The Department of Elementary Education offers professional education programs that lead to recommendation to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for residency teacher certification in the state of Washington. Students are encouraged to visit the departmental offices in Miller Hall 300 for information on program offerings that meet their individual needs.
The programs in elementary education are designed to prepare thoughtful, knowledgeable, and effective educators for a diverse society. Consistent with national and state standards for what teachers should know and be able to do, the elementary education curriculum offers carefully sequenced professional programs that are firmly backed by current research on effective teaching and learning.
Individuals interested in teacher education can obtain information from the Website at wce.wwu.edu/admission. Inquiries should be directed to Woodring College Teacher Education Admissions, Student Services, Miller Hall 150, phone 360-650-3313, e-mail address TeacherEd.Admission@wwu.edu. Written inquiries may be addressed to Teacher Education Admissions, Western Washington University, MS-9090, 516 High St., Bellingham, WA 98225-9090.
Information about elementary education programs may be obtained by visiting the department Website at wce.wwu.edu/eled/elementary-education. Applicants who wish to speak with a faculty advisor may request an appointment through the elementary education department office in Miller Hall 300, phone 360-650-3336.
Those persons interested in graduate programs should consult the Graduate School section of this catalog or contact one of the Graduate Advisors for the Masters in Education: Literacy and Language, Dr. Tracy Coskie email@example.com or Dr. Marsha Riddle Buly firstname.lastname@example.org. The Graduate School can also be contacted directly for more general questions, phone 360-650-3170, e-mail email@example.com. Written inquiries may be addressed to the Graduate School, Old Main 530, MS-9037, Western Washington University, 516 High St., Bellingham, WA 98225-9037.
TRACY COSKIE (2003) Chair and Professor. BA, University of Rochester; MEd, PhD, University of Washington.
MARILYN CHU (2008) Director of Early Childhood Education Program and Professor. BA, University of Michigan- Ann Arbor; MA, Western Washington University; EdD, Nova Southeastern University, Florida.
DESIREE CUETO (2016) Assistant Professor. BA, Providence College; MEd, University of Maryland; MFA, PhD, The University of Arizona.
PAULA DAGNON (2007) Associate Professor. BA, Whitman College; MA, University of Connecticut, Storrs; PhD, University of Connecticut, Storrs.
BETH DILLARD (2016) Assistant Professor. BA, Auburn University; Med, University of Oregon; PhD, University of Minnesota.
JESSICA FERRERAS-STONE (2016) Assistant Professor. BS, Walla Walla University; MA, La Sierra University; PhD, University of Tennessee.
MARIA TIMMONS FLORES (2008) Associate Professor. MEd, Western Washington University; PhD, University of Colorado Boulder.
KRISTEN FRENCH (2007) Associate Professor. BA, Western Washington University; MA, University of Massachusetts-Amherst; EdD, University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
JENNIFER GREEN (2012) Associate Professor. BA, Gustavus Adolphus College; MAT, School for International Training; PhD, University of Connecticut.
MARGARITA RUIZ GUERRERO (2019) Assistant Professor. BS, Universidad Veracruzana; MS, University of North Texas; PhD, New Mexico State University.
MEILAN JIN (2019) Assistant Professor. BA, Changchun Normal University; MEd, Wayne State University; PhD, The University of Tennessee
ANNA LEES (2015) Assistant Professor. BA, Spring Arbor University; MA, Marygrove College; EdD, Loyola University Chicago.
MATTHEW MILLER (2005) Professor. BA, St. Olaf College; MA, University of Arizona; MEd, University of Minnesota; PhD, University of Washington.
MARSHA RIDDLE BULY (1999) Professor. BA, Western Washington University; MA, California State University; PhD, University of Washington.
PATRICIA SKILLMAN (1988) Director TESOL Program and Senior Instructor. BA, Stanford University; MEd, Western Washington University.
