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Article of Interest - Education

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Bridges4Kids LogoMacomb Facility Teaches Teachers
Frank DeFrank, Macomb Daily, March 7, 2005
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When Meggan McLain of St. Clair decided to become a special education teacher, she chose Saginaw Valley State University's Macomb Regional Education Center to help her achieve her goal.

Now, as a student in the center's Accelerated Certification Education program, McLain completes her student teaching during the day at L'Anse Creuse High School and attends classes four nights a week at the Macomb Regional Education Center in Chesterfield Township. In less than a year, she'll be a certified special education teacher ready for her first job.

"I always wanted to go into teaching," said McLain, who earned a psychology degree from Grand Valley State. "It's close to home and it only takes a year."

Debbie Nitterhouse of Macomb Township and Roberta Janas of New Baltimore already earn their livings as teachers. Both are enrolled in the Regional Education Center's master's program, where the lessons they learn tonight can be put into practice in classrooms tomorrow.

"You walk away with everything you can use in a classroom," said Nitterhouse, a special education teacher at Fitzgerald High School in Warren.

Janas, who is taking her final class before earning a master's degree, agreed.

"It was so practical," said Janas, who teaches Title 1 (low-income) students at Crull Elementary School in the Port Huron Area district. "The theoretical end is put into practice."

Three women at different stages of their education careers and with different goals all chose the same institution, and it's located in Macomb County.

"We feel we offer one of the best education programs in Michigan," said John Armstrong, director of off-campus programs for Saginaw Valley State University. "We're going to give them the tools. The vast majority are successful.

"But there are still a lot of people who don't know we're here."

Two years ago, Saginaw Valley State University constructed the $3.5 million Macomb Regional Education Center on 5.5 acres the university purchased from the L'Anse Creuse Public Schools district. The center is located off Hickey Road (24 1/2 Mile Road, east of Gratiot), across the parking lot from L'Anse Creuse Middle School - East.

Students can't earn an undergraduate degree at the center, but anything and everything they want in post-graduate education is available under one roof.

"We don't ever have to step foot on the (main) Saginaw Valley campus," Janas said.

While the building is new, the program isn't. It dates back three decades, when a few classes were offered at the Macomb Intermediate School District.

Today, 800 students fill nearly 50 courses each semester and learn from a faculty that includes 20 full-time and 20 adjunct professors.

Programs offered include:

Master of Arts in Teaching;

Master of Education;

Education Specialist;

Accelerated Certification Education (for holders of degrees in non-education fields);

Endorsement Programs.

William Putney, superintendent of South Lake Schools, said his district welcomed this fall its first student-teacher from Saginaw Valley.

"The supervising teacher and the high school administration were very impressed with his performance and preparation," Putney said. "We hope to be able to add him to our staff in the future."

Putney said several South Lake teachers enrolled in Saginaw Valley's master program for aspiring administrators, and "their feedback to me indicates a high level of satisfaction with the program."

"The fact that SVSU provides a facility in Macomb County and a high quality program is extremely advantageous to our staff," Putney said.

Armstrong, former superintendent of L'Anse Creuse Public Schools, stopped short of guaranteeing jobs for graduates. But he insisted the Regional Education Center staff "will help them out as much as we can."

He estimated as many as 300 are employed in education-related jobs in southeastern Michigan.

For more information on the Macomb Regional Education Center, call (586) 749-0067.


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