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Education teacher

Elementary Education

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Type

Major

Department

Education Department

Elementary educators have the opportunity to make a difference at one of the most important stages in childhood development. If your goal is to become a kindergarten teacher, educational leader, policymaker or researcher—a degree in Elementary Education will prepare you for it all.

Program Overview

Make the seamless transition from student to teacher.

The Elementary Education major will prepare you to teach in a standards-based classroom and in diverse educational settings. In the program, you’ll learn professional research techniques and apply best teaching practices like collaboration and relationship-building—all of which will prepare you to enter the classroom work-ready.

For the first three years, you’ll take courses to master the content that you’ll need to become an excellent teacher. After completing these courses, you can apply for the year-long clinical residency that is completed during your senior year in an elementary classroom anywhere in the world. To prepare for your residency, you’ll have the opportunity to attend a summer session and complete your education-specific coursework online, while student teaching. Students graduate with a degree in Elementary Education and a license to teach elementary education from the Colorado Department of Education.

Western’s Education Department works tirelessly to be at the forefront of the field of teacher education and to meet statewide needs for educators at all levels. Our elementary education program was the first university program in the state of Colorado to be approved as meeting the requirements of the READ Act, and our elementary education graduates are highly qualified to teach reading. In 2022, we partnered with Western’s Adult Degree Completion program to offer a licensure pathway for paraprofessionals who want to finish their undergraduate degrees and earn teaching licenses at the same time.

Enhance your own education and earn professional credit at Western’s Summer Teacher Institute.

Classroom experience

Elementary Education students learn professional skills as they research and reflect upon best teaching practices, including collaboration and relationship-building that extend well beyond traditional educational goals of individual achievement.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Program Requirements

The Elementary Education Standard Emphasis requires the Elementary Education Core coursework in addition to 18 credits from any minor offered at Western.

The Elementary Education Major requires students to complete all requirements of the Licensure Program, including 42 credits of Education (EDUC) coursework. The major also requires students to complete 40 credits of interdisciplinary content coursework.

Elementary Education Core Content:
MATH 140College Algebra (GT-MA1)3
MATH 221Foundations of Mathematics for Teaching I3
MATH 222Foundations of Mathematics for Teaching II3
MATH 323Foundations of Mathematics for Teaching III3
SCI 110Habitable Planet (with laboratory)4
SCI 111Nature of Science1
SCI 120Living Planet (with laboratory)4
SCI 210Dynamic Planet (with laboratory)4
Two of the following:6
ENG 150
Introduction to Literature (GT-AH2)
ENG 161
Introduction to Creative Writing
ENG 220
Grammar and the English Language
ENG 250
Critical Approaches to Literature
ENG 331
Literature and Ethnicity: Studies in:
ENG 334
Poetry: Studies in:
ENG 337
Women Writers
ENG 352
Children's Literature
Four of the following (courses must include at least 3 disciplines):12
ECON 201
Macroeconomics (GT-SS1)
ECON 202
Microeconomics
ECON 215
Environmental Economics
GEOG 120
Introduction to Human Geography (GT-SS2)
GEOG 250
Geography of North America (GT-SS2)
GEOG 351
Geography of Latin America and the Caribbean
HIST 101
World History to 1500 (GT-HI1)
HIST 102
World History Since 1500 (GT-HI1)
HIST 126
U.S. History to 1865 (GT-HI1)
HIST 127
U.S. History Since 1865 (GT-HI1)
HIST 200
Historical Inquiry
HIST 260
Latin American History (GT-HI1)
HIST 327
Colorado History
HIST 349
History of the Hispanic Southwest
POLS 117
Introduction to Political Ideas (GT-SS1)
POLS 180
Introduction to American Politics (GT-SS1)
POLS 250
Politics of the Environment
Total Credits43

Required Education Coursework

The Elementary Licensure Program requires 42 credits of Education coursework and the Gateway course.

Pre-residency coursework:

Course List
EDUC 000 Education Gateway Course 0
EDUC 102 Learning & Teaching 3
EDUC 202 Education and Schooling in the U.S. 3
EDUC 210 Science Teaching Methods 3
EDUC 326 Equity, Diversity and Social Justice in Education 3
EDUC 340 Application of Pedagogy and Practice 3
Total Credits 15

4th year Residency Coursework 

Elementary Licensure Coursework to be taken in year 4 of Elementary Education Standard Major Program.

