Stephanie Parrott took some time off from teaching to start a family. When she was ready to return to work, she immediately thought of Eastern Kentucky University. She earned her initial elementary education credentials at EKU, and she knew the curriculum and instruction faculty could prepare her for the next stage of her career. She enrolled in the EKU Online MAEd program in elementary education.
“This degree has been an excellent series of refresher courses as I prepared to go back to work,” said Stephanie. She credits the faculty for their devotion to students’ success. “My professors have always provided the support needed for me to be successful in my coursework,” she said.
Working with them has given Stephanie academic and professional advantages. “My degree has also been embedded professional development!” she said. “My professors have modeled best teaching practices for me. I see them leading our class learning experiences and facilitating discussions. It’s helped me succeed both in the graduate classroom and in my elementary school classroom,” she explained.
Dr. Ginni Fair, associate professor and chair of the EKU Department of Curriculum and Instruction, nominated Stephanie for the 2017 Outstanding Online Student Award. She was especially impressed with Stephanie’s approach to group projects. “She has been a joy to teach and her approach to class, to online learning and to investing in her group’s success made her stand out among her peers,” Dr. Fair wrote in her nomination.
Earning a master’s degree is a requirement for Kentucky teachers, but Stephanie says the experience has given her more than her credentials. “I had been out of the classroom nine years, and this degree prepared me to re-launch my teaching career,” she said. She recently took a job teaching fourth grade science. Stephanie was excited to bring what she had learned at EKU into her classroom. She has added goal setting and self-assessment, formative assessment and 3-dimensional teaching to her repertoire. “I am showcasing my skills as a teacher leader. I am set up to hone my craft of effectively teaching students and hope to pursue my National Board Certification in the next few years,” she said.
Stephanie acknowledges that earning a graduate degree while working is challenging, but EKU Online has the tools she needs to be successful. She offers the following advice to other teachers: “Know that your professors will guide you every step of the way. You can do it!” she said.
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