Expansion of the Shared Master Teachers Program

Terrapin Teachers (TT) welcomes two new Shared Master Teachers (SMTs) in computer science, Elias Gonzalez and Jennifer Manly.  

The SMT initiative continues to provide unique and exciting opportunities for Terrapin Teachers and for our partner school systems.  SMT brings additional Master Teachers to TT. However, rather than being a full-time employee of the University of Maryland (UMD), the SMT is a teacher in a local public high school who continues to be a school employee, but who is assigned by the school system to TT for a significant portion of her/his time. The SMT teaches two courses during the morning at their home high school and then spend their afternoons with TT, including teaching classes for the program. The SMT typically holds the position for 3-5 years before returning full-time to their school. 

In the previous model, the SMTs taught biology and mathematics courses at their respective high schools and co-taught TT introductory courses, TLPL 101 and TLPL 102.  Beginning in fall 2019, the SMTs model will expand to also include computer science. During the academic year, computer science SMTs will split their time between TT, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), and the Computer Science Department.   

There are many advantages to this model for both TT and the local schools.  For example: the SMT gets to be part of an exciting college-level program and to experience college teaching, bringing the college perspective back to their high schools.  At the same time, TT benefits from the involvement and perspective of an individual who is intimately involved in the schools, bringing high school teaching expertise and collaborations to TT.  Finally, the schools join the Professional Development School (PDS) program, receiving access to, and involvement with, TT and UMD.  

Of course, another real positive for the SMT program is that even when the teacher returns to their school full time, he or she will maintain collaborations and contact with TT.  This allows for the continued sharing of ideas as well as opportunities for TT students who work in the school as apprentice teachers.

Elias Gonzalez

Elias Gonzalez attended the University of Maryland (UMD) for his undergraduate and graduate studies, earning a B.S. in Computer Science in 2017 and an M.Ed. in 2018.  A native of Silver Spring, Elias completed his apprenticeship teaching at Montgomery Blair High School (his Alma Mater) and was subsequently hired to teach for the Science, Mathematics, and Technology Magnet program at that school.  He has taught a range of courses, from AP Computer Science to Analysis of Algorithms.  As an SMT, Elias will teach computer science at Northwood High School and co-teach TLPL 101 (Step 1) in the Terrapin Teachers program during the fall 2019 semester.  Elias will teach Special Topics in Computer Science; Introduction to PHP and Javascript course in the Department of Computer Science (CMSC389N) during the spring 2020 semester.

Jennifer Manly

Jennifer Manly earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Georgia and is currently pursuing her M.Ed. in STEM Education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  For the past three and a half years, Jennifer has pioneered an innovative computer science curriculum at Old Mill Middle School South in Anne Arundel County Public Schools that offers students the opportunity to do authentic projects for real-world clients.  She is a Project Lead the Way Master Teacher and a Certified ScrumMaster, facilitating workshops on using Scrum in the classroom at the national level. As an SMT, she will teach computer science at Paint Branch High School and co-teach TLPL 101 in the Terrapin Teachers program during the fall 2019 semester.  Jennifer will teach the Introduction to Computer Programming via the Web (CMSC122) course in the Department of Computer Science during the spring 2020 semester.

Congratulations to Our Spring 2019 Graduates

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TT hosted a dinner to celebrate our class of 2019.  As part of the dinner, the TT staff started a conversation to elicit ideas from our graduates regarding ways in which the program can stay in touch with graduates and provide support during their induction year.  As the evening progressed, students shared their plans for the upcoming academic year. 

Listed below are the job placements our graduates are beginning this fall:

  • Vanessa Wagener (math) - Rock Ridge High School, Loudoun County Public School, Ashburn, VA

  • Pamela Taretacan (biology) - Francis Scott Key Middle School, Montgomery County Public School, Silver Spring, MD

  • Neha Soni (math) - Rock Ridge High School, Loudoun County Public School, Ashburn, VA

  • Mark Wilson (math) - Springbrook High School, Montgomery County Public School, Silver Spring, MD

  • Emily Murdock (math) - Paint Branch High School, Montgomery County Public School, Burtonsville, MD

  • Jon Mevs (computer science) - Washington Leadership Academy, XQ Super School, Washington, D.C.

