Watson Chronicle


Support for Educators in the Field

WCE Celebrates Success of PDS Master Teachers Program

Sunday, May 20, 2018

WCE’s Master Teachers initiative, offered through the Professional Development System Office, pairs outstanding teachers in WCE partnership schools with WCE faculty for three years to collaborate on the design and implementation of a shared professional growth opportunity impacting their students, school, district and/or broader professional community.

Master Teachers also mentor beginning teacher Promise of Leadership Award recipients, and are often called upon to provide lesson demonstrations, serve as guest speakers/panelists at selected Watson events and/or serve as an Advisory Board member to the PDS Office or Dean.

WCE’s 2015-18 Master Teachers and faculty partners are:

  • Dorian Barnes, Murrayville Elementary and Brian Brinkley, director of WCE’s Betty Stike Education Laboratory
  • Carrie Barrett, Belville Elementary and Sue Combs, professor of Health and Applied Human Sciences, UNCW College of Health and Human Services
  • Jessica Croson, Heide Trask High School and Angie Reid-Griffin, associate professor, Department of Instructional Technology, Foundations and Secondary Education
  • Katie Snyder Fink, Trask Middle School; Amy Garrett Dikkers, associate professor, Department of Educational Leadership
  • Craig Mann, Topsail High School and Shelby Morge, associate professor, Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle Grades, Literacy and Special Education
  • Victoria Minshew, College Park Elementary and Lynn Sikma, assistant professor, EEMLS
  • Jennifer Waring; Noble Middle School; Eddie Caropreso, associate professor, ITFSE
  • Bridget Wortman, North Topsail Elementary; Robert Smith, professor, ITFSE

Overview of Projects

Dorian Barnes/Brian Brinkley: Inquiry-Based Learning

Dorian Barnes ’04, ’10M brought inquiry-based learning to Murrayville Elementary School through a partnership with Brian Brinkley. In spring 2017 her fifth-graders researched a US Historical event from early exploration to reconstruction, then created unique presentations to showcase their work. During the 2017-18 school year, Barnes introduced several additional IBL projects, expanded the initiative across the grade level, and mentored a colleague to help introduce IBL in the fourth grade. She is currently helping a National Board Candidate explore inquiry learning to strengthen her portfolio.

In March 2017, an article by Barnes and Brinkley was published in the NAPDS Journal, and their work was featured in the Watson Chronicle. The team also presented at the 2017 Spring PDS Learning Day.

Carrie Barrett/Sue Combs: Growth and Development of the PEH Curriculum

Carrie Barrett and Sue Combs teamed up to source a growth and development Physical Education and Health program for 5th grade students at Belville Elementary School. They showcased the recommended program at Family Fitness Night and secured support from parents and administrators before introducing the program during the 2017-18 school year. In late spring, a survey was sent to participating students and their parents asking for feedback and suggestions. The pair will use survey feedback to enhance the curriculum for the 2018-19 school year. Long-term goals include obtaining support for district-wide implementation.

Jessica Croson/ Angie Reid-Griffin: Engaging Students in STEM

Jessica Croson ’10M and Angie Reid-Griffin conducted online surveys and focus group interviews with Science Olympiad students and parents at Heide Trask High School to assess interest and involvement with STEM, and opportunities for student engagement and mentoring. Croson created a website to showcase the county’s Science Olympiad teams and activities. As coordinator of STEM activities for Pender County, her future plans include developing a video to highlight STEM opportunities in the district, and future collaborations with Reid-Griffin and others to increase community involvement.

Katie Fink/Amy Garrett Dikkers: PD and Global Education

Katie Fink ’08, ’12 M, ’16 Ed.D. and Amy Garrett Dikkers chose two areas of focus: Fink’s professional development and growth, and Garrett Dikker’s research in global education. Over the course of their collaboration, Fink presented at local, state and national conferences; was co-author with Garrett-Dikkers, Somer Lewis and Lynn Sikma on a peer-review book chapter; and held meetings with State Superintendent Mark Johnson and members of the State Board of Education, which helped her develop greater insight into North Carolina education policy and decision-making. She also served as a mentor to three POL award recipients. The team’s future plans include conducting surveys and interviews with Global Ready teachers to learn about their experiences and ways in which their classrooms are global ready.

Craig Mann/Shelby Morge: Vertical Alignment in Math

Topsail High School math teacher Craig Mann and Shelby Morge set a goal of assessing the level of vertical alignment in mathematics within the Topsail District. They developed a survey which was disseminated to K-12 teachers district-wide. Future goals include an in-depth assessment of results to determine coverage and gaps in lessons, course content and grade-level preparedness, based on core standards.

Victoria Minshew/ Lynn Sikma: STEM Kits and STEM Resource Lab

The partnership between Victoria Minshew and Lynn Sikma began with plans to create a STEM Resource Lab in Minshew’s fifth-grade classroom. Grant funding from a PDS Partnership in Action award enabled Minshew to create STEM kits, which she shared with students and other College Park fifth grade teachers. She has been a guest lecturer in Sikma's elementary science methods course on how to utilize standards to drive instruction, and added more inquiry in her lesson plans and kits after observing Sikma teach inquiry-based lesson planning. Minshew and Sikma presented their work at NAPDS and co-authored an article for the School-University Partnership Journal. Future plans include writing a practitioner piece about the STEM kits for publication in Science and Children and further integrating their classrooms to foster collaboration between Sikma’s pre-service teachers and Minshew’s fifth graders.

Jennifer Waring/ Eddie Caropreso: PLCs and ELA Learning Stations

The early work of Jennifer Waring ’01, ’07M and Eddie Caropreso was focused on Professional Learning Communities, with a goal of strengthening PLCs at Noble Middle School. Faced with time-challenged teacher colleagues, Waring shifted her short-term focus to English Language Arts student learning stations. She has conducted research on the topic and is currently working to develop a series of ELA activities for her seventh-grade students. Future plans include completion of the stations, and design of professional development to share the stations with other ELA teachers. Waring is also continuing her research on successful PLCs.

Bridget Wortman/ Robert Smith: Innovative Practice in Education

Bridget Wortman ’98 and Robert Smith chose to focus on innovation. The team looked at motivations and obstacles to innovation at the classroom, school and district level, and engaged teachers and administrators in a dialogue about what constitutes “innovation” and how it can be measured.  Wortman initiated her own innovation: she eliminated desks in her first-grade classroom at North Topsail Elementary, and partnered with Smith to assess how giving children the freedom and autonomy to choose where they learn impacts their achievement and motivation. The team shared their work at the NC Partnership Conference, and authored an article which has been submitted for publication in the School-University Partnership Journal. Wortman was also a presenter, along with colleague Dennis Chase Morgan, at WCE’s Innovation Conference in April.