Adams State's Boettcher Teacher Residency program awards licensure


Adams State University's Boettcher Teacher Residency (BTR) program presented teacher licensure to 18 San Luis Valley teacher residents at a June 1 ceremony on campus. Nearly all of the residents have secured teaching positions beginning next fall, which will be their final semester in the Master of Arts in Education program, according to Lynn Crowder, the program's advisor and site coordinator.

The BTR program works to prepare more teachers for low-income, rural, and urban public schools. In partnership with the Boettcher Foundation and the Public Education & Business Coalition (PEBC), Adams State offers the BTR residency in three regions: the San Luis Valley, Southwest Colorado, and Denver Metro, with a total of 67 teacher residents. Adams State is the sole educational partner in awarding master's degrees for program participants across the state. The program provides tuition support to residents and will welcome its fourth cohort this summer.

Laurel Heimstra discusses her unit, "Figurative Language through Poetry" with fellow residents. Having graduated from Adams State last year, she worked with a mentor teacher for 8th grade language arts at Centauri Middle School. "Some students wrote beautiful poetry," she said. "When they read their own work aloud, they just blossomed."

Dr. Belle Faust, PEBC's executive director of the BTR, told the residents school superintendents working to address the state's teacher shortage have said they want more Boettcher teachers. "To hear that they want you is a credit to the work you do," she said. Colorado has had five consecutive years of declining teacher education enrollment; 5,500 teachers statewide will retire this year, but only 2,000 students will graduate with teaching degrees.

The five-semester BTR program places first-year residents in a classroom alongside master teachers, which allows them to develop skills by working with a mentor and teaching students directly. Simultaneously, they complete graduate coursework toward a master's degree with a culturally & linguistically diverse endorsement. During the second year, residents are hired as teachers of record in their own classroom.

Madison Miner created a "Living Museum" unit for her 4th grade students as Haskin Elementary in Center, Colo. Based on their individual interests, each child was assigned a historical figure to research and present.

"I admire PEBC's efforts to elevate the teaching profession," Adams State President Beverlee J. McClure said at the Licensure Ceremony. Noting the important message conveyed in Dr. Seuss's Horton Hears a Who, she told the residents, "Because Horton was willing to listen to the tiniest person, he found his passion. You've done the same thing. You've stepped up to one of the greatest callings there is. It's not easy. Keep believing you can make a difference."

"I just love this program, and I love Adams State," said Emily Therkildsen, who developed a unit on "Environmental Issues Research Magazines." A 2015 Adams State grad from Parker, Colo., she taught 5th grade at Alamosa Elementary.

Earlier in the day, the licensure recipients participated in the San Luis Valley Academic Symposium, where they presented curriculum units they created. They utilized "backward design," beginning with the learning outcomes they hope to achieve, then identifying necessary skills and content students must acquire.

The 2015-16 residents who received licensure include:

  • Laura Dambreville
  • Rachael Davie
  • Zach Dunbar
  • Ashley Favela
  • Laurel Heimstra
  • Kayla Hensley
  • Lydia Hunt Romero
  • Mark Liebenthal
  • Crestina Lucero
  • Madison Miner
  • John Noriega
  • Justin Samora
  • Brittani Smith
  • Emily Therkildsen
  • Ruthie Trias
  • Katie Turner
  • Cal van Willigen
  • Charity Walker

In addition, the symposium included research presentations by residents who completed the program and received their Master of Arts degrees in December 2015. That group includes:

  • Belinda Apodaca
  • Melissa Armenta
  • Owen Brown
  • Alexis Campbell
  • Anthony Chacon
  • Brooke Claunch
  • Nicolas Dionisio
  • Kyle Forster
  • Monica Garcia
  • Lorraine Glidewell
  • Omar Gonzalez
  • Lindsay Jantzi
  • Taylor Johnson
  • Brittany Petsche
  • Alcides Ponce Penaloza
  • Robert Readmond
  • Jessica Seal Richardson
  • Madison Specht
  • Bruce Velasquez
  • Linda Vigil

By Julie Waechter