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UMES Hosts National Conference on Improving Students Achievement and Teaching Quality

  • Friday, November 5, 2010

    PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - (Nov. 5, 2010) - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore's Department of Education is co-hosting a national conference Nov. 8 in partnership with the Educational Testing Service for colleagues who train primary and secondary teachers and the people who hire them.

    Educators from Historically Black Colleges and Universities in 10 states and Washington, D.C. will spend the day at UMES' Richard A. Henson Center discussing the latest research findings and learning new teacher-preparation strategies.  Dr. Thelma B. Thompson will welcome participants at the opening session on Monday and will facilitate one of the panel discussions, "New Leaders for a New Era."

     "It's important for the public to know that we have a finger on the pulse of what's happening in education," said Dr. Michael Nugent, who coordinates UMES' teacher-credential preparation. 

    Lawmakers and school superintendents from the Eastern Shore of Maryland also will participate in the 15th Collaboration Conference organized by ETS, a nonprofit that administers PRAXIS tests that most teachers must pass to earn their professional credentials. Dr. Michael Nettles, Senior Vice President of ETS, will moderate a panel discussion with these local policymakers.

    ETS has worked with HBCUs since 2003 on "the dual challenges of improving teaching quality and student achievement," ETS spokeswoman Barbara Klish said. The goal, she said, is to boost the number of "qualified minority teachers gaining licensure for K-12 classroom teaching."

    An estimated 75 participants at the UMES conference will attend sessions and hear speakers discuss educational reform, including the federal "Race to the Top" grant program, student access to higher education and best practices for preparing teacher candidates.  Participants also will receive a briefing from ETS about developments in teacher licensure testing. 

    The UMES event is particularly timely, Nugent noted, because the federal government is awarding millions of dollars in grants "designed to encourage and reward states that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform" to improve student achievement and prepare them for college. 

    Delaware received $100 million in "Race to the Top" funding, while Maryland recently qualified for $250 million. 

    Dr. John Smeallie, Deputy State Superintendent of Administration from the Maryland Department of Education, will deliver a keynote speech Sunday at a kick-off dinner for conference participants on the new state grant and other reforms, according to Dr. Karen Verbeke, Director of Teacher Education and Chair of UMES' Department of Education.

    For more information about the conference, contact Dr. Michael A. Nugent at 410 651-8362 or



    Bill Robinson, UMES Office of Public Relations, 410-621-2355,