Curriculum and Instruction

Student/Alumni Achievements

Congratulations to Our Spring 2016 Outstanding Pre-Service Teachers and Troyer Mentor Teacher Award Winners!


gmCongratulations to our Spring 2016 Outstanding Pre-Service Teachers who were presented with their OPTA awards at the reception on Friday, May 13, 2016.  

Congratulations as well to our own Sandy Pendell, lead teacher at the WIU Infant/Preschool Center for winning this year's Donald L. Troyer Award for Outstanding Mentor Teachers. The Troyer Award was presented this year by WIU Professor Emeritus F. Gene Miller.

Pictured in the photo are (1st row L-R) Danielle Thorman, Mary Betsworth, and Tamara Kelley; (2nd row L-R) Dr. Sara Simonson, Baylee Derham, Miriam Badger, Allison Lafary and Sandy Pendell. Not present is OPTA Award recipient David Finn. Dr. Miller is featured in the bottom photo.


C&I Elementary Ed Major Natasha Shallenberg Named Illinois Golden Apple Scholar

nsElementary education major Natasha Shallenberger has been named an Illinois Golden Apple Scholar, and will spend time this summer in Chicago gaining experience in what it's like to serve students who attend "high-need" schools.

Natasha, a sophomore at WIU, was named a Golden Apple Scholar this spring, after applying for the program. Western Illinois University is one of 52 teaching institutions across Illinois that partners with the Golden Apple organization, which provides financial assistance and support for students pursuing careers in teaching.  It is difficult to qualify to be a Golden Apple Scholar, and candidates must undergo a rigorous selection process.

As result of her selection, Natasha will receive a $7,000 scholarship, as well as attend a residential institute at DePaul University in Chicago. The institute will not only provide her with on-site classroom experience, but also mentoring from one of the program's "Golden Apple" teachers.

Natasha, from Plymouth, IL, notes that Curriculum and Instruction's Elementary Education program provides her with a great local option to complete her degree in the field she loves.  In addition to her pursuing her studies at Western, she is the mother of a toddler, and is a student worker for University Technology (uTech).

Golden Apple is non-profit organization based in Chicago, and its Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois scholarship program "identifies talented high school seniors, as well as first- and second-year college students, who have the promise and drive to be excellent teachers in high-need schools."

For more information on Natasha's great honor, please click here:








Congratulations to Spring 2016 C & I Department Scholars Baylee Derham and Morgan Kennedy

bmCongratulations to Baylee Derham and Morgan Kennedy for being named our Spring 2016 Department Scholars by the Curriculum and Instruction Scholarship Committee.  Baylee has been chosen as the Elementary Education Department Scholar and Morgan has been chosen as the Special Education Department Scholar.

Congrats to Baylee and Morgan on their excellent work!












Curriculum & Instruction Alumni Receive Top Honors at the 2016 COEHS Alumni Scholarship Celebration

pmt mhCurriculum and Instruction alumni won two out of the three awards at this year's COEHS Alumni Awards Recognitions. The Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Macomb CUSD #185 Superintendent Dr. Patrick "Mark" Twomey, Ed.D. The Young Alumni Award was presented to 2015 National History Teacher of the Year and fifth grade teacher Mary Huffman, MSEd.

Patrick Twomey

Twomey earned his BSEd. in Elementary Education in 1997, his MSEd. in Educational Leadership in 1999, his Ed.S. in Educational Leadership in 2004 and his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership in 2009, all at Western. He serves on the COEHS Advisory Board, and established a partnership between the Curriculum & Instruction Department and the "Read 100" program, which serves struggling readers at Lincoln Elementary School. Twomey also served as a program partner in COEHS's redesign and implementation of its educational leadership program for superintendents, and served as an adjunct instructor. Dr. Twomey was nominated by COEHS Associate Dean Dr. Katrina Daytner.

Mary Huffman

Huffman earned her BSEd. in Elementary Education in 2001 and her MSEd. Elementary Education in 2008, both at Western. She is 5th grade teacher at Charles Pinckney Elementary School in Mount Pleasant, SC, and was named National History Teacher of the Year for 2015 by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. For winning this award, Huffman received $10,000 was presented with the award by Robin Roberts, one of the co-hosts of "Good Morning America," in New York, NY. According to Gilder Lehrman, "Huffman uses hands-on lessons to help her students 'become active American citizens who make positive changes in the future.'" Her lessons include creating care packages for soldiers, writing letters to U.S. troops, and participating in veteran's week celebrations by inviting soldiers into the classroom. She also designed an interactive unit that includes a WWII draft simulation, and dresses up weekly in clothing from the era being studied, enabling her students to see and interact with historical figures. Ms. Huffman was nominated by Curriculum and Instruction Chair Dr. Sara Simonson.

Winner of the COEHS Lifetime Achievement Award was Caryl Stern, who earned her MSEd. in College Student Personnel in 1979. Stern is the president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. The COEHS Alumni Awards were presented on Saturday, April 16 at the COEHS Alumni and Scholarship "Casino Night" Celebration in Brophy Hall. Proceeds went to fund scholarships for students in COEHS programs.

Shown above left:  Dr. Daytner and Dr. Twomey.  Shown above right:  Dr. Simonson and Ms. Huffman.


Students and Professor from Curriculum and Instruction Rock the OSA Awards

                            students with Dr. Jensen

From left to right: Michele Mussatto (C&I Office Manager), Nina Blaszka (C&I Graduate Assistant), Sarah Hays (Vice President of CEC), Cari Sheppard (President of CEC & presenter of the Cari Sheppard Emerging Student Leader Award), Dr. Mary Jensen (C&I professor), Vanessa Redpath (C&I Special Education Senior), and Dr. Sara Simonson (C&I Interim Chair)

The Annual Leadership Awards Ceremony hosted by the Office of Student Activities took place on April 18th, 2016. There were 95 nominations for 15 different awards, a record breaking moment. This year,  Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) won the Outstanding Volunteer Service by an Organization Award. This is the fouth year in a row that this superlative organization won an OSA award. Dr. Mary Jensen was one of the four winners of the Outstanding Student Organization Advisors Award. Vanessa Repath, a special education major, received the prestigious William E. Brattain Award.

