Reading Specialization

Reading is the Key

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HelineAraceli Henline’s journey is all about how to help her students. An English Language Learner (ELL) teacher with 22 years of experience, working with students with all levels of English is her passion. From newcomers with almost no English to those who are learning to expand their grasp of English grammar and vocabulary, Araceli is there for them all. Born in Texas and raised in Colorado and part of a Spanish speaking family, she feels that “being an ELL student myself, (students) need teachers who are like them to empathize with them. They need to be challenged by someone who understands yet can show rising above the barriers of language to become a positive contributor to our community is possible.” Outside of teaching, she loves the outdoors, which she learned to appreciate growing up in Denver. Along with hiking, camping, and fishing, she runs half marathons and is considering running a full marathon in the future. She is happily married with 2 children and enjoys the support that her family gives her.

Henline is enrolled in Hood College’s M.S. in Reading Specialization program, which certifies teachers to become reading/literacy specialists, a position which works with students, teachers, and administration to help students learn to read, write, and comprehend. Araceli is already certified as elementary and ELL teacher but wants more for herself and her students. Now in her 6th year teaching at Frederick County Public Schools’ Hillcrest Elementary, a Title I school with a high ELL population, she doesn’t have any plans to leave the classroom soon, but “would consider becoming a reading interventionist with a similar population of ELLs because that is where my heart is.” More important for her is to “prepare my students to become better readers as I become more knowledgeable with this specialization. Reading is so important. I realize the success of my ELL students greatly depends on their ability to not only speak the English language, but to be strong readers and writers. They come to us 5-7 years behind and we need to catch them up with their peers and level the playing field. I realize that reading is a vehicle to my students’ success in the future. It’s exciting to implement the reading strategies I learn at Hood with my students now.”

Araceli is enjoying her time at Hood. While teaching full time, having a family, and being in classes is challenging, she enjoys the small classes and knowledgeable professors. As she gets ready to do her clinical experience this summer, working with elementary and secondary students over the break, she is using everything she learned through the program. She will earn her certification next year but is already using what she has learned to help her students. We wish her all the best!

Who Teaches the Teachers?

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Hanna editHarry Hanna, one of many exceptional adjunct professors in Hood College’s education programs, has multiple connections to Hood, from being caught by college security toilet papering cars on campus in his much younger days, to marrying a Hood graduate, to working at a summer program hosted at Hood and staying in the dorms before men were allowed to live on campus. He later earned his M.S. in Educational Leadership from Hood, and now teaches as an adjunct professor.


As a young man in California, he worked various jobs while finishing high school and then attended community college while working. At 20, he joined the United States Army, and after basic training in Kentucky and advanced training as a medic in Texas, was assigned to Fort Detrick in Frederick, MD, where he first heard about Hood College. Hanna explains; “at the time, Hood was primarily a women’s college and someone at Fort Detrick told me that I was going to love the post and that there was a women’s college a mile from the base.” While stationed at Detrick, he took classes at Frederick Community College and finished his A.A. degree while working in the Virology Division at the United States Army Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). He became friends with some of the Hood College students who were interning at the base and learned more about the college and its programs.


After finishing his enlistment, Harry decided to pursue a degree in elementary education at Towson University, where he became the first member of his family to graduate from college. At the same time, he continued to make friends with Hood students, and ending up dating Hood student Barbara Wood, ’97, whom he married a year after she graduated. They moved to California for a few years where Harry taught middle school and Barbara elementary. In 2002, they returned to Frederick and both began working for Frederick County Public Schools at Twin Ridge Elementary. They’ve now been married for almost 20 years, have four wonderful children, and still get together with her best friend from Hood at least once a year!


Harry has worked for FCPS in various positions, and then finally made it to Hood as student, earning his Master’s in Educational Leadership in 2007. While working at Centerville Elementary as a Technology Staff Developer and Reading Intervention Teacher, he was recruited by a Hood adjunct to teach EDUC 502, Technology for Literacy, Leadership and Learning, a core course for the Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership, Reading Specialization, and STEM certificate graduate programs. The course looks at instructional technology and “discusses how technology fits within the modern and traditional classrooms.” He has taught many graduate students, who describe him as “motivating.” One current student explains that his class gave her “not just real things I can use, but the ways and means and comfort to use them”.


See a clip of Harry teaching a class HERE


Why Hood? Harry explains; “I truly have been blessed by Hood in many ways and I have spent the better part of a decade now teaching teachers how to incorporate technology in their classrooms, whether they are educators in Maryland, West Virginia or even Saudi Arabia, (where two current students are from). I love teaching this course because the content is dynamic since the changes in technology keep it fresh and engaging. We ask our students to take risks when it comes to incorporating technology in their teaching, and we can model it ourselves. I always hope that my students take away from the course a shift in mindset in the way they look and view technology. It is a tool to help students be successful, to think critically and not just be consumers of technology and information, but creators of it. I really want teachers to know that, even if they aren’t totally comfortable with a particular program, app or piece of technology, that it is OK if students might know more about it than they do. Teachers shouldn’t use technology just for technology’s sake, but to develop those higher order thinking skills through creativity, collaboration, content creation and connection. These are some of my goals for my graduate students.  Hood has been a big part of my life and I am #Hoodproud!”

From Student to Mentor: Justine Freimanis Continues At Hood

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JustineJustine Freimanis has experienced Hood College as an undergraduate student, graduate student, and teacher. In 1997, she received her undergraduate degrees in Early Childhood Education and Psychology. She immediately got a job teaching in Frederick County Public Schools, where she has now been for 20 years! In 2004, she earned came back to Hood for her graduate degree, an MS in Reading Specialization. As of 2017, she is the literacy specialist at Monocacy Elementary School, where she is also the Professional Development School (PDS) coordinator. This role has her organizing students from Hood and other programs, such as Frederick Community College, who come to Monocacy for their student teaching internships. Even with this, Justine’s work at Hood isn’t quite done. She is taking classes in the Educational Leadership program, working toward her administrative certification. Beyond taking classes, she is also helping future literacy specialists as a mentor teacher in the 2017 Reading Clinic, where participants in the Reading Specialization graduate program apply their skills working with elementary and Secondary students. Ellen Koitz, head of the Reading Specialization program, is pleased to have an outstanding graduate back to help teach future literacy specialists.

Justine attributes her continued affiliation with both Hood and FCPS to how the two work well together. She explains that “professors and staff at Hood work really hard to communicate with the school system, keep the focus consistent, and give the students an understanding of what is really going on with education in the real world”. She also states that she has had great experiences here with staff and peers. Hood is happy to have her back!

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Become a Reading Specialist By Doing It!

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In the Hood College Master’s in Reading Specialization program, two of the final steps are EDUC 524 and 525, Advanced Clinical Reading Experiences. Familiarly known as ‘clinic’, these two classes come together as a rigorous six-week summer program where participants act as reading specialists. It is an intense time, with the participants doing everything from assessing their students, creating plans to teach them based on their needs, and even observing and coaching each other. Program director Ellen Koitz explains that it is a chance for graduate students to apply the skills they’ve learned throughout the program, as well as for local elementary and secondary students to really learn over the summer. Hood’s emphasis on hands-on application and real-life experience shines, as participants create and follow through with plans tailored to real students and peers. Megan Ramsburg, a teacher at FCPS’ Whittier Elementary School, explains that “if I start a career as a literacy specialist, I now already have some experience with what it will be like”.

Something that sets Hood’s program apart is the focus on a variety of ages. The certification gained through the program is for K-12, so participants work with both elementary and secondary students. This means that elementary school teachers will work with high school students, and vice versa. For three weeks, participants work with elementary students, all of whom are identified as reading at least a year below their grade levels. For the three weeks with secondary students, the focus is on content area reading and study skills. 2017 participant Rachel Crane, a teacher for Washington County Public Schools states, “you get experience with a variety of age groups and needs that it’s almost impossible to get in your regular career”.

