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Monday, September 18, 2000

"Thatcher Provides Support for Ecuador Early Childhood Science Program"

SALISBURY, MD---Dr. Debra Thatcher, professor of education in the Samuel W. and Marilyn C. Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies at Salisbury State University, culminated her spring 2000 semester sabbatical with a two-week visit to the Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito (CMSFQ), a pre-kindergarten-12 school in Cumbaya, Ecuador. Thatcher, invited by the school’s executive director and early childhood director, provided support for improving the school’s early childhood science program.

During Thatcher’s visit she conducted two half-day workshops for 44 teachers, teacher assistants and administrators. She also did demonstration science lessons in 17 pre-kindergarten through grade two classrooms. "I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard in two weeks," said Thatcher, "nor had such satisfaction in working in a school."

CMSFQ, founded only five years ago, has a preK-12 student population of 1,500 children. "It is truly an exceptional school," said Thatcher. CMSFQ has become a model school in Ecuador and rivals many of the best schools in the United States. The school is affiliated with the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), founded 12 years ago as the first liberal arts university in Ecuador. "The success of both the Colegio Menor and th eUniversidad is largely due to Carlos Montufar," explained Thatcher. Montufar, the Colegio Menor’s executive director and the Universidad’s provost and co-founder, is a physicist dedicated to revolutionizing education in Ecuador.

The Colegio Menor has regular visits by consultants from the U.S. and Thatcher has been invited to return in Junuary 2001 to continue her work with the early childhood science program.

Thatcher also met with USFQ’s chancellor, provost, assistant provost and education director to discuss possibilities of student exchanges between USFQ and SSU. USFQ currently has several exchange programs with U.S. institutions, including University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Boston University, Boston College and Clemson University. Anyone interested in learning more about USFQ or CMSFQ may contact Thatcher or visit www.usfq.edu.ec and www.cmsfq.edu.ec Web sites.

  SSU Public Relations - 410-543-6030

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