Partners In Learning

                     EDT 422 Senior Capstone Class

Research Associates, Miami University, Spring 2014



This semester's capstone class is investigating many topics.  Some of them include: Technology and curriculum, classroom management, school safety, service dogs, parental engagement with ELL students, cyber bullying, community learning centers, importance of play, patterns of motivation, physical activity in early childhood, classroom diversity, and engaging ELL's in the classroom. 


edTPA Writing Guide is available

1. in "Dropbox"

2. at the "Bottom" of this page (scroll down) and

3. in  "edTPA Information" in the menu at the left


Drs, Doug Brooks, Cheryl Irish and Jean Eagle have collaborated and approved a unique "edTPA Writing Guide" that is designed to help with the edTPA process.  You can download the document from the bottom of this page or click on "edTPA Information" in the menu and see the text and other resources on this site. 

edTPA is a performance-based assessment that measures novice teachers’ readiness to teach.  It was developed by teachers and teacher educators through a process coordinated by SCALE and AACTE.  It is designed with a focus on student learning and principles from research and theory.  It engages candidates in demonstrating their understanding of teaching and student learning in authentic ways. 


It is based on findings that effective teachers: 1) develop knowledge of subject matter, content standards, and subject-specific pedagogy;  2) develop and apply knowledge of varied students’ needs; 3) consider research and theory about how students learn; and 4) reflect on and analyze evidence of the effects of instruction on student learning. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia are currently participating in edTPA



Partners In Learning in the College of Education, Health and Society 

Partners In Learning is a partnership group directed by Dr. Douglas Brooks, a Full Professor in the School of Education Health and Society at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The mission of Partners In Learning is to provide web-based professional development to student teachers, school district administrators and faculty members and supervisors.. One feature of Partners In Learning is the Performance Pyramid. The Performance Pyramid is a web-based model for continuous improvement that features "Resource Domains" directly related to improved student achievement gains on state mandated proficiency tests. Seniors in the class are "Research Associates." They organize into collaborative Content Action Teams. These teams research topics of current importance and personal interest. They use Quality Management techniques. The content on the Performance Pyramid is re-evaluated every semester.  Students learn to use an open source software product called DRUPAL as they make continuous improvements to the site. The "Associates" in the above picture were in the Spring 2014 Capstone class. Most of them will graduate in May 2014 and begin their teaching careers in August 2014.


Upcoming Summer 2014 Grant Writing Course at Miami Unversity 

Dr. Doug Brooks will be offering his EDT461/561 Grant Writing Methods and Skills class First Summer Session at Miami University.  This 3 credit hour undergraduate and graduate credit class is a hybrid class the requires only three face to face meetings in the six week session starting May 20th and ending June 27th.   School teams are invited to register through the Graduate School as non-matriculating students.  The course features a full introduction to GRANTSUCCESS, an introduction to the Foundation Center, and the opportunity to work on a real grant application for real money.  Unsuccesful Straight A gant applications could be improved in the context of the class.  


"Grant Writing Made Easy" Session Presented at 2014 Ohio eTech

Dr. Doug Brooks presented his GRANTSUCCESS system to a full house in Ballroom 1 at 2014 Ohio eTech meetings hosted at  the Columbus Convention Center on January 27-29th.   The afternoon session featured a PowerPoint that can be opened at the bottom of this page (scroll to the bottom of this section) .  Dr. Brooks also demonstrated how his GRANTSUCCESS system can be applied to improving applications for the 2014 round of Ohio Straight A funding.  Dr. Brooks introduced particpants to the Foundation Center  website and encouraged them to look at the site, take the tours and join for one month at the PLUS level so they could see how many foundations are prepared to provide funds for innovative educaitonal initiatives.  The session included many writing and editing tips that have worked in over $12 million in successful grant applications.  

GRANTSUCCESS has three major components: 1) the development of three pre-writing documents to support text development; 2) a focus on the develpment of clear goals and related objectives and actions first and 3) the application of these goals, objectives and actions (including personnel, tools, dates and cost) to support the creation of text in other parts of the application narrative.  Conversations with Straight A evaluators following the session confirmed the failure of many applications to demonstrate sustainability.  