STEPHANIE STRACHAN (2016) Assistant Professor. BA, University of California at Berkley; MA, San Diego State University; PhD, Michigan State University.
Elementary Education Programs
The Department of Elementary Education offers the following programs, majors, endorsements, and minors:
- Elementary Education (Undergraduate and Post-Baccalaureate) – This program leads to a recommendation to the state of Washington for a teaching certificate with an Elementary Education endorsement. Requirements include completion of the Elementary Education Professional Program, a major in an approved area, and a one-year internship experience that includes one quarter of full-time teaching.
- Language, Literacy, and Cultural Studies Major (Undergraduate) – This departmental major is one of 15 approved academic majors that students may choose from to accompany the Elementary Education Professional Program. The Bachelor of Arts in Education: Language, Literacy, and Cultural Studies Major responds to the growing diversity in the state’s schools and supports the Woodring College of Education’s efforts to embrace diversity and promote social justice. The major focuses on research-based and experience-validated knowledge to help elementary school teachers reach all students. The LLC major includes preparation toward a Reading Endorsement and an ELL and/or Bilingual Endorsement program in addition to the K-8 endorsement.
- Early Childhood Education (Undergraduate) – The Early Childhood Education Program offers two options to students. Both options are for candidates seeking a profession in early childhood education and specialization in working with young children and their families. The Non-certification option is designed for individuals who want to work in positions specific to the birth to eight years age range in childcare, HeadStart or with school-age children in after-school programs. The P-3 option is designed for students wanting to specialize in early childhood education (birth through third grade) and seek a teaching endorsement to work in the public schools.
- MEd – Language and Literacy (Post-Baccalaureate) – The MEd – Language and Literacy has four main components: foundations, core study, independent research, and study in a concentration area. May provide Washington state additional endorsement in reading, ELL, or bilingual education. Program includes a Thesis and Non-Thesis option. Candidates must meet the requirements of the Graduate School in addition to the following departmental requirements: Miller Analogies Test or Graduate Record Exam, General Test, and submission of supporting materials (a resume, a statement of purpose, and an on-campus interview, if requested). Students’ applications are first reviewed by the Graduate School before consideration for admission to a specific program. No graduate Record Exams (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is required if an applicant holds an advanced degree.
- Reading Endorsement – This program leads to an additional endorsement in Reading K-12 when accompanied by a first endorsement in another content area. The Reading Endorsement is offered for students who wish to have the opportunity to further their knowledge and skills for literacy instruction. Students will deepen their knowledge of effective, evidence-based language and literacy assessment, instruction, and programming while building their capacity to support all students to move forward as readers, writers, and language users. A passing score on the NES Reading and demonstration of the state competencies for reading are required.
- Bilingual Education Endorsement – This program leads to an additional endorsement in Bilingual Education when accompanied by a first endorsement in another content area. Also required is a cross-cultural experience (gained through experience, or a minimum of 3 credits of approved coursework), and the equivalent of one year of college-level foreign language study. Expected proficiency is equivalent to a major in the language other than English, and oral and written proficiency at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) mid-advanced level. Each required course must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better. A passing score on the Bilingual Education WEST-E Bilingual Endorsement and the ACTFL tests are required by the state.
- English Language Learner (ELL) Endorsement – This program leads to an additional endorsement in English Language Learner based on Washington State English Language Learner endorsement competencies, when accompanied by a first endorsement in another content area. Students must demonstrate study of another culture (gained through experience, or the minimum of 3 credits of approved course work) and the equivalent of one year of college-level foreign language study. A passing score on the WEST-E ELL Endorsement test is required by the state.
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Minor – The TESOL minor is available to undergraduate students in the TESOL certificate program with a focus on adult learners. Students earning an ELL endorsement may choose to complete either 27-credit TESOL minor with a focus on P-12 learners or the 32-credit Bilingual Education minor, but not both. To declare the TESOL minor, students must demonstrate study of another culture (gained through experience, or the minimum of 3 credits of approved course work) and the equivalent of one year of college-level foreign language study.
