Friday, October 22, 2010

U-Tools Program Supports Youth in Metro Detroit

Under the leadership and coordination of the Save Our Children Coalition (SOCC), a unit housed within and supported by the UM-Dearborn School of Education, the U-Tools program is working with a cohort of about 50 ninth-grade youth to provide enrichment experiences that build academic and life skills and productive habits of mind. The intent of the program is set these youth on a trajectory toward high school completion with a solid preparation for post-secondary education and training.

The concept and original design of the U-Tools program was developed with the help of representatives from Vista Maria and the Wayne County 3rd Judicial Circuit Court and Department of Human Services. As the name suggests, the U-Tools project uses the metaphor of loading “tools” into a toolbox. The conceptual framework for the U-Tools program is based on Sean Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. The program also recognizes the building of trust and relationships among participating students and caring adults as a critical factor for success. Toward this end, consistency of participating faculty and mentorship are stressed throughout.

The current version of the U-Tools program is scheduled to run from October 2010 through May 2011, via a series of monthly, all-day Saturday sessions. Given SOCC’s focus on supporting foster children in Southeast Michigan, participants in the UTools program are drawn from Vista Maria Academy in Dearborn Heights, Black Family Development in Detroit, and some other DHS foster care settings in the region. Program activities will take place on the UM-Dearborn campus, thereby allowing participating students to gain first-hand experience regarding college life and facilitating the participation of university personnel.

At UM-Dearborn, faculty and staff from School of Education, Career Services, Athletics, Student Activities, Admissions, and the Environmental Interpretive Center will be involved in the program sessions planned for AY 2010-11. The U-Tools program is supported in part by a grant from the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS); SOCC also receives help and support from UM-Dearborn for full operation of the project’s planned activities.

Friday, October 1, 2010

School of Education Honors Professor Ray Kettel

On October 1 friends, colleagues, and students came together to honor Dr. Raymond P. Kettel on the occasion of his retirement from the School of Education. Ray began his career as an educator while serving in the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer. In 1969 Ray accepted a teaching position in the Detroit Public Schools, where he served for two decades, serving stints as a teacher, reading coordinator, demonstration teacher, and language education supervisor. Ray joined the faculty at University of Michigan–Dearborn in 1988, where he has taught prospective and practicing teachers for the past 23 years.

Ray Kettel is known regionally, nationally and internationally for his expertise in the area of children’s literature and for his innovative contributions to the teaching of reading and language arts. Kettel’s publications in children’s literature, storytelling and reading have appeared in such journals as The Reading Teacher, English Journal, Storytelling World, Voices from the Middle, and the American Library Association’s Book Links. He was the creator and senior author of the CLUE ME IN literature program which encourages students to read some of the best in children’s books. In addition, he directed the ASK (Authors Specialists and Knowledge) program, through which students at the college and precollege levels dig deeply into literature by interviewing authors or specialists whose work domains are closely tied to particular selections.

Ray’s expertise is widely recognized and much sought after. He has served on a variety of committees for both the International Reading Association and the Michigan Reading Association, within which he was elected to the Board of Directors in 1982-1985. Ray Kettel is also viewed as the quintessential teacher. In 1993, he received the Distinguished Teaching award from UM-Dearborn, and in 1995 the students of the Association of Educators named him the most inspirational faculty member. In 2005, Ray received the Michigan Reading Association’s Teacher Educator Award, and later that year the UM-Dearborn Alumni Society named him Faculty Member of the Year.

Individuals wishing to recognize Ray Kettel’s legacy of contributions to UM-Dearborn and to assist the School of Education to maintain strong support for its students may do so through a contribution to:

School of Education Student Scholarship and Support Fund

To do so, please make your check payable to the above named fund and mail to:
School of Education Student Scholarship Fund
c/o Becky Dresselhouse-Nauss
University of Michigan-Dearborn
School of Education
19000 Hubbard Drive
Dearborn, MI 48126

Toni Simovski Named 2010 SOE Alumnus of the Year

The University of Michigan-Dearborn has named 8 individuals as
Alumni Difference Makers for 2010. [More information can be found at] Among those so honored is Toni Simovski, who was named School of Education Alumnus of the Year.

Mr. Simovski teaches American Government and Advanced Placement American Government at South Lyon High School. He has received several other recognitions as an outstanding educator in the state of Michigan, including 2007 Civic Educator of the Year and 2009 Michigan Social Studies Teacher of the Year. In addition to his distinguished career as a teacher, he also served in the U.S. Army as an interpreter during the conflict in Macedonia and Kosovo. The Alumni Association Award will be presented to Mr. Simovski, and the corresponding award winners from other units on the UM-Dearborn campus, at a ceremony on October 15. Please join me in congratulating Toni Simovski on his distinctive accomplishment and in thanking him for his dedication to the education profession.

Pictures from the ceremony are available on our UM-Dearborn Facebook page.  Click here to view.

Recipient videos are also available to view.