Packers’ Davis earns master’s degree

Among those receiving master’s degrees at UW-Green Bay spring commencement Saturday was Robert Emmitt Davis. In a previous life he was better known as No. 60, long snapper and special teams star “Rob” Davis, who played 11 seasons with the Green Bay Packers including Super Bowl XXXII and retired in 2008. Davis earned a bachelor’s in criminal justice from Shippensburg (Pa.) University in 1992. He studied Education at UW-Green Bay and on Saturday received his master’s in Applied Leadership for Teaching and Learning. The topic of his thesis was “At Risk? A Program for Learners at the Middle and Secondary Levels.” Davis joined the Packers front office after his playing career ended, and today works in the football operations division under General Manager Ted Thompson, holding the title of director of player development. In that role, Davis oversees the Packers’ wide range of programs designed to meet the needs of players and their families. He also works to get players prepared for life after football, mentoring and helping them to seek educational and vocational opportunities.

Schultz leads the way in culturally responsive teaching

The professional challenge for first grade teacher and 2011 UW-Green Bay master’s degree graduate Alison Schultz isn’t unique. In fact, a growing number of educators work each day to improve learning by being culturally responsive to the needs of their students and families. Continue reading “Schultz leads the way in culturally responsive teaching”

Alumna selected for teacher exchange in Uruguay

Amber Kurishy Funmaker
Amber Kurishy Funmaker
Amber Kurishy Funmaker, who received her master’s degree in Applied Leadership for Teaching and Learning at UW-Green Bay this month, has been selected for the Uruguay Educator Exchange Program.

Funmaker, who received her bachelor’s degree from UW-Green Bay in 2004, is a bilingual teacher at Danz Elementary School in Green Bay. The exchange program gives teachers and principals the opportunity to collaborate in important issues facing their schools, communities and students.

Funmaker will work with a partner from Uruguay to design and implement a program for the international participant during their U.S. visit. They will also design a program for the U.S. educator’s reciprocal visit to Uruguay in summer 2011. A goal of the program is the internationalization and increased quality of instruction in schools by providing opportunities for the broader school community to learn about global issues, to be exposed to Uruguayan and U.S. culture, and to participate in joint collaborative projects and school partnerships.

Danz teachers celebrate collaborative achievement and master’s degrees

Teachers Carissa Teaters, Amber Funmaker and Kristen RetzlaffOn December 18, Danz educators Carissa Teaters, Amber Funmaker and Kristen Retzlaff (left to right in the photo above) will graduate with their master’s degrees in Applied Leadership for Teaching and Learning from UW-Green Bay. They also graduate knowing their degrees have been put to good use at Danz Elementary School in Green Bay, where they work as bilingual educators.

The three worked collaboratively on their research topic — “Improving Bilingual Literacy.” The master’s program provides a culture for collaboration and encouragement for educators to do their research in a subject area that they are passionate about. Graduate students are also encouraged to connect their action research to the goals of the district or school in which they work.

Amber Funmaker“Because we are all bilingual teachers, it made it quite easy for us to choose a topic that was both relevant and helpful,” said Teaters. The three focused their studies on areas of bilingual word study, assessment and resources.

Teaters said that being able to meet consistently to share research ideas, findings and suggestions regarding their subject matter, was especially beneficial for all three educators.

“We gained great information about word work and word walls and how to incorporate them in the balanced literacy model,” said Retzlaff. “The models we found acknowledge the differences between learning English and Spanish and are designed specifically for Spanish. We are also including ways to improve our assessments throughout the year. The improved assessments (rubrics) have been worked on by staff members at various grade levels and are designed for specific writing genres. This allows us to focus our teaching more and target the skills that we expect students to learn.”

Kristen RetzlaffThe search for resources was fruitful. Always on the search for authentic Spanish texts, the three discovered many resources that can be used for multiple literacy purposes such as mentor texts or guided reading texts.

Retzlaff said they found the master’s program flexible and organized. “We have been really well informed the entire time in the program. We are able to meet with our adviser (Tim Kaufman) any time it is necessary and he has been very helpful in assisting us and offering advice and feedback. We have had great discussions as a cohort class as well. It is interesting because we all come with different perspectives and it is helpful and important to learn about the insights that others have. I really like how the Saturday courses have been set up. The Institute (which I have learned more about through this experience) offers many great experiences for educators as well, such as the speakers and events that it sponsors.”

Carissa TeatersSince its inception in 1998, about 150 classroom educators and others in leadership positions in business and industry have graduated with a Master’s Degree in Applied Leadership for Teaching and Learning.