Dr. Brooks is an experienced grant writer who works with school districts to improve their capacity for applying for external foundation, state and federal grant money.  Dr. Brooks'  team at Miami will help schools identify foundations within 50-100-300 miles of any school.  In a recent project,  Dr. Brooks' team, led by graduate student Wesley Wood, was able to identify 4 to 5 promising foundations for each of Ohio Summit Academy's 26 school locations.  Individual Grant Writing Teams were established in each building and encouraged to review the foundations' funding applications.  GRANTSUCCESS was then availble to them to construct their high quality applications.   Dr. Brooks was available to edit and improve text when needed.  His email address is   His phone is 513-523-8045.  His commitment is to help Ohio teachers and administtators successfully apply for the funds they need for tools and systems that improve student achievement.  


Grant Writing Course Approved at MIami University

Welcome Miami Graduate Student Grant Writers!  Above is the group of graduate students enrolled in the first offering of EDT461/561 Grant Writing Methods and Skills.   The approved course is being offered first term, Summer, 2013. The course started Monday, June 17th and will end June 28th.   Graduate students from Social Work, Educational Leadership, Social Gerontology, Kinesiology and Health, Psychology, Geology, Botany, Political Science, Chemical Engineering, Student Affairs in Higher Education, Family and Child Studies, Chemistry, and English are currently enrolled.  The course will be offered in a blended learning format with three of the ten sessions being face to face.  The first session, June 17th was face-to-face.  Graduate students in the class are learrning Dr. Brooks' GRANTSUCCESS method for creating successful grant applications as well as many technical writing skills. These students will use the Foundation Center and  to search for funding.  Many will start on actual grant applications that will complement their careers.   Students can register for the course on BannerWeb.  This course will be offered again during the Winter Term, 2014.  


2013-2014 Project BackPac funded for $17,000

The Student Technology Fee Grant Program has funded Project BackPac for $17,000.  This funded proposal will give student teachers access to iPads, class based networking systems and Apple TV technologies.  Student teachers who will be teaching in Fall, 2013 will be introduced to the technologies at the Fall, 2013 Orientation for Student Teachers. 

                 "Project BackPac" Continues for Spring 2014 Miami Methods Block Students 

Miami student teachers who will be starting their assignments in the Spring 2014 are encouraged to apply for BackPacs that include assorted classroom technologies to support instructional design and classroom activities. Technologies that are avaiable in the backpacs include: iPads, digital cameras, projectors, wireless AppleTV units, E-beam units to transform regular whiteboards into interactive whiteboards, smartpens, e-instruction units, Mobies and much more.  BackPacs can be customized to support individual student teacher needs.

Student teacher feedback on these backpacs has been universally impressive.  BackPacs have been shipped to Belise, Chicago, Luxemborg and Over The Rhine in Cincinnati. The project has been in place for four years.  Every effort is made to update the technology and simplify the process for getting a backpac and returning it.  Students use the technologies to enhance instruction as well as engage students in technology supported curriculum activities. If you are student teaching in the fall 2012, you are eligible for a backpac. 

You can apply for a backpac by emailing Dr. Douglas Brooks at  Describe the technology culture of your classroom and your plans to integrate the technology.  Dr. Brooks will approve your application if it conforms to project criteria. You can pick up the BackPac at the Technology Services Office on the first floor of McGuffey Hall near the back parking lot.  You will be responsible for completing an exit survey and returning the backpac no later than one week before the end of your student teaching assignment.  Only once, have we had to involve the police in retrieving a delinquent backpac. 


                                                                  When Did Partners In Learning Start?

