A 5th grade classroom working on a unit on immigration.  The mini-grant purchased books on German, Irish, Chinese and Mexican immigrants.  Groups read aloud from the books, recorded the information and discussed what they learned about their nationality.


Mini-grants given to elementary, middle, or high schools in Partnership with a professor at ASU offer opportunities for:

  • practical, thought-provoking preparation for novice teachers
  • new understandings and professional development for experienced educators,
  • research projects that add to all educators' knowledge about how to make schools more productive.
  • exemplary learning programs and for diverse students

New programs and technologies can be tried out and evaluated. Faculties of the school and of the University experience working together at the edge of their knowledge.

For our students preparing to be teachers, just forming their knowledge and technique, they are able to explore the reality of classrooms similar to those where they are likely to get their first jobs. They also see the skills, hear the counsel, and feel the support of expert teachers. 

Benefits of Working with a Mini-Grant

Partners see many benefits to this enhanced collaboration including the opportunity to:

  • Identify, implement, and evaluate mutually determined goals;
  • Design, test, and evaluate models for training new teachers;
  • Conduct research on issues related to teaching, learning, and school effectiveness;
  • Increase and improve professional development opportunities for teachers;
  • Strengthen collaboration with ASU faculty who work in related fields;
  • Engage members of the broader community in related issues;
  • Build teamwork by working together on authentic tasks;
  • Enhance linkages vertically (across grades) and horizontally (within and across schools and with higher education);
  • Inform policies;
  • Seek funding;
  • Advocate teacher quality (e.g., communicate concerns; share work);
  • Increase contacts and expand expertise while building networks.

Accomplishments of past Mini-grants

Partnerships with local schools have helped to inform local policy regarding student teaching.

  • Creation of "Conversations with Teachers" seminars at the school site.
  • Development of a co-teaching model and film for student teaching
  • Early internships that focus on collaborative work with ASU faculty.
  • Encouragement of beginning of the semester entry for student teachers

2015-2016 Mini Grants

2013-2014 Mini-Grants

"Morning Meetings: Back to the Future"
Diane Marks

Focus Group: K-5 Classrooms at Millers Creek Elementary 

Project: Today’s students need more than just instruction in the core topic areas. They also need to develop key 21st-century skills that will serve them well in a globally competitive, information-based society, such as problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration. These skills will be critical for success on the new Common Core assessments.

But teaching these skills can be a challenge, one way to meet this challenge is to plan and implement structured morning meetings.  Research shows that students who participate in structured morning meetings demonstrate marked improvement in affective and academic skills.  This project has two purposes.  The first is to coach classroom teachers and pre-service teachers in how to plan and successfully implement effective morning meetings.  The second is to investigate the affective and academic benefits to the students who consistently participated in structured morning meetings. 

The intent to disseminate these findings will include demonstrations/workshops with school personnel (Millers Creek Elementary School), presentation at international conference (Lily Conference), and publication of the findings in a national peer reviewed journal (National Journal of Teacher Education).

"North Carolina History, Geography and Culture for Grade Four: Integration and Writing in the Social Studies Curriculum"

Focus Group: Blue Ridge Elementary

Project: Blue Ridge Elementary School serves approximately 530 students K through 6 in Ashe County, NC.  Currently the free and reduced lunch population is about 75 percent.  Although there have been improvements in early literacy at this school, students continue to test below the state average in reading and demonstrate low reading comprehension particularly with informational text. Teachers report low background knowledge and motivation to read in the content areas. The fourth grade teachers feel that the addition of high interest low reading level books on topics related to the North Carolina social studies curriculum would accomplish several goals: build background knowledge on social studies topics, provide a range of text for different levels of reading achievement, provide texts for close study with students who struggle most with reading.  There is also the need to revise the social studies content using the new Essential Standards and at the same time, to integrate Common Core informational text reading and writing goals.

"Sowing the Seeds of Learning in Soils!"

Focus Group: Green Valley Elementary School

Project: This project provides an opportunity for science education faculty members from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction to collaborate with each other, as well as with teachers at Green Valley Elementary School, and pre-service elementary teachers in a service-learning course (CI 3552) in the context of a developing school garden program. Drs. Bradbury and Wilson have been working with Green Valley Elementary teachers to develop a school garden on the school grounds that can be used as a context for integrated science and language arts units of study. As the centerpiece of the inquiry-based science portion of our lesson, compost generated by earthworm compost bins maintained by elementary students will be used in the school garden to make amendments as students explore the effects of soil on plant growth. These lessons will expand on the hands-on experience by incorporating non-fiction science books.