EDUC 400Foundations for Literacy: Phonology and Linguistics3
EDUC 402Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, and Fluency3
EDUC 404Creating Positive Learning Environments3
EDUC 405Data-driven Instructional Practices3
EDUC 408Teaching Writing with the Brain in Mind3
EDUC 413Mathematical Investigations3
EDUC 428Teaching English Learners3
Six credits of the following:6
EDUC 458
Elementary Student Teaching

The residency for Elementary Licensure must be completed in a K-6 classroom, where students are expected to work cooperatively 24 hours per week with qualified mentor teachers. During this year-long clinical residency, students are applying and extending the pedagogical knowledge that they are learning in their Education courses. The Elementary Licensure coursework and the post-licensure coursework are taught online.   

Graduation Requirements

Undergraduate programs require a minimum of 120 semester credits for graduation.  Of those 120 credits, 40 credits must be in upper-division courses (those marked 300 and above).  Fifteen of these 40 upper-division credits must be earned in courses that are part of the standard or comprehensive major program being pursued. 

Students are expected to review all graduation requirements, which can be found in the Western Undergraduate Catalog: Graduation Requirements

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
EDUC 000 Education Gateway Course 0
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
MATH 140 College Algebra (GT-MA1) 3
SCI 110 Habitable Planet (with laboratory) 4
ENG 102 Academic Writing (GT-CO1) 3
EDUC 102 Learning & Teaching 3
Gen Ed Social Sciences 3
 Credits17
Spring
SCI 120 Living Planet (with laboratory) 4
COM 202 Academic Writing and Inquiry (GT-CO2) 3
Gen Ed Arts & Humanities 3
Gen Ed Social Sciences 3
Gen Ed Social Sciences 3
 Credits16
Year Two
Fall
MATH 221 Foundations of Mathematics for Teaching I 3
EDUC 202 Education and Schooling in the U.S. 3
SCI 111 Nature of Science 1
Elective ENG Elective 3
Elective Specialization Elective 3
Gen Ed Social Sciences 3
 Credits16
Spring
MATH 222 Foundations of Mathematics for Teaching II 3
SCI 210 Dynamic Planet (with laboratory) 4
EDUC 210 Science Teaching Methods 3
Elective Specialization Elective 3
Gen Ed Social Sciences 3
 Credits16
Year Three
Fall
MATH 323 Foundations of Mathematics for Teaching III 3
EDUC 326 Equity, Diversity and Social Justice in Education 3
Gen Ed Arts & Humanities 3
Elective Specialization Elective 3
Elective Specialization Elective 3
 Credits15
Spring
EDUC 340 Application of Pedagogy and Practice 3
Gen Ed Arts & Humanities 3
Elective ENG Elective 3
Elective Specialization Elective 3
Elective Specialization Elective (upper divisionl) 3
 Credits15
Year Four
Fall
EDUC 405 Data-driven Instructional Practices 3
EDUC 428 Teaching English Learners 3
EDUC 600 Foundations of Literacy Development 3
EDUC 604 Learning Environments 3
EDUC 619 Elementary Student Teaching 3
 Credits15
Spring
EDUC 601 Methods and Strategies of Effective Reading Instruction 3
EDUC 613 Methods and Strategies of Effective Mathematics Instruction 3
EDUC 617 Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency in the Content Area 3
EDUC 619 Elementary Student Teaching 3
 Credits12
 Total Credits122

Spotlight

Elementary Education

Rowan Block

Student

“My favorite thing about being involved so much in Residence Life is getting to meet new people every day.”

Careers

Take the first steps toward your dream career.

Career preparation is the primary focus of every academic program at Western. Our professors and Office of Career Services will help you identify your strengths, hone your skills, define your goals, and prepare for a fulfilling role in hundreds of professional fields after graduation.

