- by Mount Saint Mary College

Mount Saint Mary College is proud to announce a new addition to its Childhood Education Grades 1-6 program: dual certification for teaching birth to grade 2.

Teacher candidates who choose to take the program will earn an extension certification that permits them, upon completion, to teach in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms. The program requirements include 6 credits in birth to grade 2 coursework in addition to all of the requirements of the Mount’s existing Childhood Education Grades 1-6 program.

Monica Merritt, associate professor of education at the Mount, says that the option is “a needed addition to the Mount’s graduate education programs.”

“Many candidates have an interest in teaching kindergarten, and teachers in universal pre-kindergarten classrooms in New York State are now required to hold birth to grade 2 certification,” she explained.

The birth to grade 2 certification option comes on the heels of the Mount’s new 5-year BA/MSEd degrees in history and math, announced in the Fall 2016 semester. Every discipline in the Mount’s adolescence education program now has a 5-year option, including English, biology, and chemistry. These 5-year programs are available either with or without dual certification in special education. Teachers in New York are required to earn a master’s degree within five years of their initial certification, so the programs will help students complete their training in a shorter period of time, noted Merritt.

Mount Saint Mary College’s rigorous education program has produced two New York State Teachers of the Year in the last decade: Debra Calvino ‘81 (2010) and Dana McDonough ‘91, MSEd ’00 (2016).

But Mount education students begin making a difference long before earning their diplomas. They enjoy many real-world, experiential learning opportunities during their Mount training.

The college’s Collaborative for Equity in Literacy Learning (CELL), established in 2012, provides tutoring and out-of-school literacy activities for children pre-school to grade 12 with a focus on reading, conversation, and activities. CELL explores multicultural books, offers family literacy courses, and more. Each semester about 60 Mount teacher candidates, graduate and undergraduate, help instill a love of reading in local youth through CELL as part of their community fieldwork requirement.

In addition, a Mount literacy program for underprivileged children, hosted by the Newburgh Ministry charitable organization, was awarded a $15,000 technology grant from Warwick Savings Foundation in December 2016. The afterschool initiative is a collaborative venture between the Mount’s Sigma Tau chapter of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) – the International Honor Society in Education – and Newburgh Ministry, which has been serving disadvantaged members of the community for more than three decades.

The Mount’s nationally accredited education program embeds fieldwork in coursework beginning in sophomore year, and earns high marks in preparing students for New York State licensure.

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