Volume 2, Number 2
Saturday, May 5, was a wonderful day for Covenant College, despite the overcast skies. Among the graduates participating in the 52nd annual Commencement Exercises were 61 undergraduate and graduate students who finished with their degrees in education:
- 17 students earned their B.A. degree in Early Childhood or Secondary Education
- 24 students received their B.S. in Early Childhood Education (BSECE) through our adult degree completion program
- 20 Master of Education students completed their studies in either Educational Leadership or Integrated Curriculum and Instruction.
The Education Department has had a good relationship with the Association of Christian Schools International for a number of years, but we have never actually formalized that relationship through their Higher Education Department Program. This spring, a four-person ACSI team was on campus for four days to evaluate our various programs, and the committee recommended the Education Department for a ten year approval status. Among the positive comments in the final report were these words:
“. . . the committee began to hear the same things, namely Covenant College’s strong commitment to an authentic Christian philosophy of education. . . a genuine consistency exists between its stated purposes and procedures and actual practice . . . [the committee commended the department for] a high level of cohesion in thought and practice among the faculty, centered on the conceptual framework of the department.”
Among the immediate benefits of this ACSI program approval was the fact that all 61 of our graduates not only earned Georgia Professional Standards Commission certification, but also ACSI teacher or administrative certification. In the future, the department will also begin to offer ACSI certification in additional areas – music, Bible, art, P.E., and computers – through ACSI.
SCHOOLS AS COMMUNITIES
Our new book, Schools as Communities: Educational Leadership, Relationships, and the Eternal Value of Christian Schooling, came into print in February. Edited by Department Chair James Drexler, the Purposeful Design book includes 18 chapters, 11 of which are written by current or former Covenant faculty. If you haven’t already purchased your copy, you can find it at www.acsi.org/acsi/store. Once on that page, use the drop-down list at the top to go to “Leadership Resources” to order the book.
FUTURE TEACHER SCHOLARSHIP
This past fall, the Education Department offered for the first time a scholarship program for high school seniors. Called the “Future Teacher Scholarship,” the department was pleased to receive over 50 applications from high school students from around the world. After the initial screening process, over 30 of these high school seniors were invited to campus in January for two days of meetings, interviews, and other events. After all the evaluations were completed, the following students were selected:
- Timothy Blumenstein (see profile below) was our first annual Future Teacher Scholarship winner
- In addition, the following students received an Education Scholarship: Courtenay Barclay ( Texas), Julia Myers ( Missouri), Lauren Garrett ( Texas), Annie Brown ( Pennsylvania), Laura Main ( Florida), and Aubrey Brown ( Michigan). Congratulations to all those who were scholarship winners.
Timothy Blumenstein, a recent graduate of Westminster Catawba Christian School in Rock Hill, South Carolina, plans to pursue a degree in Secondary Science Education. Tim says he feels called to a career in teaching “because God had given me a love for his creation and a desire to spread that passion to other people.” One of his sisters, Lynn, is a 2006 psychology graduate from Covenant College.
In addition to being a strong student academically, Tim participated in three sports during high school and served as Student Council President, Chapel Worship Leader, Chaplain of the National Honor Society, and as a youth worship leader at his church. “My desire is to bring glory to God,” he noted, “by being a disciple who teaches the complexities and wonders of his glorious creation.”
KUDOS TO STEPHEN FIKKERT
This past February, Stephen Fikkert (B.A. History, Secondary Education, 1973; M.Ed., Integrated Curriculum and Instruction, 1995) was named Teacher of the Year by the Washington Federation of Independent Schools. Fikkert, a teacher and administrator at Mount Vernon Christian School, has served as an educator for nearly 35 years in Christian schools in Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, and for the past 15 years in Washington. At the celebration dinner, Fikkert said, “I am a blessed man. I thank you for this recognition. To God be the glory.”
This past February, the Education Department welcomed Dr. Debra Pickering to campus for our third annual Educators Conference. Dr. Pickering, an author, lecturer, teacher, and administrator, has worked closely with Dr. Robert Marzano and a series of “What works in Schools” books published through ASCD. About 175 educators from around the region joined with Covenant faculty and students for a full day on “Classroom Assessment and Grading that Work.” Dr. Pickering followed Dr. Thomas Sergiovanni (2005) and Dr. Howard Gardner (2006) as Educators Conference speakers. The conference for 2008 is set for Thursday, February 28 and details about that program will be forthcoming.
If you are a graduate from one of our Education Department programs, please keep us updated regarding your life and career. As many of you know, we post job openings and available teachers on our Teacher Placement File electronically, but we also like to stay in touch with our former teachers through e-mails, job changes, family changes, etc. Please send any updated information to Jim Drexler (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jane Stewart (email@example.com).
We also love receiving photos and hope to have a bulletin board devoted to our graduates in the new academic building that is being built across from Carter Hall. Our department plans to move into the third floor of that new building when it is completed during the spring of 2008. We are really looking forward to new offices, new classrooms, new work and reception areas, and a new curriculum lab for students.
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