Beginning Teacher Assistance Program

btap1Beginning Teacher Assistance Program

An Exciting Professional Development Opportunity for PK-12 teachers in their first 3 years of teaching, for both Webster University alumni and graduates of other colleges and universities, to enhance their professional knowledge and earn a BTAP Certificate of Participation to address DESE certification requirements.

Free to Webster students and alumni; $15.00 for all others.

Saturday, March 4, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

East Academic Building

545 Garden Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63119

Elementary teachers—room 253

Secondary teachers—room 102

*Free parking located in garage across the street*

Coffee and breakfast snacks will be provided, beginning at 8:30 am.


Please join us to learn about making your classroom more engaging through:

Tiered learning; engaging, hands-on lessons; differentiation

Please return the Registration form by February 10, 2017 to Jan Willcox

Click here for the registration form


Mind Full of Words

mfow-hPNC Bank national foundation awarded Webster University and five partner organizations a one million dollar grant to undertake 2 years of coordinated and intensive outreach to families and young children in the St. Louis area to build vocabulary skills and promote educational success.

The Mind Full of Words program, developed within Webster University’s School of Education, involves working closely with community partners, including the St. Louis Public Library, Gateway Media Literacy Partners, Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, St. Louis Teacher’s Recycling Center, and the Julia Goldstein Early Childhood Center in the University City School district to creatively engage families and caregivers of young children in activities and to provide them with the tools and ideas to incorporate vocabulary building into everyday life.

The proposed goals of the project is to increase the vocabulary of children in low and moderate income families through talking, playing, listening, reading and engaging in dialogue for language development and future success. It also aims to effect parental behavior and attitudes towards engaging in dialogue with children and coordinate efforts of multiple agencies in St. Louis towards a common goal and outcome and establish a global education network to continually build awareness with schools, care givers, family and the community as a whole while staying current on research and support for children’s language development.

Some of the talking points of the program are: constant talking, introducing new words, and using words that adults use in their daily conversations.  As the program states, “the way we talk to children becomes their inner-voice.”

Mind Full of Words sets the stage for vocabulary building, creating words, and seeing words, saying; “we can change the world one word at a time.” The program hopes to encourage adults to read to children, “even if it’s only 15 minutes a day. Reading from infancy is important to brain development.”

Research has shown that vocabulary skills advance cognitive and social learning. Lack of vocabulary development puts children at a disadvantage even before they start kindergarten. The program states, “All children must be given the opportunity to grow their vocabulary.”

Mind Full of Words also works with the ReadyRosie Program. ReadyRosie is an online resource that provides daily activities for parents and their children ages six months to six years. Each video is about two to three minutes long. Adults simply watch the video, do the activity, and everybody learns something new.

Mind Full of Words is one of only 10 programs awarded nationally through PNC’s Community-Wide Vocabulary Building Initiative. The initiative marks the 10th anniversary of PNC’s multi-year bilingual program to help prepare children, particularly those in low income situations, from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.

Connect with the Mind Full of Words Program on Facebook and find out more about ReadyRosie here


Webster Graduates Receive Emerson Excellence in Teaching award

This past Sunday, Christina Berwin, Tim Littleton, Joe Schoen, Staci Thomas and Angela Lolley, graduates of Webster University, three of which are School of Education alumni, were honored among the 100 St. Louis-area educators to receive an Emerson Excellence in Teaching award.

Now in its 27th year, the awards pay tribute to area educators – from kindergarten teachers to college professors – for their achievements and dedication to the field of education. Each honoree received an engraved Tiffany & Co. crystal apple box, as they are honored for their vital role in shaping students’ lives and success for the future.

Recipients were selected by their schools’ administration to honor their accomplishments and steadfast dedication to the teaching profession. The ceremony and reception, where recipients received engraved Tiffany & Co. crystal apple boxes, were held at the Ritz-Carlton on Sunday, November 13.

