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New Elementary Education Major Includes Full Year Residency

The School of Education has created a new program for undergraduate students majoring in elementary education that will provide them with the skills and experience needed to face the challenges of realities of today’s classroom. The new, enhanced elementary education major includes a full year residency instead of the traditional one semester student teaching experience. Residencies have been touted nationally for their enhanced preparation of teachers, and have been embraced by local schools and districts, including Denver Public Schools and Jefferson County Public Schools. 

"Denver Public Schools believes deeply in the value of intensive preparation for teacher candidates via a residency model. Working alongside an effective mentor teacher while developing the skill set to create rigorous, supportive learning environments for students provides candidates an opportunity to hone their technique before becoming a lead teacher. DPS understands that teachers are more likely to stay in the profession when they have been immersed in our schools during their preparation experience."

- Tom Boasberg, Superintendent, Denver Public Schools

The new major includes experiences in schools throughout the curriculum and not just during the residency year. In their courses prior to the residency year, students spend hundreds of hours in schools under the guidance of their professors and other instructors. During these classes, students start to put into practice the foundational knowledge and skills that are a part of the revised courses that make up the major and will prepare them for the residency.

The new major was collaboratively developed over the past five years with members of local school districts, the Colorado Department of Education, members of the community, and expert faculty of the School of Education and other academic units across the university.. Click here for information about applying for the new major.


Key Courses

RDG 3111 - Emergent Literacy K-3

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s) or Corequisite(s): EDU 2111 or ECE 2100 or SED 2200

Description: This K-3 literacy course focuses on language arts components of emergent literacy development, including oral language development, listening, phonological and phonemic awareness, the alphabetic principle, high frequency vocabulary development, decoding, spelling, and writing development, and fluency development. Instructional strategies and assessment techniques that support the acquisition of literacy, current approaches in teaching emergent readers, and materials used in literacy instruction are also covered.

MTL 3600 - Mathematics of the Elementary Curriculum

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s) or Corequisite(s): MTH 2620

Description: This course approaches mathematical concepts outlined in Colorado Model Content Standard for Mathematics (grades K-5) from an advanced perspective. By examining video and written cases of children doing mathematics, students in this course will (1) connect their developing understanding to important mathematical concepts they will be required to teach; (2) turn their attention from understanding their own mathematical thinking, and the thinking of their classmates, to understanding the mathematical thinking of children; (3) lay the foundation for being able to learn mathematics from teaching.

CLD 3510 - Perspectives in Education for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s) or Corequisite(s): CLD 2890

Description: This is an introductory course in language acquisition and teaching theory with emphasis on the culturally and linguistically diverse learner. The course includes historical perspectives, philosophical frameworks, legal implications, subject matter methodologies, assessment, classroom instruction, parent involvement, and current issues that affect culturally and linguistically diverse students and the school programs serving them.


EDU 3111 - Education in Diverse Communities

Credits: 3

Description: This course is designed to increase awareness of diverse contexts within elementary education, given our global society. Cultural and individual variances, including sociocultural factors such as language, gender, and socio-economic status, are investigated in order to develop respect for all elementary students, parents/caregivers, and school communities. The course includes examining personal attitudes and beliefs that may affect what occurs within elementary schools. (Service Learning)

University Requirement(s): Multicultural

EDU 3444 - Instructional and Assessment Practices in Differentiated Classrooms

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): EDU 3222, EDU 3225

Corequisite(s): EDU 3445

Description: This course is designed to assist teacher candidates in understanding the important relationship between effective instructional practice and assessment in the differentiated elementary classroom. Modifications of curriculum and instruction are emphasized on the basis of individual student interests, strengths and needs. Informal and formal assessment techniques are examined along with the commonalities between classroom assessments and larger scale local, district and state mandated assessments. Emphasis is placed upon collecting and utilizing assessment data to drive instruction in differentiated classrooms. Professional communication regarding assessment and instruction is also a focus of this course.


EDU 3445 - Field Experience: Assessment Practices in Differentiated Classrooms

Credits: 1

Prerequisite(s): EDU 3222, EDU 3225

Corequisite(s): EDU 3444

Description: This field experience, as a partner with EDU 3444, requires 60 hours of field work in an assigned elementary school. Field work involves assisting the classroom teacher and implementing appropriate classroom instruction and assessment. Teaching multiple small group and whole class lessons is a focus of this experience. Assessments data is used to inform instructional design and implantation of lessons.

