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RMU Joins Operation Educate the Educators

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pittsburgh -- Robert Morris University has become part of the first 100 institutions to sign onto Operation Educate the Educators, an effort started by American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) and the Military Children Education Coalition (MCEC), to help educate pre-K-12 teachers and student teachers who work with children of military personnel.

"We know that the children of our service men and women have special needs in the classroom and we want to train teachers who are responsive to those needs,” said Mary Ann Rafoth, dean of the School of Education and Social Sciences.

This initiative began in April 2011 when Joining Forces, a federal initiative to help support military families, wanted to better equip children who are directly affected by one or both of their parents serving in the military. Difficulties children face include long deployments, frequent moves, and stress from having a loved one in danger. AACTE and MCEC teamed up to create Operation Educate the Educators.

RMU began its participation with Operation Educate the Educators this fall. As a part of this awareness effort, all student teachers attend weekly seminars to discuss obstacles children may face in the classroom. RMU faculty work with student teachers to enhance their understanding of methods to use when teaching children with parents in the military, whether they are deployed, state-side, or veterans

Each semester RMU student teachers complete a teacher work sample in which they document their teaching methods, their children’s background and experience, how they work with children with individual problems, and how they can enhance their own teaching techniques.

This semester student teachers are to assess the needs of students who have parents in the military and document their specific needs. Operation Educate the Educators can then provide feedback and resources for student teachers to use when working with these children.

Jill Biden, wife of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, works with Operation Educate the Educators and travels across the states and abroad to educate teachers about the unique needs that military-connected students need.

Nationally, Operation Educate the Educators have formed a list of contacts at each affiliated institution to collect information in preparing teachers to enhance these children’s lives. A training program has been set in place that has already benefitted 10,000 pre-service and graduate professionals to better support children in their class.

Robert Morris University, founded in 1921, is a private, four-year institution with an enrollment of approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. An estimated 22,000 alumni live and work in western Pennsylvania.