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The College of Education and Integrative Studies is a learning community focused on meeting the present and future needs of students in our communities. We educate students to become highly qualified and significant leaders in our society. We are committed to the principles of diversity, ethics and social justice, and life-long learning. Central to our mission are innovative and integrative thinking, reflective practice, collaborative action, and learning by doing.

CEIS Alumna Named Finalist for Top National Honor

CEIS Alumna Named Finalist for Top National Honor

Susan Brakdoll

Image courtesy of Rachel Luna

Susan Barkdoll has her own special test to tell her how her third-grade students are doing:

“I can always measure the amount of learning they’ve had by how dirty they are,” she said, standing in the decades-old school garden at North Verdemont Elementary School. “Because they’ve had the experience.”

Barkdoll and eight other elementary mathematics and science teachers were recently announced as state finalists for the 2016 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the nation’s highest honor for math and science teachers.

Students in her classroom are surrounded by an array of glass tanks, containing fish, lizards and spiders. The classroom’s pets have prompted more learning outside the classroom, with one girl informing Barkdoll that the lizards in class were going to mate soon, but the first eggs wouldn’t be viable — things the student had gone home and researched on her own after having watched them in class.

Like all third-grade teachers, Barkdoll does her fair amount of teaching reading, division and history. But science is the 30-year veteran teacher’s passion.

“I like to blow things up, grow things, go outside,” she said. “You don’t do a lot of that in language arts.”

Written by Beau Yarbrough. Read the full story in the San Bernardino Sun.