Science teacher Stefanie Oddo ‘08, MS ‘10, returned to her alma mater to earn an advanced certificate in middle school education.

“I would recommend Adelphi because the program is all about teaching you what you need to know to get the certificate.”–Stefanie Oddo

Stefanie Oddo ‘08, MS ‘10, had found her ideal job: teaching science to middle school students in the same school in Great Neck, New York, where she had excelled as a student.

When the Great Neck school district mandated that middle school teachers must acquire advanced certification, Ms. Oddo did not hesitate to return to her alma mater, Adelphi University.

Ms. Oddo enrolled in a two-course, 6-credit program to acquire a Middle School Education Advanced Certificate at Adelphi in the summer of 2013. The hybrid program (classroom instruction and online training) will be offered in the Spring 2014 semester at Garden City or Manhattan Center and in Summer 2014 at Manhattan Center.

“I would recommend Adelphi because the program is all about teaching you what you need to know to get the certificate,” said Ms. Oddo, who had earned a BS in Biology and an MS in Science Education at Adelphi before getting the advanced certificate. “Other schools will give you the courses, but it doesn’t lead to getting the certificate you need.”

Adelphi’s program examines the rich and complex (but never boring) life of the adolescent and is designed for both adolescent and elementary educators and majors. The program covers the many dimensions of the adolescent experience—gender; sexuality; intellectual, emotional and ethical growth; and political and social development. Content areas include chemistry, biology, earth science, English, math, physics, foreign language and history (social studies).

“Students in each course gather together five or six times throughout the semester for face-to-face interactions,” said Tracy Hogan, PhD, associate professor of science education and the program director. “Extended discussions and additional learning activities are supported through online platforms.”

“Dr. Hogan brought in teachers and other students who taught us what was really going on in middle school education,” Ms. Oddo said. “She pulled ideas and concepts from real life. It wasn’t just textbooks. She gave us real-life experience in the classroom.”

The Adelphi program in the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education is open to students currently certified or working toward attaining certification in childhood or adolescent education. Students must have completed at least 30 credits in one content area.

“We’ve really structured the program to fit the schedule of the teachers,” said Christopher Church, director of education at Manhattan Center. “Classes are in the late afternoon, so teachers can use some of the ideas they learn here in their own classroom.”

Nationally, there is a need for more teachers in grades 5–9. The percentage of middle school teachers is expected to grow by 17 percent by the end of the decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During the same time period, the percentage of high school teachers is expected to grow by seven percent.

“Teaching middle school students can be a challenge because it’s such a transition period for them,” said Ms. Oddo, who has also taught high school biology in Merrick, New York. “They’re going from very young people to high school students, young adults. It can be a tough group to teach. But I prefer teaching middle school students.”

Acquiring the Middle School Education Advanced Certificate at Adelphi has enabled Ms. Oddo to do just that.

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