  • Andrea Dai (chemistry) - Robert Frost Middle School, Montgomery County Public School, Rockville, MD

  • Joey Prettyman (biology) - Walt Whitman High School, Montgomery County Public School, Bethesda, MD

  • Andy Miller (math) - Tuscarora High School, Loudoun County Public School, Leesburg, VA

  • Justin Pedro (biology) - Northwest High School, Montgomery County Public School, Germantown, MD

  • Amman Haque (biology) - George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology, Baltimore County Public Schools, Baltimore, MD

  • Monique Scott-Hayes (biology) - Richard Montgomery High School, Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, MD

2019 UTeach Conference

A large contingent from TT attended the 2019 UTeach Conference held in Austin, Texas from May 21-23.  Representatives from 46 UTeach programs around the country met and shared ideas and lessons learned from implementing the UTeach model.

Terrapin Teachers staff and Master Teachers led two sessions at the conference: 

  • “Engaging Community Colleges in Recruitment of Secondary STEM Teachers Through Step 1”, Dr. Anisha Campbell, Dr. Anita Sanyal, Sarah Henson-Darko, Steven Karig, and Kayla White

  • “A Trajectory of Equity and Social Justice”, Sarah Henson-Darko, Dr. Anita Sanyal, Steven Karig, and Kayla White

Amman Haque represented the TT undergraduates during the student poster session. His poster was entitled, “Developing Profiles of Middle-Level Mathematics Teacher Candidates’ Responsiveness with Avatars: An Approximation of Practice.”

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(photo credit: Jahaira Dixon)



Congratulations to Our Fall 2018 Graduate Jennifer Hill

(photo credit: Jennifer Hill)

(photo credit: Jennifer Hill)

Congratulations are in order for Jennifer Hill, a Secondary Mathematics Education major. Jennifer transferred to UMD from Montgomery College during her junior year. Starting spring 2019, she will teach algebra at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, MD.  

“My overall college experience has been a challenge. Being a double major in math and education is no joke. When I was in high school and even at my community college, math came very easy to me, but being here at UMD, it was a huge change. There were times where I doubted my ability to be a math teacher and thought about changing paths. But the Terrapin Teacher classes made me confident in not only being a teacher but a math teacher. I got to meet some amazing people and go through some great experiences in the classroom. I have learned a lot about the kind of teacher I want to be and I appreciate Terrapin Teachers so much for getting me that much closer to becoming a teacher.“


Terrapin Teachers Host Induction Dinner

Eight local TT graduates attended our first induction event on January 15, 2019. Induction involves mentoring, support and guidance for new teachers.  Graduates shared challenges and accomplishments that occurred during their first semester of teaching in local high schools. During the spring semester, graduates will receive support for professional development, instruction, and resources for loan forgiveness.   

Left to right: Dana Grosser-Clarkson, Kayla White, Sarah Henson-Darko, Elias Gonzalez, Sara Tatum, Robert Martin, Linda Steel, Christopher Knocke, Will Tanzola, Jordan Weissberg, Anisha Campbell, Carolyn Lane, Julie Brenner

Left to right: Dana Grosser-Clarkson, Kayla White, Sarah Henson-Darko, Elias Gonzalez, Sara Tatum, Robert Martin, Linda Steel, Christopher Knocke, Will Tanzola, Jordan Weissberg, Anisha Campbell, Carolyn Lane, Julie Brenner

Listed below are the current job placements for each TT graduate:

  • Elias Gonzalez - computer science, Montgomery Blair High School

  • Sara Tatum - mathematics, Bladensburg High School

  • Robert Martin - Ph.D. candidate

  • Linda Steele - mathematics, Northwood High School

  • Christopher Knocke - chemistry, Bethesda Chevy Chase High School

  • Will Tanzola - astronomy, Bethesda Chevy Chase High School

  • Jordan Weissberg - mathematics, Gaithersburg High School

  • Carolyn Lane - mathematics, Rockville High School

Terrapin Teachers Student Ambassador Events

Left to right: Joshua Pooranmal (computer science, '20); Samhita Chundury (bioengineering, '21); Precious Azike (biological sciences, '20)

Left to right: Joshua Pooranmal (computer science, '20); Samhita Chundury (bioengineering, '21); Precious Azike (biological sciences, '20)

The Terrapin Teachers Student Ambassador Program is a yearlong internship that offers Terrapin Teachers students the opportunity to become more involved in the program’s recruiting and marketing efforts. During the fall 2018 semester, the TT Student Ambassadors hosted several activities. The goals of the events were to promote the TT initiative and recruit potential students who may be interested in enrolling in our first course, Inquiry Teaching of STEM in Elementary School (TLPL 101).

