Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions: CT Writing Project offers Ubuntu Academy

Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions: CT Writing Project offers Ubuntu Academy

Dr. Bryan Crandall has helped to secure over $350,000 in state, federal, and corporate funding to promote literacy instruction in local K-12 schools through his directorship of the CT Writing Project-Fairfield (CWP). This past summer, he oversaw a five-week writing institute for teachers on campus and coordinated eight young adult literacy labs. His efforts helped the Connecticut Writing Project at Fairfield receive the New England Reading Association’s Literacy Award in 2012 and the New England Board of Higher Education’s Excellence Award given to the University in 2014. The CWP is funded for next year as well.

This past summer, CWP also welcomed 15 Bridgeport teens — all recent immigrants to the U.S. — to Ubuntu Academy, a free literacy institute that’s part of CWP’s popular summer labs for young writers. Based on the African philosophy of Ubuntu — “I can be me because of who we are together” — the Academy offered English language learners (including refugee youth with limited or interrupted formal education) 10 full days of literacy learning through graphic novels and digital storytelling. Dr. Crandall, who has more than 18 years of experience working with urban schools and students, noted that seven of the students were on the honor roll and had sought him out to help them with their English literacy. “These kids really want to learn,” he said.


GSEAP highlights
• The School announced the appointment of new dean Robert Hannafin, formerly dean of the College of Education, Information, and Technology at Long Island University’s (LIU) Post campus in New York.

Dr. Hannafin brings a wealth of experience in developing research-based cross-disciplinary programs that help address some of inequities in under-resourced schools. While at LIU, Dr. Hannafin oversaw eight academic units spread over three campuses, developed the institution’s Vision and Strategic Plan, and fostered an environment that promoted effective teaching and faculty development. Under his leadership, LIU made great strides toward integrating technology across the curriculum.

Dr. Hannafin was also an associate professor at the University of Connecticut, and head of curriculum and instruction at the College of William and Mary. He was principal investigator on a large faculty development grant that built technology partnerships across K-12 public school faculty and university faculty and integrated service and scholarship.

• Mary Nelson MA’08, graduate of the master’s program in elementary education, was named Teacher of the Year in nearby Hamden, Conn. She is a sixth-grade teacher at Church Street School in Hamden.

• Drs. David Zera and Anne Campbell worked in collaboration with Hector Sanchez, principal, and Steven Cassidy, principal-in-residence, at Cesar Batalla School in Bridgeport, Conn., to submit a grant proposal to the State Department of Education Turnaround Office. They were awarded $200,000 to expand teacher training to target the school’s English language learners, a population that makes up 30% of the 1,100 students in the large, urban pre-K–8 school, as well as learners with special needs. The STELLAR (Specialized Training for English Language Learners and Reading) grant also provides a stipend for teachers in the class to serve as grade-level literacy leaders for one year, allows for the purchase of materials, and funds the hiring of a literacy liaison.

“Poverty, lack of life experiences, and a less developed linguistic preparation in English put students at a disadvantage, especially at the high grade levels,” said Dr. Campbell. Most of the students who need help are native Spanish speakers (71%), but students from Asian language groups (3%) also form part of the population at Cesar Batalla.

• The program in Marriage and Family Therapy inaugurated a partnership with Child and Family Guidance Center (CFGC) that enables families in need to receive clinical services from CFGC at the Koslow Center for Marriage and Family Therapy location on campus, and further supports the clinical training of students in the Marriage and Family Therapy program.