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Washington State University
College of Education

December 2010

WSU shines in National Board results

Here’s some bright, shiny holiday season news from Debra Pastore, director of our program that supports teachers seeking certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Writes Deb:

“National Board scores came out recently and again WSU did quite well. We had 104 first-time candidates, and 70 of them certified.  That puts us at a 67 percent certification rate.  Compared to the national rate (38-39 percent) and state of Washington rate (48-50 percent) for first-time candidates, WSU is a shining star.”

Deb credits the program’s faculty for the stellar results. “Our instructors are just amazing.”

State bonuses are one incentive that Washington teachers have for doing hard year-long certification work. But those bonuses are being challenged.  For an explanation and opinion on the subject, read:  Teachers ‘performance pay’ is promise the state should keep.

Commencing life as Cougar alums

Shawn Frazier shakes hands with WSU President Elson S. Floyd
President Floyd congratulates Shawn Frazier

It was nothing mind-blowing, Shawn Frazier says. But the experience was one of  his best as a WSU student.  He, along with two kinesiology program classmates and Professor Lawrence Bruya, worked until after midnight in a teaching assistants’ office tucked away in Smith Gym. They ordered pizzas and talked while working on a student journal that Shawn edited.

“One of the biggest strengths of my program is how well everyone works  together, whether for studying or group projects,” says Shawn, who was an undergraduate teaching assistant.  “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working there, specifically with Dr. Bruya. He’s an incredible mentor, prioritizing the student above all else.”

Shawn plans to be a physical therapist. The first-generation college graduate was among those singled out as highlight students at Saturday’s commencement in Pullman.  You can see WSU  President Elson S. Floyd praising him at the 40-minute point in the video of the ceremonies.

Graduating senior Eva Dindonato
A beaming Eva DiDonato poses for a photo.

Among our other stellar graduates was Eva DiDonato, an elementary education major whose high grade point average won her the privilege of being the College of Education banner bearer.

By the way, Pullman is the only one of the four WSU campuses that has a fall-semester commencement. It’s an especially pleasant affair.  Smaller than the springtime extravaganzas, it has the extra sparkle of holiday lights and some extra Cougar crimson in poinsettia form.

You’ll find a few more photos on our college Facebook page.

Faculty member scores Apple Cup honor

Ask College of Education folks for words to describe Xyanthe Neider, and “unflappable” would likely make the list.  But the clinical assistant professor says she was caught off balance by the news she’ll be honored as WSU employee of the week at Saturday’s Apple Cup game.  “You could have knocked me over with a feather, for sure.”

Xyanthe Neider

Xyan was nominated by student Kyle Redmon. It seems that he and his classmates not only learn a lot in her classroom assessment methods course, but also have fun there.  “She relates really well with her students and everyone loves her” was message Kyle gave to Courtney Ioane of the Washington State ISP Sports Network. The network coordinates the award; WSECU sponsors it.

Saturday’s Cougs-vs.-Huskies will be the second time this semester that an education faculty member’s face lights up the Martin Stadium scoreboard.  Phillip Morgan won the employee of the week honor in September.

Other reasons for applause:

Cougar athlete and sport management major Andrei Lintz was named to the Pac-10 Conference All-Academic Second Team.

Vancouver’s At Home At School Program has been acknowledged as a “great partner” by the the Evergreen Public Schools, as noted on Evergreen’s  Community Partnerships web page. Says Professor Gisela Ernst-Slavit, interim academic director for WSU Vancouver’s education programs: “Congratulations to Susan Finley and all those at WSU who make AHAS possible!