Four UW-Platteville students to have article published in professional journal

Jan. 17, 2014

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — A manuscript written by four University of Wisconsin-Platteville School of Education students will be published in the Summer 2014 issue of New Teacher Advocate, a quarterly professional journal that Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society in education, designed to support new teachers.

The students who wrote the article, all KDP members, include Kelly Provancher, a junior elementary education and middle level education major from Yorkeville, Ill.; Patrick Ralph, a senior elementary education major from Harlingen, Texas; Kendra Haug, a senior elementary education major from Monroe, Wis.; and Michelle Leverentz, a senior elementary education major from Oak Creek, Wis.

In the article, “Response to Intervention: Not So Scary, Not So Hard,” the students explained how to implement “Response to Intervention,” a method of academic intervention used in school districts throughout the United States to provide early, systematic assistance for children who struggle with learning. This general education framework focuses on early intervention, frequent measurement of progress and instructional intervention in order to ensure and promote success for all students.

“RTI is a mandate from the federal government for the way to identify learning and behavioral disabilities in students,” said Dr. Rea Kirk, education professor at UW-Platteville and KDP faculty co-advisor with Dr. John Nkemnji, education professor at UW-Platteville. “All teachers must be familiar with RTI policy and practice, which can seem confusing and overwhelming. The article written by our four students is well researched, thorough and easily understood.”
“We hope the article helps reduce the stress that teachers sometimes experience when trying to implement RTI,” said Haug. “We also hope it explains how to implement RTI methods in a way that makes teachers excited to use them.”

For the students, the process of developing the manuscript involved writing, re-writing, editing and accepting constructive criticism from Sally Rushmore, managing editor of New Teacher Advocate, about how they could strengthen the article.

“Michelle, Patrick, Kelly and Kendra were a joy to work with—they took all suggestions and revisions graciously and worked hard to improve their article,” said Rushmore. “I think they learned a lot through the process.”

“These four students have demonstrated academic excellence, a thirst for learning, stellar leadership skills and a deep desire to become the best educators they can be,” said Kirk. “Teaching involves trial and error as well as frustration and failure. It involves late nights and not just stepping out, but leaping away from one’s comfort zone and taking risks in uncharted territory. It involves rigorous research and diligent preparation. Our fabulous four experienced all of these things through this experience.”

In October 2013, Provancher, Ralph, Haug and Leverentz presented a workshop on how to implement RTI to future teachers at the Kappa Delta Pi Biennial Conference in Dallas, Texas.

“Our students’ presentation at the Kappa Delta Pi international convocation went well,” said Nkemnji. “I am proud of their scholarship. They are hard-working, well-prepared and ready to take on the challenges of educating youth in K-12 schools.”

“One of the audience members who was a student from another state said she learned more about RTI from our UW-Platteville students than she had from her college professors,” said Kirk. “That’s quite a testament to our students and their ability to explain the complexities of RTI in a way that is accurate, comprehensive and easy to understand.”

“Having the opportunity to present an educational workshop about RTI before beginning my teaching career was invaluable,” said Ralph. “It gave me the chance to lend my voice to ideas and then work with the others to identify how best to present those ideas. It was an incredible experience.”

At the conference, the students also gave a presentation to potential authors of articles for New Teacher Advocate on the process of writing the manuscript. In addition, they had a chance to network with professionals in the education field.

UW-Platteville’s Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement provided grant funding that enabled the students to attend the conference. Rushmore worked with the students throughout the writing process and arranged their presentation for the professional audience.

“With two professional presentations and a published article on their resumes, the students now possess experience that few new teachers have, even after teaching for awhile,” said Rushmore.

Ralph, Haug, Provancher and Leverentz said they are thankful they have professors like Kirk and Nkemnji, who continually provide them with professional development opportunities as well as new strategies and tools that help prepare them for their future careers as teachers.

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