Volume 6, Number 1 - Fall 2010

M.A.T. Receives SACS Approval!

The Education Department received official notice from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) that our application for a new Master of Arts in Teaching program was approved: "We approve the Master of Arts in Teaching degree program, shall include it within the scope of accreditation previously granted, and wish you and your colleagues much success with it," was the much-anticipated statement from Dr. Belle Wheelan, President of SACS.

"This is exciting news for us," said Associate Dean Rebecca Dodson who has been working with the M.A.T. committee in the Education Department. "The last step now is for approval from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission in March during their on-site visit." The GA-PSC Board of Examiners will be on campus for their once-every-seven-years visit to extend approval for all Education Department certification programs.

The Master of Arts in Teaching, approved by the faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees last year, will begin offering classes in June, 2011. The M.A.T. is an initial certification degree program for college graduates who have earned their B.A. in any of the following subject areas: Art, Biblical Studies, Biology, Chemistry, Drama, Economics, English, French, History Mathematics, Middle Grades (Education Studies major), Physics, and Spanish. The M.A.T. will feature a full year of student teaching experience along with an emphasis on action research. Interested students should consult the M.A.T. website early in 2011 for application and financial aid details at http://mat.covenant.edu/home.php.

Teaching around the world

Graduates from Covenant’s Education Department are equipped to teach in public, private, and Christian schools in both the U.S. and internationally since all earn both public school certification through Georgia, and Christian school certification through the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI).

During October and November, Jim Drexler had the privilege of travelling to Beijing, Jakarta, and Seoul, visiting with Christian educators throughout Asia. “One of the things that most impressed me was that as soon as folks came to know the Lord and became involved with the church, the next immediate thought turned to Christian schooling, not only for their own children, but as a way to extend the Kingdom of God. Christian schools are popping up all over Asia.”

Covenant has enjoyed partnerships with international schools over the years in places like Budapest, Prague, Malawi and our graduates have also worked in schools like Faith Academy in the Philippines, Christian Academy of Japan, Cornerstone Presbyterian Schools in Belize, and the Black Forest Academy in Germany to name just a few.

A new connection was made this fall with the Sekolah Pelita Harapan schools in Jakarta, Indonesia where Rebekah Schmidt (2010) is in her first year of teaching.

Rebekah Schmidt and Jim Drexler

Rebekah with her principal and class in Chikarang, Indonesia

The vision for planting over 1,000 Christian schools throughout this predominantly Muslim country is exciting, and you can read more about the trip to Indonesia in President Nielsen’s blog. “Seeing these young Indonesian students learning about Jesus while at the same time receiving a solid education was inspiring,” said Vice President Jeff Hall.

Jeff Hall, Jim Drexler, Niel Nielson, and Troy Duble visit an elementary school in Jakarta


Listed in our last newsletter were several Covenant graduates who were recognized by their schools and districts as Teacher of the Year – and we have one more to pass on to you. Lisa Hill (BSECE, 2007) is a third grade teacher at Lookout Valley Elementary School, and was voted Teacher of the Year and received the “Golden Apple Award” from the Neighborhood Association. “It’s thanks to Covenant College,” Lisa wrote. “Just thought I would give you guys the credit.”

Another BSECE student, Carla Beaty, wrote, “Covenant has made such a mark on my life and in my heart. I have met and made friends for life. I could not have gotten the same education anywhere else. This journey has helped me grow spiritually and I not only leave knowing how to teach, but how to teach keeping Christ at the forefront. Thank you for all the biblical eyeglasses. It is wonderful to reflect!”

We thank God for all our students, and for the privilege of working with them. It’s exciting for us to hear from our graduates and to learn how the Lord is using them in their teaching and leading.

Career Summit

If you are a school administrator reading this newsletter, please don’t forget about our annual Career Summit, a Thursday evening and all day Friday event at which school administrators can meet and interview all our junior and senior Education majors. When you read about our award-winning teachers, and the fact that our graduates go to teach around the world, you will want to drop everything and register online right now! We hope to see you on campus early in March.

Faculty Activities

Becky Pennington, who completed her Ed.D. degree in Learning and Leadership at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in August, took 24 elementary education majors to the annual Georgia Reading First Pre-service Teacher’s Conference in October. “Students gained new insights into excellent reading strategies and came home with many helpful resources, including children's books,” according to Dr. Pennington.

Daphne Haddad, took a group of middle grades students to the annual Georgia Collegiate Middle Level Association Summit in Milledgeville which included meeting and hearing from the “Father of Middle Grades Education” Dr. John Lounsbury.

Erika Loftsgard, Brittney Wood, Lauren Carlson, and Katie Hanna
attend the CMLA Summit in October

Jack Beckman has been working on the Charlotte Mason archives digitization project through Redeemer University College in Canada, and in October that group successfully launched a searchable data base that contains primary documents from her writing. “The digital platform will provide researchers and other interested readers the opportunity of viewing essential documents and images for a variety of purposes,” writes Beckman. “Because of the growing interest in Charlotte Mason’s approach to teaching and learning, the digital archives will provide a service to educators wishing to understand, apply, and even challenge her thinking.”

Dr. Beckman also completed with Jim Drexler and Kevin Eames a research project for the Cardus Education Study: “Stopping the Revolving Door - The Christian school head, tenure and outcomes: A mixed methods exploratory study.” Cardus plans to publish this study along with several others as part of their North American research project.

Jim Drexler presented a series of workshops at the International Children Educator Conference sponsored by the Association of Christian Schools International in Seoul, Korea in November. At the conference, he saw Connie Fessler (M.Ed. 2009) and Jarrod Puffenbarger (IDS, 2006), both of whom are teaching in Korea.

Merry Christmas

Our fall newsletter is getting out a little late this year, so Merry Christmas to you and your family.

When you have a few minutes, please watch this video. The video is a testimony from the recent Lausanne Congress on World Evangelism from a North Korean Christian high school student living in South Korea. It is inspiring, but also particularly appropriate at this time of the year as we celebrate the Advent of our Lord and remember anew why He came.

Members of the BSECE class of 2010 at the graduation dinner in May

Covenant College Department of Education
14049 Scenic Highway
Lookout Mountain, GA 30750