- English Language Learner (ELL) Minor – The English Language Learner minor is available to undergraduate students in the English Language Learner/Bilingual Endorsement program. This includes 28 credits of ELL coursework for students in teacher certification programs. Students working toward an English Language Learner/Bilingual Education endorsement may choose to complete the 28-credit English Language Learner minor. To declare the English Language Learner minor, students must also demonstrate study of another culture (gained through experience, or the minimum of 3 credits of approved course work) and the equivalent of one year of college-level foreign language study.
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Certificate – The TESOL Program focuses on preparing participants to work with English language learners to develop their English language skills. Works is most often in international language schools, community language school settings for new or recent immigrants, and community college ESL classes. Completion of the 27-credit sequence of courses results in a TESOL Certificate.
- Media and Digital Literacy Certificate - This certificate is for teachers and educators who want to learn how to implement new literacy practices in their school community, regardless of grade level or content area. Potential outcomes for participants include learning how to: prepare technology integrated lessons, produce a variety of digital media (e.g. videos, memes, podcasts, etc.), develop a line of inquiry, curate resources, and create a multimedia presentation, and develop a technology integrated advocacy project. Completion of the 16-credit sequence of courses results in a Media and Digital Literacy Certificate.
The Department of Special Education and Education Leadership offers the following integrated dual endorsement program:
- Special Education and Elementary Education — This program leads to a recommendation to the state of Washington for a teaching certificate endorsed in Special Education and Elementary Education. Requirements include completion of the professional studies core, major in special education, and elementary program curriculum and methods, and two internships, each one quarter in length. See the Special Education section of this catalog for further information.
Per ESSA, districts are no longer required to identify and document Highly Qualified Teachers. Moving forward, the state of Washington will continue to monitor teacher qualifications and collect data about certification, endorsements, teaching assignments, and years of experience. Districts may still maintain previous requirements that impact eligibility for certain middle school teaching assignments in a core academic subject(s). Candidates are responsible for consulting with an advisor for further information on what endorsement will best fit their teaching career goals.
The Washington Administrative Code specifies the requirements for earning a Washington state teacher certificate. State-approved preparation programs and certification requirements align with state learning goals and essential academic learning requirements, and require candidates to demonstrate that they have made a positive impact on student learning. First-level residency certification programs are designed around the standards of effective teaching, professional development, and teaching as a profession.
State requirements for teacher certification at the time of completion of a student’s program will supersede those outlined in this catalog. These changes may affect the time it takes for a student to complete the teacher education program.
Residency Teacher Certification
The first-level Residency certificate is awarded to new teachers upon the completion of these generally stated requirements:
- A baccalaureate or higher-level degree from a regionally accredited college or university
- A state-approved, performance-based teacher preparation program that includes preparation in an endorsable subject area, teaching methodology, and an internship
- Evidence of good moral character and personal fitness
- External assessments of content knowledge and teacher performance as required by Washington State
Candidates for Residency certification must pass a content knowledge assessment: the Washington Educator Skills Test - Endorsements (WEST-E) or National Evaluation Series (NES) test, and if applicable, ACTFL proficiency tests, to qualify for an endorsement. WWU requires submission of a passing content test score for each endorsement to be earned, before commencement of the full-time student teaching internship. For current information on test requirements, registration, fees, and test dates and locations, refer to Content Test Resource Website, wce.wwu.edu/cert/content-test-resource-site. Candidates for Residency certification must also pass the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA), which is completed during the student teaching internship. Application for the Residency certificate is made to Woodring College Certification Office, Student Services, Miller Hall 150, phone 360-650-3388, no later than three months prior to the start of the full-time internship.
The first-issue Residency certificate has no defined expiration date. It is valid until the teacher completes at least 1.5 years of successful teaching experience accumulated over a minimum of two years in a state-approved public, private or state-operated education program. A three-year residency certificate is then issued by the state. The timeline for earning a second level professional certificate begins with the re-issued residency certificate.