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Scholarships

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Access to apply for scholarships through the portal is open through April 1.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

In 2019, the state of Colorado passed a bill that authorizes the Department of Higher Education to make payments on educational loans of teachers who are employed in a rural or hard-to-fill positions. The program will accept up to 100 applicants per years, and recipients will receive up to $5,000 per year for up to five years to help relieve their student loan debt. To learn more about this program, visit the Colorado Department of Higher Education website.

Applications are due Feb. 21, 2020

The Exceptional Resident Award is given to one undergraduate or graduate Education student, per year, who exhibit the following criteria:

  • Shows respect for differences and a commitment to serving all students regardless of their race, ethnicity, culture, religion, language, cognitive ability, gender, or sexuality.
  • Demonstrates a growth mindset in the face of challenges and responds constructively to feedback. Shows willingness to reflect upon practice.
    • Goes above and beyond to builds strong relationships with students, parents, colleagues, and the local community. Is supportive and positive when interacting with others.
    • Exhibits curiosity and is innovative in lesson design and delivery.
    • Shows a willingness to try new things and to thoughtfully assess their effectiveness.
    • Demonstrates leadership by taking initiative to be part of the school team. For example, shares strategies and ideas learned in Western courses with mentor and other colleagues in a constructive manner.

Award:
• Recognition at graduation with a cord and reimbursement of up to $500 for travel expenses to attend graduation at Western
• Certificate presented at the placement school by the resident’s regional coordinator and/or clinical coach
• Recognition on Western’s Education Department website
• Scholarship of up to three graduate credits to be used towards completion of a master’s degree at Western

Western’s Scholarship Application portal allows you to search for, apply to and manage your scholarship opportunities. This platform houses over 300+ departmental and privately funded scholarship opportunities available to both new and returning students. Through the scholarship portal, students may identify scholarship opportunities based on academic program, campus involvement, academic standing, specific keywords and more. Students may click below to begin learning about what scholarship opportunities are available to them.

Access to apply for scholarships through the portal is open through April 1.

Please check individual scholarship opportunity start dates and deadlines as there are exceptions.

Find your scholarships!

Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 1 for 2023. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.

Apply

Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming first-year student or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found below. Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.

Apply

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Description

The Western Presidential Honors Scholarships, established by the Jack and Marilyn MacAllister Foundation shall be an elite class of scholarships awarded to Western’s highest achieving and most deserving students, celebrating the ideals of academic excellence and service to the campus and community. Recipients of the Scholarships will be members of the Western Colorado University Honors Program.

There are eight Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2500 each. Each year two new Presidential Honors Scholarships will be awarded to two incoming first-year students.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

Apply your education to the real-world.

Take your education outside of the classroom—build your professional network, gain practical experience and jump-start your career.

  • Community Partnerships: Many classes involve working with children and teachers in the various schools around the Gunnison Valley.
  • Future Educators of America: Students in this club engage in volunteer work and professional development opportunities with other like-minded students.
  • Residency Year: Students may choose to student teach in an elementary (K-6) classroom anywhere in the world.

Making an impact

The Elementary Education major prepares students to teach in a standards-based classroom and offers preparation for diverse educational opportunities.

News & Research

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Additional Resources

Cost and Admissions

Learn more about admissions requirements and tuition costs for our affordable and effective education programs.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

View a list of frequently asked questions answered by our knowledgeable faculty to familiarize yourself with what you can expect as an education student.

Learn More

Summer Licensure Orientation

Learn about our on-campus, in-person orientation experience geared toward helping you plan and prepare for your yearlong classroom residency.

Learn More

Optional Added Endorsements

See what options are available to help you enhance your degree and gain professional development through our variety of added endorsement programs.

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Residency Information

Know what to expect and how to prepare for your yearlong teaching residency experience.

Learn More

Initial Licensure Content Areas & Post-Licensure Added Endorsements

Western Colorado University is approved by the Colorado Department of Education to prepare students for licensure or added endorsement in the 24 content areas.

Learn More

Department Information

Education Department

Department Chairperson

George Kamberelis, Ph.D.

Professor, Chairperson

Undergraduate Assistant

Barbara Woerner, B.Ed.

Placement Coordinator, Undergraduate Program Advisor

Graduate Assistant

Marilyn Krill

Department Support Coordinator

Contact Information

970.943.2045

mkrill@western.edu

Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Crawford Hall 101
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231

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