Stage 1 of the M.Ed. program has been designed for progressive inquiry toward the creation of a classroom action research (CAR) project proposal that addresses local school improvement goals. Candidates will first be introduced to the PSOE DATA Model for The Teacher as a Responsive Instructional Leader and Researcher that reflects the iterative, cyclical process for the subsequent action research that will be applied in the local classroom.
Through examination and implementation of the Model, candidates will investigate the theory and research relevant to the components of the PSOE DATA Model and how curriculum design, differentiated instruction, and ongoing assessment impact student learning. Candidates will also explore school-, teacher-, and student-level factors that influence achievement and how these factors can be aligned with local school improvement goals for significant gains in student achievement.
Finally, candidates will examine young children’s characteristics and needs in order to develop a more in-depth knowledge of the multiple interacting influences on children’s development and learning. Specifically, candidates will explore how to glean insight into students’ backgrounds to impact their development and learning. The purpose of this stage is to prepare candidates for the design and implementation of classroom action research aligned with school improvement goals through the integration of learner differences, essential content knowledge, a strong curriculum framework, a systematic instructional approach, and consistent formative assessment to validate instructional decisions for all students and to impact learning.
Fall Semester (6 semester hours)
Stage 2 of the program has been designed for candidates to strategize, finalize, and begin implementation of the classroom action research (CAR) project proposal to be completed during the Spring semester. Candidates will particularly examine the integration and infusion of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) to develop a CAR project that is driven by problem solving, discovery, exploratory learning, student-centered development of ideas and solutions, and other pedagogies of engagement.
Candidates will investigate the importance and complex characteristics of children’s families and communities to create respectful, reciprocal relationships that support and empower families, and to sustain these partnerships to impact children’s development and learning.
Candidates will examine the research and dominant theories of human development and sociocultural development within the context of the family, community, and society. Strategies for collaboration between home and school will be emphasized, and interagency cooperation within the community will be examined in relation to the benefits for young children and their families.
Finally, candidates will also investigate the importance and complex characteristics of children’s families and communities. Candidates will explore how to engage parents and the community, and more intentionally respond to student diversity of culture, language, and ethnicity.
Spring Semester (6 semester hours)
Summer Semester (6 semester hours)
Stage 3 of the program has been designed for continued implementation and analysis of the classroom action research (CAR) project. Candidates will also expand their knowledge and experience of the teaching and learning process by developing and demonstrating a high level of competence in the essentials for grant writing, conducting action research, strategically planning instruction embedded in best practices, and reconceptualizing teacher leadership roles within and outside the classroom, thus, transforming school culture to elevate student achievement and school innovation.
The purpose of this stage is to assist candidates in the implementation of their CAR project proposal while they develop a high level of competence in responding to diversity of culture, language, and ethnicity; in creating environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for all children; in developing respectful, reciprocal relationships that support, empower, and involve all families in their children’s development and learning; and in using opportunities to think strategically, build consensus, create change, and influence better outcomes for children, families, and the profession.
Stage 4 of the program has been designed for candidate evaluation, synthesis, and reflection of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions acquired and enhanced through application of their CAR project. Using NAEYC Standards, NBPT Standards, and criteria from the Georgia Master Teacher Certification Program, each candidate will refine the narration and evidentiary artifacts in his or her Electronic Portfolio to highlight professional development throughout the program.
During this stage, M.Ed. candidates will examine how they can work as instructional leaders and collaborators in the professional community to improve programs and practices for young children and their families and advocate for sound professional practices and public policies for the positive development and learning of all young children.
The cohort of candidates will also plan and stage a Teacher as a Responsive Instructional Leader and Researcher Conference where each candidate will provide a presentation of his or her CAR Project. At the conclusion of this stage, candidates will exhibit the experiential evidence of their development through a formal presentation of their Electronic Portfolio. The purpose of this stage is to provide opportunities for candidates to reflect on and demonstrate their professional growth as an accomplished responsive teacher, action researcher, and instructional leader.
Spring Semester (9 Semester Hours)