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Two UC Distance Learners Graduate as Teachers Prepared to Serve Hispanic Children

The graduates will march at UC’s All-University Commencement after graduating from a program awarded $1.2 million in federal funding to prepare Ohio teachers who work with large populations of Hispanic children.

Date: 6/3/2009 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Provided

UC ingot  

The UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) is celebrating the achievements of two distance learners who will march at the University of Cincinnati’s All-University Commencement during the 9 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, June 13, in Fifth Third Arena at Shoemaker Center. Sandra Bivins, of Sandusky, Ohio, is earning her associate’s degree in early childhood education through the distance-learning Early Childhood Learning Community (ECLC), and Alissa Vanderpool, of Willard, Ohio, is earning her bachelor’s degree through the same program.

Both of the women are UC’s first to graduate through an initiative awarded $1.2 million in 2007 from the Office of Head Start. The partnership, “Todos Listos,” (Everyone is Ready) is supporting 39 Head Start teachers working with large populations of Hispanic children in four Head Start programs around Ohio. The program pays for the teachers’ tuition, books and laptop computers as they earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree through the ECLC.

Sandra Bivins

Bivins is a teacher mentor for the WSOS Community Action Commission, based in Fremont, Ohio. The organization serves low-to-moderate income families in Sandusky, Wood, Ottawa and Seneca counties. “Due to job stability, I needed to accomplish a degree in early childhood education within a four-year period. Because of my busy schedule, I decided to try online classes,” says the 48-year-old mother of four and grandmother of three, who accomplished making the dean’s list for four quarters out of her three-year experience. She is now pursuing her bachelor’s degree through the program, which she credits for making her dream of achieving a college degree a reality.
Alissa Vanderpool

Vanderpool, 26, is an infant teacher at Teaching and Mentoring Communities (TMC), formerly known as the Texas Migrant Council. She previously earned her associate’s degree in early childhood education from North Central State College in Mansfield, and started pursuing her bachelor’s degree through the ECLC at UC in 2006. She says her employer in the five-year Todos Listos partnership informed her about the program. “It was a challenge, taking classes while working full time,” she says. “Some classes required observations of children, which I had to do after work at another center.

“Still, I’ll miss taking classes and meeting other students through (online) discussion boards,” Vanderpool says. “On the other hand, it feels great to be done. Now, I get a raise!”

UC’s Todos Listos evolved from a statewide survey of Ohio’s Head Start programs that found a critical need for resources to address the challenges of young dual-language learners. This spring, the program supported 17 teachers while pursuing their associate’s degree as well as 22 students earning a bachelor’s degree. The end of spring quarter also marks the completion of a pilot program of coursework to provide preparation for teachers of Latino children. Next year, Todos Listos will expand the coursework beyond the Ohio partnership, offering courses to ECLC learners throughout the United States who are interested in pursuing those special skills and strategies to prepare Hispanic children for kindergarten.

Early Childhood Learning Community

College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services

UC Commencement Information