Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education at Samford University
We are continually grateful for our university partners who are working to educate and prepare the next generation of teachers. One school in particular, the Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education at Samford University, has shown a spirit of service and commitment to professional development worthy of recognition. We are thrilled to name Samford University as the second recipient of our Education College Spotlight award.
The mission of the Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education is to “guide, develop and challenge students academically, professionally, personally and spiritually to prepare leaders who will positively influence and shape society.” The Graide Network has had the honor of working with twelve of these future leaders this semester. Teachers have appreciatively cited the high quality of feedback, impressive turnaround time, and professionalism of Samford students. One of our Samford Graiders helped a teacher on a critically important, last-minute project that needed to be returned the very next day, delivering high-quality work on a tight deadline! This is exactly the kind of real impact on student learning that The Graide Network endeavors to achieve.
The Curriculum and Instruction Department houses Samford’s nationally-recognized teacher education programs, including the Early Childhood/Special Education/Elementary/Collaborative (ESEC) program and the Secondary Education program for students who wish to major in subjects taught in high schools. The undergraduate program was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as being one of the top four most effective teacher preparation programs in the nation. SOE students “complete 1,000 clinical hours in classrooms prior to student teaching in immersion partnerships with local schools, contributing to the preparedness and professionalism of [Stamford] students.”
Many undergraduate SOE students are active members in Kappa Delta Pi’s education honors society chapter at Samford, Zeta Theta. The chapter focuses on the professional development of its members in order to equip them for impactful community service. As this semester’s service project, KDP members partnered with The Graide Network to virtually serve students and teachers across the country, adding a whole new meaning to ‘community outreach’.
Hannah Snell, the current KDP president, provides insight into what makes Samford’s SOE unique, the value of KDP, and how she is preparing to become a high school ELA teacher:
What makes the Orlean Bullard Beeson SOE so special? I am incredibly proud to be a part of the OBB SOE. There are countless reasons why it's such an effective program, but my favorite aspect of the school is our incredible faculty. Not only are the professors knowledgeable and experienced, but they also genuinely care about each of their students. I have one professor in particular that I can go to for a variety of issues, and she's always willing to listen. Even our advisors and office staff go out of their way to make sure everything runs smoothly. It's truly a learning environment and an outstanding program.
What initially attracted you to the program? My mother was an education student at Samford, and so I grew up knowing about the program. Samford does an excellent job garnering loyalty in its students, and it doesn't surprise me. I know I'll encourage my children to apply one day.
What has been your favorite experience in the SOE so far? My favorite experience in the SOE has been the fact that we get so much classroom experience at such an early stage. During the very first education class, students have to complete a number of clinical hours in a classroom. Each subsequent semester adds a different type of classroom - we've visited inner city high schools, rural middle schools, schools in affluent areas, and award-winning programs. I feel ready to apply for a job in any environment, and I know I'll be able to do well wherever I'm placed.
How has your involvement in KDP helped prepare you and your fellow classmates for becoming a teacher? Being in KDP this year has really helped me develop my multitasking skills. Balancing the presidency and all of my schoolwork has been tough, but I know it's nothing compared to the balancing I'll have to do as a secondary teacher!
What do you love most about the KDP chapter at Samford? I've been so impressed with everyone's willingness to serve. KDP hasn't been quite as active in the past, so I was worried that I'd have to grind the gears a bit. I was pleasantly surprised, however, when the majority of the members sprang into action. They've been so helpful and willing, and nothing we've accomplished this year could have been possible without their cooperation.
Why The Graide Network? I chose The Graide Network for one of this year's service projects because I think it's an absolutely fantastic concept. What better way to learn how to grade papers than to actually grade papers? I have learned so much about student work during this process, and I'm looking forward to continuing Samford's partnership with The Graide Network.
(So are we, Hannah!!)