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Student News and Accomplishments


Revathi Balakrishnan receives Horace Mann Award for Teacher Excellence

Former C&I Graduate Student and current Talented and gifted educator Revathi Balakrishnan was recently presented with the Horace Mann Award for Teacher Excellence.

Horace Mann, a national insurance company, partners with the NEA Foundation in presenting the award tofive educators each year across the country. Texas State Teachers Association President Noel Candelaria nominated Balakrishnan for the award, which recognizes educators for their tireless work in the classroom.

Balakrishnan has often found herself in the limelight, having been chosen as the 2016 Texas Teacher of the Year. That accolade allowed her to meet Gov. Greg Abbott at the state Capitol and visit the White House.

In front of her peers, she commended everyone at the school for their dedication toward educating students.

“It’s all about Sommer Elementary. I couldn’t do this without you,” she said.

Balakrishnan will now join four other educators in a visit to Washington, D.C., in February for the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala. Candelaria described the event as the “Golden Globes of education.”

Horace Mann representatives on Wednesday also presented Balakrishnan with a $10,000 check and a crystal owl award. At the gala, she will find out whether she is chosen among the five educators for a $25,000 award.

Balakrishnan has taught in the district’s talented and gifted program for 11 years, with eight of those years at Sommer Elementary.


C&I Graduate Students Casey Burns and Emily Risinger read for Hurricane Harvey Book Club

The Hurricane Harvey Book Club is the creation of Kathryn Butler Mills, an elementary school teacher in Katy, Texas, who saw pictures of kids waiting out the floods in bathrooms and under staircases, some with books in hand.
 
The purpose of the Hurricane Harvey Book Club Facebook page is to bring joy and normalcy to so many that are currently dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. It is a community of readers whose sole purpose is to support and encourage one another through storytelling. 

Teachers tell their students all the time that books can take them on far away adventures. This seems like the perfect time for these sweet kids and their families to get away from the chaos and fall into some really good books. So, what's the page all about? It's about love, community, encouragement, and a big dose of bravery.


Former Teacher Recruitment Program Student Named Neidig Elementary School’s teacher of the year

Katie Doyle
Katie Doyle, adult on left, with students who presented their projects to NASA.

Katie Doyle, a fourth grade teacher, was selected as the 2017 Teacher of the Year for Neidig Elementary School in Elgin ISD.  She is an energetic teacher who just completed her third year of teaching in Elgin. Ms. Doyle earned her teacher certification through the Teacher Recruitment Program (TRP) at the Round Rock Campus of Texas State University.

Challenges are no stranger to Ms. Doyle because as she told her story, she had student taught for approximately two weeks when asked to step in to take over as the classroom teacher for the remainder of the year.  She has been teaching in that position ever since. 

Her class is known as the “Green Classroom” because her students are in charge of recycling at the school. Her class also has a butterfly garden and vegetable garden.  The students help Ms. Doyle conduct healthy cooking demonstrations for other classes in the school.  After school, she enjoys leading the STEM Club because the students work on self-selected science, math, and engineering interests.  She credits two of her former professors, Dr. Julie Jackson and Dr. Vi Lien, at Texas State with her love for science.

Ms. Doyle was leaving town immediately after the school year finished to work at Sea Camp at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi. When she returns to Neidig in the Fall, she will move to fifth grade to become the Science Lead Teacher for the school. With all the exciting happenings in and around her classroom, it is no wonder she was chosen for Teacher of the Year.


Six graduate students from the Department of Curriculum & Instruction presented their in-class research at the International Society for the Social Studies 2016 Annual Conference on February 25th
The International Society for the Social Studies draws research and practitioner-based presentations from a global scholarly community of about 250 people representing the US, Turkey, Portugal, Pakistan, Australia, China, and numerous other countries. Our students presented their research for a panel entitled When Children Talk: Pre-service Elementary Social Studies Teachers Exploring Critical Issues through Children’s Eyes. The students are as follows:

Melinda Barth (EC-6)
Amanda Brown (EC-6)
Kinsey Perry (EC-6)
Krista Reitz (EC-6)
Kacy Weldon (4-8)
Abigail Williams (EC-6)


Dr. Julie Jackson and Teacher Recruitment Program (TRP) graduate students participated in a SXSWedu workshop at the Thinkery Children’s Museum on Tuesday, February 16, 2016.  The students explored basic electrical circuits in the Maker Lab and created simple electrical circuits.

