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Education

Education majors at Saint Mary’s can expect tremendous—and early—access to real-world classroom teaching opportunities and observation experiences.

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Student Teaching

Dream about impacting the world through education? Saint Mary’s is a perfect fit. As a student in the Education Department, you’ll begin to make a difference in the lives of learners even before you graduate. Regardless of their specific teaching interests, our students find multiple pathways and diverse opportunities to gain classroom teaching experience, learn best practices in education, and acquire the competence, confidence, and credentials they need to transform the lives of learners within communities at home and overseas.

Our students complete a minimum of 14 weeks of student teaching. And benefit from uncommon, early access to exciting student teaching opportunities—from schools within the Winona vicinity, to teaching opportunities abroad, to American schools for underserved children or through the Nativity Miguel network of schools. You’ll also discover uncommon field experiences that enable you to work alongside master teachers every semester, starting your sophomore year; guided field experiences; faculty-led observations; (practicums within real classrooms); and much more.

We live our commitment to our institutional Lasallian mission. It’s reflected in our approach to education and in everything we do every day. And it will inform every aspect of your education and training here. Our unique i.t.a. lab (initial teaching alphabet) is a perfect example. Founded by Saint Mary’s specifically to help struggling children learn to read, it offers you an excellent opportunity to work one-on-one with K-12 students to help them with reading, spelling, and writing.

Meet the Faculty

In search of role models? You’ll find them here. At Saint Mary’s you’ll work closely with professors who effortlessly combine a passion for education scholarship with a lifelong commitment to teaching.  (The average K–12 teaching experience of our faculty? An astonishing 19 years!) It’s a rare combination. And given that we keep our class sizes small (only 10 students on average), you can expect uncommon access both to the wealth of hands-on knowledge they offer as well as to the latest scholarship in your field. But that’s not all. You also will find numerous opportunities to collaborate with professors in their research, co-author papers with them for prestigious journals, even join them for presentations at education conferences and workshops nationwide.

Looking for inspiring mentors? Our faculty will inspire you as much through their professional experiences beyond the classroom as they do in every class.

Imagine:

  • Working with a distinguished education scholar and former high school principal with more than 30 years of teaching experience at a variety of schools and institutions, including the University of Iowa.
  • Understanding the importance of early identification/intervention for children with reading disabilities from a professor who’s also president and research scientist at the La Crosse Area Dyslexia Research Institute, Inc.
  • Discussing international education with a professor who has lived and worked in Australia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, and who was once hired by an affiliate of Harvard University as the director of the Educational Leadership Institute in Toledo, Spain.

Best of all, they are professors who’re as passionate about mentoring your progress as an educator as they are about education itself.

Course Work

Ready to challenge yourself? At Saint Mary’s, you will benefit from a curriculum designed both to enhance your overall teaching abilities and strengths as well as to help fully realize your individual potential and passion for teaching. How? By powerfully connecting the pursuit of knowledge to practical teaching and life experiences. It’s why students describe this as a place where “best practice” is standard practice…and an education that is, at once, challenging yet nurturing.

Our students may choose to be certified in either elementary or secondary education. And in order to ensure your course work is structured to be a perfect fit for your area of interest, we encourage you to identify your certification area as early as possible.

  • For students choosing elementary education, course work leads to licensure in grades K–6; Those majors who complete a grades 5–8 endorsement extend their licensure potential to K–8, as the grades 5–8 endorsement leads to a licensure endorsement in grades 5–8.
  • Students choosing secondary education have course work that leads to licensure in grades 5–12 in an academic discipline or K–12 in music or world languages.
  • In addition, you have two choices to earning your teaching license: through the traditional undergraduate four-year licensure program or through a five-year option that offers you licensure as well as a master’s degree in one year.

Regardless of the road you choose, you will develop:

  • The ability to perform at a highly qualified level of teaching as defined by the Minnesota State Board of Teaching Standards.
  • The knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to effectively teach a diverse population of students and work with parents, colleagues, administrators, and community members in support of a child’s or young adult’s education.
  • A commitment to, and understanding of, teaching in the spirit of the Lasallian mission.
  • A strong foundation in the disciplines in which you will be teaching.

Careers in Education

There’s no better time to be an educator…given the tremendous number of teachers approaching retirement nationwide. And from our challenging curriculum to our outstanding faculty, focus on experiential learning, university-wide emphasis on the liberal arts, and our Lasallian Catholic mission, few schools can better prepare you for a fulfilling, rewarding career in education. It’s no coincidence that our graduates are sought after by schools and educational organizations across the country.

We prepare teachers for licensure in the following endorsement areas: elementary education (grades K–6) in which students may also add a grades 5–8 endorsement, and secondary education (grades 5–12, K–12 music, and K–12 world languages). A majority of our graduates pursue classroom teaching in public or private K–12 schools; others go on to seek advanced degrees in special education, literacy, educational administration, curriculum, and instruction, school counseling or school psychology. Regardless of their individual career paths, you’ll find them making a difference within their communities and professions as ethical, service-minded leaders.

Recent Graduates on the Move

  • Christina Massee ’10 is currently a librarian with the Johnson Intern Program, part of the AmeriCorps-affiliated Episcopal Service Corps at Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  • Derek Wherly ’10 is currently a theology teacher at Yuma Catholic High School in Yuma, Arizona.
  • Hillary Stenzel ’10 serves as an elementary literacy tutor and long-term volunteer with AmeriCorps.
  • Jenna Schmidtknecht ’10 is a middle school teacher with the Mabel-Canton School District in Mabel, Minnesota.
  • Jennifer Gees ’10 is a fourth grade teacher with Pacelli Catholic Schools in Austin, Minnesota.
  • John Vallez ’10 is a high school science with New Ulm Public Schools in New Ulm, Minnesota.
  • Kristina Scherber ’10 serves as a volunteer service coordinator with AmeriCorps VISTA at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, Connecticut.
  • Lincoln Gergen ’10 currently works as a math interventionist with Dover Eyota Schools in Eyota, Minnesota.
  • Molly Walters ’10 is a behavior therapist at the Rochester Center for Autism, Rochester, Minnesota.
  • Ashley DeGreeff ’09, who focused on elementary education, is a teacher at Cornel English School in Taichung, Taiwan.
  • Emily Burg ’09 is an ELL grammar Teacher at Southwest Junior High School in San Luis, Arizona.
  • Erin Leone ’09 serves as a teacher with Lasallian Volunteers in Yakima, Washington.
  • Lauren Mess ’09 currently works as a biology teacher at Saint Anthony High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • Erica Whitney-Kearns ’08 is a social studies teacher at Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
  • Sarah Ruether ’08 is a mathematics teacher with the Harrion School District #2 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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