring and instead to let her provide tutors with the support of the Young Muslims Collaborative (YMC).

In support of that effort she trained almost 40 mentors over two years that were paired with unmotivated or disconnected students. By training mentors who have had similar life experiences, the students are given emotional and strategic support for setting life goals. This is in contrast to programs that attempt to see these youth as potential deviants.

“Fadumo shares the importance of knowing who you are- the values of dual identity, dual language, and works to develop a curriculum that highlights this,” says Helman. “It has been my great honor to work alongside her and learn from her as she gives her full effort toward ensuring equity and positive identity formation for Somali Americans.”

Mohamed will enter the Master of Education and Initial Teaching License program in Elementary Education in the fall where she plans to continue her work towards engaging youth and creating a curriculum that responds to the needs of multicultural student communities.

Learn more about the elementary education programs in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

 

C&I Graduate Triples Elementary Test Scores in One Year, Closes Achievement Gap

Bonnie Laabs
Courtesy of City Pages

Reporter Susan Du of City Pages recently reported that after just one year as the science teacher in struggling Hamline Elementary school, Bonnie Laabs raised the science proficiency rate from 17 percent to 61 percent, meeting the statewide average. According to Jodie Wilson, Hamline’s testing coordinator, this tremendous jump is “extremely unheard of” in St. Paul Schools.

Laabs uses a combination of extra-academic advice and mentoring, along with creative explanations of difficult science terminology with the help of classroom pets to help students overcome hurdles in scientific understanding.

She is also open about her own past in which she struggled with abuse at an early age, spent time in foster care, and got thrown out of school. She uses her redemption through education as an example to her students, allowing them to open up about their own fears and problems. Laabs also tells her story to underscore the importance of completing homework and getting a good education.

Bonnie Laabs graduated with a Ph.D. from the Department of Curriculum & Instruction with a focus on family, youth, and community. To read the entire article visit the CityPages website.

C&I Faculty Cynthia Zwicky Fosters Restorative Practices in Schools

Cynthia Zwicky, a lecturer in the elementary education program in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, is presenting an Advanced Circle Keeper’s Training  as part of the annual Restorative Practices in Schools trainings. The trainings are a collaboration between the Legal Rights Center and the Minnesota Department of Education School Safety Technical Assistance Center.

A restorative school is centered on relationships, building community and repairing harm. Multiple practices provide multi-tiered levels of support for students, staff and family. The Advanced Circle Keeper training is designed for people who already practice restorative justice, typically in a school setting. ”I have found the practice to be a key component of interrupting the school to prison pipeline and in reducing racial disproportionality in suspension,” says Zwicky.

Zwicky and her co-presenter, Michael Stanefski, were two of the first people in Minnesota (and in the United States) to adopt the circle process in their work as a teacher and a social worker in the schools, respectively.  They developed the Advanced Circle Keeper’s Training as an opportunity for circle keepers to observe each other’s practice in repairing harm.

Read more about restorative justice and the elementary education program in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction.