WGU Alumni

20 07
WGU Alumni
Hello Friends,
Let me start with an enormous thank you to all of you who participated in
the TC Alumni survey conducted at the end of February and first of March! Having been in the classroom for fifteen years, I know how busy you are and appreciate so much your taking time to give me some feedback about our alumni community. You have provided some very helpful suggestions and we are already
working to implement many of them.
In this issue of the newsletter you will find a report on the survey results
including the suggestions given through the open-ended questions on the survey. I tried to combine those ideas that were the same or similar, but in many
cases have left the comments as they were written. I hope the results will be
clear, concise and easy to understand, but if you have any questions about any
of the results, please feel free to contact me for further explanation.
Kempe Nicoll is making some much-needed changes to the alumni portal
and will be implementing some of your ideas in his work. We think it will make
the entire alumni portal easier to use and more helpful to all members. As we
continue to improve, please feel free to contact us with feedback about the
Finally, as spring has recently arrived, I can hardly walk outside without
smiling. I love this time of year with the new life all around. Be sure to take time
to enjoy the warmer days and the beauty of spring. Remember that the outdoors
can provide memorable classroom experiences too, and try to plan some lessons in nature’s classroom in the coming weeks. For free ideas on outdoor lesson planning, go to Ducks Unlimited Canada at http://www.ducks.ca/resource/
teachers/lesson_plans/index.html. For more Web sites on outdoor learning,
please see the resources section of this newsletter. Your students will love it and
so will you.
With warm regards,
Cheryl Luton, M. Ed., NBCT
Alumni Mentor, Teachers College
WGU Educator
Alumni Association
Gregory W. Fowler Ph.D.
Director of Alumni
Cheryl Luton
WGU Alumni Mentor
Elizabeth Stone
Graphic Design
B.A. Education WGU
Teachers College Alumni Survey 2007 Results
A March, 2007 survey of the Teachers College Alumni Community was taken to find out how we are doing when it comes to building
our community and serving our graduates. The survey link was sent out to all who were members of the Teachers College community at that
time, which included 507 members.
On February 22, a total of 507 emails were sent inviting alumni to participate in the survey over the next two weeks. One hundred
seventy-seven of those graduates responded to the survey making our total participation 40%. Ninety-one of the one hundred seventy-seven
participants (51%) said they visit the alumni community anywhere from several times each week to at least once each month. Another 41% of
the participants visit less frequently than once a month, and only (8%) said they never visit.
About 27% of our participants have used the message boards and find them very helpful. When asked about browsing or reading the
newsletter, of the 59% who responded that they have, 53% found the newsletter helpful. Only 32% of respondents have used the Teacher
Resources document, but they all found the resources to be helpful. 41% of participants said they would be willing to provide assistance to
new graduates in the community and their ideas for how to help are included in the open-ended comments which are categorized below.
Categorization of Comments from Survey 2007
*The following information was gathered from the open-ended questions of the Teachers College survey of March, 2007.
1. What resources, if any, would you like added to the community?
Resources some would like to add:
Lesson Plan Bank categorized by grade/subject
Grade specific craft or project ideas
Staff development opportunities including those for Special Education and Early Childhood
Time-saving ideas and tools
Resources for administrators
Employment resources some want to see added:
Teacher job information sites
Web sites on teacher job searching and acquisition
Ideas for employment opportunities for those with BA-ES degrees
Resources for securing online work such as tutoring and mentoring
Career opportunities for MALT graduates who are not interested in K-12
Communication resources or tools some would like added:
Instant messaging within the community
An alumni chat portal with alumni supported scheduled chats, and a “free zone” for drop-in discussions
Emails to remind members to check out the portal
Introduction to the community and where things are located within
Ability to find other members in our regional areas
WGU email connection (check email in portal?)
Better communication when someone forgets a password or username—the current process does not seem to work
Mentoring resources requested:
A mentoring program to link veteran teachers with new teachers
2. What suggestions do you have to promote better collaboration among alumni?
Communication suggestions:
There has to be something "fun" in it for the alumni, or they won't participate. Also, the site has to feel "active" or it will not be visited very
much. I would suggest trying to get "round robins" going, perhaps something like post-card exchanges.
Keep emails and online access going.
It seems that the same people are the ones posting and keeping in contact ~ maybe some type of "promotional" note could get sent out maybe a
few weeks before the monthly newsletter just to serve as a little "reminder" that the alumni site is there
Get rid of old or inactive messages on the message board
Email me often because I forget about the resources
Message boards should be more “user-friendly”
Chat room with a monthly discussion topic or sharing of ideas
Post a “question of the month” to create responses and interactions
A listserv seems to get people interacting and providing support
Send postings to users - but also helping us find the information on the site to begin with
The new design of the message boards makes it harder to communicate and navigate. I don't visit as often as I used to because it is
harder to see current message threads.
I'd like to see the format for communicating which we had on the boards while we were students.....the running lists where everyone
could easily see the 'topics' with back and forth communication open to anyone
Employment suggestions:
Try to understand that not everyone works in education. Some are currently working in non-education jobs by necessity to pay tuition
Mentoring suggestions:
Maybe regional/state pages so that people that live near each other can share successes and failures
Separate alumni by state, set up "state chairs" or regional chairs to coordinate community events.
Maybe set up blogs in the teacher community that have a specific focus such as classroom management and discipline.
Group alumni according to subject/age taught
Collaboration teams for those teaching at the same grade levels, even if they are not in the same state
Create common interest groups
Northcentral University has an Ambassadors Service site of students that have graduated from NCU. NCU Ambassadors are available
to answer your questions.
It might be nice to set it up as a listserv so that I can get stuff in my box
Provide more information on overcoming your WGU certification vs. a local college. How do we combat that? WGU is virtually unknown in some states and no one is willing to look at my resume after they see WGU instead of a local or familiar college.
How would you be willing to help?
Some are willing to provide resources:
I'd be happy to continue the work I am currently doing by contributing to the newsletter and contributing resources. I would also be
willing to provide one-on-one support (preferably via e-mail) to graduates.
I would be interested in share knowledge and resources that I have obtained since graduating.
I have a lot of good classroom management ideas that could help a new teacher.
If someone is an ELL teacher, I would be happy to share ideas with them.
Answering questions about NYS certification and or graduation and applying for a job
I would love to share advice and lessons I have learned along the way.
I can supply the HR jobs link from my institution
Advice and resources for new teachers, etc.
Science lesson assistance
Assist in looking for work or collaboration on online projects.
I'd be happy to give advice on non-teaching career directions (MA in Learning and Technology).
Communicate with new graduates:
I'm very active in the communities that I have access too and willing to help when I can. If others were added I'm sure that I would visit
them also and offer advice and suggestions when I can.
I would be glad to be there for any questions.
I would love to be an intercultural liaison.
I am willing to answer questions and look back through lessons to helpful tips and ideas.
Answer questions about entering the field of teaching through personal email or any other means available.
Contribute to and edit the alumni newsletter
Act as facilitator, moderator, or some other assistive capacity
Keep lists and welcome messages as people sign up
Mentoring: (continued from page 3)
Provide one-on-one support (preferably via e-mail) to graduates.
Act as a new teacher mentor if needed
Mentoring, support, encouragement...advice, tips, all those things that are so necessary to a new graduate
Answering questions, sharing completed works, reading through papers, etc. in advance
Job opportunities for teachers
Mentoring new teachers
Support and any help needed
Encouragement, tips, & advice for the classroom
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you again for your
participation in the survey and for your support of the alumni
Thank you!
Spotlight on Alumni
April Resources
By Cheryl Luton
TC Alumni Mentor
http://www.ubdexchange.org Website for Understanding by Design
Exchange. Provides resources supporting backward design model.
http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/DE/PD/instr/instrsk.html Instructional Strategies
Online offered by Saskatoon Public School Division, Canada. Information
about a variety of instructional strategies, e.g. concept mapping, graphic
organizers, learning contracts, RAFT, literature circles, webquests, jigsaw.
http://www.readingquest.org/home.html Website maintained by Raymond
Jones. Information about a variety of instructional strategies, such as clock
buddies, 3-2-1 summaries, questioning the author, history frames,
question-answer relationships, power thinking, including many printable
handouts and blackline masters.
http://www.englishcompanion.com Web site maintained by Jim Burke.
Look for links for English/Language Arts teachers for a variety of
instructional tools and tips.
Thank you Nicole!
Here are some resources for your classroom
UTOTES~~Using the Outdoors to Teach Experiential Science
This is a program developed coordinated by Mike Dunn in
Raleigh, NC at North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
It is a teacher education program that develops site-based
science leadership, “Enhancing the value of school grounds as
a learning resource through native plantings and the creation
of wildlife habitats”. To learn more, go to http://
For some ideas for spring activities both outdoors and in the
classroom, check out http://www.educationworld.com/
Nicole Naditz received her Master’s Degree in
Education with an Emphasis in Measurement
and Evaluation from WGU in January, 2006.