“Emerson is proud to honor the most dedicated educators in the St. Louis area who are striving to create bright futures for all of their students,” said Patrick J. Sly, Emerson executive vice president. “We are delighted to support these smart, talented men and women who are an inspiration both inside and outside the classroom.”

Award recipients will have the opportunity to apply for a Gold Star Grant from Emerson, to be presented in spring 2017. Honorees from this year and the past five years are eligible to apply for the competitive grants, which are designed to fund educational projects that reflect the pillars of the Emerson brand – technology, innovation and leadership. Since 2006, Emerson has awarded $500,000 to area teachers and schools through the Gold Star Grant program.

The Excellence in Teaching Awards program began in 1989 and is sponsored annually by Emerson, a global technology and engineering leader headquartered in St. Louis.  Emerson and its Charitable Trust fund the Excellence in Teaching and Gold Star Grant programs. Under its Charitable Trust, the company donated $9.5 million to more than 590 education programs, individual schools and scholarship recipients globally for the year ending September 2016.

The Excellence in Teaching Awards program is sponsored annually by St. Louis-based Emerson, a global technology and engineering company providing innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial and residential markets.

About Emerson:

Emerson (NYSE: EMR), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global technology and engineering company providing innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial, and residential markets. Our Emerson Automation Solutions business helps process, hybrid, and discrete manufacturers maximize production, protect personnel and the environment while optimizing their energy and operating costs. Our Emerson Commercial and Residential Solutions business helps ensure human comfort and health, protect food quality and safety, advance energy efficiency, and create sustainable infrastructure. For more information visit


Mehlville School District, Bernard Middle School, Tim Littleton, Project Lead the Way


Washington University, Olin School of Business, Staci Thomas, Business Communications


Kirkwood School District, Tillman Elementary, Joe Schoen, Vocal Music


Chesterfield Day School, Christina Berwin, 4th Language Arts, Social Studies


Parkway Southwest Middle School, Angela Lolley, 8th Social Studies



Dr. Kaiser Performs Research in Uruguay and Brazil

dj-braztesol-presentingDJ Kaiser, associate professor and coordinator of Teaching English as a Second Language in the School of Education, recently completed a three month project in Uruguay and a Faculty Research Grant in Brazil.

Created by the Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs, the Faculty Research Grant program encourages and promotes faculty research and professional development with grants for scholarly research, academic projects, artistic performances, exhibitions and studies in any discipline.

Dr. Kaiser received a U.S Fulbright Scholars Grant to perform research in Uruguay for three months working with a project called Ceibal en Inglés. He also received a three week research grant in Rio de Janeiro doing research on a project called EnglishWorks, managed by Sequoia Foundation, which partners with various public entities in the city of Rio to provide free English language classes in areas of critical need.

Dr. Kaiser conducted case study research on Uruguay classroom teachers participating in the Ceibal en Inglés project. Ceibal en Inglés started with fourth, fifth and sixth grade students in primary and secondary public schools and has continued growing since. The majority of the students in the classrooms Dr. Kaiser observed received English instruction once a week via video conference by teachers at remote teaching centers.

A classroom teacher was present in the class with students during the video conferences. It is the classroom teacher’s responsibility to help the students with homework, review and extensions of the remote classes. There are lesson plans to help them with reviewing and an online space called CREA2. Working with primary schools, Dr. Kaiser was in 5 different cities, and in each one he followed one or two different classes, doing observations of the remote teaching, as well as observing the in class teachers. He was interested in observing the instructors teaching courses other than English to see their natural strategies and attitudes.

The classroom teachers are general education instructors and teaching English is often a new part of their job. Dr. Kaiser’s goal was to see what the experience of the teachers were and how the remote support is going. He also conducted interviews each of the teachers to get their feedback and input.