Another advantage to the program is timing. With clinic occurring during the summer, students don’t need to take a leave of absence from their regular jobs or try to cram hours in around other teaching. Clinic participants are either ready to graduate or need just one more class, and once their program portfolios are submitted they will gain their certification. While the group agrees that they are ready to be done and graduate, they also praise the program for pushing them and preparing them for a variety of situations and career choices.

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Outstanding Student- Reading Specialization

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i-ZNkj8cV-L Kristine Abrecht has been a stellar student in Hood College’s MS in Reading Specialization program, maintaining a GPA of 3.94. Kristine has been an elementary school teacher in the Frederick County Public Schools since 2010, where she has taught grades two, three and five.  Kristine was asked to plan and implement a professional development opportunity for parents, teachers and child care professionals who worked in Frederick County where she shared the Importance of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) with the special education population.

Kristine’s exit folio artifacts and reflections made it clear to the reviewers that she has learned a great deal in the Reading Specialist program.  She is truly an outstanding graduate student and we are proud to have her as an alumnus.

Hood’s New Master of Science in Multidisciplinary Studies – Courses from Three Graduate Education Programs Coming Together to Shape One Degree

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Stem2A1890For the first time Hood College is offering a Master of Science degree in Education, Multidisciplinary Studies. This new program will enable educators to build a substantial content base and add leadership skills and specialized reading training to enhance career opportunities.

Multidisciplinary Studies is designed primarily for certified classroom teachers and support staff who want to design a personalized program to meet their individual instructional and professional needs. An integral part of this program is the ability to choose course work from other content areas outside the field of education. The curriculum includes four professional core courses, one course from each of the three existing education graduate programs – Reading Specialization, Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Leadership – as well as four elective courses, and a capstone research project. This action research project provides the opportunity to explore and address specific instructional issues in an action research framework, bridging the interdisciplinary coursework that has been completed. A candidate may finish the program in as little as three years, with seven years the maximum allowable time. Candidates must apply to the Graduate School and meet with the program’s director to complete an oral interview and writing sample.

For more information contact Paulette Shockey, Program director, at 301-696-3467 or or visit

Hill Earns Outstanding Student Award

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Sue Hill with (from left) Virginia Jones, a fellow student in the Reading Specialization Program, Hood President Ron Volpe and Ellen Koitz, director of the Reading Specialization program

Beverly “Sue” Hill is the Outstanding Student in the Reading Specialization program for 2015.

Having enrolled in Hood’s Reading Specialization program in 2010, Sue completed her Master’s degree in May 2015 with a 3.97 GPA. In addition, she holds a M.Ed in Educational Administration from the University of Texas.  Sue served as a middle school teacher at the Arkansas School for the Deaf and a high school teacher at the Louisiana School for the Deaf.  She became the elementary reading specialist at the Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD) in 2005 and in 2013 was promoted to assistant principal of the Elementary Department. 

The two MSD students Sue taught during the Hood College Reading Clinic made significant progress. Now, thanks to the generosity of the Delaplaine Foundation, the clinic has become a professional development site where MSD teachers learn under Sue’s guidance.

Recent Alumni Provide Career Advice to Students

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Alumni panelists 10-14On Oct. 6, recent Hood alumni provided students and guests with valuable advice on internships, their job experiences and shared the importance of their Hood education. Panelists included Graduate School alumni Kris Miner ’11, MBA ’13, business banking associate relationship manager, M&T Bank (third from left in photo) and Erin Doolittle ’03, M.S. ’11, Frederick County Public Schools Teacher of the Year 2014 (second from right). Read more.

Erin Doolittle Rises to State Finalist

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Erin Doolittle head shot 2014Frederick County Teacher of the Year Erin Doolittle is one of seven finalists for the Maryland State Teacher of the Year award. Erin earned her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and master’s degree in reading specialization, both from Hood College. A panel of judges from Maryland education organizations selected the seven finalists from among the state’s 24 district winners.  The 2014-2015 Maryland Teacher of the Year will be announced during a reception on October 10.

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