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BYU-I ends education co-op
Rexburg university to go it alone training teachers
Brian Davidson - Idaho Falls Post Register
REXBURG - For the past three years, Sheila Crittenden has taken her
They accompanied her to family outings and to work. They even went to
wrestling matches, where her studies were interrupted only when son wrestled
on the mat.
On Thursday night, she left her books at home. She doesn't need them
Crittenden, a mother of three with a full-time job at Madison Memorial
Hospital, was one of 17 students to graduate Thursday night from the
elementary education program jointly operated by Lewis-Clark State College
in Lewiston and Ricks College, now known as Brigham Young University-Idaho.
They are the last graduates of the 10-year program, rendered obsolete when
the Rexburg university's education program became one of the college's first
four-year degree programs. The students graduated with a degree in
elementary education and endorsements in special education.
The transition leaves Sharon Hansen, a BYU-Idaho education instructor and
the cooperative program's Rexburg liaison, with mixed feelings.
"I'm going to miss the close association with the faculty, with everyone at
Lewis and Clark. I'll miss working closely with those students working on
their four-year degrees, since I've been their adviser," she said. "The good
side, however, is that I'll just be glad to focus on BYU-Idaho."
The graduates, who walked in a small ceremony at the Taylor Chapel on the
Rexburg campus, also played host to Dene Thomas, Lewis-Clark State College
president; Jannette Hill, chairwoman of the college's education division;
and Rita Morris, the college's provost, along with BYU-Idaho dignitaries
such as President David A. Bednar.
"We're very happy to see them get their own program, but sorry to see them
go," Hill said. "A lot of good things have come from this relationship."
The program started when a growing number of nontraditional students in
eastern Idaho asked for help in completing a four-year education program.
The students had jobs and family in the area, so they couldn't leave to
pursue a degree in other parts of the state.
As the program grew, traditional students saw its advantages and asked to
enroll as well.
By the end of 2001, more than 250 students had completed the program, with
an average of 20 students going through each year.
"And the good thing is out of those 250 students, all of them except for one
were able to find jobs," Hansen said. "That was when Idaho said they weren't
hiring teachers. We got calls from as far away as Cheyenne, Wyo., from
superintendents asking how to enroll people there in our program."
Students enrolled in the program completed an associate's degree at Ricks
College, then took Lewis-Clark classes on the Rexburg campus. Between their
junior and senior years, students spent an intense three-month period on the
Crittenden, who completed her studies in three years by working "nonstop,
through summers," enjoyed the program's challenges, which included leaving
her family for three months while she studied in Lewiston.
"Thank goodness for telephones," she said.
She took 16 credits in those three months, racing through courses ordinarily
stretched out over a semester of four months.
"The people at Lewis and Clark treated us with a lot of respect, since they
knew we were from Ricks," she said.
She's applied for teaching jobs in the Madison, Fremont and Sugar-Salem
school districts, and is hopeful she'll get one. She joins the ranks of
other Crittenden educators, including her husband, Cliff Crittenden, who
teaches at South Fremont High School, and her father-in-law, Jerald
Crittenden, principal of Central High School in Rexburg.
Upper Valley reporter/editor Brian Davidson may be contacted
at the Post Register's Rexburg office at 656-0101 or via e-mail at email@example.com.