In the secondary schools English is an obligatory subject and there are instructors with backgrounds in teaching English. Classes are three or four hours a week and is an optional program, where teachers can say they want to participate in Ceibal en Inglés. The program provides an opportunity for the classroom teachers to interact with a native speaker, with the focus being on oral production skills. Dr. Kaiser tried to follow one or two secondary teachers in each of the cities and focus on one of their conversation groups. He observed more than one hundred classes in three months, the majority for his research project.

Dr. Kaiser found that each city was diverse, and the socioeconomic structure was different in each school. The goal of his research is to present a more complete picture. He also sent follow-up surveys to each teacher who participated in the project.

Ceibal en Inglés works with the British Council as a partner and the British Council in Uruguay works on quality control, lesson plans, and overseeing many of the remote teachers.

He finished his three-month project with a presentation to team members from Ceibal en Inglés, the British Council, and from Uruguay’s Ministry of Education (ANEP-CODICEN) at the Laboratorio Tecnológico del Uruguay (LATU) in Montevideo.  During this presentation, he summarized many strengths in the project and provided some recommendations based on classroom observations and interviews conducted in 12 different schools with 15 different public school teachers.

djgettingcards2Dr. Kaiser then had a 3-week Faculty Research Grant in Rio de Janeiro where he worked in disenfranchised neighborhoods of the North Zone with the EnglishWorks program. Several years ago, the city of Rio de Janeiro began investing the more disenfranchised areas and started creating centers called “knowledge vessels,” which are set in central locations, serving approximately 3000 students per 10-week course. The main floor of these centers contains a public computer lab. They also have tablets for children, a classroom space containing a smart board and desks with laptop stations, and include free Wifi. Free English classes are given at these centers. Each classroom has a local Brazilian teacher, and a remote teacher who videoconferences into the classroom and provides a model of the English language. English is an important skill because knowing the language and how to use computers in English can determine the quality of jobs that one can get.

The final part of class includes practicing English via Skype. Students sit down for between two and five minutes and get to engage in a practice conversation at the end of class. This year EnglishWorks also started a new project called Casa Futuro Agora, “the house of the future today,” which are set up in various community centers. Each new center has a classroom with 10 computer stations plus one for the teacher. It includes free classes for youths. Even though students attend English classes at their public schools, these classes are more focused on conversation and the students find it fun.

In addition to observing classes, Dr. Kaiser gave two workshops on Strategies for Teaching English. These workshops were attended by EnglishWorks teachers and area public school teachers.

Using videoconferences to teach English is a newer approach, and Dr. Kaiser’s experience was that it made the world seem like a smaller place. He observed teachers having international discussions about food, sports and showing support for each other’s countries and cultures.

Dr. Kaiser also observed that students tend to pay more attention during the remote class, because it is like having an outside guest. Another advantage he saw was that in his own work today he often has meetings via videoconference, and more and more of our communication are being mediated through videoconference as well. Therefore, the use of videoconference as a learning tool gives children an early advantage. Having a discussion in English via videoconference also makes it easier for students to have a face-to-face conversation in a foreign language.

Dr. Kaiser said, “It is humbling and exciting to see teachers who are sometimes working with fewer resources and have less of a background in teaching English being so effective in the classroom.” He was inspired by some of the strategies he observed teachers using, such as incorporating music to motivate students and get them excited for class. Dr. Kaiser looked forward to incorporating some of the teaching methods he observed into his classrooms upon returning, “It’s not just the research, but coming back you want to try things differently.”

With the use of videoconferencing as a teaching tool becoming more common on the horizon, Dr. Kaiser is considering ways to start bringing this technology into the classroom, and getting teachers and students more comfortable with using multimodality and implementing technology.

Dr. Kaiser recently returned to Uruguay as the keynote speaker at the Ceibal en Inglés conference held in September 2016.


Opportunity for Webster University Students to Travel to Reggio Emilia, Italy

wuiExciting opportunity for Webster University students to travel to Reggio Emilia, Italy with participating Webster professors. This year’s study tour will be from March 25–30, 2017. Many educators visiting Reggio Emilia have called it “a life-changing experience”!

