Climb Credit Student Success Story: How American College of Education Helped Ivey Homer Grow in Her Career
Ivey Homer received an advanced degree from a Climb partner school, American College of Education (ACE), to help her advance her educational technology practices and her career.
Ivey began her career in education as an English teacher at Lexington Middle School in 2011.
It was at the start of her career while teaching English at Lexington Middle that she initially enrolled and began taking classes at ACE. Ivey knew that her school was shifting to 1:1 devices very soon, and with that shift new technology tools would be implemented. After speaking with a colleague who went through the program at ACE, Ivey figured that the skills ACE offered could help her work through the rollout and impactful application of these devices: “I took three courses that I paid for out of my pocket. On a first year teacher salary, to pay for it I had to work a weekend job. But, it got to be too much to handle for me both financially and mentally, as I was still trying to survive as a first year professional and live on a salary that limits opportunities. So, I decided to take a break from ACE.”
With school, extra jobs, finding her place as a first year teacher, and important life events, it was difficult for her to maintain payments to continue the graduate program.
Between getting married and starting her education career, finishing the degree just wasn’t in the cards at the time. Yet Ivey still kept thinking about returning to ACE at some point in the future. After visiting the Teacher's College for the Digital Media Literacy Institute, she felt like she needed more knowledge to backup the new practices she was “aspiring to implement from the institute.”
“I know myself well. I am a lifelong learner that seeks growth opportunities, and not just because I want them, but because I need them. I have always enjoyed being in school, and after teaching for a few years I felt like something was missing from my life. I had hit a plateau, and that did not sit well with me. I did not come this far just to come this far, so I knew I needed to do something."
Ivey realized it was time to pick up where she left off with ACE.
It wasn’t too long (the next week, in fact) that she got the push she needed to head back to ACE—she received an email letting her know that if she didn’t return before a specific day, her credits wouldn’t transfer, and she’d have to start all over. But now, she found herself in a better position to go back to class.
More than that, it would be a great benefit to return to the graduate program: “…with getting the Masters it would pay itself off in the rate that I would receive for the payscale bump within two years. So I thought it would be silly not to finish.”
First, however, there was once again the matter of tuition. When Ivey initially attended ACE, Climb financing was not yet an option, and she had to take up a weekend job to help pay for the classes. This time around, though, Ivey was able to skip the side job and take a loan with Climb instead.
Securing the financing was an important step to help her get back to school.
With other things to worry about, she didn’t want to add tuition payment on top of everything else. So Ivey gave it try, and within 48 hours of submitting the necessary documents for her application, she was approved for tuition financing.
Now, it was time to get her M.Ed. in Educational Technology. To Ivey, her education at ACE is “a huge advantage to [her] forward-moving district and is to thank for [her] ability to keep up with all the educational technology advancements and initiatives.”
After Ivey picked up her courses, she was quickly able to apply her lessons at work.
One of the most valuable aspects of her time at ACE was that—as a classroom teacher and graduate student—there were several instances where she was able to take what was being taught and immediately apply it to her classroom for quick action research. Having courses, content, and assessments that are so applicable to her current career gave her the opportunity to “live the process” and come back to class with “deeper, insightful reflections.”
According to Ivey, this could be what made her stand out “not just as a leader, but as an educational technology leader,” and she attributes that to why her principal switched her role from classroom teacher to the school’s Instructional Coach for Digital Learning the month before she finished the Educational Technology masters program at ACE.
And though people saw the role as more IT-focused at first, she is hard at work helping to rebrand the position, as her district has partnered with the Dynamic Learning Project (DLP)—Digital Promise, EdTech Team, and Google for Education—“with the goal to increase educational equity and impactful uses of technology through instructional coaching.”
The lessons she learned put Ivey ahead of the curve when it comes to education.
While at a conference recently, she was one of only a few who were familiar with various concepts such as the SAMR Model and Everett’s Law of Diffusion (Diffusion of Innovations), even as the newest digital learning coach on the team: “And I would not have known that had it not been for the high-quality experiences and the relevant exposure to current trends in educational technology that I received through the American College of Education.”
“Even if I wasn’t in the role that I’m in now, everything I got out of the Educational Technology program at ACE in many ways revolutionized things that I did in my classroom and the experiences I provided for my students.”
The only thing that Ivey would have done differently? Go back sooner.
“I should have checked into it sooner than I did. In the very beginning, Climb Credit was not available...but I should have probably started earlier and sought out other ways to fund my degree advancement. However, it worked out great with Climb Credit…better late than never.
“I do want to go back within the next couple of years to pursue either an Education Specialist or Educational Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership or Principalship as a way to open up opportunities for possible advancement to administration or district-level leadership in the future—and I will likely use Climb Credit when the time comes to return to school.”
Ivey is a client of Climb's. However, she was not paid or otherwise compensated for this testimonial. This testimonial reflects the real-life experiences and opinions of Ivey; however, it should not be assumed that all users will have the same experiences. Individual results may vary.
The quoted statements appear verbatim as given by the user, except for the correction of grammar and typing errors. Some testimonials may have been shortened or rearranged for the sake of clarity.
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