Faculty Excellence

  • Dr. Krista Griffin’s recently published book has been on display at national literacy conferences: Griffin, K. M. (2016). Listening to the Voices of Boys: Exploring the Motivation of Primary Boys to Engage in Reading. In Dr. Wen Ma (Ed.), (pp. 142). Charlotte, North Carolina: Information Age Publishing.
  • Ingrid Carter (Weiland) has presented and published in top international and national venues on topics related to STEM. For example:
    • Akerson, V., Weiland Carter, I., Fouad, K. (August 2015). Young children’s ideas about life science concepts. Paper presented at the conference of the European Science Education Research Association, Helsinki, Finland.
    • Amador, J., & Carter, I. (2016). Conversational affordances and constraints of professional noticing during preservice teacher lesson study. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education. DOI 10.1007/s10857-016-9347-x
  • Various faculty have co-presented at national venues relative to teacher residencies and field experiences. For example:
    • Luttenegger, K. C., Young, K. S. (2016). Words Matter: Looking Closely at the Language Secondary Pre-Service Teachers Use in Describing Students in their Field Placements. The Field Experience Journal, 17(Spring 2016), 51-63.
    • Altemueller, L., Heuwinkel, M., Griffin, K., Schendel, R., & Vigil, P. American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) Annual Conference, "Redesigning Elementary Teacher Preparation: Embedding a Clinical, Residency Model in a Traditional Elementary Licensure Program," American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), Las Vegas, NV. (February 24, 2016).
  • Corey Sell, Deborah Horan, and a recent Elementary Education graduate, Julia Pucket, participated in the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) “All Standards, All Students” (ASAS) Summer Institute. As follow-up to the institute, Drs. Sell and Horan and Ms. Pucket are creating instructional practices that serve as resources for CDE.
  • Ellen Spitler and Krista Griffin joined other SOE faculty at the CEEDAR-IRIS Cross State Convening," CEEDAR Center, Reston, VA. (June 22, 2016 - June 24, 2016) to improve reading instruction in children PK-grade 3.
  • Elementary Education and Literacy faculty self-selected into two professional book clubs based upon identified departmental learning goals: 1) data-driven decision making and 2) differentiating instruction based upon student needs.
  • Deborah Horan co-led a campus-wide Faculty Learning Community with Wendolyn Weber of the English Department on serving linguistically diverse university students, with participants strategically including Evelynn Guzman, Coordinator for the Bilingual Student Orientations, and Gregor Mieder, Immigrant Services Program Coordinator as well as faculty in TED3 (Philip Bernhardt), the English department, and the Sciences.
  • Deborah Horan participated in the July 2016 SEED Equity and Excellence in Education conference, as a foundation for co-leading a diversity initiative on campus.
  • Lupe Martinez and Deborah Horan joined the faculty diversity initiative begun by Philip Bernhardt and Kathryn Young in collaborative response to needs shared by the Africana Studies Chair, Dr. Winston Grady, for supporting students of color in becoming teachers.
  • Mary Heuwinkel continued her long-term partnership with Englewood Public Schools in providing mentoring and field placements within three Englewood Elementary Schools.
  • Lupe Martinez continued his field placement partnership with the Denver Public School’s (DPS) Math Science Leadership Academy (MSLA, near Alameda and Tejon), which serves Denver’s Latino population.
  • Roland Schendel began a partnership with Park Hill Elementary of Denver Public Schools (DPS), as a site for field-based instruction and embedded literacy field experiences.
  • Elementary Education and Literacy faculty collaboratively conducted curriculum mapping around courses in the new elementary major.



"Teaching kindergarten in a Title I school with a large population of language learners comes with challenges, but I feel well prepared after graduating from MSU Denver's M.A.T. program. My education was so connected to what I now experience on a daily basis; I am still reflecting on coursework and conversations with professors to help me think about my teaching approach every single day." 

- Betsy Maletz, Master of Arts in Teaching, Kindergarten Teacher, North Star Elementary

"MSU Denver allows you to be who you are and gives you the wings to enjoy the journey while embracing that journey with a diverse community of people from all walks of life who will someday “make the difference” in a child’s life by teaching, inspiring and motivating."

- Lisa Nolan, MSU Denver Alum & Principal at Lasley Elementary

"I enjoyed meeting and working with everyone I came in contact with throughout my years at MSU Denver. I thrived in being immersed in the school setting during the field practicum and student teaching experiences since it was hands-on learning. I am proud of the solid education I earned at MSU Denver."

- Matthew Hilbert, MSU Denver Alum & Principal at Peck Elementary

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience at MSU and gained so much from attending here. I have and continue to recommend the EDU/EDUM program to others."

- Alyson Wells, MSU Denver Alum

"Our partnership with MSU Denver's School of Education is a critical factor in our tiered professional development at Peak to Peak. Our teachers value the opportunity to mentor pre-service teachers, and their ongoing discussions of the art and craft of teaching help both the master teachers and the Metro students grow and develop. The partnership between our schools makes everyone better, which positively impacts student achievement and helps keep our school at the forefront of new teachers' minds when it comes time to seek jobs. We are delighted to partner with MSU Denver in doing this important work."

- Megan Freeman, Director of Professional Development at Peak to Peak Charter School

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