One-hundred percent of East Central University’s elementary education students had passing grades on the Oklahoma General Education Test and Oklahoma Reading Test, according to the Commission on Teacher Preparation’s 2011-12 Annual Report.
In fact, ECU is above average in several categories in teaching effectiveness in the state. Results on the Elementary Education Subject Area Test, ECU students’ pass rates were 69.6 percent, well above the average for state institutions of similar size on subtest one (reading and language arts), and 92.9 percent on subtest 2 (social studies, mathematics, science, health/fitness and the arts), which was right at the state average.
“When it comes to effectiveness of the program, we are at the top of the list with a 100 percent average for the general education and reading tests. It’s obvious this makes ECU’s teaching program second to none,” said ECU President John R. Hargrave. “What we have enjoyed here at ECU is the stability of our faculty and their willingness to go the extra mile for our aspiring teachers. The proof of our teacher preparation is evidenced in the state teacher certification test results. We’ve seen numerous students go through our education department who are excelling and have excelled in elementary schools throughout the state and region.”
Public school administrators, along with recent ECU graduates, have praised the ECU College of Education and Psychology for its preparation of teaching candidates.
Gary Jones, superintendent of Sulphur Public Schools, says nothing is going to change his opinion on ECU’s College of Education.
“I have always been extremely satisfied with the quality of teachers that have completed the education program at ECU. No report will change my opinion or challenge the respect I have for the rigorous training ECU places on graduates of their program,” said Jones.
Rendell Cole, a principal in the Whitesboro (Texas) School System, attends ECU Teacher Job Fairs nearly every year, seeking out teaching candidates.
“The quality of prospective teachers is excellent every year,” said Cole. “The candidates are up on certificates and what the next process is and the timeline they need to hit. I visit with the teachers in the program and the quality is excellent. I cannot for the life of me understand anyone being critical of the ECU Teacher Prep Program. In Oklahoma and Texas, ECU has a good name for turning out quality teachers.”
Marissa Eaves, a recent graduate, says she is proud to be a part of the ECU educational program and is taking many of the tools she gathered and will apply them in her career.
“As I am starting my teaching career, I am able to use several resources from courses from the education program at East Central University,” Eaves said. “It has shaped me into the teacher I am today. I understand the effectiveness of being a resourceful and empowering teacher in the school system. The one thing I loved the most about the education program at ECU is that I could always rely on the professors in and out of the classroom. I was able to go in any of their offices or reach them via email or phone for guidance and advice as I prepared myself to become an educator in Oklahoma.”
Dr. Brenda Walling, dean of the ECU College of Education and Psychology since 2011, has been taking a fresh approach in making improvements and believes that some of the unique experiences provided by the program prepare future teachers for a wide range of educational opportunities. For instance, early childhood education majors work in local early childhood centers and future teachers have required experiences tutoring and working with children with critical needs in addition to the required 75 field experience hours and 16 weeks of student teaching.
“There have been many professionals who have gone through our programs. Our faculty works tirelessly with our public school partners to provide field experiences that enable teacher candidates to experience the classroom in many different ways prior to ever being hired as a teacher,” said Walling. “ECU enjoys a reputation for producing excellent teachers and will continue to work hard to maintain that reputation.”
Walling is proud of ECU’s heritage as a ‘Teacher College’ and is making sure that the ECU College of Education and Psychology continues to live up to that significant and critical piece of historical standards. From its inception in 1909 as the East Central Normal School, the college was designed to train elementary school teachers. That has continually expanded overtime to include 14 undergraduate teacher education programs. The focus of the department, according to Walling, is providing knowledgeable and skilled teachers for the Oklahoma work force.
The teacher education programs at ECU have been continuously accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), since 1954. ECU has a long continuous record of preparing outstanding teachers for Oklahoma classrooms and has had graduated four Oklahoma Teachers of the Year since 1955.
Alums who have gone through the ECU program have ultimately been named Oklahoma Teacher of the Year including Elizabeth Smith, elementary education with a concentration in physical education, from Byng (1993 ECU graduate); Stephanie Canada, health, physical education major with a concentration in recreation/exercise science, from Shawnee (1995 ECU graduate); George Abshire, math education, from Jenks (1997 ECU graduate); and Pat Kellogg Roller, science educator named teacher of the year in 1978.
As a member of the Oklahoma Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, ECU has taken a proactive approach of providing every teacher candidate with experiences in a variety of settings that include diverse student populations to reflect real classroom dynamics.
The faculty in teacher preparation programs, along with mentor teachers in the public schools, support teacher candidates from their initial field experiences through their culminating clinical experience. These experiences allow candidates to apply classroom knowledge and adjust that application based on the needs of the students in each particular setting before they become fulltime teachers and lead a classroom.
ECU has proudly granted 1,468 education degrees from 2002-2013. These teachers impact students across the state and attest to the continued quality of ECU’s education programs.
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