The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 27, 2010

UPJ to offer continuing education for teachers


Beginning in the spring, Pitt-Johnstown will help make the lives of educators a little bit easier.

The university will launch its program

– Act 48 at Pitt-Johnstown – for prekindergarten through 12th grade teachers in 300 schools throughout a

79-district region including Cambria, Somerset, Bedford, Blair, Clearfield, Indiana, Westmoreland and Fayette counties.

Pennsylvania Act 48, which was enacted in 1999, in part requires teachers to complete 180 contact hours in continuing education activities every five years in order to maintain their state certification.

Paul Douglas Newman, program director and UPJ history professor, called the program a community project.

“We were receiving phone calls from area educators and alumni asking if we offered Act 48,” he said. “We are responding to that need.”

Credits will be available through three program formats: A day-long symposium, half-day Saturday sessions or week-long institutes.

The STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – full-day symposium will offer six contact hours. The first event will be held May 5 and the theme is “Try-Math-A-Lot for Teachers.” On May 8 the theme is “Energy.”

The Act 48 Saturdays program will offer 3.5 contact hours in discipline-specific instruction. Topics will include biology, chemistry, computer science, creative writing, social studies, Spanish and technology in the classroom. The first program is set to begin Sept. 18.

Summer institutes are week-long thematic, multi-disciplinary activities and offer 30 contact hours. Plans are still being finalized and the program should be fully operational for the 2010-2011 academic school year.

“School districts do offer these programs through in-service days where teachers can sit in on workshops and lessons, but the programs are very broad and general so everyone can participate,” Newman said. “By UPJ offering content-based Act 48 programs, it will be very specific and specialized to the areas teachers teach and work.”

Workshop activities for each program will be offered by UPJ faculty, guest speakers from other universities and the professional world and community elementary, middle and high school teachers.

Cost for each program varies.

Contact hours will be reported to the state Department of Education.

“The university is offering this as part of our broader mission to help primary, middle and high school teachers who are teaching our potential students; we are all connected with one another,” Newman said.

For more information, call 269-2987 or and click Pitt-Johnstown News.