 

More information about the TRP program can be found at:
http://www.education.txstate.edu/ci/degrees-certifications/graduate/Teacher-Recruitment-Program

 

More information about SXSWedu can be found at:
http://sxswedu.com/


Teacher of the Year

Teacher Recruitment Program graduate Revathi Balakrishnan named Texas Teacher of the Year

Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), which facilitates the Texas Teacher of the Year program has named Revathi Balakrishna, a talented and gifted specialist in Round Rock ISD, as the 2016 Elementary Teacher of the Year.  Ms. Balakrishnan was chosen to represent Texas in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

“Creating a workforce that can adapt itself to ever-changing workplace conditions calls for innovative approaches, and teachers, administrators and government officials who are visionaries,” said Revathi Balakrishnan, the 2016 Texas Teacher of the Year and a talented and gifted (TAG) specialist at Patsy Sommer Elementary School in Round Rock ISD. “Every child is a unique individual, depending on all of us to provide them with a comprehensive education that will make them competitive in the global workplace. And we owe them nothing less.”

Balakrishnan, who has taught for 10 years, is a second-career educator, having first spent 12 years as a systems analyst. She said she hopes the recognition she has received as a campus, district, region, and now Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year, will inspire others to join the teaching profession, which she has described as complex but satisfying.

“I hope that my rewarding experiences will convince people of underrepresented ethnicities to follow in my footsteps and enter this noble profession,” said Balakrishnan, who emigrated from India 30 years ago. “My own daughter did, saying, ‘I see you come home from work every day, excited for the new day to begin. I want the same for myself.’”

Balakrishnan is the founder of the Shakespeare Support Group for TAG teachers and the Round Rock ISD Shakespeare Festival, and she is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Texas Association for Gifted and Talented (TAGT). In 2011, she was chosen the Region 13 TAGT Teacher of the Year.

Balakrishan earned her teacher certification through the Teacher Recruitment Program at the Round Rock campus of Texas State University.  

To hear more in Balakrishan's own words click on HERE


Teacher of the Year

Former C&I student Cheyenne Stoker named Teacher of the Month for Akins (Austin, TX) High School

Former C&I student Cheyenne Stoker, who currently teaches at Akins High School in Austin, TX, was awarded Teacher of the Month (voted on by students) and received a district RAVE award (which is a district initiative to Recognize All Valuable Employees). 


Texas State Teaching Students Volunteer in Chintsa, South Africa
At play
Three weeks; ten teachers; four projects; two schools. And only three to four contact hours for each group per week! But the creation of fantastic digital stories and poems using Microsoft Powerpoint were achieved at both Bulugha and Chintsa East School, with the help of Texas State University.

For the second year running Lori Assaf, associate professor at TSU, brought with her a group of eight enthusiastic teaching students all the way from Texas, to work with the VA32 Wild Coast Schools Project in Chintsa. The students are in the midst of honing their teaching skills and as a part of their Cultural Embrace module they visited our lovely community to undertake a large project at the Wild Coast Schools Projects two main schools.

The group also included Lori’s assistant Rachel (who was a teaching student in last years’ group) and her fifteen year old daughter Cali! The students days were jam packed with lessons not only with the learners, but also continued reading and lectures of their own studies in the evenings. They also managed to fit in some visits to our afternoon initiative; highlights included Amanda’s basketball session at the Sports Development Project, Rachel’s story reading at Greensleeves Orphanage Project and our inter-volunteer sports tournament on the beach!

So, what exactly did these guys get up to at the schools? Our scheme of work this term is My School Environment. Tying into this, TSU focused their work initially on the children’s life stories within the community that they live. The learners drew maps of where they live before they started to explore stories about different places in their village that had meaning to them; from going to church with their family, to surfing on the beach. Grades 6 and 7 took their work further by writing their stories down, and then typing it into Powerpoint. If making the presentation snazzy with special colour and animation effects wasn’t enough, the students’ stories were also recorded as they read them out and played over their favourite music to complete the presentations.

 

Rachel reading with the children at the orphanage


Here is an extract of a Bulugha student’s story:

My first day at church by Nwabisa Boneli

“The first time I went to church, I was so scared. After I went to church, I went to the play ground and I saw other children and they didn’t want to play with me. I wanted to make them understand me but they didn’t want too.  

I told my mother the children at church didn’t want to play with me. My mother told me “Please my child go to Church again” and I didn’t say anything to my mother.

The next time I went to Church the girls were calling me. I walked up to her and the girls asked me, ‘Do you want to play with us?’


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