The study group is designed specifically for small groups of graduate and undergraduate students and accompanying professors whose work with students at U.S. colleges and universities is influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach to education. It fits well with short term faculty led study abroad programs, offering students practical international experience to support their corresponding academic coursework

While the professors attending this tour can help organize travel, hotels, etc., each student will be responsible for actual registration and cost of the tour, flights, and personal expenses. A credit option for participation in the trip is possible. The trip last year included an additional (and, amazing!) day with pedagogical coordinators and teachers arranged specifically for our group.

Please contact Cheryl Breig-Allen within the week if you are interested and for more information regarding the credit option, since the deadline for a down payment is imminent.  Here’s hoping that the study tour might be a possibility for you!

Cheryl Breig-Allen


International School Psychology Association Conference

ISPA-Blog-Header-2International School Psychology Association Conference

Webster University students received a unique opportunity to present at the International School Psychology Association Conference: School Psychology 3.0: a World of Connections in Amsterdam, Netherlands July 20th – July 23rd 2016.

This year’s topic at ISPA was School Psychology 3.0-A World of Connections: School Psychologists as Communicators, Collaborators, Organizers and Mental Health Advocates. The conference was attended by educators and school psychologists with representatives from over 100 different countries.

The topic focused on was Advocating for School Psychology and the Mental Health of School-aged Children in Missouri. Webster University students contributed five different presentations advocating for school psychology, school “drop out” prevention, and the mental health of adolescents with disabilities and a fifth poster that advocated for school psychology and the mental health of gifted and talented children and youth in Missouri.

Webster’s Applied Educational Psychology and School Psychology Programs chose to focus on school psychologists as mental health advocates for children from early childhood through late adolescence. In the fall of 2015 they began researching the mental health of children and youth in Missouri, a state with a child wellbeing ranking in the bottom half of the fifty states.

The presentations featured at the conference were chosen by a panel of judges based on the abstracts submitted by candidates. The five Webster School of Education graduate students were chosen to present based on their submissions, giving them the opportunity to represent Webster University on the global stage. The conference also provided students an opportunity to collaborate and network with other educators on an international level.

Webster University students created posters containing paragraphs, statistics, and graphs that highlighted key information about the topic of their presentations. Each presenter was allowed three minutes to speak, followed by a question and answer session with those in attendance.

The students also had the opportunity to visit the Webster University campus in Leiden and take a trip to International Child Development Initiatives to make connections abroad.

Former educational psychology student and Webster University Alumni Benjamin Koenig, whose presentation focused on the state of gifted education in Missouri, said he was ‘inspired by the bright minds and charitable hearts of the presenters from around the globe.’ One of the highlights of his experience was engaging with other students and educators from South Africa, Greece, Cypress, and Spain. Students also attended a “Futures” meeting with Dr. Shane Jimerson, ISPA President.  In this meeting, approximately 12 students discussed the future of ISPA and were asked for input for the 2017 conference.

Another educational psychology student, Samra Sahbegovic, chose the topic: Advocating for School Psychology and the Mental Health of School Aged Children in Missouri, focusing on elementary students. Her plan for the future is to eventually work in an elementary school as a school psychologist, and said “I got into the field because I think this is so important, so choosing this topic and working on it was very easy for me. For me, mental health and advocacy for mental health is so important it needs to be talked about in Missouri schools all the time. We need to be advocating for children and their mental health, because if we don’t, they can’t.”

She said that one of the reasons she chose the program at Webster University was to gain international experience, “I really want to leave the states and see what the rest of the world is doing. We can learn and evolve so much.”

Reflecting on their experience, the students in attendance said;

The entire experience was wonderfully enriching, both professionally and personally and we were honored to represent Webster University.  We are committed to the field of school psychology and to learning the craft to best support the students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members who we will have the pleasure to work for in the future.   Thank you all for endorsing and supporting our efforts; we owe a special thanks to Provost Schuster and Dean Fyfe, who made this possible.

