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Fearing that the kids are not all right with high-stakes testing

The kids are not all right. Another high-stakes testing season is winding down, and the school year is finishing with a clap of silence and emptied boxes of No. 2 pencils or, more likely, flickering computer screens. Some kids will seem fine with the testing. Some will even think the tests are fun. Others will worry to the point of nausea and visits to the nurse. Some will label themselves smar ...More

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Two education grads find years at Hopi reservation school to be rewarding, though distant from their own family roots

As an elementary education graduate from Eastern Mennonite University, Rebecca A. Yoder ’10 knew that she wanted to teach, but she never imagined that four years after graduation she would be living and working in an Arizona desert, 90 miles from the nearest shopping center. Now, she cannot imagine being anywhere else. Yoder and Joilyn Zimmerly ’07 both teach at a school on a Hopi re ...More

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From touring rock musician to Teacher of the Year in Valley school system

After earning a degree in songwriting from Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2006, Harrisonburg native John Hostetter ’11 moved to Tucson, Arizona. He spent two years playing guitar in a bluegrass band, then joined a rock band called Harlem, moved to Austin, Texas, and started to get recognized nationally. “I lived [in Austin] for a summer, and a bunch of things happened all at o ...More

Cathy Smeltzer Erb

EMU-trained teachers earn high marks in local school systems

More than 500 alumni living in the City of Harrisonburg or Rockingham County work in education, though only two-thirds of these seem to be employed in their home districts, according to EMU’s alumni database. “The teachers we hire from the EMU teacher education program rank as being some of the best,” says Scott R. Kizner, superintendent of Harrisonburg City public schools. “I ...More

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Successes That Don’t Show Up in School Test Scores

From the moment the eighth-graders left Montevideo Middle School for their annual field trip to Baltimore until they returned hours later, Nathan Medlin was every bit a part of the crowd. His classmates greeted him enthusiastically in the morning, included him in their clusters around the tanks at the National Aquarium, and made sure he had as much fun as they ...More

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Two-Day Workshop Inspires Future Teachers

Six students were selected to represent Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) at the Teachers of Promise Institute, March 22-23, 2013, a two-day workshop designed to recognize and support the best prospective public school teachers in the United States, according to their website. EMU students that participated included: Allison Bontrager, mathematics ...More

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Alumna Was Early Leader in English as a Second Language Education

The focus on teaching English to non-native speakers in Harrisonburg, Va., began when a ’64 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) was tapped to address the needs of the city’s growing group of students who were fluent in other languages, but not English. This assignment put Linda Heatwole Bland “on the fastest learning curve in my life.” Initially hired as a reading supe ...More

EMU education graduate Steven Rittenhouse

Newly Minted Math Teacher Loves Middle School

Steven Rittenhouse ’11 recalls a student-teaching “aha!” moment – a turning point both for himself, then an Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) undergraduate, and for a boy who dropped into his classroom during a planning period at Thomas Harrison Middle School (THMS). “He was visibly frustrated with his math homework. We worked with it together, and I helped him see he misunder ...More

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EMU Alum Named Virginia Secondary Art Educator of the Year

Kelley Shradley-Horst, an art teacher at Harrisonburg High School and 2006 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University, didn’t get her hopes up. Even after scoring one of five regional nominations on her way to becoming the Virginia Secondary Art Educator of the Year, she was skeptical about actually winning the honor. “I kind of had a stigma that no one from Harrisonburg ...More

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Bilingual Grad Enlivens Elementary Spanish Classes

Fifteen kindergarteners file into Camila Pandolfi’s classroom at Waterman Elementary School in Harrisonburg, Va., and take seats in the illustrated rows they recognize by such names as triángulo, corazón, estrella (triangle, heart, star). They enthusiastically repeat descriptions of storybook creatures Pandolfi displays: caballo az ...More