Indiana University School of Education

  1. IU School of Education alumna Sue Talbot was one of five selected to receive Indiana University's Distinguished Alumni Service Award, IU's highest award given only to an alumna or alumnus.

    IU President Michael A. McRobbie presented the awards to the five honorees on Nov. 4 in Bloomington. The DASA recipients were chosen for services and achievements in their fields of endeavor and significant contributions to community, state, or nation. With the addition of these recipients, IU has honored 310 alumni since the award's inception in 1953.

    Talbot earned a bachelor's degree in education in 1966, a master's degree in education in 1971 and a doctorate in school administration in 1992, all from IU. A retired educator, she spent 20 years in the elementary school classroom, gaining recognition as Indiana Teacher of the Year and runner-up for National Teacher of the Year. For IU, Talbot was the founding director of Hoosiers for Higher Education, was national chairwoman of the Alumni Association and was elected to three consecutive terms on the university's Board of Trustees.

    Other honors Talbot has earned over the years include the IU School of Education's Distinguished Alumni Award in
    1984 and twice the Sagamore of the Wabash designation, a special award bestowed by Hoosier governors. Talbot has also served as a special assistant to the Indiana governor on education policy.

    Other recipients include David H. Jacobs Jr., of Santa Monica, Calif. The Jacobs family has also contributed to the IU School of Education. The Jacobs Teacher Educator Award began just this year, made possible by a $1 million gift from the late Barbara B. Jacobs, who established the Barbara B. Jacobs Chair in Education and Technology in 1998. The Jacobs Teacher Educator Award is designed to promote excellence in the use of technology in classroom teaching. It honors annually three Indiana teachers and two teachers from across the country who use technology to support innovative, inquiry-based teaching and learning activities in their classrooms.

    The three other recipients are Dr. Joseph C. Maroon, of Sewickley, Pa.; retired Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson Jr., of Bethesda, Md.

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  2. The Indiana Department of Education and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett named Riverview Middle School teacher Melanie Park, who holds two Indiana University School of Education degrees, as Indiana's 2012 Teacher of the Year. Bennett presented Park with the award during a surprise ceremony Oct. 10 at her school in Huntington, Ind.

    Park is a reading remediation teacher for grades six, seven and eight. She earned an elementary education degree from IU Bloomington in 1993, then a master's in language education in 2001. She received a 2011 Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellowship grant earlier this year. As well as her classroom duties, Park also teaches an online course for teachers on methods to teach writing.

    In all, 20 IU School of Education alumni have won the Indiana Teacher of the Year award, including the two most recent awards. Park follows 2011 Indiana Teacher of the Year Stacy McCormack, B.S.'99, a physics teacher at Penn High School in Mishawaka, Ind.. Last year's runner-up for the honor was also an IU alumnus, Jamil Odom, M.S. '05, of Mary Bryan Elementary in Metropolitan School District of Perry Township.

    This year's finalists also included IU School of Education alumna Lisa Steele, M.S. '96, an 8th grade language arts teacher at Eastwood Middle School in the M.S.D. of Washington Township.

    "We're very proud of all of our alumni accomplishments," said Gerardo Gonzalez, dean of the School of Education. "But it is especially gratifying that for two consecutive years IU School of Education alumni have been selected as Indiana's Teacher of the Year. To have graduates from such distinct fields as physics and language education selected for this honor speaks volumes about the quality of our alumni and the strength of our programs."

    Over 10 years in teaching, Park has shown creativity and versatility. She's taught first grade, language arts, social studies and French. She focuses on student growth, setting reading goals for her students and creating data portfolios to chart their growth.

    "I feel like I am meeting my students in the victory circle," Park wrote in her Teacher of the Year application.

    "Melanie's enthusiasm spills into all aspects of her teaching," Bennett said in an Indiana Department of Education news release. "She believes all students -- regardless of their life circumstances -- can learn, and she is an effective and inspirational teacher that her students will always remember."