These lessons would be co-taught in the classrooms and school garden with the Green Valley and ASU pre-service teachers. After teaching the lessons, we would reflect with both groups about what went well and what modifications could improve the learning experience. The classroom teachers would then have a set of resources that allows for future implementation in years to come and would be available to the 17 teachers at Green Valley who are interested in participating in the school garden program. Additionally, we are asking for a second set of books that would be housed in the science methods classroom, allowing us to model integrated teaching strategies for our future students

"Worth a Thousand Words: Connecting Common Core State Standards and 21st Century Literacies Through Picture Books"

Focus Group: Mabel Elementary School

Project: The purpose of this project is to provide the college of Education students and faculty to collaborate with each other and public schools teachers in lessons that integrate media and production literacies using award winning picture books. The lessons provide an example of media literacy for pre-service students enrolled in related education courses. This project will foster literacies while addressing  21st century skills and common core standards.

"A Tutoring Experience"

Focus Group: Whitnell Elementary School

Linda Pacifici
Tom Gill

Project: The purpose of this project is for Elementary education Block I students to learn more about teaching reading as directly applied with a tutoring experience at Whitnel Elementary School in Lenoir, NC. The students will work with a classroom teacher selected English Language Learner student using leveled reading book specifically designed for English learner students. The Block I students will be supervised by Dr. Tom Gill, the RE 3030 course instructor. Dr. Linda Pacifici will participate as a participant observer in a qualitative research-based role taking field notes, and conducting informal interviews. Mr. Andy Berry, school principal, works with the classroom teachers to identify appropriate below grade reading level students for the tutoring program. The program takes place on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. Mondays after the tutoring sessions, Block I students debrief with Dr. Gill and continue course instruction at the elementary school

"Middle Grades Year-Long Master Teaching Student Teaching Experience"

Holly Thornton

Focus Group: Hudson Middle School

Project: Over Fall 21013 and spring 2014 semester the teachers involved in the project will pilot a process where middle grades interns attend the same classroom for both their 4490 block two 5 week full time internship and their spring student teaching experience. During the fall Dr. Thornton will meet with the teachers involved to learn about mentoring/co-teaching model of student teaching supervision via a master teacher model. They teachers will act as the evaluators and supervisors of the student teachers, and the faculty member will act as their facilitator and professional development mentor meeting with the teachers as a group during student teaching, on site. New formative evaluation process will be developed with the teachers, as well as a new approach to evaluating the culminating portfolio. This will also serve as a fledging PDS model for the middle grades program.

This project will lead to the development of a PDS model for ASU and Middle Grades and exploration and development of a clinical educator model. It leads to increased involvement of full time faculty in student teaching out in the field and expands the role definition of both faculty and student teaching “supervisor". Currently there is little connection between the candidates’ preparation prior to and during student teaching, as they are supervised by a variety of adjunct faculty and there is limited focus on middle grades preparation goals within that experience. The placements tend to be hit or miss in terms of finding the right teachers to represent our goals and mission as a college of education. This approach will connect student teaching to the goals and outcomes of the middle grades program and Appalachian States RCOE vales and vision.

"Are you for Real? Bringing History to Life Through Augmented Reality " 

Eric Groce
John Henson
Teresa Redmond

Focus Group-Partnership Schools

This project is designed to provide each ROCE public school partner district with a tangible curricular-based resource utilizing the most recent technological applications and featuring RCOE undergraduates showcasing their research in a creative and critical perspective. Each member district will receive an inviting augmented reality portfolio (ARP) filled with still images of RCOE undergraduates dressed in historical clothing related to their course (CI3554) research project. Students will be portraying children from underrepresented episodes and eras from American history such as immigrant children from the Lower East side in New York City, the Orphan Trains, children growing up in the Jim Crow South, Indian Boarding Schools, and the textile mills of late 1800s. After the ARPs have been delivered to each site, viewers can make each image “come to life” by using the camera on their electronic device (smart phone, tablet, etc.) activated through the app Aurasma to capture the image whereby they can watch a three minute video depicting a typical experience related to their child and moment in history. This technology-based resource can serve as an extension when addressing Essential Standards in elementary and middle grades social studies and as a model for utilizing free augmented reality applications for planning and delivering lessons. 


Goals for 2012-2013

Focus will be on implementing Common Core and Core Curriculum Standards.

2012-2013 Mini-Grants

Meeting Common Core and North Carolina Essential Standards through Science Informational Text: Integration of Language Arts and Science

Grade(s)/subject(s) applicable to project:  3rd and 6th

Project: Blue Ridge Elementary School serves 548 students Pre-K through 6 in Ashe County, NC.  Currently the free and reduced lunch population is 75%.   Students tested below the state average in reading in 2010.  Although great gains were made last year by increasing our percentage by over 11%, we continually seek ways to increase the rigor of our instruction. With this partnership, Dr. Ellen Pesko will spend time with our targeted teachers to help implement integration of science through the reading of high interest informational books in grades three and six.

