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St.Kate’s Education Department Newsletter

Volume 1, Issue 1
Fall 2016

News from the Education Department
Message from the Chair

“To everything (turn, turn, turn)There is a season (turn, turn, turn)

And a time to every purpose, under heaven”

Pete Seeger
Undoubtedly, I am dating myself to resurrect a Pete Seeger song converted into a #1 single by the Byrds but I think it provides an apt context for the inaugural St. Kate’s Education Department Newsletter. To everything, there is a season and we want to support teachers through the many seasons of their careers. We want to be with teachers in the spring of their careers where growth is rapid but care and nurturing is critical. We want to be with teachers in the summer of their careers when they are in full bloom and providing shade and shelter for their students and peers. We want to be with teachers in the autumn of their careers when they burst with the colors and richness only a lifetime in the classroom can bring.
Our purpose is to support teachers with what they need, when they need it. As pre-service educators, we want to provide a relevant and rigorous teacher education program that prepares our teacher candidates for the 21st Century classrooms. Our professional development, certificate and master’s degree programs are designed to give licensed teachers practical and timely knowledge and skills that will enhance their classrooms and propel their careers. The best teachers are lifelong learners and our role is to support learning throughout the many seasons of a teacher’s career.
This newsletter is one way we hope to stay connected with our current students, alums and stakeholders. Together, we can celebrate becoming “seasoned” educators. We can continue to grow and prosper through the many seasons of a rich and rewarding career in the great profession of teaching.
Kevin Mackin
Education Department Chair

Alumnae Spotlight
Spotlight on…Angela Rosendahl
Graduation Year: 2011
What have you been doing since graduation? I’ve been teaching 5th grade at Cannon River STEM School in Faribault since graduation.
Tell us about your current teaching position. I’m currently teaching 5th grade. We’re a Responsive Classroom school, so we do morning meeting and CARES. And typically we do a lot of integration. Math and Science are in the morning, and Language Arts and Social Studies in the afternoon. Social Studies and Language Arts also happen during Math and Science. The students also have specials: art, music, PE, and coding. We do Words Their Way. We try to spend as much time outside as we can. Our charter states we will spend 3 hours a week outside, not counting recess. So morning meeting activities are often outside, and we have a naturalist that does work with the students outside. I’m on the board for the school also.
What is your favorite part of your school day? Science, because I just love it so much. But I think I like all the organic opportunities we are afforded here. At any time something can happen and we can end up somewhere unexpected, and that’s ok here.
What are your favorite resources, or what have you learned about since graduating that you’re excited about? I went to the MN Humanities Center and did an Absent Narratives workshop learning about how everyone has a story and comes from a place. I enjoyed understanding my own narrative and how my narrative affects what I do and how my students’ and parents’ and colleagues’ narratives impact their lives too. It was a powerful workshop for me. I have also used a lot of tools from Youth Mental Health First Aid in my teaching. We get lots of cool opportunities here, so every summer I get to go to Audubon Center for the Northwoods, our Charter authorizer, to do workshops. The other thing that is unique here is that we do place-based fieldtrips for the adults, so the workshop weeks before school starts for the year and right after school is out for the year, we visit some place in Faribault and we can use these places in the future for fieldtrips. So we get to experience them ourselves and we know about the place where we’re teaching.
What is something that surprised you about teaching once you got your first job? If you build a relationship with kids, you have the ability to have rich discussions. It’s so important for me to build relationships with students, and this impacts my teaching a lot. Also, I am astonished at how parents will treat teachers, so you need to develop a thick skin and be very reflective. You need to ask yourself whether you need to change or if the parents need an ear. The amount of reflection can be exhausting.
What is something you remember learning about at St Kate’s that you use in your teaching? Everything. The passion. I was made a better teacher seeing the passion for teaching I saw at St. Kate’s, and I know that makes an impact on my students. The reflection I did in Teachers as Leaders about who I am as a teacher, I think about that all the time. I had so many experiences that I remember and that continue to influence my teaching. The lesson planning too. We have to make all our own lesson plans here, so that I definitely take with me. I’m a relational person, so the relationships with professors are what stick with me most.
What advice do you have for St. Kate’s teacher candidates? If you get into it and it is not for you, it’s ok to get out of it. But in terms of teaching, you have to ask for help. I’m lucky here because we share everything. But I think everywhere, teachers need to ask for help. We already have it hard enough, so we should be supporting each other. It’s ok to make a mistake, and it’s ok to start over. Whether that’s a lesson or you get three weeks into the school year and need to start over and redo routines. Also, know what you are asking of your students and that not every student is like you. Groupwork, speaking to others, things that are new, you need to think about what you are asking of your students and help support them.
Anything else we should know about you? I am really happy and I really like being a teacher. I know this is the exact right thing I was supposed to do. But I don’t know if I would have liked it as much if I didn’t have the personal experiences I had at St. Kate’s. That really mattered to me.

