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Interdisciplinary curriculum models designed to better prepare teachers for pre-kindergarten through 8th grade assignments will be presented at an interstate summit today and Friday at Old Dominion University.

Two hundred educators are expected to attend the Summit on the Interdisciplinary Curriculum Models for Elementary, Middle, and Special Education Teacher Preparation Programs sponsored by ODU, Longwood University and the Virginia Department of Education.

The summit will bring together university faculty and administrators from the arts and sciences, as well as from education departments to explore interdisciplinary curriculum models that ODU and Longwood were selected to present under Virginia's Teacher Quality Enhancement program. The models strive to give teachers-to-be a strong "content" background to help them cope with the modern classroom challenges.

The organizers, who were led by Thomas A. Elliott, an assistant superintendent with the state department of education, believe inadequate content training of teachers-to-be can lead to frustration and defections in the teacher ranks, as well as to poor preparation of students, especially in reading, math and science. Elliott heads the state Division of Teacher Education and Licensure.

Dr. Jo Lynn DeMary, state superintendent of public instruction, and Sharon Robinson, president and CEO, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, will participate in the conference.

Leading the ODU contingent at the summit will be Roseann Runte, president, William Graves III, dean of the College of Education, Chandra R. de Silva, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, Richard V. Gregory, dean of the College of Sciences and Terri Mathews, assistant dean of the College of Sciences. Longwood's delegation will be led by Deneese Jones, dean of the College of Education and Human Services and Joanna Baker, associate dean and director of liberal studies.
The interdisciplinary curriculum model for elementary level teachers developed by ODU will be presented at 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22, by Renee Olander, interim director, Virginia Beach Higher Education Center of ODU, and Leigh Butler, director, teacher education services in ODU's College of Education.

"In this current age of educational accountability for the K-12 student, it is essential that the higher education community take the 'whole campus' approach for producing highly qualified teachers," Butler said. "This is particularly true with the interdisciplinary pre-K-6 model for training elementary school teachers to meet the goals of No Child Left Behind and the Virginia Standards of Learning."

Mathews pointed out that governance of teacher preparation at ODU is shared among colleges of arts and letters, education and sciences. "We are being used as a model because we have been effectively taking this approach for a long time," she said.

The interdisciplinary curriculum models for middle-level and special education teachers developed by Longwood will be presented between 3:15 and 4:45 p.m. on Thursday. Longwood's Lissa Power-de Fur, chair, Department of Education, Special Education, Social Work and Communication Disorders, and Peggy Tarpley, associate professor, special education, will join Baker in presenting those models.

The summit will include a tour of Albert Brooks Gornto Jr. TELETECHNET Center, which is the hub of ODU's nationally known distance learning program. The center broadcasts 200 courses each year to more than 40 states, the Bahamas, as well as to Navy ships deployed around the world. Jeanie Kline, ODU assistant vice president for student and academic affairs, Office of Distance Learning, will lead the tour.

Attendees will be from Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

This article was posted on: September 22, 2005

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