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Success Through Education conference brings teens to UD campus

Barry Joyce of UD (standing behind drawing) talks with Prestige Academy teachers (from left) Sean Todd, Brittany Wilson and Charles Duncan.

Energetic. Respectful. Organized. Challenging. Enthusiastic. Makes you feel special.

The eighth-graders from the Prestige Academy charter school in Wilmington didn’t have any trouble coming up with a list of characteristics that make a great teacher — exactly the kind of teacher that some of them hope to become someday.

The students were part of a daylong Success Through Education conference at the University of Delaware on March 17, designed to encourage interested teens to pursue a college degree and a teaching career. About 75 students, many of them from groups that are underrepresented in higher education, from six schools around Delaware attended the event with their teachers.

“We really believe in the value of teaching as a career, and we want these kids to see that,” said Barry Joyce, associate professor of history and one of the faculty organizers of the event. “And we all know that the diversity of faculty in our schools doesn’t match the diversity of the student body, so we especially wanted to reach out” to underrepresented groups.

The conference was co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences’ Center for Secondary Teacher Education and by the School of Education in the College of Education and Human Development. 

Leading the day’s activities, in addition to Joyce, were Hannah Kim, assistant professor of history, and Carol Wong, associate professor of education. Joyce and Kim are the coordinators of the Social Studies Education program at UD, which prepares students to teach in secondary schools.

Hannah Kim of the College of Arts and Sciences' Social Studies Education Program speaks with students about UD's admissions process and teacher preparation programs.

Students attending the conference arrived on campus by bus at the start of the school day and spent the morning getting a brief overview of the University and its teacher preparation programs, followed by visits to residence halls and classes. After lunch, the students divided into smaller groups to engage in the “What Makes a Great Teacher?” activity and to hear a presentation from UD’s undergraduate admissions office.

During the activity, teams of students traced the outline of one of their classmates on a large sheet of paper, then labeled the drawing with their own ideas of what qualities make up the ideal teacher. Assisted by UD undergraduate education students, the groups also discussed such subjects as the challenges facing teachers. 

In the larger group discussion about preparing for college, Danny Barrow, UD assistant director of admissions, told the students what kinds of grades, test scores and high school classes the University looks for in assessing prospective students. But he said that non-cognitive factors such as leadership qualities and resilience in overcoming difficulties are considered as well.

He told the students that he was the first in his family to attend college and that he sought out mentors to help him. Students asked Barrow questions about the availability of scholarships and other financial aid and about the University’s Commitment to Delawareans that provides a kind of roadmap for in-state students to follow in high school.

The conference was part of a program now in its third year that aims to encourage secondary school students from diverse backgrounds to consider a teaching career and to consider studying education at UD, said Kate Scantlebury, director of the Center for Secondary Teacher Education and a professor of chemistry and biochemistry and education.

The third important purpose of the program, she said, is for participants “to learn about what college is like, how college is different from high school and what it takes to be admitted and be successful at the University of Delaware.”

Most of the students at the conference attended a similar program on campus in the fall, Joyce said, and were eager to return. They have shown interest in teaching at a variety of grade levels, from early childhood to elementary to secondary school. Participants came from Milford, Indian River, Sussex Central and Brandywine high schools, Prestige Academy and Las Américas ASPIRA Academy, a dual-language charter school near Newark.

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A daylong Success Through Education conference at UD was designed to encourage interested teens to pursue a college degree and a teaching career.

About 75 middle school and high school students from throughout Delaware attended a conference at UD, designed to encourage them to pursue a college degree and a teaching career.

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  • Department of History
  • 46 W. Delaware Avenue
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • University of Delaware
  • Phone: 302-831-2371