Upcoming Events
Join us!

Winter Commencement: December 21, 2016

Watch for emails with more information about these upcoming events:

  • Graduate Program Information Session: January 10, 2017 at Lake Monster Brewing
  • Spring Stakeholders Meeting: Date TBD
  • Spring Teacher of the Year Panel: Date TBD
  • Pi Lambda Theta induction: May, 2016

Making Computational Thinking Teacher-Friendly
Have your students had an opportunity to develop their
computational thinking and coding skills
? If so, have they done it as part of the Hour of Code? Or through other activities inspired by the
CS for All
The motivation behind
CS for All
aligns well with St. Kate’s mission because access to learning computational thinking and coding is a matter of social justice. In particular: A
ll women–all children–deserve an opportunity to develop competence and confidence in this new basic literacy of computational thinking and coding.
If literacy, simply stated, includes the ability to “read and write,” computational thinking can be thought of as the “grammar” of  building an app, creating new software, and the design behind a beautiful website. Just as grammar attributes (e.g., nouns, verbs, punctuation, etc.) are common to every language (French, Swahili, Japanese), computational thinking attributes are common to communicating in any programming language (e.g., Python, Java, Processing). Example attributes of computational thinking include:
  • Sequencing
  • Defining
  • Sorting
  • Algorithms
  • Looping
  • Logical Reasoning
  • Persistence
  • Attention to Detail
  • Perspective Taking
  • Creativity
Basic literacy affords us access to civic participation, connection to others, creative-outlets, psychological well-being and employment. Since our world of work, home, friends, community, and nation increasingly depend on computer-based applications to function, critical literacy now requires the ability to understand how computers “think.” Moreover, in order to “read the world” (Freire and Macedo, 1989) we need to see how our devices are shaping it, (bending it in ways recently unimaginable, really) and also imagine how we might use technology, broadly construed, to actualize our values and meet human needs.
Motivated to uncover and share this new basic  literacy skill, we have been offering 10-14 year old girls (Katie Coders) extracurricular classes and collaborating on research projects supported by the National Science Foundation (
SciGirls Strategies
SciGirls Code
, and
Linking Educators Youth and Learners in Computational Thinking
) to identify best practices for teaching computational thinking and coding to women and children in an affirming environment. We have identified some critical scaffolding techniques that encourage persistence with women/girls entering this terrain–such as: balancing hands-on activities with meta cognitive strategies that encourage resilience in the face of potential obstacles; emphasizing community building as a foundational necessity for the learning environment; and setting authentic real-world contexts.
To expand our reach with this mission-driven curriculum and pedagogy, we want to make our
online learning opportunities
available to a wider audience. A group of stakeholders were brought together to help inform our approach.  During this meeting, the following helpful questions were posed:
  • How might our marketing materials better position “computational thinking” to make it more appealing to K-8 teachers?
  • Should we change
    our course names
    to be less intimidating?
  • What tagline would communicate the social justice-oriented objectives behind our courses?
We would greatly benefit from hearing your ideas on computational thinking and how we might answer these questions. Can you help us?
Any thoughts, images, examples, or tagline ideas may be shared via the
St. Kate’s Teachers Talk Facebook
page, tweeted to
or pinned to

Freire, Paulo and Donaldo Macedo. 1987. Literacy: Reading the Word and the World. South Hadley, MA: Bergin & Garvey.