Nicole was selected to serve as a full-time
release mentor for up to 15 beginning teachers
because of her accomplishments in her district
and in the profession.
Nicole shared in a recent interview that
she is grateful for the skills she learned at
WGU and has had many opportunities to use
those skills in her job with the BTSA
(Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment
System) Program in Sacramento. She has
analyzed and evaluated data for program
improvement across the state, and has created
surveys to collect data from various teacher
cohorts and site coaches. She said her
experiences at WGU gave her the ability and
confidence to collect and use important data
which will improve support for new teachers.
Nicole is an award-winning French
teacher and frequent presenter at regional and
state teaching conferences. She lives in
Sacramento, CA with her husband, nine-yearold son, and her rescued dog and cat. You can
reach Nicole at advocacy@flagsteacher.com.
Hello everyone,
My name is Scott Little and I graduated last November with an M.A. in Learning and Technology. I have a web
site showing my credentials including WGU and am beginning to look for some home-based work. My URL is
www.zuriky.com. Feel free to peruse over my site and links. I want to work as a math/science tutor, independent researcher, science writer, artist, multi-media/web design, and I.T. (on small projects).
If anyone is interested or knows of someone who is, or possibly would like to collaborate on something
(especially math/science related) please contact me on my home e-mail zuriky@charter.net. I will be setting up
a business e-mail shortly.
Thank you
More News
I have officially been a classroom teacher for 2.5 months and it has been very exciting and yet challenging at the same time, especially since it is in an ESE classroom which I had not planned to teach. Apparently that is what God had in store for me and so here I am teaching a primary ESE class (grades K-3).
My biggest fear was parent conferences and IEP meetings (and the paperwork). Well I have had several IEP meeting and parent conferences and they have all gone very well. I am starting to gain confidence in
my ability to deal with the parents, since I am somewhat timid and have been known to cry at the drop of a hat.
I feel like I have been able to handle the parents with professionalism and that I will continue to be successful
in my dealing with the parents, students, colleagues, and the massive paper work involved in ESE as long as I
remember that God is the reason for my success and that I keep my faith in him and let him help/guide me
through each individual situation as it arises. I am working with an awesome group of teachers who have been
very supportive and willing to help and who also have the faith that God is in control.
Here are a few Web sites I have encountered that might be helpful to other teachers:
ASCD SmartBrief www.ascd@smartbrief.com
This is a daily email publication with numerous education updates in all areas.
NEA Focus www.news@nea.org
This is also an email publication and I receive updates every few days.
A picture is worth a thousand words…..meet Lindsay
My name is Lindsay Sackman and I graduated from WGU last December after a long 10-year trek of education. I
am now teaching in a remote village in Alaska called Port Graham. I teach grades K-5 with only 7 students in my classroom. There are about 100 people in Port Graham and we are about a 20-minute flight from the nearest big town. So no
hopping in the car to go to McDonalds!
Sometimes I have to pinch myself to
make sure that I am really here. The
beauty here is unbelievable. It still astounds
The kids are very comfortable
talking about fishing and hunting sea lions,
but some have no idea what a cross
walk is or a stop light! There is only one road
here, unpaved and with 3 stop signs.
I just moved to Alaska from New
Mexico (last June) and besides some
minor adjustments to the light/dark (which
wasn't as bad as I had prepared my-
self for) the biggest adjustment was some of
the language barriers. The kids all say
"ah la" which in their native tongue means
something close to "ah man"... but in
Spanish (and law enforcement) it means something a bit different. It took me a while to realize that they were not cussing at
me! The most interesting thing that has happened to me thus far is when a call came over the CB radio saying that there
was “sea lion on the beach.” My roommate Bonnie and I packed the kids up and went for the very short walk to the beach.
We approached the beach quietly as to not scare the Sea Lion off. Much to our surprise the sea lion was there…minus his
skin and many other body parts! This village is a subsistence kind of place, and when they said that there was a sea lion on
the beach they meant "there is meat come and get it"!
Now mind you, this is the first dead mammal I have ever seen, but after the first gulp reaction it was pretty neat! Sea
lions eat rocks to aid in their digestion. I am now the proud owner of a sea lion gut rock! I picked it up with my bare hands
among the dead fish that the sea lion had had for lunch! They told us that we could have some meat if we wanted. So I went
back up to the apartment and came back with a bag and a knife and hacked off my own piece of sea lion. My husband gave
me some hints and I cooked it up for dinner.
Next year I will be in Kake, Alaska where my husband will be the Chief of Police. Hopefully I will be teaching. Now that I am
in the classroom I can't imagine being anywhere else.
Scenes from the remote village of Port Graham