Uniting business leaders in support of innovation in teacher preparation, Presidential Scholar Nancy Grasmick has raised more than $4.2 million for initiatives as of August 30, 2013.
The UTeach program at Towson University was inspired, in part, by Dr. Grasmick’s role as a board member of the National Math and Science Initiative. Through this initiative she learned of the need for highly qualified STEM teachers and how TU students could benefit by participating in such a program.
To increase student access to rigorous AP courses, Dr. Grasmick brought her close relationship with the College Board from her days as Maryland’s Superintendent of Schools to her role at Towson. Today, the university is not only providing additional pre-requisite skills to AP students but also preparing current and future teachers to be more effective AP teachers.
The Signature Forums Speaker Series
In order to engage Towson University and the community in a dialogue on diverse and controversial education topics, Dr. Grasmick contacted national experts in education to create the Signature Forums speaker series.
Dr. Grasmick has never forgotten her roots in the education of children with disabilities. Through her work, both as a Presidential Scholar at Towson University and a faculty member at Kennedy Krieger Institute, she has forged several collaborative partnerships:
A Fellowship in Innovation and Leadership in Special Education where fellows participate in extensive experiences at KKI while pursuing an Administrator I certificate at Towson University
A partnership among Towson University’s Special Education Department, Baltimore County Public Schools and the Kennedy Krieger Institute to introduce the principles of Universal Design for Learning at two middle schools
Support for Towson’s Department of Special Education in the development of an advisory committee, funding for further course development on diversity issues and funding for speakers.
Arts Integration and the Common Core
A love of the arts has made Dr. Grasmick a supporter of the arts – in all schools, for all students. She has worked closely with the College of Fine Arts and Communication in the development of a master’s degree in Arts Integration, a program that will produce more teachers with an acute awareness of the role the arts play in teaching key skills like creativity, critical thinking and problem solving.
As superintendent, Dr. Grasmick created curriculum and assessments to integrate many content areas, including writing. While the No Child Left Behind Act required those assessments to be replaced, the new Common Core standards do include writing. Dr. Grasmick convened and funded a group of Towson faculty and Baltimore County teachers who are researching current methods of teaching writing and developing courses to prepare teachers to more effectively teach students to become good writers.
A proponent of a high-quality education for all students, Dr. Grasmick advocates for education for the gifted and talented. In collaboration with the Maryland State Department of Education and Harford County Public Schools, Towson University submitted a proposal to evaluate a Primary Talent Development program for young children that was developed under her tenure at MSDE.