Education Edge

The official blog of the Ole Miss School of Education

Mississippi Forestry Association Hosts Learning Tree P-8 Workshop on Earth Day

by UM School of Education on April 19, 2017

OXFORD — The Mississippi Forestry Association will host an environmental workshop for teachers this Earth Day (Saturday, April 22) at the University of Mississippi Field Station in Abbeville from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The program, Project Learning Tree Pre-K-8 Workshop, will provide participating teachers with supplemental curriculum materials, lesson plans and activities to inspire their students to learn about the natural world inside and outside of the classroom. Along with an activity book of countless classroom resources, participating teachers will receive posters, handouts and pamphlets about Mississippi’s natural resources for use in the classroom. The workshop will cost $40 and includes 0.6 CEU credits, as well as materials for the workshop.

Sponsored by the Mississippi Forestry Association, Project Learning Tree is an environmental education program that uses trees and forests as a primary focus not only to teach students, but to also aid in their understanding of the environment. The Project Learning Tree Workshop will help teachers integrate environmental education into their classroom lesson plans for all grades and subjects, and it will enable teachers to use the outdoors to engage students in learning about the environment and world around them.

The UM Field Station is a 740-acre research and educational facility designed to benefit visiting faculty and students, Mississippi schools, government agencies and the broader Mid-South community.

For more information, contact Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Mississippi Forestry Association, Zach Pardue at

By Liz McCormick





by UM School of Education on April 5, 2017

This May, students can earn SOE SWAG if they document service hours.

Starting this May, you can cash in community service hours for SOE SWAG!

If you are involved in service initiatives this semester (i.e. Team 36, Leap Frog, the Boys & Girls Club), the Office of the Dean wants to recognize you with rewards. Redeem your service hours for SOE merchandise during Service 4 Swag Week that will take place during the last week of classes,

May 1-5.

Watch this informational video or read below to learn how to participate in our Service4SWAG campaign! Here’s how to redeem your SOE swag:


Volunteer your time with groups like Leap Frog, the Big Event, The Boys and Girls Club and others.


Download and fill out the SOE Service Activity Sheet. Go to and click on SOE Service Initiative under the Student tab. Use a separate Activity Sheet for each site or event you served. For example, if you volunteered for The Leap Frog Program and participated in the Big Event, you would turn in two activity sheets.


Come and claim your SOE swag in Guyton Hall during the last week of classes,

May 1-5. Online and regional campus students can also exchange Service Activity Sheets via campus mail. See the Service Activity Sheet for details.

And don’t forget to celebrate on social media using #ServiceForSwag !

Ole Miss Inducts New Teacher Candidates

by UM School of Education on April 4, 2017

Ethel Young-Scurlock speaks to SOE students during the 2017 Teacher Induction Ceremony at UM.

OXFORD — The University of Mississippi School of Education celebrated 219 new students entering teacher candidacy on Tuesday, March 28, as part of its third-annual Teacher Induction Ceremony at the university’s Oxford campus.

The students entering teacher candidacy, aka “Phase II,” of their program hailed from UM’s main campus and regional campuses—including Grenada, Southaven and Tupelo. The group celebrated having earned the credentials required for official acceptance into UM’s Bachelor of Arts in Education (B.A.Ed.) program, which offers academic majors in elementary, secondary and special education.

During the event, SOE Dean David Rock and Department of Teacher Education Chair Susan McClelland joined the students from across the country via Skype to congratulate the new candidates.

“We cannot be here today because we are 2,175 in San Francisco, California, on business,” Rock said. “I want each and every one of you to understand that this is a very important milestone. Teacher education, unlike most professions, has an induction process in which you become part of the profession. This is not something just anyone can accomplish and you should be proud of yourself for meeting the standards that are in place to prepare the best possible teachers.”

While UM students may declare education as a major from freshman year, in order to finish a B.A.Ed. degree from UM, they must meet certain academic requirements.

The SOE celebrated 219 new students entering Phase II of their teacher training.

To enter Phase II, students must complete their first two-and-half years of study with a minimum core GPA of at least 2.75 and a minimum ACT score of 21 (or passing the Praxis Core exam). The UM School of Education currently has an average ACT score of 25 and a GPA of 3.28 for incoming teacher education students.

Ethel Young-Scurlock, UM associate professor of English and African-American Studies and senior fellow of UM’s Luckday Residential College, gave the keynote address.

Skurlock is the former recipient of multiple UM teaching awards including the Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teaching Award.

In her speech, Young-Scurlock shared a series of quotes about teaching with the students and as well as a series of anecdotes from her own life as a teacher.

“Education is taking something people cannot see and pulling it out,” Young-Scurlock told the group of future teachers. “Be an educator. Don’t just teach the curriculum, but teach passion and character. We must tell our young people of the importance of good character.”

Students in Phase II will complete their final year of study at UM including a student teaching experience during the spring semester of their senior year.

By Andrew M. Abernathy

North Panola Teacher Academy Visits UM

by UM School of Education on April 1, 2017

Students from North Panola High School’s Teacher Academy visited to SOE on March 24.

OXFORD — On Friday, March 24, students from North Panola High School’s Teacher Academy came to the University of Mississippi School of Education for an engaging field trip experience with the School of Education.

Students had the opportunity to take part in an interactive presentation and a TeachLive session, as well as a campus tour.

Teacher Academy is a career program offered to Mississippi high school students. The program is designed to expose and attract students to the field of education, as well as prepare students academically and socially who plan to pursue an education degree at the college level.

This was the first time for the SOE to host a Teacher Academy  on campus and the field trip was well received by students and faculty members alike. The visit aimed to expose students to the university and education profession, as well as demonstrate what it’s like to be an education student at Ole Miss.