In 1989, the Miami University School of Education and Allied Professions (old name)  joined the Institute for Educational Renewal (IER).  As a new member of John Goodlad's IER project, Miami established agreements with area schools to support the development of "Professional Development Schools."  These schools were envisioned as "cultures of innovation" that would continously improve as Miami University liscensure programs improved. These professional development schools hosted Miami student teachers and school mentors/supervisors  were trained to support IER goals. At the same time, my two sons were enrolled in the Talawanda City Schools.  Talawanda was inexplicably not included in the project. Talawanda had a long and difficult history of failed bond levies and needed resources.   So, I started working with the Talawanda City Schools. 

The first project involved Miami hosting a "GTE Online" product that gave the school district its first onramp to the Internet and a early stage e-mail system.  This project was called the Talawanda Learning Community Network (TLCNet).  PIL worked with Warner Cable to extend cable access to all the district's schools.  School building level teams were developed to create grant writing capacity.  PIL worked with Talawanda administrators and teachers to successfully apply for external grant funding. These grants included: the Ohio Classroom of The Future ($120,000 ),  Reading Recovery ($60,000), Venture Capital ($240,000 in Marshall Elementary School and TMS for 2 years), the SchoolNet Prototype ($350,000), Ohio Schools on the Move ($35,000), SchoolNet Plus ($80,000), Raising the Bar ($120,000) and High Schools That Work ($70,000).  While the IER came and went (five years) with no lasting impact, PIL related grants put over $1.2 million in technology integration funding into the Talawanda district.   

PIL worked closely with GTE to provide internet access to every clasroom in the district in one of 12 Ohio SchoolNet Prototypes. PIL worked with Warner Cable to establish a cable channel for the school district.  Summer "Playshops"  for teachers accelerated technology integration in the district.  These professional development events  employed Talawanda Middle and High School "Tech Squad" students to support teacher capacity with Apple computers, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Internet Explorer. These efforts resulted in two consecutive years of recognition by the Ohio Governor's Office.   Eventually, Talawanda Middle School was selected, along with 9 other Ohio schools, to be studied and highlighted in an Ohio Department of Education monograph series on culture changing innovations and improvements.  The IER accomplishments were minimal and soon evaporated.


Individual Grants Supported by Partners In Learning


Ohio Classroom of the Future- This funding supported the development of a six audiotape cassette series on school reform in the 21st Century. It featured Talawanda teachers and influenced the design of Talawanda Middle School.

Reading Recovery- This funding supported the training of early grade teachers in the application of Dr. Marie Clay's methods for helping high risk non-readers. 

Venture Capital- Talawanda Middle School and Marshall Elementary School each recieved two years of $120,000 funding to establish local area networks and link to the Internet through a Miami University server.

Ohio SchoolNet Prototype- Talawanda/ Tri-Village and Miami University led one of twelve state-wide prototypes to install Internet access in every district classroom in two districts.  The project included the introduction of Apple computers, Mcrosoft Word, Internet Explorer and PowerPoint to over 380 teachers in two districts and 8 school buildings. 

Raising the Bar- This funding supported Talawanda Middle School technology integration beyond SchoolNet.

SchoolNet Plus- PIL helped author the legislation that placed 4 computer workstations in all Ohio schools grades K-4.

Schools On The Move- This funding supported teacher design of lessons that integrated technology and encouaged students to become more comfortable with emerging technologies.

Project Mentor-  This federal grant for $350,000 was designed to increase student teacher internet access to university methods block facutly members and national instructional methods resources.  

High Schools That Work- This funding built on the infrastructure of SchoolNet to support a cutlure of collaboration, curriculum redesign and 21st century skills for better preparation of students for college and the workplace.

Ohio EETT Grants (2005) 26 Columbus City Middle and Elementary Schools worked with Partners In Learning to successfully apply for over $2.6 million in technology integration funding.  The GrantSuccess system that was first developed in Venture Capital funding opportunities was upscaled to service all 26 writing teams.  

Indiana ARRA Grants (2009)  Four school districts in Indiana successfully applied for ARRA federal technology integration funding. 

LaSalle High School (2011) Successful strategic planning and grant appllcation for $80,000 to establish a wireless and digital textbook culture. 

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