For more information and photos on the OSA Leadership Awards and winners, click here .



Making a Difference  in Savannah Georgia

Katie with books                    Katie with students students with books

Katie Schultz, LLA 313, in Dr. Steward's class delivered 26 fiction books to disadvantaged children in the Community and Early Learning Center in Savannah, GA. Katie is a member of STLF(Students Today Leaders Forever) 2016 student organization and spent her Spring Break helping people in need.The books were donated by our C & I Children's Literature and Reading Assessment courses. She also helped filled food bags for 500 families.


Congratulations to our Fall 2015 Outstanding Pre-Service Teacher Award Recipients!

OPTA receipents


(OPTA Fall 2015 Reci pients: (Front, L-R) Lacy Busby, Danielle Eckels, Brooke Schafer. (Back, L-R) Francesca Evischi, Ashley, Kilcoyne, Kayleigh Marcotte, Flannery Wheeler.)

On December 18, 2015 the Curriculum and Instruction Department honored seven of our top aspiring teachers with our Outstanding Pre-Service Teacher (OPTA) Awards. The C&I Scholarship Committee selects only students who have demonstrated excellence both in their course work and in the student teaching phase of their undergraduate education for this award. Faculty and staff members honored these students at a recognition reception in Horrabin Hall where they were joined by friends and family.  Congratulations to these remarkable teachers!

Alumnus, Michael Cooper receives Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award 2015

picture of Michael Cooper receiving awardMichael Cooper, a 2005 graduate of Western, with a degree in history, received the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award on November 22, 2015. Cooper is a teacher in the Alton School District. He teaches seventh grade social studies.

Recipients were selected by their schools' administration to celebrate their achievements and dedication to teaching. The ceremony and reception, where recipients received Tiffany & Co. crystal apples, were held at the Ritz-Carlton.

"Emerson is proud to showcase the St. Louis-area's most dedicated educators for continuing to strengthen local students' love for learning and desire to succeed," said Patrick J. Sly, Emerson executive vice president. "It is truly our honor to support these outstanding professionals whose passion for teaching inspires and motivates their students to achieve bright futures."

Award recipients will have the opportunity to apply for a Gold Star Grant from Emerson, to be presented in spring 2016. Honorees from this year and the past five years are eligible to apply for the competitive grants, which are designed to fund educational projects. Since 2006, Emerson has awarded $440,000 to area teachers and schools through the program.


Congratulations to Elementary Education Major Kayleigh Marcotte for Being Named COEHS 2015 Fall College Scholar

kmElementary Education major Kayleigh Marcotte was selected by the College of Education and Human Services Scholarship Committee as the 2015 Fall COEHS College Scholar.  Kayleigh was chosen to receive the College's highest honor due to her her outstanding academic achievements and in academics and impressive extracurricular involvement.

Faculty in WIU's four academic colleges select a graduating senior every semester as each college's outstanding scholar. Students graduating as College Scholars have satisfied the criteria of excellence established by their individual academic college's faculty members.

Kayleigh is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, Centennial Honors College, and performs with the WIU's Wind Ensemble and Concert Band. She also served as a member of the Service Team for the Newman Center.

Congrats Kayleigh, we are proud of you!





Congratulations to Fall 2015 C & I Department Scholars Kayleigh Marcotte and Brooke Schafer


Congratulations to Kayleigh Marcotte and Brooke Schafer for being named our Fall 2015 Department Scholars by the Curriculum and Instruction Scholarship Committee.  Kayleigh has been chosen as the Elementary Education Department Scholar and Brooke has been chosen as the Special Education Department Scholar.

Kayleigh is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society and the Centennial Honors College, and has performed with the WIU's Wind Ensemble and Concert Band. She also served as a member of the Service Team for the Newman Center.

Brooke served as President of WIU's Council for Exceptional Children and was an instrumental part of the organization for several years, including her work as Coordinator of Special Olympics Volunteers and her leadership in the 3E Love, Sensory Saturdays and Stuff the Bus programs.  She was also a Lincoln Laureate Scholarship Nominee.

Congrats to Kayleigh and Brooke on their excellent work!

WIU Elementary Education Alumnus Mary Huffman named National History Teacher of the Year:
Award Presented by Good Morning America Anchor Robin Roberts and Aired on GMA Oct 20, 2015

Mary Huffman with Robin RobertsWIU Curriculum & Instruction Department Alumnus Mary (Petrus) Huffman BSEd '01, MSEd '08 has been designated National History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York, NY . Ms. Huffman received a $10,000 award and attended a ceremony in her honor at the Yale Club in New York City on October 19, 2015. The award was presented by Robin Roberts, co-anchor on ABC's morning show Good Morning America, and the presentation was aired the following day on the Good Morning America Show, October 20, 2015 .  Started in 2004, the award highlights the crucial importance of history education by honoring exceptional American history teachers from elementary school through high school. 

"One of the most exciting things the Institute does is to award this prize that honors great teaching," says Lesley S. Herrmann, Executive Director of the Gilder Lehrman Institute. "I am in awe of Mary Huffman's creativity, dedication, and enthusiasm. Her students are lucky indeed."

Ms. Huffman uses hands-on lessons to help her students "become active American citizens who make positive changes in the future." Her students create care packages, write letters to US troops, and participate in veteran's week celebrations by inviting soldiers into the classroom. Ms. Huffman has also designed an interactive unit that includes a WWII draft simulation.