“The objective was to increase the viability of the teaching profession for students in historically under-performing schools,” said Bryce Warden, the AmeriCorps VISTA for the SOE and coordinator of the event. “That was my incentive to do this; how can I paint the picture of the teaching profession to these students?”

This event was unique for Teacher Academy students, giving them the opportunity to sit down in a more intimate setting with Ole Miss education majors to discuss the profession as well as their experiences at Guyton Hall.

In addition to an interactive presentation and TeachLive session, students had the opportunity to listen to keynote speaker, Erica Avent, a sixth grade teacher at Oxford Intermediate School.

“Listening to our keynote speaker, Miss Erica Avent, was the most valuable takeaway from the event,” Warden said. “She grew up in the Jackson area and had to work extremely hard to attend and graduate from college, so I think her personal story really resonated with the students. When Erika spoke to them it inspired them, and she encouraged them and challenged them as well, in continuing to pursue the profession in an institution of higher learning after high school.”

By Liz McCormick

Saturday Collaborations Unlock Possibilities for Marks Students

by UM School of Education on March 13, 2017

Ole Miss student-athletes mentor a group of fifth- to eighth-grade students from Quitman County Middle School during the weekend sessions on the UM campus.


OXFORD — Most students regard Saturday school with dread and contempt, but a group of middle schoolers from the Delta community of Marks looks forward to its weekend tutoring sessions at the University of Mississippi.  For some of these students, the sessions have become life-changing.

For six Saturdays between February and April, 53 students from Quitman County Middle School travel nearly an hour by school bus from Marks to the Ole Miss campus for a day of tutoring and fun activities.

Bryce Warden, the AmeriCorps VISTA working in the UM School of Education, coordinated the initiative after attending a meeting last fall about the Marks Project, a 501c(3) organization dedicated to restoring the Marks community. He previously had helped launch a program that pairs college students with North Panola High School seniors to help them apply for college.

“I saw the benefit of those interactions, where students – many of them potential first-generation students – could find out what college life was really like and I was eager to create such an environment for the kids from Marks,” Warden said. “Now, these middle school students get to receive tutoring on a college campus, which they may have never seen.”

The students, ranging from fifth to eighth grades, were chosen for the program based on test scores and their need for additional learning assistance.

In the morning, 19 Ole Miss students from the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program work with the students for two hours in reading, language and math.

Kendall Kern, a freshman in the METP program from Lewisburg, tutors the students in language arts. She was eager to become involved in the program when she heard about it.

“I went down to Marks and really got to see the school and realized I needed to give back,” she said. “If I can do anything for them and provide a positive impact, that’s going to mean so much.”

Kern added that she’s learned from the experience, as well.

“Getting to have our own classroom time with them has really helped me with my teaching experience,” she said. “We’re able to teach interactive lessons and experiment with different teaching methods. I love all the amazing opportunities that METP and the School of Education provide us with.”

Although the educational component is the core of the program, Warden realized that the students needed activity time, too. He sought additional partnerships with Ole Miss Campus Recreation and the university’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics for afternoon activities.

Each group is providing programming for three Saturdays, including physical activities in the Turner Center, student-athlete mentorship and a tour of the Field Level Club at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and the Manning Center.

Middle school students from Quitman County visit the UM campus as part of a spring program that provides academic tutoring and activities with student-athletes and Ole Miss Campus Recreation.

The Freeze Foundation, a charitable organization started by football Coach Hugh Freeze, has acted as liaison between the School of Education and the athletics department to provide student-athlete mentorships for the group. Alice Blackmon, the foundation’s executive director, serves as Marks Project co-chair of the tutoring and mentoring program.

After Freeze learned about the economic, educational and community issues in the Mississippi Delta, he wanted to become involved, Blackmon said.

“These issues weighed heavily on his heart,” she said. “He wanted to invest time in serving the children through building relationships and encouraging them in hopes of making a positive impact.

“We have served internationally in Haiti and Africa, but he was really passionate about shining a light into the communities that are right in our backyard in Mississippi.”

The program has been a double-sided ministry, also making a positive impact on the athletes, she added.

The Marks Project is an umbrella organization of all the volunteers within the Marks community. Jaby Denton, co-founder of the project with Mitch Campbell of Taylor, is working to revitalize the largest town in Quitman County by providing educational and recreational opportunities.

Denton, who owns a farm in Quitman County, moved back to the community from Oxford in 2015. He started a youth group that year and realized many students were behind academically.

“Marks was a town where a wagon pulled by mules led the Poor People’s Campaign in D.C.,” Denton said. “It was the epicenter of the civil rights movement.

“Dr. (Martin Luther) King visited Marks, saw extensive poverty and realized something had to be done. 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the mule train, and we are doing everything we can to fulfill Dr. King’s dream to provide opportunities for residents and students.”

Cortez Moss, an Ole Miss alumnus and principal of Quitman County Middle School, identified educational needs and approached the Marks Project for assistance in recruiting teachers and tutoring students.

When Moss became principal in August, he recognized that students at the school, which received an “F” rating last year, lacked exposure and academic support, he said.

“Our school’s motto is ‘Our Education is Freedom,’ and I knew I needed to give them liberating experiencing that would make our vision come true for scholars and families,” Moss said. “My original intent was for academic support; however, in the planning process I realized that my scholars needed exposure.

“This truth was evidenced one Saturday (at UM) when one of the scholars did not recognize an elevator and found joy in just being able to ride an elevator.”

After only a few trips to the Ole Miss campus, Moss has seen improvement in his students.

“We’ve seen a lot of success with our scholars – socially, emotionally and academically,” he said. “Many of our scholars come back from the Saturday experience seeing Ole Miss as an opportunity. Ole Miss and college is now their goal. Many of them feel empowered by the experience.”

By , University Communications