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New Shepherd Scholarship Assists with Dual Certification and Education

Professors Margaret Jo Shepherd and Jeannette Fleischner influenced the lives of many people in and outside of the TC community. They were the dynamic duo who coordinated the Child Study Center in the former Department of Special Education.

"Moving the Learning Disabled Program into the Department of Curriculum and Teaching was a very important move in our minds," Shepherd said. One of their dreams, she said, was to see the development of a dual certification program at TC.

The program they envisioned would have a broader effect than to just prepare those who receive certification. "Most people agree that the successful integration of kids with learning disabilities into regular classes depends on the ability of the people with special education training and people with classroom training to work cooperatively," Shepherd explained. "The way to assure that they work together effectively is to educate them together. In-service training after they have been educated doesn't do the job."

The Margaret Jo Shepherd Scholarship will be awarded to a TC student who wants to be dually certified in special education and regular education, according to alumna Alice Elgart, who pledged a six-figure donation at Shepherd's retirement dinner. Currently, there is not a dual-certification program at Teachers College. Students who would be eligible for the scholarship would have to take certification courses and exams in each program. The scholarship would serve to offset the extra expenses involved.

A recent regional meeting of the New York State Association of Teacher Educators and the New York Association of Colleges for Teacher Education held at Teachers College on January 14 underlined the importance of the scholarship.

The meeting was one of seven regional meetings held across the state in January to discuss the developing regulations on teacher education, certification and program design. One of the proposed amendments to the New York State Education Department Standards for Teacher Certification that was discussed at that meeting involved the teaching of diverse populations. It would require that all classroom teachers be prepared through both study and experience to teach diverse student populations, including students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency.

The plan to establish the scholarship at TC came from alumnae Elgart, Barbara Haney and Johanna Uhry. With Julie Fleischner, daughter of the late Professor Fleischner, the women also established a fund to create the Jeannette Fleischner Seminar Room.

The Fleischner room, according to Julie Fleischner, will be "created and maintained for students to go there to use whatever materials they wanted to use and to learn about a woman who dedicated her life to her students." Awards presented to Professor Fleischner will hang in the room and a history of her work and contributions to the College will be exhibited.

Renovation on the Fleischner room in 304 Main Hall has already begun. James Borland, Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Teaching, said it will be the center of departmental life for students and faculty. "We are committed to honoring and continuing the work of Jo Shepherd and Jean Fleischner through the establishment of the Shepherd scholarships, which will enable us to make their dream of a dual-certification preservice education program a reality, and through renovation of 304 Main Hall."

Contributions may be made to either fund through Rachel Dillon. She may be reached at x3236.

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