Haydn Crouse had several years of experience teaching in elementary schools and a solid undergraduate underpinning, when she realized she wanted to “become a better teacher for my students.”
Crouse, a kindergarten teacher in the St. Vrain School District, enrolled in the Literacy Education Master’s program a CU Boulder to better support her students’ literacy education and grow as a teacher, and her experience in graduate school fulfilled that dream and more.
“This, coupled with the experiences I had as a child who struggled with reading, gave me a strong desire to attend a Literacy Education program, so I could learn, grow, and continue to become the best teacher I could be,” she said.
A reflective and thoughtful educator, Crouse is motivated to support striving readers, as she makes sense of her own trajectory and supports she received as a student herself.
She draws from her professional development and graduate studies in culturally and linguistically diverse education and her master’s courses in literacy to build meaningful literacy communities for diverse readers. Throughout her coursework, Crouse’s assignments and interactions with colleagues showcased a commitment to asset-based literacy instruction, building from and honoring the cultural backgrounds in her classroom, her faculty nominators said. Many of her students come from different regions, countries, and linguistic backgrounds, starting school in the U.S. in Longmont. Crouse is able to translate research around evidence-based instruction into responsive literacy instruction, assessment, and feedback that accounts for the different strengths and areas of growth in her classroom community.
In addition, Crouse engages in collaboration with colleagues as a thoughtful listener and peer coach, in ways that keep students as the focus. She often shares her own experiences as a learner and about how she is growing as an educator—integrating what she is learning in ways that impact her daily classroom teaching.
When she crosses the stage at graduation, Crouse will be the first person in her family to earn a master’s degree. She plans to use the tools and knowledge she gained through graduate school to make a positive impact in the lives of her students and their educational experiences. She hopes other teachers will follow in her footsteps and find a graduate program that complements their continual growth as teachers.
“As a teacher who is working towards their master’s degree, you are in the most incredible position possible,” she said. “You are able to take the research practices you are learning in your courses and apply them directly to your instruction as an educator. You will experience how these practices work in a classroom setting with immediate feedback and reflection, get to participate in case studies and action research that directly support you as an educator, and work through your questions in education using knowledgeable, kind, nonjudgmental professors and colleagues as a soundboard. Although teaching and receiving a master’s degree can, at times, feel overwhelming, I am so happy I applied myself in both areas simultaneously.”