First-grade teacher gets support, new skills in convenient M.S. for Professional Educators program

Elementary school classroom

Kaleigh Pope desired an advanced degree but didn’t want to disrupt her job. As a first grade teacher in the Janesville, Wis., school district, she enrolled in the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Master of Science for Professional Educators program, where she could study online and stay with her students.

The program allows K-12 teachers to develop their skills as both educators and leaders. It follows a cohort model with all students beginning in the summer term and taking classes in sequence with the same group for both years. Students graduate in May of their second full year in the program.

“I found it great to be able to focus on my classroom during the school year and then work toward my master’s when it was convenient for me,” Pope says.

Practical applications

Kaleigh Pope
Kaleigh Pope is a Janesville, Wis., teacher who got her master’s online while continuing to teach.

The M.S. for Professional Educators integrates courses from three School of Education departments —Educational Psychology, Curriculum & Instruction, and Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis —leading to a master of science in educational psychology. All courses emphasize practical applications for pre-K-12 teachers.

Many of the program’s students craft professional development plans with the schools where they work. The students then share these goals with their UW-Madison instructors and make progress on them in the course of the program.

“I appreciate all the support from the professors and everyone else in the cohort with me,” Pope says.

For more information, watch the video above or visit the Master of Science for Professional Educators program page.

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