"It is essential that the past is not forgotten, and teachers hold the tools to pry open old hope chests to uncover dusty photo albums from the past," Ms. Huffman explains. Each week, she dresses up in clothing from the era being studied, allowing her students to get up close and personal with historic artifacts, such as twenties flapper dresses, nineteenth-century Native American fringed pants, and military uniforms from the Vietnam era.

Prior to receiving this award in August, Ms. Huffman, 5th grade teacher at Charles Pinckney Elementary in Mount Pleasant, SC, was also named South Carolina History Teacher of the Year in June, and Teacher of the Year for Pinckney Elementary, a public school employing 70 teachers.

Ms. Huffman will be finishing her Doctorate in Education in May with a focus on College Teaching and Learning.  She is doing her dissertation on the need for differentiated instruction in adult learning, and plans to conduct a quantitative survey to gather results of college professors to see if their opinion about differentiated instruction changes after watching a flipped classroom presentation about differentiation.  Per Huffman, "I've been teaching 15 years now and I think this will be a great transition in my life, but it will remain in the field of education, which I love."

Ms. Huffman credits Curriculum and Instruction Department Interim Chair Dr. Sara Simonson as her role model for excellence in teaching.  "I have used every one of your teaching strategies throughout my 15 years of teaching," says Ms. Huffman.  "You are an inspiration.  Maybe I can work my way up to chair of the education department just like you!" 


Dr. Frances Steward and Literacy Methods Students Co-Presented at the Fall 2015 Illinois Reading Council Conference October 3, 2015

rcDr. Frances Steward and her literacy methods students co-presented at the Fall 2015 Illinois Reading Council Conference in Peoria, Illinois on October 3, 2015.  Students Kyleen Kenny, Danielle Thorman, Angela Galasso, Liz Jepsen and Jordan McGhee-Miller and Dr. Steward presented on "Digital Designed Strategies: Current Nonfiction Children's Books (Grades 4-6)," demonstrating content strategies with digital processes and journal articles that connect and supplement nonfiction children's books. 

In photo L to R:  Kyleen Kenny, Danielle Thorman, Angela Galasso, Dr. Frances Steward, Liz Jepsen, Jordan McGhee-Miller









Twenty-Eight New Members Initiated into Kappa Delta Pi International Honors Society in Education


WIU's chapter of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honors Society in Education initiated 28 new graduate and undergraduate education majors during their 2015 Initiation Ceremony on April 24, 2015 in Horrabin Hall. The initiation ceremony was addressed by Dr. Erskine Smith, Dean of the College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) and by Dr. Anne Gregory, Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction (C&I).  We extend our sincere gratitude to the KDP chapter officers that ensured the success of the initiation ceremony.  Pictured above are the 17 initiates who attended the ceremony, along with KDP chapter officers and Drs. Smith and Gregory.

First Row, L-R:  Kimberly Lewis, Student President; Dr. Frances Steward, Historian/Secretary; Dr. Fred Isele, Associate Counselor, QC; Dr. Abha Singh, Counselor/Treasurer; Dr. Melissa Stinnett, President; Dr. Erskine R. Smith, Dean of COEHS; Dr. Anne Gregory, Chair of Department of C&I; Marissa Werner, Student Vice President.  Second Row, L-R:  Ashley Gerard, Student Membership Chair; Amy Runde, Graduate Student; Megan Arduser, Junior; Lori Foley, Junior; Emily Henderson, Junior; Kristin Conrad, Senior; Danielle Eckels, Senior; Ashley Thomas, Junior; Alessandra Faggionato, Graduate Student and this year's Dr. Pamela Godt KDP Scholarship Winner; Vanessa Redpath, Junior; Jamelia Tinkham, Senior.  Third Row, L-R:  Dustin Perrine, Senior; Robert Kinzenbaw, Junior; Alexandria Winslow, Senior; Tamara Kelley, Senior; Raylynn Wankel, Graduate Student; Raylene Gunning, Graduate Student; Corinne Tate, Graduate Student.

In order to be eligible for Kappa Delta Pi, students have to meet the following qualifications:  1. GPA of 3.6 or higher with the completion of at least 50 semester hours of course work (undergraduates) or 9 semester hours (graduates); 2. Completed or are scheduled for 12 or more units in professional education coursework; and 3. Show evidence of promise as an outstanding educator, exhibiting the high ideals of scholarship, high personal standards, and promise in teaching and allied professions.

History of Kappa Delta Pi at WIU

There are over 600 chapters of Kappa Delta Pi worldwide, and it keeps growing. Chapter number 29 is one of the first chapters in this organization which was founded in 1911. Our WIU Chapter was organized on February 27 , 1925.  A faculty committee composed of Mr. Simpkins, Mr. Ginnings, Mr. Cleveland, and Miss Wild, and appointed by President Morgan, studied various national honorary organizations and decided that the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education would be the best one for WIU, then the Western Illinois State Teacher’s College.  Nine members were initiated at the first initiation ceremony.  The minutes note that the chapter was so young that “as yet, there have been no members who have become widely known in any field and there are no chapter colors or emblems other than the official KDP insignia (the colors now are purple and green).  It was interesting to note that in those days, the initiates were scored on such things as their sociability (which included their courtesy, friendliness, and ability to make conversation!) as well as on their academic skills, initiative, dependability and adaptability, which was judged by their practice teaching.  That first year, in 1925, the Kappa Delta Pi association at WIU collected $1,400 and donated the Gateway Monument to the college that is still by the street outside of Sherman Hall. The motto inscribed there reads: “To serve best, we strive for highest professional efficiency.” Later, the organization also donated the first set of carillon chimes to Sherman Hall. Thereafter, KDP has gathered money to be used for an annual student KDP scholarship.

