Curriculum and Instruction

Alum Finalist for Maryland Teacher of the Year

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Amanda Portner
Photo courtesy FCPS

Hood Graduate School alum and Frederick County Public Schools Teacher of the Year Amanda Portner has learned that she one of seven finalists for the 2015 Maryland Teacher of the Year Award.

A literacy specialist at Thurmont Middle School, Maryland, Amanda holds both a master’s in Curriculum and Instruction and a certificate in Educational Leadership from Hood. A panel of judges from key Maryland education organizations selected the seven finalists from among the state’s 24 district Teacher of Year recipients. Read more here.


Moody Earns Outstanding Student Award for Curriculum and Instruction

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Randi Moody (center) with Dr. Judy Sherman and Hood President Ron Volpe

Randi Moody (center) with Dr. Judy Sherman and Hood President Ron Volpe

Randi Moody received the Jenny E. Nunn Outstanding Curriculum and Instruction Student Award for 2015. Faculty in the program characterize Randi as “a dynamic dynamo who is the penultimate multitasker.”  

Randi’s participation in Hood activities has consistently gone well beyond her coursework. she also served as the Graduate Assistant for Hood’s Education Department. Having completed her master’s in Curriculum and Instruction, Randi now plans to acquire new skill sets in new areas. This fall, she will continue her education at Hood in the Reading Specialization program as well as maintain her workship in the Education Department. She will also be a member of the Middle States Committee for the Graduate School, a role in which she hopes to provide input from the graduate student’s viewpoint to enhance the learning experience. “Randi will bring to the table a strong work ethic and thoughtful perspective that will guarantee a productive outcome for the committee,” according to C&I faculty.

Employed by the Maryland State Department of Education as a Quality Assurance Specialist for Maryland EXCELS — the quality rating and improvement system for Early Childhood Education — Randi wants to continue to influence the lives of young children, either directly or indirectly, with MSDE or at the local level.

Adjunct Instructor Aids Children of Incarcerated Parents

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Shari Ostrow-Scher

Shari Ostrow-Scher

Twice the winner of the Outstanding Graduate School Instructor for Hood College, Shari Ostrow-Scher has been an adjunct in the Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program for over 10 years, while continuing to lead curricular programs for young children with the Frederick County Public Schools.

In 2004, Shari established the Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (COIPP), which each year has expanded its services to meet the needs of children of inmates in the Frederick County Detention Center.  Shari has single-handedly taken this interagency group from a small beginning to highly respected and influential organization that has been featured in various media and has received acclaim far and wide.

As stated on the non-profit’s website, COIPP believes that children of incarcerated parents “lack a voice of their own. Our… mission is to give them such a voice in the community, in the schools, and in their family.”

This voluntary group has accomplished much in the past few years. Projects include: creation of a library/book giveaway for children in the F.C. Detention Center waiting room; resource baggies for children and their caregivers; ‘Caregivers day out’ at the Frederick School of Cosmetology; creation of a DVD on this topic; donations and resource packets to local camps created for the children; and much more.  Learn more at

Teacher of the Year Holds Two Master’s from Hood

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PortnerAmandaTOYAmanda Portner has just been named Frederick County Teacher of the Year! The school system’s most prestigious award recognizes outstanding members of the teaching profession.

An alum of two Hood graduate programs — Curriculum and Instruction in 2004 and Educational Leadership in 2009 — Amanda is currently the literacy specialist at Thurmont Middle School. Among numerous leadership roles, she serves as an FCPS curriculum writer and teacher trainer and co-directs the Maryland Writing Project for Frederick, plus she’s taught English for the FCPS Virtual School.

Find out more about Amanda and her most recent achievement on the FCPS website.

Reception for All New Students: August 20

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All students who are new to the Hood Graduate School for the Fall 2014 semester are invited to an orientation on Wednesday, August 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The informal welcome reception, to be held at Whitaker Campus Center, will provide an opportunity to meet faculty, staff and fellow students.

The agenda includes a campus tour, introduction to the bookstore and Apple computer lab, a welcome from Graduate School Dean Dr. Maria Green Cowles, and dinner with the program directors. Get the complete agenda and then RSVP here 

Action Research to Take the Stage

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Twenty-six students in the Curriculum and Instruction program are hard at work on the action research that makes up their capstone projects. They’ll showcase their work on Thursday, May 1, 5-7 pm at Whitaker Commons on the Hood campus.

Projects run the gamut: Integrating Art and Reading: Teacher Collaboration to Influence Student Comprehension; Does the Use of an iPad Affect the Receptive and Expressive Communication Abilities of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder?; and LiveScribe Pens and Their Impact on Mathematical Problem Solving and Communication.

Curriculum and Instruction students aim to increase the depth and scope of their instructional expertise. Some have aspirations to become professional staff developers, go on for a doctorate, develop curriculum or work as curriculum specialists at the county or school level. Special interests include mathematics and  STEM.