    "On behalf of all of us at the IU School of Education, I extend Melanie our heartfelt congratulations," said Dean Gonzalez. "She continues a long tradition of outstanding IU graduates making a difference in classrooms across the state."

    An Indiana Department of Education committee including department personnel, past Teacher of the Year honorees and external community and education leaders selected Park as the Teacher of the Year after interviewing 10 finalists and making classroom visits. Park will be Indiana's nominee for the 2012 National Teacher of the Year honor. All 32 Indiana Teacher of the Year candidates will be recognized at a banquet on Nov. 14.

    The Indiana Teacher of the Year Program is sponsored by the IDOE, the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) and CSO Architects. The National Teacher of the Year Program, which is sponsored by ING, Target, University of Phoenix and People to People, is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers.

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  3. Over a week in which they weren't in school, some Indianapolis Public School (IPS) students might have felt like they were not only on break—they were on television. In any case, they were having too much fun to consider that they were doing a lot of learning.

    From Oct. 10-14, a cohort of the Woodrow Wilson Indianapolis Urban Teacher Residents (WWIUTR) from IUPUI created what you might call "CSI: Indianapolis" for a group of 6th through 8th graders. For the week of fall "Intersession"—a fall break week with no classes but special learning enrichment opportunities for students who choose to attend—the fellows gave the students gathered at Crispus Attucks High School a crime to solve. Solving it would mean using a lot of skills they've been working on in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) oriented courses. Students investigated the case of a missing tiger—the mysterious disappearance of the Crispus Attucks stuffed mascot from the school's main office.

    The cohort came up with the idea at the direction of faculty at IUPUI. Last spring, IPS asked if the School of Education would consider having the WWIUTR fellows teach an Intercession course. In June, Gina Borgioli Yoder, clinical assistant professor of mathematics education at the IU School of Education at IUPUI, and Kathy Marrs, director of the Urban Center for the Advancement of STEM Education (UCASE) at IUPUI, taught the Woodrow Wilson Fellows in their first class, "Introduction to STEM Teaching."

    "To prepare to teach that class, I researched Project-based Learning (PBL) and designed a PBL instructional unit around this Intersession idea to teach to the fellows," Yoder said. "The entry document for that PBL unit consisted of a letter from IPS administration asking the fellows to design and teach a week-long enrichment class. From there, the fellows and I started a 'know/need to know' list and we began brainstorming and researching ideas. They came up with the CSI theme and we recruited IPS science teacher and WWIUTR mentor, Lon Amstutz, to help us brainstorm and research. Once our summer class ended at the end of June, the fellows continued to talk and plan this unit during the fall semester, largely on their own time."

    The result can be seen in this video on the IU School of Education YouTube page. The participating students became very engaged in the process, which Amstutz said nicely complemented in-classroom instruction the students have received. The fellows generally divided each day of the Intersession unit into their specialties, hitting math, chemistry, physics, and other STEM subjects along the way. The Woodrow Wilson Fellows said they felt like students picked up a considerable amount regarding each subject because they were so engaged in the process.

    The week proved a good learning opportunity for the fellows and their students. The cohort members had a chance to engage a lesson plan with students; students had a chance to put classroom knowledge to use. Yoder said she came away impressed with the cohort's planning and execution of the week. "Their creativity and commitment to this project have been amazing! I am so proud of them," Yoder said.

    The IU School of Education at IUPUI welcomed its third cohort of Woodrow Wilson Fellows this year. They are accomplished career changers and outstanding recent college graduates in STEM fields who will prepare for math and science teaching positions in the state's urban and rural schools. Woodrow Wilson Fellows at IUPUI can choose an M.S. in Education, M.S. in Mathematics, or M.S. in Engineering Technology Education with an option for Dual Certification in STEM and Special Education. Each of the Fellows receives a $30,000 stipend to complete a special intensive master's program at IUPUI. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation of Princeton, N.J. administers the program.