Professional Teacher Certification
The second-level Professional certificate is awarded to experienced teachers who hold a valid Residency certificate, and who pass the Washington ProTeach Portfolio assessment or earn National Board Certification. Professional certification requirements are designed around the standards of effective teaching, professional development, and professional contributions. For further information, contact the Woodring College of Education certification officer at 360-650-3388, Miller Hall 150.
An endorsement identifies the subject matter in which a teacher is prepared and authorized by the State to teach. One qualifying endorsement is required for residency certification. Courses required for a teaching endorsement and the professional education sequence must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better. Elementary education students complete an approved major and the professional program designed specifically for elementary education candidates to earn a Residency certificate endorsed in Elementary Education. Approved academic majors are listed below under Choosing an Academic Major. Early childhood education students complete the professional program and the Early Childhood Education (P-3) Major to earn a Residency certificate endorsed in Early Childhood Education (P-3). Students may earn an additional endorsement in Bilingual Education, English Language Learner, or Reading through the Department of Elementary Education or other endorsement through an academic department.
For information on other additional endorsement programs offered throughout the University, contact the Woodring College of Education certification officer at 360-650-3388, Miller Hall 150.
Choosing an Academic Major
Students who wish to earn a teacher certificate endorsed in Early Childhood Education must also complete the early childhood education major.
Students who wish to earn a teacher certificate endorsed in Elementary Education must also complete an approved academic major. The following majors are currently approved for elementary education; additional majors are possible under advisement: anthropology; art; communication; environmental studies; foreign language (French, German, and Spanish); general science; general science-middle level; geography; geology (earth science); history; language, literacy, and cultural studies; mathematics; psychology (human development); sociology. While information on each of these majors is available throughout this catalog, it is important to seek advisement from faculty in the appropriate department before beginning work on an academic major. Other majors may be considered with department approval.
Professional Program Requirements
While it is possible to earn a bachelor’s degree and initial teaching certificate with certain majors in four academic years, most students require slightly longer. Following acceptance by the Woodring College of Education, which requires at least sophomore status, the student should expect to take seven to eight quarters to complete the teacher certification program. During these remaining quarters, the student has time to work on the academic major and General University Requirements (GURs). Students who enter the Woodring College of Education as juniors (e.g., many transfer students) should have satisfied nearly all of the GURs and should have a good start on their academic major.
All applicants to the Woodring College of Education undergraduate and post-baccalaureate teacher education programs must be formally admitted to and currently enrolled at Western Washington University or must apply to Western for the same quarter they apply to teacher education. Woodring College teacher education program application materials are available in Miller Hall 150 and are also printable from wce.wwu.edu/admission.
The requirements listed below are minimum application criteria. Enrollment restrictions apply to teacher education programs. Meeting the following requirements makes the applicant eligible for admission consideration but does not guarantee admission. Students who meet all criteria are further evaluated to determine the most qualified applicants. Students will be evaluated on all information provided with the application, including required copies of transcripts from all prior colleges.
- Completion of at least 45 quarter credits of college-level course work for the Early Childhood Education program or completion of at least 75 quarter credits of college-level coursework for the Elementary Education Professional Program.
- Cumulative grade point average of 2.75 or higher overall college-level work or over the last 45 credits
- Meet the West-B basic skills requirement. This may be met by: a) passing the West-B exam, b) SAT minimum scores, or c) ACT minimum scores. See the Woodring Admissions website: wce.wwu.edu/admissions/west-b-requirement and the West-B website for details: www.west.nesinc.com
- Completion of an English composition course with a grade of B- (2.7) or higher
- Experiences with children, strong interpersonal communication skills, and other skills helpful in teaching are given special emphasis.
Students admitted to the Woodring College of Education must meet specified requirements throughout the course of their teacher education program in order to remain in the program.