2015 Dr. Pamela Godt Kappa Delta Pi Scholarship Winner:  Alessandra Faggionato

We are pleased to announce that the second annual winner of the Dr. Pamela Godt Kappa Delta Pi Scholarship is Educational/Interdisciplinary Studies graduate student Alessandra Faggionato!  Alessandra was selected based on her GPA, active KDP membership and demonstration of leadership.  Dr. Gregory presented this $500 award to Alessandra at the 2015 Initiation Ceremony.

Click here for more information about Kappa Delta Pi at WIU.



Students from Dr. Simonson's ELED 445 Honors Seminar Present at
Thomas E. Helm Undergraduate Research Day

The seven students from Dr. Sara Simonson's ELED 445 Honors Seminar in Elementary Education class had the honor of presenting their research projects at the Thomas E. Helm Undergraduate Research Day on April 9, 2015 in the University Union Grand Ballroom.  Dr. Simonson acted as Faculty Mentor for their projects.  Some students presented research from other classes as well.


Spring 2015 ELED 445 Class  L-R Standing:  Dr. Sara Simonson, Jasmine Bailey, Jordan Mahara, Miriam Badger, Alena Fakeri.  L-R Seated:  Baylee Ferrier, Angela Galasso, Meghan Hoyle.


Jasmine Bailey speaks with Dr. Thomas E. Helm about her research. Thomas E. Helm Undergraduate Research Day was created in honor of Dr. Helm, who is the founding director of the Illinois Centennial Honors College at WIU. Dr. Helm was a Professor of Religious Studies in WIU's Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies for more than 30 years.

Click here for more awesome Undergraduate Research Day photos!  


Brooke and CariCouncil for Exceptional Children (CEC) Wins Outstanding Small Organization of the Year for Third Consecutive Year

On Monday April 20, CEC received its third Outstanding Small Organization of the Year award in as many years. The award was presented at the Office of Student Activities annual Leadership Awards Ceremony. In addition to the Organization of the Year award, CEC member Cari Sheppard won the Josh Beliveau Outstanding First Year Involvement award for her work with CEC. 

CEC's faculty adviser Dr. Jensen said of Cari:

"Cari has participated in every CEC event during the 2014-2015 school year. In addition to her participation, Cari has taken on increasing responsibility in leadership roles and as a spokesperson for CEC. The comment Cari makes after every announcement of a CEC professional development or service activity announcement is, 'I'll be there!' And she always is!" 


Miss LibbyCouncil for Exceptional Children (CEC) Visits the Hope Institute in Springfield, IL

Founded in 1957 as The Hope School, The Hope Institute has served children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities for over half a century. On Friday March 27, members of CEC traveled to Springfield, IL to visit The Hope Institute facilities and meet with the institute's industry leading staff. The Hope Institute now consists of nine different programs including The Autism Program of Illinois, residential, and vocational. The Noll Cafe is located on institute and is staffed by Hope Institute students, ensuring students are able to contribute their many skills to the workforce.

Noll Cafe Hope School
At Noll Cafe, from Left:Sarah Saenz, Ashley Gerard, Cari Sheppard, Dr. Mary Jensen, Angie Stegall, Morgan Smith, Brooke Schafer. At The Hope Institute School, from Left: Cari Sheppard, Morgan Smith, Angie Stegall, Jen Heinz, Brooke Schafer, Hilary Okita

 Graduate student Hilary Okitia said "My visit to The Hope Institute was a lifetime experience for me. It made me realize children with disabilities, if well taken care of by professionals like special education teachers, have the talents to live a good life and impact positively in our society." 

Student Education Association (SEA) Hosts 9th Annual Professional Development Conference

First year teachers

The Student Education Association of Western Illinois University recently held their 9th annual professional development conference. The students in attendance learned valuable information such as experiences of first year teachers, interview tips, and how to survive the edTPA. All participants received a certificate and the opportunity to talk with other students in the education department as well as veteran teachers and administrators of varying degrees. The success of the conference is largely due to the professionals of WIU and area schools who believe in pre-service teachers and their potential to make a difference in the lives' of children. There was tremendous support from many local businesses that contributed gift certificates and raffle items to SEA which resulted in the conference raffle raising $151 that will be donated to the Macomb Public Library. This conference provided the opportunity for pre-service education students to have personal conversations with a variety of education professionals who shared priceless wisdom, advice, and knowledge about the teaching profession.

A personal message from SEA President Robert Eaton:

"I would like to thank the Council for Exceptional Children and Brooke Schafer for their collaboration in the conference. Their incorporation of their "Sensory Saturdays" provided a variety of educational workshops at the conference. I think that this was a valuable learning and networking experience for everyone in attendance. Conferences such as these provide a "behind the scenes" opportunity with seasoned professionals in the education field."








Sheri Moon of the WIU Preschool Center receives books from CEC member Cari Shepard.

Spring Book Fair a HUGE success 

In just one week the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and book fair attendees sent approximately $700 worth of new books to the WIU Infant/Preschool Center, and the Too Little Children Foundation in Kenya. From April 3 through 7, students, faculty, staff, and community members browsed the shelves of the CEC Book Fair. Anyone purchasing a book was able to send a second book, of their choosing, to either the Preschool Center or the Too Little Children Foundation. We are very proud of CEC for hosting such an event, and deeply grateful to our community for supporting it. Faculty supervisor Mary Jensen would like to thank all of the volunteer students for dedicating their time and effort to the success of the Book Fair.



Congrats to Our Fall 2014 Outstanding Pre-Service Teacher Award Recipients

On December 19, 2014 the Curriculum and Instruction Department honored seven of our top aspiring teachers with our Outstanding Pre-Service Teacher (OPTA) Awards. The C & I Scholarship Committee selects only students who have demonstrated excellence both in their course work and in the student teaching phase of their undergraduate education for this award. Faculty and staff members honored these students at a recognition reception in Horrabin Hall where they were joined by friends and family.  Congratulations to these remarkable teachers!