Katie Klatch*
Get to know St. Kate’s Education Faculty
Being a Program Director of Initial Teacher Licensure is about knowing rules and regulations and helping everyone follow them. With that kind of a job description, you might expect the person drawn to this work to be a ‘colors inside the lines’ kind of character, but when it comes to St. Kate’s newly hired Program Director, that expectation evaporates like a drop of water on a hot iron. What do fat tire bikes, tuna fish, engineering, juvenile probation, and a wonderful young family have in common?
Meet David Stricker.
Dr. Stricker joined the Education department at St. Catherine University in August 2016. A native Minnesotan, he graduated from Anoka-Ramsey High School, earned a BS in Criminal Science at the University of Minnesota at Duluth, then a Master of Arts in Education for Science and Technology atthe University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. In 2005, he was awarded a National Center for Engineering and Technology Education fellowship to pursue a doctorate at the U of M in Engineering and Technology Education.
On a December afternoon, I sat down with Dr. Stricker in his spacious, well-organized office, where maps of the North Shore in Minnesota adorn the walls, next to chart paper scrawl outlining the engineering design process, and a bookcase full of titles like Why Didn’t I Learn this in College?, Education and Experience, The World Record Paper Airplane Book, and Everyday Anti-Racism. With a cold wind bouncing the evergreen branches outside, Katie Klatch settled in to talk Dr. Stricker about everything from life at St. Kate’s to Tim O’Brien.
KK: What drew you to teaching, and where have you taught?
DS: As an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, I was a criminal science major. My first professional job was working as a positive peer culture juvenile probation officer, and it was there that I realized how powerful structured, authentic teaching could be. I moved on from juvenile probation work to being an educational assistant working with level 5 EBD and high-needs autistic students. Eventually, I earned a master’s degree in science and technology teaching, and went on to teach in middle and high schools as a science/technology specialist.
KK: So, before you came to St. Kate’s, you were on the faculty at UW, Stout for seven years teaching science and technology education classes, educational research courses, and serving as an advisor on doctoral committees. You’ve been at St. Kate’s for about 14 weeks now, tell us what you like about being here.
DS: Right away I’ll say that one great thing is the students. They are extremely engaging because they bring a lot to the table with a vast array of experiences. Also, they’ve been kind to the new guy.
KK:What’s a quality you most admire in the faculty you work with?
Capacity; the knowledge they have of teaching, especially the art and science of teaching. Experience contributes to this, as does academic preparation.
KK: What’s something that might surprise people to know about you?
DS: In October 2015, I sailed across Lake Superior with two other crew members from Bayfield to Grand Marais and back. The trip took two days with someone on the crew awake all night. Because it was October, the weather was very unpredictable. Our biggest challenge was fog. We had a few close calls with oar boats while we were out.
KK: Here are a few speed round questions. With a day to yourself, and all your responsibilities taken care of, what would we find you doing?
DS: Riding my fat bike.
KK: If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?
DS: Tuna fish. It’s the best.
KK: What’s a book that’s had a strong influence on you?
DS: (without hesitation) The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
KK: You and your wife have two young daughters, Sydney, who’s 8 and Madeline (after the island), who’s 12. Tell us about a favorite family tradition.
DS: Every fall we go to the Bayfield Apple Fest. We took the girls when they were so young, they had no idea what was going on, but now they wouldn’t let us miss a year. We love it.
KK: Last question: What’s an accomplishment you’re especially proud of?
DS: I know this is going to sound provincial, but really, I’m most proud of the two thoughtful, kind, and open-minded children my wife and I are raising.

[KK’s mental wheels spinning . . . they sound like future Katies!]

In the short time he’s been at St. Kate’s, Dr. Stricker has made a strong, positive impact on the culture of our department. When Katie Klatch asked him to name a motto he lives by, he chuckled and said, “Never say never!”. That’s a way of living he’s been thinking about a lot lately as he looks back on the last 20 years of his career. And while we appreciate his growth mindset, faculty and staff in the Education department hope Dr. Stricker’s intrepid spirit is ‘fixed’ for many years here at St. Kate’s.

*Coffee klatch is loosely translated from the German: Kaffee, coffee + Klatsch, gossip. We’re making that even looser by launching our Katie (literally from the English for cool) Klatch column.

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