Requirements upon Program Admission
- Completion of a Pre-Residency Clearance through the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) E-Certification system, and a fingerprint background check as described below under Character and Fitness.
- Woodring College of Education Professional Orientation
- Woodring College of Education Prevention of Sexual Harassment Training
- Woodring College of Education Blood-Borne Pathogens Training
Character and Fitness
The Washington Administrative Code requires applicants for teacher certification to give evidence of “good moral character and personal fitness.” Students provide evidence of character and fitness through two separate but related processes:
- A Pre-Residency Clearance through OSPI Instructions for completion of this application will be provided upon acceptance into the program. The application requires candidates to answer questions regarding professional fitness, criminal history and personal conduct. Students with “yes” responses must be cleared by OSPI before participating in any courses that include field experiences.
- Washington State Patrol and FBI background checks are completed through a fingerprinting process. Teacher candidates admitted to an Early Childhood Education endorsement program complete a background check through the DEL, and submit the results to OSPI. Procedures and fee information are provided to students upon acceptance into the program
No student in a teacher education program may participate in a University-sponsored activity in the public schools until cleared by the DCY, Washington State Patrol, or in some cases, investigated and then cleared by the OSPI. Clearances are valid for two years. Students must maintain character and fitness clearance until they have been recommended for a Residency teacher certificate following completion of the teacher education program.
In addition to the Washington State character and fitness requirements noted above, students must abide by the Woodring College of Education conduct policies acknowledged in the Student Conduct Requirements and Agreement, which is submitted with program application materials.
General Retention Requirements
- Students must maintain at least a 2.75 GPA, beginning with the quarter they are notified of admission to Elementary Education. This requirement applies even to quarters where no education courses are being taken. Students who fail to meet this standard will be asked to meet with the department chair for advising and this may result in being dropped from the program. Grade point average for the academic major or minor may differ among academic departments.
- Students must earn a grade of C (2.0) or better in both the professional education sequence and in all courses required for the endorsement.
- Students must understand and demonstrate a high level of competence in the English language. Those who have difficulty in their verbal and/or written communications should expect to seek remediation before beginning the internship.
- Students who interrupt enrollment in a teacher education program for more than two consecutive quarters (summer quarter not included) must meet all program admission, completion and certification requirements in place for the quarter in which they expect to return.
Other Departmental Information
To qualify for program completion and recommendation for state of Washington Residency certification, students must complete the following requirements and assessments:
- A baccalaureate or higher-level degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
- Successful completion (grade of C or better) of all Woodring coursework and trainings, including preparation in an endorsable subject area and teaching methodologies.
- A state-approved, performance-based teacher preparation program that includes preparation in an endorsable subject area, teaching methodologies, and an internship.
- Evidence of good moral character and personal fitness.
- Passing scores as set by the State of Washington on the content knowledge test(s) for each endorsement.
- Passing scores as set by the State of Washington on the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA).
- Successful completion of the student teaching internship as shown by performance on the WWU Intern Development and Evaluation System (IDES).
An important experience for teacher certification candidates is the student teaching internship. Students spend two quarters taking final classes in the program along with time in their assigned classroom preparing for quarter three when they are teaching full-time under the direct supervision of a certificated teacher in a school setting. This internship involves intensive practice in integrating methods, content area knowledge, and classroom organizational strategies.
Students will be able to work part time during two quarters of the three quarter internship. However, one quarter of the internship involves full-time teaching responsibilities. It is our advice that candidates NOT work during the full-time internship so they may gain maximum benefit from the experience and perform at his or her highest ability.
Because the internship should be completed in a single classroom for all three quarters, it is likely that internship placement will be in a school site within Whatcom and Skagit counties.
The Office of Field Experiences (OFE) is the support office of the Woodring College of Education that overseas student teaching placements and supervision. Students must apply for their student teaching internship according to the timeline and directions posted on the OFE webpage at wce.wwu.edu/ofe/apply-student-teach.
