Wednesday, December 07, 2016 This Week's Paper

Evergreen’s Master in Teaching makes a difference for area children

Many Tacoma-area teachers, including Christina Vernon, have something in common. They earned their teaching degrees in a social justice-focused Master in Teaching (MiT) program offered by The Evergreen State College. Evergreen is currently accepting applications for its fall 2017 MiT program, which will be offered at the college’s Tacoma location in the Hilltop neighborhood. Evergreen’s upper division Tacoma Program, which helps undergraduates complete their bachelor’s degrees, will share its classrooms and facilities on 6th Avenue with the 2017 MiT students.
According to director Pat Naughton, Evergreen’s MiT program is aimed at college graduates who want to make a difference in the world. The program is producing well-qualified teachers who are ready to help a diverse range of children and teens become critical thinkers and successful students.
In 2016, 100 percent of Evergreen’s June MiT graduates seeking teaching jobs were employed by fall.
Evergreen’s two-year MiT program is distinct from traditional teacher education programs. First, while it incorporates all the state required areas for certification in curriculum planning, assessment and teaching methods, it does so in an intense interdisciplinary format rather than in separate courses taught in isolation. Second, candidates stay together and are supported by the same faculty in a learning community throughout the program. Finally, time is taken for extensive hands-on experience working with school-age students, including two full quarters of student teaching, more than most degree programs. This helps prepare effective and successful teachers.
2014 Evergreen MiT graduate Christina Vernon, who taught for two years at Lakewood’s Lochburn Middle School and moved to Nisqually Middle School this year, said the program is a win-win for anyone who wants to become a teacher. “It was intense, but it definitely helped me become the teacher I am today,” Vernon said. “MiT prepares you for the realities of teaching.”
As a middle school language arts and social studies teacher, she appreciates that her job is to equal the playing field for every one of her 79 students – many of whom come from military families. That’s a challenging job, she said, because no two students are exactly alike.
Vernon said that Evergreen’s MiT program equipped her for classroom success through a hands-on interdisciplinary approach that focuses each quarter on a different set of strategies. Because Evergreen students spend more time working with each other and with students in the classroom, she said the strategies are easily remembered when they are needed most – for curriculum planning and for helping students overcome learning challenges in the moment.
Vernon graduated from Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in history. She’d always wanted to become a teacher, but hadn’t pursued a teaching certificate there. Evergreen’s unique program allowed her to obtain both her teacher certification and Master’s degree in just two years.
What Vernon loves most about her new life as a teacher are the changes she sees in her students. Her goal is to transform youngsters into critical thinkers who take pride in their own achievements.
“I love it because every day is unique. No day is like the other. As a teacher, you make a difference and the kind of difference you make is up to you.”
For more information about the Evergreen MiT program, including the fall 2017 offering in Tacoma or fall 2018 offering in Olympia, and to see a list of scheduled information events, visit Or call (360) 867-6559 to request materials. To learn more about Evergreen-Tacoma’s undergraduate degree completion options, visit
The Evergreen State College in Olympia is a public four-year liberal arts college nationally recognized for its distinctive interdisciplinary approach, strong academics and focus on undergraduate teaching. The college also has an upper division bachelor’s degree program in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood. In addition to undergraduate education, Evergreen offers three graduate degrees: Master in Teaching, Master of Environmental Studies and Master of Public Administration, including a distinctive tribal governance concentration.

Individuals interested in learning more about Evergreen’s fall 2017 Master in Teaching program in Tacoma are invited to attend any of the following information sessions:
Tuesday, November 29, 6:30-8 p.m. Information Workshop at Federal Way 320th King County Branch Library meeting room, 848 S 320th St., Federal Way.
Monday, December 5, 7-8:30 p.m. Information Workshop at South Hill Pierce County Library Branch meeting room, 15420 Meridian E, Puyallup.
Tuesday, December 6, 2-8 p.m., advising appointments, Evergreen-Tacoma, 1210 6th Ave., Room 114, Tacoma. Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to reserve a half-hour slot.
Tuesday, December 13, 6-7:30 p.m. Information Workshop, Evergreen-Tacoma, 1210 6th Ave., Room 104, Tacoma.