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The Keystone Tutor Credential Program Wins Award

Special Education faculty and Continuing Education staff team together to create and administer the Keystone Tutor Credential Program which is the recipient of an award by the University Continuing Education Association Mid-Atlantic Region.
by Pamela Batson

The Keystone Tutor Credential Program, a three-course series designed by special education faculty in the College of Education with support from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), has won the Exemplary Program Award by the University Continuing Education Association (UCEA) Mid-Atlantic Region. The program was selected out of 41 programs submitted by 19 colleges throughout the UCEA region.


Special education faculty, David Lee, associate professor, and Charles Hughes, professor, developed the program. It is offered through Penn State Continuing and Professional Education. Ed Donovan, director of Health and Education Programs for Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE), and Wanda Bickle, CAPE staff assistant, are involved in the administration of the program.

“It’s an honor and a pleasure to work with the special ed faculty team. For the last decade their expertise and creativity have been a source of inspiration to me. When we can bring the talent of such a faculty and the delivery expertise of Continuing Education to bear on a serious challenge – such as the preparation of qualified tutors in Pennsylvania’s schools – the win-win is obvious. PDE is a critical partner in this success,” said Donovan.


The Keystone Tutor Credential Program was designed at the request of the PDE in response to a growing demand for trained, qualified tutors in elementary and secondary schools. This program is designed for current Pennsylvania tutors and teachers, new teachers, and those who wish to become tutors. To enroll in this program, applicants must have a bachelor's degree. The degree requirement differentiates this credential program from other initiatives and also permits students to enroll for credit. Opportunities for Act 48 and/or graduate credit are available, and graduate courses may apply toward a master's program. Over 200 tutors and teachers have been trained since the program’s inception in 2007.


“One major goal for the program was to provide tutors with the best information possible about how to teach students who are struggling to learn important skills in the area of reading and math,” says Hughes. “To do so, we included only interventions and techniques that have a solid evidence base for their effectiveness. Our second major goal was to present this information in ways that made it clear, explicit and relevant to the program participants so they could easily apply it in their instructional environments.”


Students take courses online, using DVD and self-paced training manuals. The three-course series features lessons taught by College of Education faculty that are designed to help tutors develop quality standards of practice that will advance student achievement. Course I, Instructional Design and Delivery in Reading and Math, is taught by Hughes, Richard Kubina, and Paul Morgan. Course II, Comprehension Strategies, Motivation, and Monitoring Progress, is taught by Lee, Linda Mason, Kathy Ruhl, and David McNaughton. Course III is taken in conjunction with the Governor’s Institute, a weeklong summer conference, through the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network. More information can be found at www.outreach.psu.edu/cape/tutor.


Penn State and PDE will be honored for the Keystone Tutor Credential Program at an award ceremony and dinner at the UCEA Mid-Atlantic Region Annual Conference on October 1 at Hotel DuPont, in Wilmington, Delaware.


According to the association’s Web site, UCEA is the international professional association for those in higher continuing education and lifelong learning. The Mid-Atlantic Region of UCEA encompasses Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and West Virginia. A sample of colleges in the region include: the State University of New York (SUNY), Rutgers University, West Virginia University, University of Maryland, and the John Hopkins University.