After 14 years as a stay-at-home mom, Michele Battista is pursuing a master's degree in literacy.

by Cecil Harris

“The flexible class schedule at Adelphi is very important to me; I’m a very busy mom who is involved with her children and family.”–Michele Battista

Michele Battista is used to being busy. Yet after 14 years as a stay-at-home mom with two daughters, she wanted to do even more. She wanted to fulfill a long-standing goal of becoming a literacy specialist.

But could she really find the time?

Adelphi University showed her the answer: an emphatic “Yes.”

“The flexible class schedule at Adelphi is very important to me; I’m a very busy mom who is involved with her children and family,” said Ms. Battista, who is pursuing a master’s degree in literacy.

“At Adelphi, I’m able to take the classes I need in the afternoon, evenings and weekends. And I’ve been able to stay on track. All the classes in my program have been available to me at a time that is convenient for me to take them. And the six-week summer class schedule has been very helpful. I’ve been able to take at least two classes every summer.”

Ms. Battista, who lives in Williston Park, New York, had considered Hofstra University, C.W. Post and Queens College. However, Adelphi’s Ruth S. Ammon School of Education came “highly recommended” by friends who had completed graduate programs at the Garden City campus, she said. Other friends of hers who had attended other graduate schools were critical of their professors.

“I have no complaints whatsoever in that area,” Ms. Battista said. “I’ve got something out of every class I’ve taken at Adelphi. The professors are very professional and very knowledgeable in their subject area. They’ve made it much easier for me to transition back into education after being out of school for so long.”

Maryellen Rafferty, the director of the Literacy Center, has been especially helpful, Ms. Battista said.

“She’s been much more than a professor,” Ms. Battista said. “She’s been a mentor. She’s very encouraging, very positive. She knows everything there is to know about literacy education.”

Ms. Battista had earned a bachelor’s degree in childhood education at Florida Atlantic University. She also had some teaching experience.

“Michele was a good teacher when she began our literacy program; we’re helping her to become a great literacy specialist,” said Ms. Rafferty, who has introduced Ms. Battista to current theories and practices in literacy education.

“The Adelphi program is a combination of theory and practice that I really like. You have the opportunity to get out into the field and learn by doing,” Ms. Battista said. “And the Adelphi professors have steered me toward books and other writings that have helped me catch up on things I may have missed during my time away.”

Having a support system at home also helps Ms. Battista. Her daughters, ages 15 and 13, are a willing audience when she practices PowerPoint presentations. The girls also give her the quiet time she needs to study. And her husband, an attorney, often takes the girls to their extracurricular activities so she can concentrate on class assignments.

“It’s important that my daughters see that I’m still learning and that it’s important to be a lifelong learner,” Ms. Battista said. “Your pursuit of knowledge should last your entire life.”

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