Professor Debbie Stiles from Webster’s Psychology Department helped guide the students through the long process of creating their abstracts, applications, and approvals.

The trip was sponsored by the Webster University’s School of Education, the Webster World Traveler Program, and Academic Affairs.


Webster University Student Education Association

019Photos from the first Student Education Association (S.E.A), which featured candy casserole and door prizes!

SEA-MEETINGThere is still time to get involved and be a part of the decision making process as the Student Education Association builds their own community of educators. The next S.E.A. meeting is scheduled for Oct. 27th at 4:00 p.m. in the presentation room at the University Center on Webster University’s home campus in St. Louis.

Join the Student Education Association’s group on Facebook

You can also connect with the S.E.A. on Twitter Instagram & Google+


Webster Educational & School Psychology Association

wespa1The Webster Educational & School Psychology Association (WESPA) is a newer group at Webster University that is passionate about advocating for children’s rights, and aims to have a positive impact on campus, and in the community.

WESPA Vice president, Samra Sahbegovic, summed up the mission of the association by saying;

WESPA was created out of the need to support students in the educational psychology program here at Webster. We work together to better serve students, raise awareness of issues within the field, and collaborate as future leaders in schools. We promote ethical practices by supporting the professionalism and standards that our field demands. Finally, we promote a person-first attitude for students in school.

We are primarily made of graduate students in the MA for Applied Educational Psychology or EdS School Psychology program.  However, we are inviting all majors (undergraduate and graduate) to become involved and work together with us through various future workshops, conferences, and volunteer opportunities.  We always put children and children’s needs first, and we care deeply about – the mental health and well being of children. We plan to have a direct impact on children’s health and well-being as students through practicums, internships, volunteerism and ultimately as professionals in various fields. We care deeply about our community. Our community consists of children, families, and schools – which is why we are passionate about working in our community (volunteering).  It is our collective goal to bring positive change and support while always standing up for the well being of families and children in our community and schools.

WESPA recently participated in the Festival of Nations that was held in Tower Grove Park. Their participation in the festival was not only beneficial to the international community in St. Louis, but helped raise awareness about Webster University’s School of Education and its variety of programs.

14102299_1783850438493361_5753187040261600735_nThe association is open for anybody to join, regardless of their major or career. The group plans on having monthly meetups, so be sure to keep an eye open for their next event and come get involved!

Join WESPA on Facebook

A series of videos were also created by the Applied Educational Psychology program that emphasize the association’s support for international children’s rights.

Webster University and Child Rights: Guiding Principles

Webster University and Child Rights: Provision Rights

Webster University and Child Rights: Protection Rights


Webster Students and Professors Brown Bag It

From left to right, Dr. Mary Bevel, Katherine Luh, Yupa Saisanan Na Ayudhya, Dr. Yin Lam Lee-Johnson, Dr. D. J. Kaiser, Melanie Fitzgerald, and Mary Meadows

Monday, September 12, 2016 marked the first of many Brown Bag meetings for the School of Education. The forum was created for Doctor of Education (EdD) program students and candidates to have a platform to present their current research work.

The meetings will be held once per month, rotating between Monday and Thursday evenings from 5:30p-7:00p. See below for the full Fall 2016 schedule:

Study Abroad Application Deadline Extended

Interested in studying abroad in Spring 2017?

Exciting News and a Special Offer for the school of education students!

The study abroad deadline for applications has been extended until September 30th. We are holding a few housing scholarships for Webster Thailand especially for undergraduate school of education students!

Combine this with our Webster World Traveler Program (free airfare) and you have FREE HOUSING AND FREE AIRFARE. This is for the spring semester only

Please contact Johany Glen ASAP for this offer at

Office of Study Abroad

Sverdrup 207 | Webster University | 470 E. Lockwood Ave. | St. Louis, MO 63119

Phone:  314-246-6988 | Fax:  314-963-6019

Office of Study Abroad Website