School of Education hosts Summer Teacher Academy for high school students

STA 2015 group

Sixteen high schools seniors and one sophomore completed a two-week teaching experience at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Summer Teacher Academy (STA), hosted and sponsored by the School of Education in July. Focusing on STEAM (science, technology, engineering and math plus art) subjects, the high school students participated in a variety of educator-related activities associated with water, this year’s theme, as a resource and a force of nature.

STA 2015 reading

Participants learned about issues related to water quality, tsunamis, hurricanes and waterfalls. They visited the Meadowlands Riverkeeper for a pontoon boat tour of the Hackensack, N.J., wetlands; learned about environmental clean-up of superfund sites; visited the Great Falls in Paterson, N.J., followed by a tour of the Paterson Museum; learned about lesson planning; did a “read aloud” event with children from FDU’s Camp Discovery; and taught actual lessons on water-related topics to older children in the camp.

STA 2015 teaching

The high school students collected, incubated and studied bacteria samples in the University’s science lab. They also had an opportunity to work with technology and create presentations to show their families at a final luncheon.

Current School of Education students, and teacher candidates, joined STA as teaching assistants. Eight FDU students took turns working with the STA participants, using their teaching skills and mentoring the high school students.

Participating students came from Bergen, Passaic, Hudson and Essex counties. However, students joined STA from Morris County, and one even came in daily from Brooklyn, N.Y.! “The group was diverse but cohesive, making new friends and learning to work well with each other in a short time,” says Miriam Singer, associate professor of education and director of the QUEST Program.

Singer added that many of the high school participants plan to apply to FDU’s School of Education, and other teacher education programs, for admission in September 2016.

STA participants are chosen by application; admission factors include a high school GPA of 2.8 or higher, an essay, and two letters of recommendation. There is no cost to participants. For more information, contact Vicki Cohen, director of FDU’s School of Education, by phone at 201-692-2525 or by email at