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Education Faculty Delve Into New Methods and Subjects in Teaching

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19

Over the summer, two School of Education faculty members explored new methods and subjects in teaching. Stacey Brown-Hobbs, C’85, developed and taught two asynchronous math classes for a unique group of future educators, while Kara Brady attended a conference with an education student on the future of coding in early childhood education.

brown-hobbs-s_210127-0575-in-text.jpgBrown-Hobbs, C’85, who studied elementary education at the Mount and has worked in the School of Education for 30 years, spent her summer teaching two 100-level math courses every elementary education major takes. The twist? She adapted the courses into an asynchronous format and delivered them to a cohort of students attending the Mount through the Maryland Leads program.

Maryland Leads is a state-sponsored and -funded initiative that seeks to address teacher shortages by giving those working in the public school system the chance to obtain their teacher certification. The Mount is one of the approved schools for Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) employees to become certified in elementary or special education.

School systems nationwide have been experiencing shortages, particularly in elementary and special education, for several years now. Factors such as the large group of educators currently reaching retirement age, increased retirements or career changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, and lower college enrollment have all contributed to the problem. Maryland Leads enables school employees, typically instructional aids, who want to be teachers but were previously unable to become certified, to achieve their career goals.

Of course, delivering a class to students in this cohort is a challenge in several ways. “Students in this program are earning their degree on an accelerated schedule, but also are typically working full-time, often with families of their own, so the summer courses I taught had to meet those needs,” noted Brown-Hobbs. “I learned a lot [adapting these courses for Maryland Leads students]. There needs to be a very consistent course structure, and regular opportunities to interface one-on-one with students, like virtual office hours.”

Ultimately, Brown-Hobbs noted that the experience of modifying and delivering the math courses was extremely rewarding. “I’ve been really proud of our department for their willingness to go above and beyond,” she shared. “The Maryland Leads students, too—they’re extremely hard-working and very confident in their decision to become teachers. It’s great to see their passion.”

The first cohort of Maryland Leads students at the Mount will graduate in 2024.

Meanwhile, Brady had the chance to attend a computational thinking conference that introduced her to a cutting-edge area of early childhood education: coding and computer science.

Brady, who has been a lecturer at the Mount for six years, came from a background of 30 years in both private and public education, from preschool to high school, working as both a teacher and an administrator.

The workshop she attended was part of a series of Summer Professional Learning Programs held by Maryland Codes and the Maryland Center for Computing Education (MCCE). Taking place in mid-July, the conference was held at Hood College.

The conference discussed methods and the benefits of teaching coding to preschool- and primary-school-aged students in schools. Ideas on introducing the subject covered the spectrum from fun and expected—helping students in small coding projects, such as creating a robotic mouse—to unexpected, like reading them books such as the beloved “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” to introduce them to patterns.

“The conference was so well done, from start to finish. It was a chance to network and collaborate with other educators, and to explore coding in the classroom,” noted Brady. She was accompanied by Maya Herishen, C’25, an elementary education major, who loved the experience as well.

“The methods they showed us were so creative. Introducing coding from a young age could make all the difference in a child's life who might not otherwise have that opportunity,” Brady shared.

To learn more about the School of Education, visit

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19