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Teacher Leadership launches graduate studies at FLC

The Teacher Leadership Graduate Studies program targets working professionals like FLC alum Karen Patrum, an art teacher at Needham Elementary.

The Teacher Leadership Graduate Studies program targets working professionals like Karen Reiter-Patrum, an art teacher at Needham Elementary.

Fort Lewis College took a giant leap into the future on January 14th, when the Higher Learning Commission approved FLC's first graduate program, a Master of Arts in Education, Teacher Leadership Option. The first students in the M.A. program and the associated graduate-level Teacher Leadership Certificate program will begin their studies in Fall 2013.

“We need teachers with the skills and know-how to make a difference in their classrooms, schools, and communities,” says Richard Fulton, director of the Teacher Education Department. “Now they'll be able to get those skills and know-how right here in the Four Corners.”

The program will focus on the needs of classroom teachers in the region who want to be agents of change for improved student learning in their schools and their districts, as instructional coaches or as leaders of academic learning communities. The program will be in a hybrid format, with class meetings in the evening supplemented with online coursework.

“It's designed for the working educator, so the online component is convenient. But since our campus is nearby, students also get an engaged, personalized, and collaborative experience,” says Fulton. “And because we're based here, we know the context and challenges of the region, and so can work with the situations and initiatives our students are facing in their particular schools.”

Everyone is invited to a reception at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 30, in the Student Union Ballroom to mark this historic occasion in FLC's evolution as a higher education institution. You'll also learn more about the new Teacher Leadership program and find out about additional graduate studies programs currently being planned.

Teacher Education faculty worked intensively during the past year in collaboration with a Teacher Education Graduate Advisory Committee composed of local teachers, principals, and superintendents to articulate the learning outcomes and design the curriculum of the program.

Students in the M.A. program will receive substantive training in the methodologies of action research. Students in the M.A. program and the certificate program will also develop competencies in analysis of assessment data, emerging technology, culturally-responsive teaching, differential instruction, instructional coaching, and school leadership.

Cito Nuhn, assistant principal at Durango High School is enthusiastic about having a graduate program for educators in Durango. “This program is a great thing because it offers the local equivalent to what other programs further away offer,” says Nuhn, who also has 16 years of middle school teaching experience. “It's also a good thing because FLC has the faculty to deliver a quality program. I got my Master’s from Adams State, but would have loved to have done it locally.”

Karen Reiter-Patrum, an art teacher at Needham Elementary, in Durango, says she intends to use the opportunity to get her master's in the same town she teaches in, and that the opportunity benefits more than just herself.

“I want to be the best teacher I can be, and I feel that becoming a teacher leader can greatly benefit my career and my family,” she says. “I also feel, though, that the more teachers with a master's-level education in leadership in the Four Corners, the stronger our area will be in education.”

Learn about the Master of Arts in Education, Teacher Leadership Option.

For more information about the program, contact Dr. Fulton.

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