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All Three of FSU's Elementary Education Programs Win National Recognition; One of Only Two to Receive Honor Thus Far

Frostburg State University's three elementary education programs, Early Childhood/Elementary Education, Elementary Education and the FSU Hagerstown Center's Master of Arts in Teaching, have all received national recognition by the Association for Childhood Education International, an important step toward the University's accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

"We are positively thrilled," said Dr. Susan Arisman, dean of FSU's College of Education.

FSU was one of only two institutions to achieve national recognition so far under ACEI's new standards, according to an ACEI official. FSU was one of seven colleges and universities to be part of a pilot project that helped shape the ACEI recognition process by providing examples of quality performance standards. FSU was commended for its participation in the process.

"It's a more arduous process to meet the new standards," said Dr. Mary Kay Finan coordinator of FSU's N-8 (elementary) programs and co-coordinator of the NCATE accreditation process. But the elementary faculty of the Department of Educational Professions agreed to it because of the benefits to their teacher candidates, she said. ACEI's new standards are now performance-based, which means educational institutions are now judged on how their teacher candidates perform. Previous standards were based on the content of the courses offered, Finan said.

"It's a shift from what we teach to what students learn," Arisman said. "The process has taken a good program and made it better."

FSU's teacher candidates will have a leg up after completing a performance-based program, according to Finan. The new Maryland School Performance Program will judge classroom teachers on how well their students perform and FSU's new graduates are already familiar with the way performance is measured.

"It's very appropriate. It's the way the trend is going," she said.

FSU officials are particularly pleased that all three programs were recognized at the same time, since each was evaluated and judged separately.

"We're all working toward the same goal, to have a positive impact on student learning and to produce excellent teachers," Finan said.

FSU had been contacted by about a dozen other institutions from all over the country asking for guidance in their own quests to meet ACEI's new standards.

Finan credited the efforts of all of the College of Education's elementary faculty.

"A lot of faculty members contributed to this success. It really was a team effort of the elementary faculty," she said.

The Master of Arts in Teaching, one of FSU's responses to address the state's teacher shortage, is a program designed to attract career-changers to teaching. It is only offered through FSU's Hagerstown Center, although some Allegany County-based students are now able to do their student teaching in Allegany County.

For more information, contact FSU's College of Education at (301) 687-4759.

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589