Education Majors Focus on STEM and ELL

Teacher Certification Students Prepared in Required Classroom Skills

Marist is always looking for ways to prepare their students for a bright future. With this intention, the education program has developed a program that will better prepare education students for a teaching career.

Education majors typically have a very focused course schedule, but will now be able to learn about additional aspects of education, through two new tracks of study: STEM or ELL.

Local school districts have expressed a need for STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) and ELL (English Language Learners) experienced teachers. Administrators from these districts have told the education department at Marist that teachers with experience in either of these areas are in high demand.

The opportunity for Marist students to study these two areas is completely voluntary and does not provide any additional teaching certifications. However, as the local school districts have indicated, these skills can be very beneficial for the prospective teacher. “The idea is to provide our students with as many opportunities to help them become very effective teachers,” says Professor Sullivan, Associate Dean for Teacher Education.

After completing either the STEM or ELL tracks, students will have a greater depth of knowledge of the education field. They will also become more marketable for local school districts that require these areas of expertise. In the job market, these students will be more distinguished by their number of credits and the knowledge-base they can include in their resumes.

“It is strengthening them, enhancing their education, and preparing them to deal with what will be expected of them,” Professor Sullivan says of the new STEM and ELL tracks.

In addition, he anticipates that “eventually, in order to effect their trade, many of these students that are experiencing these tracks may want to go further in STEM or ELL.” As they pursue a master’s degree, within 5 years of graduation, some students may be inspired to continue to pursue these areas of education.

Education students at Marist have a strict course schedule and four-year course plan in order to meet state certification requirements. However, if they arrive at Marist with AP credits, and strategically choose classes, they will have room to take courses outside of their requirements. “That gives students room in their plan of study to experience other opportunities,” Professor Sullivan explains.

The key to utilizing these diverse courses is planning ahead and strategically picking classes. “The incoming students, or freshmen, need to get together with their advisor to have this thoughtful plan of study so that they can pursue either STEM or ELL,” advises Professor Sullivan. Since most education students have already taken 10 credits that coincide with these tracks, they will only have to take three more classes to complete the track.

The way the education program works right now, there are two different certification groups. Students that want to become elementary school teachers are a part of Marist’s Psychology/Special Education Program and become eligible to receive dual certification in becoming an elementary and special education teacher. 

The second group is Adolescent Education, for those that want to teach middle school or high school. This prepares students for certification to teach seventh grade through twelfth grade. “Their major is specific to their content,” says Professor Sullivan, so they will study specific subjects such as English, History, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics or Foreign Language.

Regardless of which certification group a student chooses to follow, a specialty track in either STEM or ELL will add a new level of experience and expertise when they begin their career as a professional classroom educator.

Written by Sarah Gabrielli '18


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