Daily Archives: June 18, 2013

On Her Way: Mariah Iapicco Joins Mercy Volunteers

A Job, A Journey, An Education

GCU education graduate Mariah Iapicco recently accepted a teaching position at a school on a reservation in Arizona. She will spend the 2013-14 academic year as a member of the Mercy Volunteer Corps, a group associated with the Sisters of Mercy. The Monitor of Trenton, our diocesan newspaper, published a story about Mariah.

Below, Mariah talks about her decision and how GCU prepared her for the future:

Mariah (right) recently completed her student teaching and earned her degree in math and education.

Mariah (right) recently completed her student teaching and earned her degree in math and education.

AT THE BEGINNING OF MY SENIOR YEAR, I realized that I wanted to enter into a volunteer program to give back so much that has been given to me.  I wasn’t sure what program to apply for, or if I even would follow through with my idea, but luckily my wish came true: I applied to Mercy Volunteer Corps and got accepted.

I had heard about MVC when 2011 GCU grad Brynn Walzer applied and went to California  when she graduated, but I still was unsure what it truly was. Then GCU Provost Evelyn Quinn had a representative come and speak to students, specifically to those of us involved with GCU’s Mercy Collegiate Society, about the program. That presentation inspired me to want to apply.  After conversations with Evelyn Quinn, Dean of Students Karen Goff, Dean of Student Success Kathleen Boody, and recent GCU graduate Sally Santiago (who is now in law school in Charlotte, N.C.), I decided to follow through and apply for the program. I will be placed in St. Michael’s, Arizona at their high school and I will be teaching math.  I was very lucky with this because this is exactly what I went to school for.  I had the choice of going to Connecticut to teach in an all girls middle school, but I chose to be brave and go farther away.  I will be living on the reservation with them, so I will be a part of their community. I know it will be a wonderful experience. 

For student teaching I was placed at Middletown High School South. I had 3 honors geometry classes, 3 Algebra 2/ Pre-calculus honors courses (two classes condensed into one year), and one Algebra 2 class (lower level students).  Student teaching truly helps us grow as teachers because there is only so much you can learn through textbooks, but being in the field for 15 weeks help you feel comfortable in the classroom and understand how to be an effective teacher.

The GCU School of Education: Always Learning, Always Improving

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A word from the GCU School of Education:

Georgian Court University is extremely proud of its teacher preparation program, which is rigorous and accredited. We use multiple measures to assess the quality of our teacher education program and formally monitor program effectiveness annually (Teacher Education Accreditation Council Report – TEAC). The Teacher Education Program at GCU has received full continuing accreditation from TEAC each year since its initial accreditation, and its next site visit is scheduled for AY2013-2014. TEAC is the professional accrediting body for colleges and universities, recognized by the U. S. Department of Education. (Note- CAEP merger in progress- Council for Accreditation of Teacher Preparation)

Georgian Court does and will always support aspiring teachers and the pursuit of academic excellence. We are open to sound, credible standards and want to be challenged by such standards that will help the University better prepare its graduates for tomorrow’s diverse classrooms, aid school districts in knowing where they should target hiring efforts and assist education leaders and policymakers in determining best practices.

In determining the quality of our graduates we use multiple measures:

• Standardized tests (Accuplacer, Praxis I, Praxis II)

• GPA’s

• Course Grades

• Embedded course artifacts, rubrics, portfolios (Taskstream)

• Rating scales (clinical supervisors and cooperating teachers)

• Alumni survey (check satisfaction and preparedness)

Our students know their content. Measured by the scores on Praxis specialty tests; the portfolio of lesson plans in their content area; and the monitoring of their GPA’ as they move through our Gateways.

Our faculty ensures that in all our courses there is a strong focus on learners. Our graduates are dual certified- trained in working with students with special needs; they learn the research based strategies to insure that they practice culturally responsive teaching; they learn to plan instruction effectively for diverse learners; there are multiple field experiences (60 hours; 90 hours; and 15 weeks of student teaching). During these field experiences, cooperating teachers and clinical supervisors comprehensively observe them.

At Georgian Court University, we believe that all students have a right to quality education; that all students are capable of learning, and that all students learn best in classrooms that reflect the social, ethnic, racial, religious, and ability dimensions represented in our society. As a result, all of GCU’s pre-service teacher education integrates the knowledge and skills needed for teaching in general education and special education and leads to eligibility for instructional certificates in both. Our graduates meet the “highly qualified” criteria to teach in general education, inclusive classrooms, and in special education settings. The programs in instruction and educational services are guided by the NJ Professional Standards for Teachers. By the time they have completed their programs, candidates are able to present evidence that they have achieved all standards successfully.

In addition to other evidence and more formal evaluations, we maintain professional connections and relationships with practitioners at all levels, in both public and private schools regionally. We receive solicited and unsolicited feedback about our graduates and program completers frequently. It is overwhelmingly positive. This year alone, we have three student teacher finalists who will represent GCU for the 2013 New Jersey Distinguished Student Teacher Award.

Mariah (right) recently completed her student teaching and earned her degree in math and education.

Mariah (right) recently completed her student teaching and earned her degree in math and education.

Read more about the Georgian Court University School of Education and discover more about the success of our graduates. If you’re an alumnus, leave a comment—we’d love to hear more about your own successes in and outside of the classroom as well.

“The Final Lesson: Khristie Caola”
“Making a Difference: Katie Laurino”
“On Her Way: Mariah Iapicco”