Teaching Assessment with Authentic Materials

Focus group: Teacher Candidates Grade(s)/subject(s) applicable to project: k-12 Project: For this project, we are seeking authentic examples of classroom assessments as well as student responses and evaluation tools such as rubrics and answer keys in order to support CI3400, Policies and Practices in Educational Assessment. This is a new professional core course required of all teacher education majors designed to help teacher candidates learn to evaluate and create authentic assessment materials.  An essential component of this course is the Analysis of Student Learning assignment for which teacher candidates examine student work from real classrooms to make decisions about student performance and to inform teaching. During the class, we will show teacher candidates some of the samples we collect from practicing teachers and discuss and analyze them. Also, independently or in pairs, the teacher candidates will complete the Analysis of Student Learning activity. Teacher candidates will be given materials in their own or a related discipline: an assessment, student responses, and an evaluation tool. They will be asked to analyze the assessment, thinking about its alignment to learning goals and then to use the evaluation instrument to analyze the responses.

The Impact of Digital Reading Devices on Reluctant Readers in 5th Grade

Focus group:  Identified low readers Grade(s)/subject(s) applicable to project: 5th grade Project: This pilot study will explore the impact of Kindle readers on six fifth-grade students identified by the classroom teacher as reading below grade level. The university faculty will administer a reading battery to the identified students to determine independent reading levels as well as an interest inventory to determine students’ reading interests. Based on this information, we will select and download up to 20 titles of books that match both the independent reading level and the reading interests of the individual student. Identified students will silently read daily from a Kindle during the designated independent reading block.  We are interested in exploring the impact of the Kindle on the following student behaviors: reading volume (how many books they read), student’s selection of books, reading attitude, number of re-readings, use of note-taking/highlighting, built-in dictionary and additional features; as well as students’ comprehension and discussion of the book, and individual reading abilities. The classroom teacher plans to request two additional Kindles to be rotated among the remaining students in the classroom so as not to isolate those students reading below grade level.

Digital Literacy in the 21st Century

Focus group:  Expeditionary Learning Community Grade(s)/subject(s) applicable to project: k-8 Project: This mini-grant project will provide professional development for up to 14 teachers –the entire licensed teaching staff - at Two Rivers Community School (TRCS) in the integration of digital storytelling into their Expeditionary Learning curriculum.  Training will be conducted by Dr. Paul Wallace, a specialist in the innovative use of mobile technology in the classroom.  Dr. Wallace will conduct two training seminars on digital storytelling, providing teachers with hands-on practice in the production of their own digital stories and dialogue on how digital storytelling can enrich the tools of inquiry and creative engagement within class expeditions.

Capstone Experience for Peer Study Group on Teachers’ Dialogues in a PLC Project

Focus group:  Mathematics Professional Learning Community Grade(s)/subject(s) applicable to project: k-12 Project: The Mathematics PLC in the Public School Partnership participated in a project during the fall of 2011 involving teachers’ dialogues.  The group read selected material from the book Faster Isn’t Smarter: Messages About Math, Teaching, and Learning in the 21st Century” by Cathy L. Seeley.  At each PLC meeting, the group discussed the reading for that month.

This project proposes to use the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCCTM) Spring Leadership Seminar as a capstone experience for the previous project.  The keynote speaker at the NCCTM Spring Leadership Seminar is Cathy L. Seeley.  The focus of the keynote and the conference is the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) implementation that begins in North Carolina fall 2012.  This will be a chance for the Mathematics PLC members to hear and speak to Cathy Seeley as well as help them connect what they have been reading and discussing to the CCSSM.

“A Hoot and a Hollar:” An Interdisciplinary Owl Unit: A Collaborative Effort among University Professors, a 4th Grade Classroom Teacher and Her Students

Grade(s)/subject(s) applicable to project: 4th grade classroom Project: This project will provide an opportunity for ASU faculty members from Curriculum and Instruction and Reading Education and Special Education to collaborate with a Public School Partnership teacher to develop and implement a series of lessons that integrate science and language arts into the curriculum.


NCATE Standards for Professional-Development Schools

Our work in the partnership is informed by The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education standards for professional development schools (condensed below).

  • Standard I: Learning Community
    Partners include the university, school district, teacher union(s), or other professional education association(s), and may extend to arts and science faculty, other interested school and university faculty, family and community members, and other affiliated schools. They also ensure that all stakeholders collaborate to create a vision and implement it with the ultimate goal of integrating the learning and development of P-12 [preschool through 12th grade] students, prospective educators, and PDS partners through inquiry-based practice.
  • Standard II: Accountability and Quality Assurance
    Partners collaboratively develop assessments, collect information, and use results to systematically examine their practices and establish outcome goals for all P-12 students, candidates, faculty, and other professionals. The program demonstrates impact at the local, state, and national level on policies and practices affecting its work.
  • Standard III: Collaboration
    Partners collaborate to design roles and structures to support the PDS efforts and utilize them to improve outcomes for P-12 students, candidates, faculty, and other professionals.
  • Standard IV: Diversity and Equity
    Programs include diverse participants and diverse learning communities and result in learning for all.
  • Standard V: Structures, Resources, and Roles
    Partners use their authority and resources to develop a mission and establish a governing structure that support the learning and development of all involved.
File attachmentTypeSize
Co-Teaching PresentationPowerpoint (PPT)2 MB