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December 4, 2013 / erinroche

Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College

Currently the principal at the Prescott Magnet Charter School in Chicago, Mr. Erin Roche began his career in education nearly 20 years ago, when he trained teachers for the Peace Corps in Honduras. Since then, he has taught intermediate school students in Chicago, planned the development of new schools, and served as principal or assistant principal for several Chicago charter schools. Erin Roche earned his doctorate in educational leadership in 2013 from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development.

The Peabody College has a long history with roots stretching back to 1785. After several name and affiliation changes, it was renamed the George Peabody College for Teachers in 1909. In 1914, Peabody moved to its new campus across the street from Vanderbilt. Economic challenges confronted Peabody in the late 1970s, and the school had only two options – close, or merge with Vanderbilt. In 1979, it chose the latter path.

Although an integral part of Vanderbilt University, the George Peabody College retains its own identity, continuing its tradition of pioneering research and teaching in the fields of special education and community psychology. Today the school offers eight majors to its 1,200 undergraduates, and almost 30 graduate programs to nearly 700 graduate students.

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November 13, 2013 / erinroche

The Right Angle Summer of a Lifetime Program

An educational administrator based in Chicago, Erin Roche provides support for several local educational organizations, including Right Angle, which operates a unique Summer of a Lifetime program. Through Summer of a Lifetime, students gain the opportunity to participate in several different engaging educational initiatives at institutions around the country. Several students, explains Erin Roche, chose to engage in focused programs, such as the Journalism program at the University of Iowa, the Science and Sports Program at Colgate University, and the Junior Statesman of America initiative at Stanford University. At these schools, students have the ability to explore their passions in great depth through coursework, job shadowing, and speaking engagements.

Other initiatives, such as those at the University of Arizona or the University of Pennsylvania, seek to create an environment that mimics a real college experience. Participants in these programs choose from a variety of courses. Real university professors teach these rigorous courses, which push students to set high standards for themselves. Students also gain the opportunity to visit local museums, national parks, and local monuments to round out their education.

March 18, 2013 / erinroche

Principal Erin Roche Supports Boundless Readers

Longtime educator Erin Roche, principal of Prescott Magnet Cluster School in Chicago, which focuses on writing and literature, recognizes the importance of Boundless Readers, founded as The Rochelle Lee Fund to Make Reading a Part of Children’s Lives in 1988. Rochelle Lee, who taught in Chicago Public Schools for more than two decades and served as a librarian, had a knack for instilling in children a love of reading, the mission of Boundless Readers that Erin Roche and numerous other educators support.

For the national Big Read program, Boundless Readers created a variety of bilingual activities to interest students of public schools in Chicago, as well as their families and community members. Erin Roche and his fellow supporters of the group embrace its belief that good reading habits are essential to the process of learning and succeeding throughout life and that teachers play a crucial role in raising the bar in urban education and in developing devoted readers.

February 21, 2013 / erinroche

Erin Roche: Chicago Youths Experience College While Still in High School

Last year a record number of 528 students took part in a Summer of a Lifetime, a program that sends Chicago students to summer school at colleges across the United States. In two-week and eight-week sessions, the students took college-level classes at 67 participating universities. Some students studied math at the Illinois Institute of Technology, while others had the opportunity to learn about civics and leadership at the Junior Statesman of America Program at Georgetown University.

The program is organized and funded by the Right Angle Foundation. The students, all academic standouts, come from families that ordinarily would not be able to afford summer enrichment. The students are selected from the 12 schools operated by the Noble Network of Charter Schools. Since the Right Angle Foundation was started in 1996, more than 1,600 students have taken part in the summer program.

About Erin Roche: A supporter of the Right Angle Foundation, Erin Roche is the Principal of the Prescott School, winner of the Academic Improvement Award of the Illinois Honor Schools.

February 5, 2013 / erinroche

Erin Roche: America’s Rising Illiteracy Rates Impact Workers’ Industry

Illiteracy among American youths has reached crisis proportions according to multiple reports by organizations that track literacy. The reading skills of nearly 70 percent of eighth-grade students and 65 percent of high school seniors are “below proficient” a National Assessment of Educational Progress reported. Every day, some 3,000 students drop out of high school, many citing their inability to keep up with required reading as a reason.

There are many long-term consequences of rising illiteracy rates. An estimated 34 million adults lack the basic literacy skills needed in daily life, such as completing an employment application and reading instructions. This makes the job prospects for these adults grim, especially in fields like business and education where the ability to read, synthesize information, and write is crucial. As a result, companies often are forced to offer remedial classes, spending $300 million annually according to a survey of Fortune 500 businesses.

About Erin Roche: Early in his career, educator Erin Roche worked for Literacy Volunteers of America. The Principal of Chicago’s Prescott School, he also supports the efforts of Boundless Readers, Illinois Math and Science Academy, and education-focused organizations.

December 15, 2012 / erinroche

“Introduction to Magnet Cluster Schools,” by Erin Roche, Principal of Prescott School, Chicago

In Chicago, magnet cluster schools provide students with a range of academic options in their neighborhood communities. The Magnet Cluster Program offers six areas of specialization, and schools usually focus on one specific area. The programs offered include the following subjects:

Math/Science: This accelerated curriculum seeks to advance student achievement and improve both teaching and learning methods. Over the course of their elementary school years, students advance toward an understanding of abstract concepts in both subjects.

Fine and Performing Arts: This specialization helps students acquire competence in digital media and encourages students to explore a broad base of artistic abilities, including music, dance, drama, and the visual arts.

Literature and Writing: Magnet Cluster schools focusing on literature and writing encourage students to develop into creative, effective writers. Parent participation is stressed along with numerous literary events throughout the year.

World Language Program: This program encourages students to develop proficiency in a language other than English. Enrichment programs take place during the summer as well as the academic year.

About the Author: Erin Roche is a veteran educator with more than two decades of classroom and administrative experience.

December 8, 2011 / erinroche

A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Bullying at Schools

by Erin Roche

Bullying has always existed in some form, yet, in recent years, bullying in schools has received greater public exposure. From his experience as a father and Principal, Erin Roche understands the powerlessness parents experience when sending their children to school each day, wondering if they are being treated well. To help parents take an active stance against bullying, Mr. Roche offers the following suggestions.

Much like dealing with a form of illness, preventative action should be taken against bullying. By speaking with children and providing advice on how to handle different types of bullying, parents equip kids with the means to avoid getting bullied in the first place, or prevent it from continuing. In dealing with young children, open the discussion by discussing respect. Explain that everyone should be shown respect, and that those who fail to respect others are known as bullies.

As the conversation continues, pose what-if questions to the child. For example, “What would you do if you saw someone picking on someone else?” and, “What would you do if someone picked on you in the halls between classes?” Such questions encourage children to ponder the problem and come up with solutions. Should the situation occur, they will feel armed with possible courses of action.

Of course, the reality is that not every child is bullied. Sometimes our own children commit acts of bullying. Talk to children about how they feel when someone bullies them, and point out that they would be inflicting those damaging feelings on others. Talking to your children about bullying is the best way to prevent it.