Master of Prek-4 Program Receives National Recognition

Bear status on campus

KUTZTOWN, Pa. – The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has awarded its national recognition to Kutztown University’s Prek-4 Master of Education program, another step toward KU’s excellence in achieving all educational programs being Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredited.

KU’s Master of Education Prek-4 initial certification post-baccalaureate program began about six years ago as a pathway for students who have undergraduate degrees in fields other than education to receive certification to teach in public elementary schools while simultaneously earning a master's degree. Both the program itself and the Specialty Professional Association (SPA) required to gather the research and assessments necessary to apply for national recognition were spear-headed by KU professor Dr. Terre Sychterz.

“NAEYC is an organization that is well-known and is saying, ‘we’ve looked at what this program within this college has accomplished and they are meeting these standards we’ve determined that every prek-4 or early childhood program should meet.’ That’s a big deal. Meeting NAEYC standards says our program is highly successful at preparing students to teach at the prek-4 levels.” Sychterz said.

Sychterz coordinated the SPA to apply for program recognition with help from the elementary education department graduate committee, including associate professor Dr. Kristen Bazley and assistant professors Dr. Krista Varano and Dr. Jennefer Gehringer. Each member was responsible and ultimately successful in their work to describe the program’s context and conceptual framework, providing documented assessment evidence to demonstrate students’ competence in identified content areas as they meet NAEYC standards.

“I am proud of the program. We started with five students in the program and we did it for those five. The following year, we might have had 12 students. I was out recruiting myself. We are at a point that I don’t have to do that anymore. It’s word-of-mouth and our Office of Admissions. People hear about the program and they want to apply. A lot of them say they want to come because of Kutztown’s excellent reputation, but also because they heard about it from a friend,” Sychterz said.

Sychterz Talks About the Program

In Kutztown University’s endless quest for excellence, Sychterz says this is only a steppingstone toward meeting CAEP standards and becoming accredited by this prestigious organization.

All of Kutztown University’s education programs consistently are striving for and meeting the rigorous and consistently renewed CAEP standards with the goal of providing the highest quality of education to KU students and the highest esteem and reputation to KU graduates. The CAEP standards and their components derive from solid evidence that the provider’s graduates are competent and caring educators and solid evidence that the provider’s educator staff have the capacity to create a culture of evidence and use it to maintain and enhance the quality of the professional programs they offer.

For more information on the masters of Prek-4 Education program, contact Sychterz at sychterz@kutztown.edu.