Miami- Dade County Public Schools
Adams State University / Endeavor STEM Teaching Certificate Project Graduate 2016
I began my career as an educator in 2012 without any formal education training. Despite my undergraduate degree being in biology, I decided that what I really wanted to teach was mathematics. As such I completed all of the requirements in the state of Florida to teach math and my journey in education began. My first couple years in the classroom were relatively successful, but I found myself looking to grow as a professional. By 2014, I started researching advanced degree options. Unfortunately, most of what I found wasn’t a great fit for me. I was looking for a program that was flexible, available 100% online, and a program that blended my unique educational interests as a math teacher with a background in science. That is when I came across the Endeavor STEM Teaching Program and discovered that they had partnered with Adams State University to create a Master’s program. The more I looked into the program, the more sure I was that this program was exactly what I needed.
The Adams State program turned out to be exactly what I needed as a practicing educator. The program offered the kind of flexibility that I was looking for that isn’t present in a cohort-based program and the 100% online format allowed me to stay in the classroom throughout the duration of the program. Because I was able to schedule my own classes, I was able to complete my degree in just 18 months. Additionally, the course work offered the perfect blend of educational research and theory from Adams State with practical STEM-based curriculum from Endeavor. In my final semester, I opted to tackle an Action Research project. That process fundamentally changed the way I approach data collection and formative assessment in my classroom. The skills and knowledge I acquired from this program remain with me every day in the classroom.
Today, I am undoubtedly a better educator as a result of the Adams State University / Endeavor STEM Teaching Certificate Project.
I specifically chose this Master’s program because I was allowed to use some of my previous credits. I was appreciative of this because my time is valuable and I could see that they were trying to work with me. My instructors had high expectations, but never failed to provide valuable feedback. I am working to incorporate new skills I have learned into my classroom.
Emily Dauk is a high school math teacher in Minnesota who is working toward a master’s degree through the Adams State Endeavor STEM Leadership Certificate program, a partnership with NASA and the Adams State Teacher Education Department.
Dauk challenged her Mankato, Minn. students to build a mechanism that could launch a mock satellite. Led by Dauk and her colleague, Eric Koser, the students achieved success and the Kato Launch Squad was invited to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in March to demonstrate their experimental device.
“My students and I had the opportunity to participate in NASA’s Microgravity University for Educators at Johnson Space Center,” Dauk said. Last fall she worked with a group of students and teachers from her district in Minnesota to submit a project proposal and were one of 10 teams selected from across the nation to participate.
The project was a full integration of all STEM disciplines as students had to design and build a Satellite Launching Experimental Device. “Students also developed a public outreach plan so we could share the experience with as many people as possible,” Dauk said. The culmination of the project was four students and two teachers from the team, including Dauk, who spent a week at Johnson Space Center testing their device, touring the NASA facilities, and learning directly from NASA experts.
When considering a master’s program, the STEM Leadership Certificate joint program seemed the best fit for Dauk. “I did a lot of searching for a program with a connection to high school math that would also allow me to continue to teach full time and to continue being a part of the extracurricular activities I was involved in at my school. The most important requirement of any master’s program was that it would help me become a better math teacher.”
Two areas emphasized within Dauk’s Master of Arts program include STEM integration and connecting with students and community. “This project was a combination of each of those. Each of the STEM disciplines was required as the team designed, built, and tested their device. In addition, we were also required to develop an outreach plan about how we would share this experience with the community. As we developed this plan we examined which modes of communication would be the best to reach our students and community members. We also looked at which events we could put on after our week at Johnson Space Center that would engage our community. It was very neat to see multiple components of my Adams State coursework come together within a single project.”
Dauk enrolled in the Adams State program in the fall of 2017 and will complete her degree in the spring of 2019. “I have very much enjoyed the flexibility of the program. It is not easy to complete a master’s degree while also teaching full time, but the online program that Adams State provides makes it possible.”
While in Houston, the students and teachers from Mankato visited the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility as astronauts showcased their training.
Denton is pursuing her master’s degree through Adams State University’s graduate distance degree program. She enrolled in the fall of 2016 to the Adams State Teacher Education Department Master of Arts in Education Curriculum and Instruction with Endeavor STEM Leadership Certificate. She will graduate in December 2018.
I am a single mom of three kids and I teach 8 different grade levels. My time is valuable and limited. I have enjoyed the flexibility that the NASA Endeavor degree program through Adams State University has offered. The NASA classes are offered at convenient times for my schedule. I can get my kids in bed and sit and really focus on the content that is being delivered. I enjoy the online classroom and face-to-face communication offered through the Endeavor classes and the instructors have shared some amazing free online resources that I wasn’t aware of prior to taking the classes. The Adams State University asynchronous learning is also a great fit. The instructors make the syllabus and readings available for the whole semester allowing me to work when time allows. With no set class meeting time, I was initially concerned about having to teach myself. Fortunately, the online discussion forums and prompt communications via email from my instructors really helped me master the material. I feel much more equipped with specific strategies, research based pedagogy, how to use data to improve my teaching and how to implement formative assessments. For me, I have the majority of the science background but I lacked certain skills in regards to teaching and classroom practices. The courses I’ve taken towards my MEd have filled those gaps and have set me on the path to become the type of teacher I want to be.
