JulieJulie Yaeger, Executive Director at Learner’s Edge, is the advisor for one of the online reading cohorts offered by Learner’s Edge and the University of St. Thomas (UST).   In order to provide you with information about the program, Julie will be interviewing herself, because everyone else at the Edge is busy, and because she enjoys talking with herself.

Thanks for that great introduction!  (clears throat) Tell me more about this literacy thing.  What specific programs are offered?
JY:  There’s a six course K-12 reading endorsement and a four course reading certificate, and you can choose either an elementary or a secondary certification.  Both programs are fully online.   The endorsement is an addition to your teaching license and may assist educators looking to become reading specialist or district level personnel.   The certificate, while not a license addition, is a great way to deepen literacy knowledge and a good addition to a resume.

 How do I know I am a good fit for these programs?
JY: You would want to be comfortable working within an online environment:  collaborating and communicating via chat rooms and emails rather than a classroom discussion format.   Each course is a 3 credit graduate course, so you would want to make sure your personal and professional life allows for you to work on a course of that level.  Each course is approximately 7 weeks in length, so you are committed to about a year to complete the coursework for the endorsement and a bit less time for the certificate.

What do you mean by online?  Are textbooks used?
JY: Great question (if I do say so myself)!   Each course is set up in Sakai, which is our online environment.  All course requirements are submitted electronically within this system.  After becoming an approved applicant through UST you receive a password and username to enter the online environment to access the courses and complete the requirements.  If you have previously completed an online course with Learner’s Edge, the system will be familiar to you.

Textbooks are required for each course and are your responsibility to acquire via the publishers, Amazon or whatever venue you choose.  The list of texts is available on our Learner’s Edge website /courses/ reading endorsement and within each course syllabus.

Are the programs approved in my state? 
JY: We always encourage you to gain prior approval through your district or state for this and any other courses/programs.  We cannot provide a blanket approval of the program.   I can tell you that the University of St. Thomas is a regionally accredited institution through NCATE – this is information administration/state departments usually want to know for approval.   The programs are approved in the state of MN.

How do I apply?  What are the deadlines?
JY: All parts of the application process take place through UST; for immediate and specific assistance you may contact Ea Porter at .  Our spring cohort is in full swing and our fall cohort begins in September!  Stay updated by checking our website for application and cohort timelines: /courses/reading endorsement.

Can I receive financial aid for the program?
JY:  Yes, and all paperwork for financial aid is done through UST.   You will want to contact Ea Porter with initial questions.

Do you have any summary thoughts about the programs?
JY:  Yes!  We are excited to offer these amazing literacy programs for teachers on a national basis.  I thoroughly enjoy working directly with the teachers, reading coursework and engaging with the group in our chat rooms during each course.  Literacy, specifically early reading strategies and skills is a passion of mine and I enjoy being able to collaborate with teachers through these programs.  Everyone has an enthusiasm for literacy and reading, and they offer so many great ideas!

This information and more is available at /courses/reading endorsement.

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