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  4. Nationally renowned school reform pioneer Deborah Meier delivered public addresses in Bloomington and Indianapolis and participated in the opening of an archive of her personal papers at the Lilly Library on Sept. 6-7. The events were a collaborative program of the Institute for Advanced Study, the Indiana University School of Education, Harmony Education Center and the Indiana University Lilly Library.

    Meier, whose ideas have heavily influenced schools around the country, has for almost five decades been a teacher, writer and advocate for small schools that are self-governing and democratic with most decisions made by families, teachers and parents in those schools. Those themes will be highlighted in her public addresses.

    Her first talk, "Democracy and Education in Urban Schools," was Sept. 6 at George Washington Community High School Auditorium in Indianapolis. Her second, "The Role of Democracy in Education," will be on Sept. 7 at 4:30 p.m. at the Indiana Memorial Union, Georgian Room, in Bloomington.

    Meier also participated in a panel discussion on "Creative Teaching in an Era of Testing and Accountability" at the Wendell W. Wright School of Education Building Auditorium in Bloomington on Sept. 9.

    "Deborah Meier is one of the country's leading advocates for individualized and intellectually challenging education. We are thrilled to have her involved in multiple initiatives and programs at IU and in our community," said Gerardo Gonzalez, dean of the Indiana University School of Education. "Engaging our faculty and students directly with her groundbreaking work adds greatly to our understanding of the pioneering role her ideas have played in education reform."

    Meier attended a public reception celebrating the opening of the Deborah Meier Archives at the Lilly Library on Sept. 7 (photos are on the SOE Facebook page, This archive features primary source materials from Meier's work with three New York City and Boston area public schools, as well as her letters, drafts, notes and finished essays.

    The Deborah Meier Archives are housed at Indiana University's Lilly Library, one of the premier rare books, manuscripts and special collections libraries in the world, and are being made available with the assistance of funding from the New York-based Peck Stacpoole Foundation.

    "We are honored to house the Deborah Meier Archives at the Lilly Library," said Brenda Johnson, Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries. "Not only does this archive add distinction to the Library's already extensive and prominent collection, but more importantly the archive ensures that scholars will have the ability to access these papers and to further Deborah Meier's revolutionary work."

    Meier was the founder and teacher-director of a network of highly successful public elementary schools in East Harlem. In 1985, she founded Central Park East Secondary School, a New York City public high school in which more than 90 percent of the entering students went on to college. During that period, she also founded a coalition center that networked about 50 small K-12 schools in New York City. For her efforts, she was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 1987. She later founded and was principal of the Mission Hill School, a K-8 Boston Public Pilot school serving 180 children in the Roxbury community.

    Meier is currently working with the Harmony Education Center in Bloomington, the Indiana University School of Education and the Debbie Meier Institute, an organization dedicated to continuing her work for social justice, equity and democracy in schools.

    Meier appeared in Bloomington in April in a moderated conversation with her Education Week blogging partner, Diane Ravitch, a noted education historian, policy analyst and author. That program, titled "Bridging Differences Live," is available on the IU School of Education's Vimeo Channel, at

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  5. The Indiana University Saturday Art School Program provides an opportunity for children to experience visual arts instruction in supportive small group settings and a chance for IU School of Education students majoring in Art Education an opportunity to practice their teaching skills. Sessions are taught by Art Education students and supervised by Art Education faculty and graduate students.

    The popular program has become a well-known tradition among Bloomington families, but as you will see in this short video it provides an invaluable learning experience for new teachers. Saturday Art takes place over five weekends and concludes with an exhibition and open house on the 6th week. All classes meet at the IU School of Education’s Wright Education Building. Saturday Art School activities involve basic artistic processes and are designed around a new theme each term.

    More about the Saturday Art School Program is available here: More about the Art Education program is available here:

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Indiana University School of Education

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