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New graduates of the Associate in Arts Elementary Teacher
Education program in southern Delaware in 2017 celebrate their career plans. "Teacher in Training" Sylena Miller (center) has now completed her bachelors
degree in Newark and is graduating this spring.
For students whose dream is to become an elementary or middle school teacher, the University of Delawares Associate in Arts Elementary Teacher Education (AAETE) program offers a lot of advantages.
Class sizes are small, professors and advisers provide individual
attention, proximity to home can ease the transition from high school to
college, and the cost savings are substantial. Successful graduates of
the program, which has operated in its current form at the Universitys
Georgetown campus since 2006, are teaching throughout the state and
Now, beginning in fall semester of 2019, students will have the
opportunity to take part in the same program in northern Delaware.
Teresa Rush, a UD alumna whos coordinating the program at its new
location in Wilmington, has been meeting with high school students in
Delaware Teacher Academy programs throughout the area to let them know
about the opportunity.
Students have been incredibly excited about the UD experience, and
those who have already decided to pursue a teaching career are
especially excited that theyre going to have such a cost-effective way
to do this, Rush said.
Those who enroll in the program in Wilmington, like those in
Georgetown, will complete the first two years of coursework needed for a
bachelor of science degree in elementary education as they earn their
two-year associate degree. Classes will meet at UDs Downtown Center building at Eighth and King streets and will be taught by University faculty.
To continue their path to a teaching career after their two years in
Wilmington, students can then move to UDs Newark campus and take the
final two years of Elementary Teacher Education (ETE) coursework there.
The transition to Newark is just that a transition, not a transfer,
because AAETE students have already been enrolled at UD and have taken
the same classes offered on the Newark campus.
Until now, students in the Associate in Arts Program
(AAP) in Wilmington could pursue an ETE degree after moving to the
Newark campus, but they would have lacked several required courses and
needed additional time to complete their bachelors degree. Now, all
courses required for the first two years will be offered in Wilmington.
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
Emily Halliday, who earned her UD Associate in Arts degree in
Elementary Teacher Education in Georgetown in 2016, and her bachelors
degree in education two years later on the Newark campus, sits at her
desk in Welch Elementary School in Dover, where she teaches second grade
This program is a much more direct pathway for ETE students, said
David Satran, director of the AAP. Theyll be ready for Year 3 [of
their four-year degree] as soon as they come to Newark.
He called the program a true collaboration between the College of
Arts and Sciences, which administers AAP statewide and whose faculty
teach the non-education courses at the programs three sites around the
state, and the College of Education and Human Development, which
administers AAETE and whose faculty will teach the education courses in
Wilmington. Satran praised the support provided by John A. Pelesko,
interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Carol Vukelich,
dean of the College of Education and Human Development.
Offering the AAETE pathway in northern Delaware as well as in
Sussex County is a win-win for students and for the state, Satran said.
We hope this will help address the teacher shortage in Delaware
schools by growing the pool of AAP students who will come to Newark as
ETE majors, he said. Its also a strategic effort to diversify the
pool of students pursuing education degrees.
Students who completed AAETE in Georgetown have generally been
successful in completing their bachelors degrees and beginning careers
as teachers, said Scott Lykens, the programs Georgetown coordinator.
He pointed out that the only difference between AAETE and earning all
four years worth of course credits in Newark is the location where
In other words, it is not a different program, just a unique way of
offering the program, Lykens said. The program has the same goals as
the Newark bachelor of science in education (B.S.Ed.) program, which is
to prepare students to be reflective practitioners who are prepared to
serve a diverse community of learners.
Most students who choose the AAETE pathway do so to save money, both Lykens and Rush have found.
AAP for AAETE students or those pursuing degrees in other fields
has lower tuition costs than the Newark campus, and students are also
eligible for the states SEED (Student Excellence Equals Degree) scholarship, which covers the cost of tuition for two years for qualified students.
Other advantages of AAETE, Lykens said, include small class sizes and
proximity to home, which is important for students who have family or
job obligations or who dont feel ready to live on campus when they
first start college.
When the first AAETE students start classes in Wilmington this fall,
they will follow a prescribed ETE curriculum and will be able to turn to
Rush as an adviser. Her goal, she said, will be to ensure that each
student stays on track to be ready to transition to Newark after two
years and to help students choose a concentration in the ETE curriculum.
Concentrations can lead to dual certification in special education,
English as a Second Language, or a particular middle-school content
area, such as math or social studies.
The high school students Ive visited are very enthusiastic about
these advantages, Rush said. They know that UD has a nationally ranked
education program, and they know that having a dual certification opens
up a lot of additional career opportunities.
Former AAETE students are some of the programs best ambassadors, administrators say.
Emily Halliday, for example, who graduated from AAETE in Georgetown
in 2016 and earned her bachelors degree in Newark in 2018, often
encourages high school students to consider the cost-effective path to a
The program, she says, saved her money, eased her transition to
college and led to her current job teaching second-grade special
education in Dover, Delaware.
Sylena Miller, who completed the AAETE program two years ago and will
graduate this spring with her bachelors degree, says she made the
right choice by starting college in Georgetown.
I loved the professors I had, and I really enjoyed the smaller class
sizes because it allowed me to make more meaningful connections with my
professors, said Miller, who has lined up multiple interviews for
teaching jobs in Delaware schools next fall. And it has made me so much
better off financially now. My time in the Georgetown program just
seemed to fly by.
Article by Ann Manser; photos by Ambre Alexander Payne and courtesy of Emily Halliday