Ice Cream Social: Share Something Sweet with Your Fellow Future Educators!

On October 5, 2018, undergraduates currently enrolled in TT courses shared experiences about the impact of the courses and highlights from their fieldwork. Students played games and enjoyed tasty treats.

Free Professional Headshots

Students typically apply for various scholarships and internships during the fall semester. On October 12, 2018, TT offered students an opportunity to receive a free photo (headshot) to include in their application package. While promoting the event around campus, TT Student Ambassadors talked to their peers about the TT initiative and encouraged them to enroll in our introductory course, TLPL 101.

Alexandra Wright (mathematics, '22) smiles for the camera during the Free Professional Headshots event.

Alexandra Wright (mathematics, '22) smiles for the camera during the Free Professional Headshots event.

Tie Dye & Game Night

Word-of-mouth has been an essential recruitment tool for Terrapin Teachers.  At the beginning of the fall semester, each TT student was given a shirt with the question, “Ask Me About Terrapin Teachers?” on the front. As a result, several students found themselves engaged in conversations with their peers and professors about the program.    

On December 6, 2018, TT hosted a tie-dye event to allow TT students to add color to their white t-shirts. Participants decorated their shirts while enjoying games (cards, board games, Mario Kart, etc.), music, and pizza.

De-stress With Terrapin Teachers

On December 11, 2018, TT Student Ambassadors hosted a yoga event in Eppley Recreation Center to help UMD students de-stress during the exam period.

Left to right: Samhita Chundury (bioengineering, '21), Joshua Pooranmal (computer science, '20), Peter Mielke (physics, '20), Lehka Tantry (mathematics, '19), unknown, unknown, Precious Azike (biological sciences, '20), and unknown

Left to right: Samhita Chundury (bioengineering, '21), Joshua Pooranmal (computer science, '20), Peter Mielke (physics, '20), Lehka Tantry (mathematics, '19), unknown, unknown, Precious Azike (biological sciences, '20), and unknown

2018 National Science Teachers Association Conference

Dr. Anisha Campbell, Associate Director of Terrapin Teachers, served as the local arrangements coordinator for the 2018 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) regional conference held November 13-17 at the National Harbor in Maryland.  

The National Harbor regional conference was organized around:

  • Monumental Challenge: STEM Equity, Diversity, and Advocacy via Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

  • Freedom to Become Scientifically Literate

  • Cultivating Curiosity in the Capital Region

Terrapin Teachers (TT) would like to thank Dr. Daniel Levin, Clinical Associate Professor for Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership (TLPL), and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Robert Noyce grant, for sponsoring three TT students who attended the conference.

Left to right: Josephine Vallejo (biological sciences, '20); Michelle Njinguet (chemistry, '20); Pamela Tarectecan (biological sciences, '19); Anisha Campbell (Associate Director); and Damaries Blondonville (Prince George’s County Public Schools, TSL Senior Project Manager, Office of Talent Development)

Left to right: Josephine Vallejo (biological sciences, '20); Michelle Njinguet (chemistry, '20); Pamela Tarectecan (biological sciences, '19); Anisha Campbell (Associate Director); and Damaries Blondonville (Prince George’s County Public Schools, TSL Senior Project Manager, Office of Talent Development)



Meet our New Master Teacher

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Terrapin Teachers welcomed a new Master Teacher, Dr. Dana Grosser-Clarkson, in fall 2018. Dr. Grosser-Clarkson completed her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Maryland in 2016.

Dr. Grosser-Clarkson holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from Western Michigan University, where she also worked with the Core-Plus Mathematics Project. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D. at UMD, Dr. Grosser-Clarkson was an assistant mathematics professor at the University of Charleston and taught high school mathematics in Michigan. Dr. Grosser-Clarkson's current research interests include core-practices, practice-based teacher education, standards-based curricula, algebraic thinking, classroom discourse, and lesson study. With Terrapin Teachers, Dr. Grosser-Clarkson has been teaching several secondary mathematics methods courses and supervising our secondary teaching candidates in their year-long field placements.