OPTA Recipients

Fall 2014 OPTA Award Recipients

L-R Back: Aaron Sikorski (Elementary Education), Ashley Wilson (Special Education), Sadie Keefauver (Special Education) and Nikki Parker (Elementary Education).
L-R Front: Corinna Soto (Bilingual/Bicultural Education), Candice Lanhum (Elementary Education) and Christa Lopez (Elementary Education).







Congratulations to our Fall 2014 Department Scholars

as sk

We are proud to announce our Department Scholars for the Fall of 2014.  Aaron Sikorski, our Fall 2014 Elementary Education Scholar, graduated with highest academic distinction, Summa Cum Laude, and is one of our OPTA Award recipients for Outstanding Pre-Service Teacher.  Sadie Keefauver, our Fall 2014 Special Education Scholar, graduated with highest academic distinction, Summa Cum Laude, and is also one of our OPTA Award recipients for Outstanding Pre-Service Teacher.  In addition, Sadie is the College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) Scholar for Fall 2014.  Congratulations and the best of luck to Aaron and Sadie!



Aaron Sikorski                                   Sadie Keefauver
C&I Elementary Ed Scholar              C&I Special Ed Scholar

Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) hosts WIU's first annual Assistive Technology Conference.

CEC is very grateful to Infinitec and the Illinois School Board of Education for their generous financial support which made hosting this wonderful event possible.

Last Friday, February 13, more than 65 students, faculty, and area educators gathered in Horrabin 1 for the first of what will be an annual conference hosted at WIU. The conference ran from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm with three separate sessions, and most participants attending all three. The first session was "Overview of Assistive Technology," followed by "AAC's and 1,2,3's: An Introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication for Educators," and then "Visual Strategies via Apps." 

CEC was very pleased with this years conference and is extremely excited the event is going to be an annual part of the departments calendar. Look for registration for the 2016 conference this coming fall!


Grad Students in Reading Program Receive Close to $22K Worth of Funding and Materials through Educational Grants.

Ruby LatifRuby Latif (Springfield, IL)

Judy KellyJudy Kelly (West Burlington, IA)

Kaitlyn LillyKaitlyn Lilly (Bettendorf, IA)

Jessica MooreJessica Moore (Macomb, IL)

Rachel MooreRachel Moore (Coal Valley, IL)


Michele SmithMichele Smith (Moline, IL)

UntitledMelissa Fredericks  (Davenport, IA)

Graduate students in Professor Sara Simonson's "Leadership in Reading" course (RDG 588) have recently been awarded several grants, valued close to $22,000. According to Simonson, students (some of whom are now Western alumni) enrolled in her Spring 2014 RDG 588 course were instructed to write two grant applications each, and a few were awarded the grants based on their applications.

"A couple of my students, Jessica Moore and Michele Smith, each received both grants they wrote applications for," Simonson added. "I am proud of all of these students' accomplishments and thrilled with the volume of literacy materials and educational tools provided for their classrooms through grants and foundations."

Individuals who received grants (to be used for Fall 2014 and after) include:

  • Ruby Latif (Springfield, IL), a graduate (2014) of Western's master of science in reading program, received an Elmo TT 12i Interactive Document Camera for her project, "Interactive Learning" via Donors Choose. Latif is a high school English teacher at Southeast High School (Springfield, IL), and she will use the camera for shared reading, students' work, exemplary work and modeling instruction.
  • Judy Kelly (West Burlington, IA), a graduate student in Western's master of science in reading program, received $420.15 from Donors Choose for her project, "Reading and Writing Partners." Kelly is a second-grade teacher at West Central Elementary in Biggsville (IL), and she will use the award to purchase writing genre texts for students to use as a model to improve their writing skills.
  • Kaitlyn Lilly (Bettendorf, IA), a graduate student in Western's master of science in reading program, received $6,991 from the Edward White PTA Foundation for her project "Nonfiction, Author Study, and Genre Study Books for Grades 3-6." Lilly is a fifth-grade teacher in the North Scott School District (Bettendorf, IA). She will use the grant to purchase an array of high-quality literature and informational texts at increasingly higher levels of difficulty. Students will use these materials to make cross-curricular connections, increase knowledge about various topics and interests and strengthen strategic knowledge for both fiction and nonfiction texts during independent reading, literature discussion groups and whole-group reading.
  • Jessica Moore (Macomb, IL), graduate student in Western's master of science in reading program, received $3,500 from ING/American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance for her project, "Promoting Literacy by Engaging Healthy Minds and Healthy Bodies." Moore is a fourth-grade teacher in the Galesburg School District, and she will use the grant funds to create a running club, which will incorporate nutritional materials and books related to being fit. Moore also received $492.90 through Donors Choose for her project, "Reading and Writing: Adventures in the Common Core." Moore will use those funds for new nonfiction materials in her school's reading and math centers.
  • Rachel Moore (Coal Valley, IL), a graduate student in Western's master of science in reading program, received $1,416.95 from the Moline Public Schools Foundation for her project, "Raising the Bar in Kindergarten: Making Nonfiction Books Accessible to Our Youngest Readers." Moore is a kindergarten teacher at Benjamin Franklin Elementary (Moline, IL), and she will use the grant to purchase four different multiple copy sets of nonfiction, for a total of 240-leveled readers.
  • Michele Smith (Moline, IL), a graduate (2014) of Western's master of science in reading program, received $987 from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation for her project "Upping the Ante for My Striving Readers." Smith is a fourth-grade teacher at Bowlesburg Elementary (East Moline, IL), and she will use the grant funds to purchase trade books for her classroom library. Smith also received $400 from Wal-Mart to purchase educational board games for use with kindergarten and fourth-grade students as they develop social skills of taking turns, listening and good sportsmanship.
  • Melissa Fredericks (Davenport, IA) a graduate student in Western's master of science in reading program, received $6,018.80 from the Edward White PTA Foundation for her project "Guided Reading Book Sets." Fredericks is a first-grade teacher in the North Scott School District (Bettendorf, IA), and she will use the grant to purchase sets of guided reading books, increasing the range of books available in the school's book room.