Before commencement of the fulltime portion of the internship, passing scores on state required content exam(s) for each endorsement must be submitted, all pre-internship endorsement and program course work completed, and fingerprint/character and fitness clearance must be valid. Students who interrupt enrollment for a quarter or more must meet the deadline for filing a returning student application.
OFE does not guarantee placements. Placement in a school is contingent upon:
- Fulfillment of all program requirements (satisfactory academic work, education and endorsement program course work and training, practica, and faculty recommendations)
- Submission of passing scores on the content knowledge test(s) for each endorsement
- Availability of placements and supervision in specific subjects and grade levels
- Acceptance by P-12 school personnel
- Fingerprint/character and fitness clearance through the point of certification
Students are required to interview with the public school teacher to whom they will be assigned, for final approval of placement. OFE will make every effort to arrange up to three initial interviews but does not guarantee an interview.
Any subsequent placement after a voluntary or non-voluntary withdrawal from an internship will be granted only by faculty recommendation following a case conference.
For further information, contact the Woodring College Office of Field Experiences, Student Services, phone 360-650-3310, Miller Hall 150.
The Instructional Technology program offers instruction and research opportunities in the use of instructional technology in education and training, including effective use of emerging and mobile technologies. The program’s offerings are designed for those who wish to improve or develop their abilities to select, use, adapt, and create learning materials incorporating technology. This program provides teachers and trainers with background necessary to integrate instructional technology into their lessons.
For further information, contact the program office in Miller Hall 301D, phone 360-650-7948.
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Certificate Program
The TESOL Certificate Program focuses on preparing participants to work with English language learners who are interested in developing their skills in English. Work is most often in international language schools, community language school settings for new or recent immigrants, and community college ESL classes. Students earning the TESOL certificate must demonstrate competencies for teaching adults in language programs.
Completion of the 27 credit sequence of courses results in a TESOL Certificate awarded by Western Washington University. This certificate can be used both domestically and internationally as evidence of in-depth training in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
Developing effective skills to work cross-linguistically and cross-culturally is a central objective of the program course work. Coursework includes several service-learning components with English language learners in the community, necessitating the completion of a background check prior to commencing the program. Non-native speakers of English are required to have a TOEFL score of 550 or higher prior to beginning the program. Completion of the certificate and the minor requires cross-cultural study and study of a foreign language. The cross-cultural and foreign language requirements may be satisfied through previous course work or experience, or concurrently with the program, at the discretion of the program director.
Completion of the certificate and the minor requires cross-cultural study (gained through experience, or the minimum of 3 credits of approved course work) and the equivalent of one year of college-level foreign language study.
The program course work is offered in two formats: online and face-to-face. Many students choose to take late afternoon courses during fall, winter and spring quarters or combine these with the intensive summer option. Others choose to take the certificate courses online. Still others combine courses from face-to-face and online options. Students fully admitted to Western may integrate a concentration in TESOL into the course work of several majors, such as linguistics and American cultural studies, recognizing that the TESOL certificate is offered through Outreach and Continuing Education and requires a different type of registration.
All applicants should contact the Elementary Education office for advising on the admissions process, which will include an application to the TESOL program, and formal admission to the University. TESOL information is available by phone at 360-650-3336, or visit the website at wce.wwu.edu/tesol/teaching-english-speakers-other-languages.
The Department of Elementary Education offers a Master of Education in Literacy designed for educators who want to deepen their knowledge and practice in literacy instruction. Contact the graduate advisors for more information, Dr. Tracy Coskie, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dr. Marsha Riddle Buly, email@example.com.
ProgramsUndergraduate MajorUndergraduate MinorGraduateEndorsementCertificationProfessional Program Requirements
CoursesEarly Childhood Education
Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400 are described in the University Academic Policies section of this catalog.Elementary Education
Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400, 500 are described in the University Academic Policies section of this catalog.English Language Learners