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The final pre-service colloquium of the school year for education students will be conducted Friday and Saturday [MARCH 28-29] by the Center for Advancement of American History at East Central University.

Terri Brecheen, the innovative superintendent of the Cottonwood School System, will address the challenges of small rural schools and lead a discussion on preparing to teach. Her presentation will be open to the public at 6 p.m. Friday in the Estep Multimedia Center in the University Center.

This will be the last pre-service colloquium offered by the center through two Teaching American History Grant projects serving 5th grade social studies teachers in Pontotoc, Garvin and Seminole counties.

The two-day workshops for education students and future teachers have been part of the TAH Grant projects since 2003. Twenty to 30 ECU students have had the opportunity each semester to attend hands-on presentations from leading local, state and national educators.

Students receive a $100 stipend, two meals and, most importantly, said CAAH master teacher Richard Cooper, teacher-created and classroom-proven information and materials to use in their future teaching.

Approximately 150 to 250 ECU education students have benefited from the pre-service colloquia over the years, Cooper said, and the workshops have been one of the major long-term successes of the three cooperative ECU/Area School Districts' Teaching American History Grant projects.

Other presenters and presentations this week include Gae Vonne Martin, Willard Elementary, on reading appreciation, and John Stevenson, Pickett-Center, on incorporating the arts across the school curriculum.

Barbara Heilaman, Konawa Elementary, and Becky Henderson, Byng Elementary, along with CAAH master teachers Cooper and Kevin Lynch, will preview their "What Makes A Leader: The Rest Of The Stories" presentation they will give at the National Council for History Education Conference in Louisville, Ky., in early April. 

Judith Ticer and Kathleen Messenbaugh, educator consultants, also will provide information and materials concerning reading strategies and classroom management.

Presenters over the years have included Dr. Jonathan Zimmerman, prominent educator and author from New York University; Amy Schulke, Oklahoma's Gilder Lehrman 2005 Preserve America History Teacher of the Year; several ECU faculty members and dozens of area elementary and secondary teachers and administrators. 

The Center for Advancement of American History is waiting to hear if a junior high/high school grant proposal submitted earlier will be funded. It would begin in September. Despite reduction in funds for pre-service activities, a one-day workshop for education students is being considered in the next grant project.

Those interested in the spring pre-service colloquium or information about Teaching American History Grants or the center should contact Mitchelle Barton at 580-559-5558.

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