I particularly enjoyed the ability to pick and choose the STEM elective classes I felt would benefit me the most. I also enjoyed being able to take as many or as few classes as I felt my schedule would allow. That flexibility allowed me to continue to meet the demands of my everyday life while still applying myself and really getting the most out of my classes at Adam’s state.
Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Science Teacher, Boothbay Region High School
I waited a long time to find the right master’s program and I struggled to find one that fit my needs. I did not want to just go through the motions for the pay raise and wanted a meaningful program in which I could grow as an educator. The NASA Endeavor Teaching Certificate STEM project did not disappoint. I worked in two cancer research labs prior to my teaching career and know the scientific method well. In school it is often taught as a linear process, so seeing the graphic that showed its real messiness in the Methods of STEM Education course, was an “ah-ha” moment. I changed my teaching the very next day.
In this program, I have been able to take one class at a time. This has made my journey a full three years, but with full-time teaching, two busy teens at home, and a husband training for an Ironman competition, I am thankful for the flexibility. I could take one course at a time if I needed to when things were chaotic, or I could load up on courses over the summer when I had more time to spare.
Each class I take ends up being my favorite, but a few stand out among the rest. Anything taught by Dr. Brandon Rodriguez is going to be wonderful! I took both NASA Astronomy and Space Science and Chemistry in the STEM Classroom with Dr. Rodriguez and really looked forward to those live sessions. He is not afraid to geek out with his students and each class I was able to bring something cool to my own students the next day. My students are used to me saying “So in my NASA class last night I learned….” and they seem to enjoy me then “geeking” out with them. My teaching has definitely improved as I use the NASA resources and data for REAL science- no more hypotheticals. One of my favorite resources to explore with my students is the NASA Disasters page.
Dr. Emma Rae Martinez at Adams State teaches an amazing class, Multiculturism in the Classroom. While not specific to science, it really helped me examine my own teaching methods for inclusion and see where I was lacking. I am so thankful to have taken that last year, learning more about being anti-racist and my own privilege as a white woman. It has helped me navigate my way through some tough questions and conversations as the world wakes up to systemic racism. A great addition to this class would be the Culturally Responsive Teaching and NGSS Science for All from Endeavor. I haven’t gotten to take it yet but heard great things about it and will likely do so after I finish my masters! Another bonus of the program is that I get to come back as an alumnus to Endeavor and participate in individual courses without starting a new program each time.
I am so glad for having had the opportunity to earn my master’s degree through the Adams State University and Endeavor STEM Teaching Certificate Project. I cannot wait to bring the knowledge I gained from my experience back to my school and colleagues. I would highly recommend this program to all educators!
Master of Arts in Education Curriculum & Instruction with STEM Concentration, in partnership with the Endeavor STEM Leadership Certificate degree program Graduate – fall 2015
The faculty at Adams State was fantastic about reaching out to me off campus. I was living in Montana at the time, but I was conversing with Adams State via email, phone call, or Skype whenever needed. It was comforting having responses from questions sent back at an adequate time. The STEM Endeavor courses were by far my favorite. NASA’s Space and NOAA’s Oceans classes have left a lasting impact on me and thus my students. The Endeavor courses put you with real data and can help to create projects to do in your own class. Every day I am using features from some of the courses within my degree. I teach a summer STEM abroad class and incorporate lessons from Endeavor classes within my own teaching lessons. I believe having the STEM concentration on my Master’s In Curriculum gives me an extra edge in my career. Finally, the convenience of the program is unmatched. At the time I was living 2 hours away from the closest college with a master’s program. With work during the school year and summer adventures, there was no way financially I could ever get a master’s unless it was online. I remember doing some of my online homework on a fishing trip in Northern Canada which was more convenient than in a classroom.
Brian Manley M.Ed.
