Advanced Certification in Severe Developmental Disabilities

Webster University is again offering its intensive program in severe developmental disabilities beginning in the Fall semester of 2017. This program is offered every other year and consists of three four-credit hour classes: Assessment of Functional Skills, Curriculum and Methods for Students with Severe Developmental Disabilities and Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

Applicants must already hold a teaching certificate in special education or speech language pathology.

Fall registration begins April 15. For more information contact Victoria McMullen at

The Ed.D. In Transformative Learning Proudly Announces: Katherine Luh, Teacher of the Year at Hodge Elementary School

Katherine Luh is a quintessential teacher. When asked what she teaches, Katherine often replies, “I teach children to love and make music.”  This love of music and dedication to share that love of music with her students is evident in everything Katherine does.  She was recently awarded “Teacher of the Year” at Hodge Elementary School in the Fox C-6 School District.  Katherine believes children learn best using familiar music and easily accessible instruments. Katherine wrote a grant and purchased 32 guitars to begin the first guitar program in Fox C-6 District. She teaches guitar to all 3rd – 6th grade students and proudly shares that children actually learn to play music very quickly. She has a before-school guitar club.  She has assisted three other elementary school music teachers in the district in purchasing guitars and starting guitar programs. Katherine led a professional development workshop on starting and running a guitar program for the elementary music teachers of the Rockwood School District.

Katherine holds a bachelor’s degree in flute performance, a master’s degree in music education from Webster University.  Additionally, she and holds additional professional certifications and trainings from Suzuki, Kodaly Levels 1 & 2, Orff Level 1, GAMA Teaching Guitar Level 1, and Music! Words! Opera!   Katherine is a member of the Society of the Philosophy and History of Education.  She presented her recent work “The History of Guitar Tablature and the Pedagogical Implications for the Elementary School Music Classroom with Guitar Instruction” at the fall SOPHE Conference 2016 in Oklahoma City.

Katherine is pursuing an Ed.D. in Transformative Learning from Webster and is focusing her research on education policy in schooling systems and how the notions national and state standards can become shackles impeding the reflective practice, teacher autonomy, and teacher agency of public school music educators.

Equity in Education: Creating Voice and Choice for Social Justice

Equity in Education: Creating Voice and Choice for Social Justice
School of Education Conference April 8th, 2017

Click here to register now

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Webster University is proud to host our annual School of Education conference on April 8th, 2017 at the East Academic Building.  This year our conference theme is Equity in Education: Creating Voice and Choice for Social Justice. Our keynote presentation, Rac(e)ing to Class: We are in this Together!, will be delivered by Dr. H. Richard Milner IV.

The conference is intended for current and future school professionals and interested community members.  Admission is $35 for the conference and lunch ($10 for Webster University faculty, staff, students, and alumni). Please come prepared for a day of enrichment and collaboration. For more information, please contact Dr. Thomas Cornell at


cpdc-logo-verticalCareer Development and Opportunities Available at the Career Planning and Development Center

The Career Planning and Development Center (CPDC) would like to encourage students to start working with the CPDC as early as possible in their academic careers to take advantage of all the great opportunities and services offered.

One of the greatest values the Career Planning and Development Center offers to students is access to its resources early on so that, as they progress, they have a clear understanding of how they are progressing towards their goals and desired outcomes. The CPDC can help students articulate their ideas about what their goals are and taking some action steps to gain skills and confidence.

Students can practice their interview skills and take advantage of other resources within the context of a face-to-face appointment, workshops, and e-resources (such as YouTube videos).

Career services are also offered through Gorlok Career Link, including an employer directory, up-to-date job and internship opportunities, and a mock interview tool for self-improvement.

The CPDC offers regular Walk-In Hours in their office at 568 Garden Ave. from 2:00pm-5:00pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Additionally, targeted Walk-In Hours for School of Education students are offered at the start of the semester in Webster Hall for resume reviews. The schedule is:

Tuesday, January 24 3:00pm-4:00pm

Thursday, January 26 12:00pm-1:30pm

Tuesday, January 31 12:00pm-1:30pm

Thursday, February 2 3:00pm-4:00pm

Friday, February 10 2:00pm-3:30pm

Tuesday, February 14 3:00pm-4:00pm

The earlier students get started and begin to plan ahead, the more prepared they will be as they approach graduation, which can help everything seem less stressful.

Students can utilize the CPDC to check out its different opportunities, resources, and begin building strong relationships with others in the educational, non-profit, and many other fields. Students are encourages to use the resources offered in whatever way works best for them individually.


BrownBagBlogMonday, January 23rd, 2017 will be the first Brown Bag meeting of the new year for Webster University’s 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.

In addition to the Brown Bag meetings, there will also be Informational Sessions held once a month, which are open for the public to attend.

The upcoming meetings and sessions will each be held once per month, rotating between Monday and Thursday evenings. See below for the full 2017 schedule:

Brown Bag Meetings
SoE Conference Room, Webster Hall 222

5:30 – 7:00 pm

1/23, 2/23, 3/27, 4/27, 6/12, 7/20

Informational Sessions

Webster Hall 135

5:30 – 6:30 pm

1/26, 2/13, 3/30, 4/24, 5/11, 6/15, 7/17


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