Madonna University News

  • K Dernay

Madonna education students help grade-schoolers with literacy skills

July 24, 2015

LIVONIA, Mich. – Rhyming games, sounding out words and building letter combinations means summer fun for a group of Livonia elementary school students. Leading these summer learning adventures are several Madonna University graduate and undergraduate teacher education students - who, in turn, are honing their teaching skills in classroom management and lesson planning.

Now in its seventh year, the Students Helping Students Literacy Program aims to prevent summer learning loss, and to bring students’ reading skills up to those of their classmates. During the three-week program at Garfield Elementary, Madonna students tutor small groups of incoming first- and second-graders who are behind their grade level in reading.

With a master’s degree in literacy from Madonna, Mary Jane Daudlin, of Grosse Pointe Woods, brought the summer literacy program to Livonia. She explained that even in a few weeks, the program helps introduce and reinforce positive literacy techniques, gives students practice reading so they can be more successful, and makes learning enjoyable. In evaluations given at the conclusion of the program, parents often comment that their child is now interested in reading.

Working in small groups provides the children more individual attention and gives the tutors experience managing groups of students. While they spend time in the library, they also take breaks to play reading games outside, using chalk or playground balls, to “make them feel like reading is fun,” Daudlin said. They also take books home, from the school’s lending library, to read each evening.

Commerce Township resident Kelly Dernay, a Madonna graduate student working toward her endorsement in early childhood education, said the tutors use as many games and hands-on activities as possible to make reading fun. During the brief program they assess the children, set goals for them and help them achieve those goals. “This is the best experience that someone could get, before they head into the classroom,” she said.

Senior elementary education and social studies major Ashley Binder, of Livonia, said she wanted to participate in the Students Helping Students program to gain practice in small group instruction before beginning her student teaching this fall. After just a week she felt more confident in the classroom, creating lesson plans, practicing guided reading instruction, working with words, and thinking of fun ways to pique kids’ interests in reading. “If you pick a book they don’t like, they most definitely won’t read it,” she cautioned.

The Students Helping Students program was established through support from the Kirt Foundation, based in Rochester Hills. As part of her graduate degree work, Daudlin volunteered with the program and developed a version for Livonia students. In addition to gaining classroom skills, the Madonna tutors receive a scholarship stipend.

“It is a very valuable experience,” Daudlin said. “They have the opportunity to understand how to teach reading, as well as the struggling readers.”

Livonia resident Ashley Binder, a Madonna elementary education senior, helps each grade-schooler pick out books to practice reading at home.

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  • Grad Open House

Join us at our next Graduate School Open House!

July 15, 2015

Explore our Graduate programs.
Attend the next Graduate School Open House:

Monday, October 12, 5 – 7 p.m.
Room 2102, Main Academic Building.

Speak with program directors, faculty and alumni to learn more about our 30+ graduate programs in:

  • Health Services Administration
  • Business
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Education
  • Higher Ed & Student Affairs
  • History
  • Liberal Studies & Leadership
  • Nursing
  • Pastoral Ministry
  • NEW! Education Specialist (EdS)
  • NEW! Executive Leadership

We also have unique programs in Hospice and Humane Studies. Meet with Financial Aid and Career Services representatives. Visit the Open House and we’ll waive the application fee!

Contact Sharon Urso, 734-432-5739, to register. See what’s new at Madonna University!

  • Softball_Summer_2015

Kohl's Cares Supports Madonna Students

July 14, 2015

LIVONIA, Mich. – Thanks to support from Kohl’s Cares®, students in the Bridging Lost Gaps (BLG) program at Madonna University held a summer softball game to network and prepare for the upcoming academic year. With student support services and encouragement from campus and community members, the BLG program helps prepare young African-American males from Detroit for college and life after graduation.

The softball game was put together by current BLG students to welcome incoming freshmen, according to Bryant George, program director. The students shared stories of growing up in Detroit, and the upperclassmen shared their experiences living in Livonia while pursuing their bachelor’s degree, and the tools they use to be successful BLG students.

Representatives from the Kohl’s department store in Canton volunteered as lunch servers, game umpires, score keepers and players. Kohl’s Cares® awarded Madonna University’s BLG program with a $500 grant to fund the day and help support the BLG Early Arrival Program, for freshmen, in late August.


  • Education Specialist

Education Specialist Degree Offers School Administrators Leadership and Visioning Skills

July 2, 2015

LIVONIA, Mich. – Giving leaders the skills to lead other leaders, is the aim of Madonna University’s new Education Specialist degree in Educational Leadership, Ed.S. The program builds on the strength of the current master’s program in educational leadership offered through Madonna’s College of Education and provides the preparation for pursuit of a future Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree. This graduate program is expected to attract aspiring superintendents, school principals, central office administrators, special education administrators, department chairs and other school district leaders who want to build leadership skills.

According to Madonna education professor Todd Symington, who along with colleague Jill Robinson Ed.D., is co-director of the Education Specialist program, Madonna’s program meets Michigan Department of Education standards for central office-level administrators while incorporating an expanded knowledge of the unique leadership characteristics within special education. In addition, Madonna’s small class sizes enable professors to offer a mentor/mentee relationship and what Symington called “shoulder-to-shoulder” support.

Symington said, “The goal of the program is the progressive implementation of 21st-century, evidence-based practices to support teachers to meet the needs of all students.”

To best accommodate school administrators’ schedules, the program is offered in hybrid format, with a combination of face-to-face and online classes once per week. The program includes 10 courses taken over two years, for 30 total credits.

Among the classes are Strategic Planning & Program Assessment, Leading Teaching and Learning, and Legal and Ethical Issues in Educational Policy. The classes help students develop skills in effective leadership, school district visioning and strategic planning, data-driven analysis, evaluating teacher/program for growth, and handling conflict. The program also focuses on strategies and outcomes to promote success for all students, i.e., living in poverty, those with special needs, or those whose first language is not English

Visit for more information or to apply for the program.

Accredited by the National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), Madonna University’s College of Education offers undergraduate and graduate programs that develop professional, highly effective teachers who are passionate about their students, schools and teaching. Undergraduate programs include child development, physical education, sport management and elementary and secondary education. Other master’s programs include: autism spectrum disorders, Catholic school leadership, curriculum and instruction, educational technology, learning disabilities, online teaching, literacy, teaching English to speakers of other languages and higher education and student affairs.