For more information, contact Dr. Simonson at (309) 298-2510 or via email at



Council for Exceptional Children helps 'Stuff the Bus' for local food pantries

Stuff the Bus student volunteersSince 2008, the Stuff the Bus food drive has collected more than 90,000 pounds of food, which is then distributed to local food pantries. This year's organizations benefitting from the drive included Loaves and Fishes Etc., the RA Council Salvation Army Thanksgiving Dinner and the Western Illinois Regional Council Community Action Agency. Stuff the Bus is a locally organized campaign hosted by Sodexo Dining Services and Go West Transit in the fall every year. WIU's Council for Exceptional Children helped promote the event and participated in the collection of donations on Macomb's WIU campus. 

Stuff the Bus 2014


CEC members, pictured left to right, Sarah Hays (Stuff the Bus Chairperson), Cari Sheppard and Kristin Heffelfinger helped 'Stuff the Bus'!!

Click here for more information about the Council for Exceptional Children.

This Year's Scholastic Book Fair Fundraiser a Success Thanks to Council for Exceptional Children

Student Volunteers at 2014 Book FairThe Council for Exceptional Children sponsored their annual Scholastic Book Fair again this year, and it was very successful, doing even better than previous years. By providing high quality books at a reasonable price to students, faculty and staff, they were able to raise funds in the form of Scholastic Bucks which equated to books that could be donated to deserving children.

This year profits in the form of book donations will go to the WIU Infant and Preschool Center and to the Too Little Children Foundation , which benefits children in Kenya who have lost their parents to AIDS. 

The Fair was held for the entire week of Nov. 11 -14 from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm outside Horrabin Hall 42, and was attended by faculty, staff, students and parents. Books were also available for purchase online that were not in the sale stock, including a large assortment of eBooks.

Pictured left to right, WIU Students Lacy Busby, Cari Sheppard, Hilary Okitia and Erin Robb assist with the Scholastic Book Fair fundraiser.

Welcome Fall 2014 Curriculum and Instruction Freshmen!

fall 14 froshAugust 23, 2014:  Greetings and welcome to our new Curriculum and Instruction Freshmen, who posed for a photo on the Macomb Campus during Orientation Day.  Best of luck to you!




Congratulations, Jessica Moore!


June 1, 2014:  Congratulations to Jessica Moore, graduate student in the WIU Reading program and 4th grade teacher in the Galesburg School District. Jessica received $492.90 from Donors Choose for her project, "Reading and Writing:  Adventures in the Common Core."  Jessica will be using this grant to purchase an Informational Text Common Core Kit.  This supplementary material will complement her reading instruction and bridge science and social studies instruction while using engaging and high quality informational text.





Alexandria A.J. Hamm, Spring 2014 College of Education and Human Services Scholar


Alexandria "A.J." Hamm (Macomb, IL) graduates with a BSEd. in Special Education, with the highest academic distinction, Summa Cum Laude. She is also the Special Education Departmental Scholar. Hamm has been active in Western's Student Education Association for four years, serving as the president in 2012-13. She also served on the Illinois Education Association Student Program (IEA-SP) in the executive board position "political activist." In 2011, at the College of Education and Human Services' annual Tech Fest event, Hamm presented a behavior-management program designed specifically for a student with autism, for which she won an Educational Technology Award. She also served as a First Year Experience (FYE) peer mentor, volunteered as a telecounselor for the WIU Admissions Office and served as a conversation partner volunteer for WIU's Center of International Studies. She now works as a special education teacher at Hillcrest Elementary School in East Moline, IL and has future plans to pursue her master's degree in education.


Congratulations, Kelsey Bower!

Kelsey BowerJan. 29, 2014: Congratulations to Kelsey Bower, graduate student in the WIU reading program and 1st grade teacher in North Scott School District. Kelsey received $40,000.00 from Scott County Regional Authority (SCRA) plus a matching gift of $30,000.00 from her school district for a grand total of $70,000 for her project, "Classroom Libraries." Kelsey will be using this grant to purchase a variety of engaging and high interest books for libraries in all K-6 classrooms in the North Scott Community School District.





David M. Coupland, Fall 2013 College of Education and Human Services Scholar

David Coupland, SPED

David M. Coupland (Bushnell, IL) graduates with a B.S.Ed. in Special Education with highest academic distinction, Summa Cum Laude. He is also the Special Education Departmental Scholar. In 2004, Coupland earned his B.S. in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration from Western and returned to study Special Education in 2009. He is a recipient of the Patricia A. Wood Memorial Scholarship in Special Education, as well as of the Dean's Non-Traditional Student Scholarship. He has served as a volunteer for Special Olympics; as a t-ball coach for the Bushnell Park District; and as a GED tutor at Spoon River College.

Congratulations, Candy Berquam!

Candy BerquamCandy Berquam, graduate student in the WIU reading program and Pre-K teacher in the Hamilton School District, received $500 from Wal-Mart for her project, "Integrating Literacy Through Technology." With the grant money, Candy is purchasing an iPad bundle for the reading resource teacher. Congratulations, Candy!




Congratulations, Sarah Brauhn!

Sarah BraunSarah Brauhn, graduate student in WIU reading program and literacy coach at Black Hawk Middle School in the Madison Metropolitan School District (WI) received $4,000.00 from the Lodewick Partner School Network Grant for her project, "Middle School Literacy Collaboration, Common Core, and School Improvement." This grant will fund their attendance to the Wisconsin State Reading Conference, allowing literacy leaders from the east side middle schools to come together for three days of professional learning and collaboration.