Automotive Technology Instructor – Smoky Hill High School
CTE Dept. Coordinator
Fall 2017 Master of Arts in Education Curriculum and Instruction Online degree program Graduate
When I searched for an online master degree program, I wanted one with rigor that would challenge me to grow as an educator, and I also wanted one that was organized and user-friendly. I chose Adams State and their Master of Arts in Education, Curriculum and Instruction Degree because it fit all of these criteria. Beginning with my first contact with Kateri, who advised me throughout my experience – and continuing through with each professor, I was encouraged and expected to contribute at a high level as a student, and it has pushed me to become a better teacher myself. The online environment was easy to navigate, and it provided access to collaborate with my classmates and professors on a daily or weekly level as needed. I appreciated that they valued my time as a busy, working professional by providing meaningful classes, each one becoming a piece of a larger puzzle that culminated in a Capstone Project. This online degree experience has given me greater confidence in the classroom because I now have more tools in my tool belt. I recommend this master degree to any of my colleagues who are looking for a high-quality, online educational experience.
Spring 2017 Adams State University Graduate, Online Master of Arts in Education Curriculum and Instruction degree.
This program is hands-down the best place to pursue your professional goals!
I cannot say enough about the Education Department at Adams State University. While working with my academic advisor, I was continually impressed by her efficiency, professionalism, and knowledge. The instructors exceeded my expectations as they were easy to correspond with as they promptly responded to my emails with their expertise and knowledge. Even though I received my Master’s Degree on-line, I felt as though the staff in which I worked with become like family to me. If you want a program that offers instruction of the latest and most pertinent teaching practices in curriculum and instruction, along with being treated as an individual, and not just another student, the Master’s program at Adams State University is the place to go.
I continue to teach first grade and am enjoying having my Master’s Degree. In one way or another, I use some aspect of knowledge gained from my Master’s Degree in my everyday teaching. Most importantly, I believe that I have a much better understanding of the curriculum in which I teach. I am also enjoying the monetary raise that I received for obtaining my Degree…. especially because all four of my kids are currently in college.
Thank you again for the pleasant and memorable experiences at Adams State!
I wanted to share my experience with you because I feel as though this program tremendously transformed me as a teacher. From the first class to the recent completion of the African-American Civil Rights Course, this school has provided me with such a great foundation in curriculum and significantly expanded the instructional strategies and tools that have been beneficial in my classroom. During my time at Adams State, I’ve received a tremendous amount of support and greatly benefited from the feedback and instruction from professors and other students within the program. Finally, this program greatly impacted my confidence and gave me a new spark within the field of education. I’ve been more energized and excited about speaking up to my administrators about school culture and the future of our community as well as more willing to step outside of my comfort zone and apply for promotional opportunities within my school as well as through National Teacher Programs and Fellowships. All in all, I am immensely proud of the education I received through this program and I can’t wait to use the knowledge gained, the confidence built, and the instructional tools taught to challenge my students and my community as well as continue to build a career within the field of education.
Janene M. Mondragon
MA Curriculum and Instruction: Literacy (Graduated-Summer 2017)
The professors within the Adams State University Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction program facilitated thoughtful coursework that has allowed me to develop an ongoing and enthusiastic approach to teaching. Becoming the erudite educator that I always wanted to be honestly began with conversations through the Graduate Distance Learning Program. Kateri Reeves guided me from the first phone call of my inquiry into the Teacher Education Program through the next steps of getting my degree- She was even there to personally congratulate me as I walked down the aisle with my diploma! It is that individual attention to academic success
that has inspired me to pay forward the dedication and encouragement to my students.
Current Master of Arts in Education Curriculum and Instruction with Endeavor STEM Leadership Certificate degree program
After registering for Endeavor, I was instantly motivated by the staff and instructors by providing individual support and encouragement to meet my goals in this program. My instructors and courses made a difference in my teaching. The relationship between my instructors and myself was ideal. Each instructor motivated, inspired, and challenged me to work and to learn.
On the first day of class, all of my instructors share their availability, enthusiasm, and reasons for teaching these courses. In each weekly discussion, instructors created a pleasant, relaxing and enjoyable community where students could express their concerns, questions and opinions in a safe and easy forum.
It was essential for me to select a program that supported my career goals and raised rigor in my classroom. The quality of course work with Endeavor helped me set achievable goals for myself and for my students. Materials and assignments were practicable and relevant to my teaching. My final projects could be easily developed into a curricula that I could use all school year. The teaching materials provided by my instructors were relevant to my students and inclusive enough to reach all level of student ability.
I entered this program with one goal in mind, to learn more. I wanted to invest in my own professional development and learn to enhance the skills needed to engage with students at a higher level. Even with 10 years of classroom experience, I wanted to be an authority in the concepts addressed within STEM education. I wanted to learn how to use my knowledge and previous education plus this new degree to create a new role within my classroom that integrated different areas of study to help my students achieve better outcomes.
Endeavor was convenient for my schedule. Being a full-time teacher, mom, wife and high school coach, I was worried I would not have the time or energy to devote to a program like Endeavor. But it was surprisingly easy to find a few hours in the day to watch the lectures, read materials, and post on the online platforms. From the comfort of my own house or classroom, I was able to create a learning schedule that met my individual learning needs.