Congratulations, Maggie Hyde!

Maggie HydeMaggie Hyde, graduate student in the WIU reading program & Title 1 reading teacher in the Alwood School District, received a $1,000 SCORE grant for Family Reading Nights. The grant was from the Illinois Education Association in partnership with the National Education Association. She is planning two Reading Nights, one in November and one in March, to promote parent involvement and literacy at her school. She and her colleagues will have a variety of literacy events at their themed Reading Nights, celebrating literacy.




A ceremony was held in their honor on December 13th in Horrabin Hall.

Winners pictured below:
Back row, left to right: Valerie Oakey, David Coupland, Shawna Alexander.

Front row, left to right: Tabitha Seidel, Joseph (J.T.) Baginski, Dana Sarallo.

Winners not pictured: Abigail Stevenson, Amber Terry Hall.

Fall 2013 OPTA Award Winners

WIU - Quad Cities 1st Annual Research and Scholarship Symposium

The WIU - Quad Cities 1st Annual Research and Scholarship Symposium took place in the 60th Street campus building on Wednesday, November 13, 2013. The aim of the QCRSS network is to help faculty and students at the Western Illinois University - Quad Cities campus connect with colleagues to develop research partnerships, to gain support, and to share research expertise and accomplishments. C&I alumni presenters included:

Shannan Retter, WIU-QC Alumnus, Special Education Master’s degree

            iPad Use for Accelerating Gains in Reading skills of Secondary Students with Learning Disabilities

This action research project explored the use of the iPad 2 in a special education classroom with high school students who were considered struggling readers to determine if an academic gain in reading comprehension, reading fluency, and vocabulary implementing the intervention of an iPad and four specific applications (apps). The high school students used a combination of apps for at least 30 minutes a day with the remedial reading program, Second Chance Reading. A statistical comparison of data from first semester without the iPad to data collected the second semester with the iPad resulted in a significant gain in reading comprehension and a statistically significant gain in vocabulary on the Stanford Reading Diagnostic Test.

Congratulations to the winners of the Fall 2013 C&I T-shirt design contest!

Congratulations to students Jonathan Deshasier, BS, and Brittany Havrilla, BS, winners of the C&I departmental t-shirt design contest. The t-shirts will debut for homecoming 2013. Proceeds will benefit future C&I student projects.  Light gray is the chosen color and four sizes (S-XL) are available. Please support the cause.  For orders contact the C&I office at (309) 298-1961.

C&I T-shirt 2013

Front design: Jonathan Deshasier

C&I T-shirt 2013 Back

 Back design: Brittany Havrilla



Announcing the CEC Conference on Professional Interviewing Skills

Friday, November 1, 2013
9:00-12: noon
Sponsored By: Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)

The Council for Exceptional Children will present a half-day conference on professional interview skills. The main speakers are Dr. Mark Twomey, Superintendent of Macomb Public Schools, and a panel of first-year teachers who will present their interview suggestions, experiences, and tips. There will be time for mock interviews where students can volunteer to be interviewed and receive tips from the professionals.

Tentative Schedule:

8:30 - 9:00 Registration and coffee time
9:00 - Welcome from CEC and Dr. Anne Gregory, Chair, Curriculum and Instruction
9:10 - Dr. Twomey, Interviewing Skills for Success
9:50 – Mrs. Richmond, Dressing for Success
10:15 - New Teacher Panel Presentation, Personal Interview Success Stories
          Stephanie Reiher – Macomb School District
          Lisa Davison – Macomb School District
          Lorree Kerr – West Prairie School District
          Shawna McLaughlin – Fulton County / Cuba School District
11:00 - Mock Interviews: Practice your interview skills!
12:00 - Certificates of attendance will be presented

There are a limited number of seats available. The first 75 registrations received will be confirmed for attendance at the conference.

Handouts of Interview information will be provided.

Certificates of attendance will be passed out at the end of the program.

Congratulations to Diana Cremer!

Ms. Cremer was presented with the Donald L. Troyer Award on May 10, 2013, given to honor an outstanding mentor teacher. Mentor teachers serve an essential role in our teacher education programs, hosting student teachers in their classrooms and providing support and feedback during the students' field experiences. Congratulations, Diana, and thank you for your hard work and dedication!


A ceremony was held in their honor on May 10th in Horrabin Hall.

The winners are pictured below:
Back row, left to right: Rachel Behm, Jennifer Rinehart, Renee Gentry, Bryan Dickinson, Shawna Meaker.

Front row, left to right: Mary Kiritsy, Dena Shaw, Ellen Rush, Lisa Welker.

 OPTA Award Recipients Spring 2013

Congratulations to Ellen Rush!

Ellen Rush (Elementary Education) was honored with the Department Scholar Award for Spring 2013. Ellen graduated Summa Cum Laude on May 11, 2013, and she proudly represented the C&I Department at Honors Convocation. Congratulations Ellen, and we wish you all the best!

Brooke Schafer recognized for exemplary work!


Over 150 students and faculty from  WIU  participated as volunteers for Special Olympics in Monmouth on  May 4, 2013. Brooke Schafer, dual  Special Education  and  Elementary Education major, was the volunteer coordinator. Brooke's time and effort to organize the volunteers resulted in WIU having the largest group of volunteers at Special Olympics. The PA announcer,  Dr. Don Healy, retired professor   from WIU, gave many public acknowledgements to the big group of volunteers from WIU. Special Olympics was not only an inspiring volunteer experience, it was great publicity for Western.



Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)

cec group

The  Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)  received the Outstanding Small Student Organization Award at the Office of Student Activities Leadership Awards ceremony on  April 24, 2013. The  CEC  organization has completed a variety of service and professional development activities including but not limited to the  Eliminate the R Word  campaign, an iPad eBook writing project with students at West Prairie Middle School, a presentation at the Illinois State CEC Conference, Tech Fest presentations, a field trip to two special education schools in the Quad City area, campus-wide guest speaker programs, and multiple fundraisers. Officers of the group include  Brooke Schafer, Ashley Vargas, Lacey Busby, Leah Newton,  and  Katelyn Blair.  Dr. Mary Jensen, C&I,  is the advisor.


Dana Sarallo wins First Place Research Award!

Congratulations to Dana Sarallo, senior ELED major, who won the first place research award for ELED in the C&I department! Further details provided by Dr. Steward below:

Poster Presentation
The Report of Teachers' Percepetion and Influential Diversity Factors
Dana R. Sarallo
Faculty Mentor: Frances A. Steward, Ph.D.
Curriculum and Instruction

The purpose of this report is to identify factors that impact teachers' perceptions of working with parent diversity in school settings. The significance of the diversity study is to explore the successful learning connections of teacher, parents, and students. Culturally responsive teachers who strategically build children’s self-worth and appreciation of positive identities may experientially enhance the learning of all students (Coleman, 2013). Scholarship was integral in learning about the research process, interviews’ data collection, data analysis, findings, results interpretation, and conclusions. Creativity included the design of the 6 content items questionnaire and the findings and results charts. John D. Creswell (2002) purported the significance of relevance in the literature review of the proposed study as to the following: topic, individual, site, problem, and accessibility. In qualitative studies, a-priori theme categories clarify research data and assist in visualizing the concepts. The diversified, categorical components derived from the literature review were as follows: (1.) Communicating, (2.) Planning, (3.) Provisions, and (4.) Home-school links. The interview with the questionnaire (4 categories and 6 content items) was conducted with 6 teachers in an area elementary school. The results and conclusions will determine the teachers’ instructional connections, preparations, and resources used to expand the meeting of parents’ and students’ diverse needs in a school setting.

Pictured below: WIU President Jack Thomas; Dana Sarallo; and Provost and Academic VP, Kenneth Hawkinson.
Dana Sarallo receives first place research award for ELED.

Early Childhood majors attend the Illinois State Reading Conference

On March 14-16, 2013, Early Childhood majors attended the Illinois State Reading Conference in Springfield, IL with Dr. Kathy Barclay.

Students in attendance are pictured below:
From left to right: Ashley Behymer, Elizabeth Williams, Michelle McCormick, Kendra Shelts, Jessica Davison, Dr. Kathy Barclay, Brittney Edwards, and Emily Kilman.

ECH IL State Reading Conference March 2013


Congratulations to Karen Nudd!

Karen was presented with the Spring 2011 Troyer Award. This award honors an outstanding mentor teacher.

Congratulations to Kenny Crosby!

Kenny was awarded the Spring 2011 Department Scholar Award.



A ceremony was held in their honor on May 13th in Horrabin Hall.

The winners in alphabetical order:


  • Carol Beardsley
  • Eboney Chambers
  • Rebecca Curl
  • Kenny Crosby
  • Kaitlyn Dyche
  • Justine Hoeftmann
  • Laura Hofer
  • Carrie Hollenback
  • Beckie Laye
  • Courtney Knobloch
  • Mark Gregory
  • Casie Markum
  • Ashley Waterstreet
  • Abbie White


Fall 2010 Department Scholars: Rachel Harvey and Nicole DeRenzy!

Rachel (Elementary Education) and Nicole(Special Education) received the honor of being chosen for Department Scholar! The faculty are proud to have them represent our department at Honors Convocation. Congratulations to both Rachel and Nicole!

Congratulations Sindy DeRousse!!

Sindy wrote and received the Leaning Enhancement Grant in the amount of $1, 035.00. The money will be used to purchase 3 new listening centers including wireless headphones, cassette player, and CD player for kindergarten classrooms.

Congratulations Sara Johnson!!

Sara wrote and received a grant from in the amount of $294.32. Two Iowa residents and Build A Bear Workshop donated the money that enabled Sara to purchase new whiteboards, markers and erasers to use in her classroom.


A ceremony will be held in their honor on December 17th in Horrabin Hall.

The winners in alphabetical order:

  • Aubrey Becker
  • Michelle Detrick
  • Rachel Harvey
  • Luke Howerter
  • Nina Nuesken
  • Erin Schatz
  • Leigh Terstriep


Congratulation to Amy Nelson!

Amy Nelson, current Reading Specialist candidate, has received a grant from Cambridge Academic Foundation in the amount of $882.55 to purchase picture books and novel units to be used across the curriculum at the middle and secondary level.

Congratulation to Lori Kennedy!

Lori Kennedy, a recent Reading Specialist graduate, received a $2,000 grant from the Morrison Area Community Foundation. This grant is providing the monies for her school district to purchase at least one smart board, a color scanner, and some software.

Congratulations to Charlotte Lindsey!

Charlotte, a recent Reading Specialist graduate, received a $500 grant from the Galesburg Community Foundation to purchase leveled books for small group instruction as part of a level 2 RtI intervention.

Congratulations to Christy VanEtten!

Christy received almost $3,000 in grant money from Dollar General to purchase books for Reading Recovery.

Congratulations to Jodi Sierra!

Jodi received $2,420 in grant money from Dollar General to purchase the Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention System.

Congratulations to Pam Rotherham!

Pam received $250.00 in grant money from the Credit Union in Springfield, IL to purchase sets of novels for her 6th grade literature groups!

Congratulations to Michelle Franzoni!

Michelle received $1,000.00 in foundation money to buy materials for a literacy center for kindergarten children

Congratulations to Allison Guidish!

Allison also received $1,000.00 in grant money. As a result of Allison's senior year community service project, DOT Foods awarded this grant for hearing impaired and deaf students