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Connie Argento-Smith

Connie Argento-Smith

Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education

B.S., Kent State University; M.S. Admin. and M.S.Ed., Ashland University; Ed.D., Capella University

Walsh University
A Catholic University of Distinction
2020 East Maple Street
North Canton, Ohio44720
United States

Dr. Constance Argento-Smith (Connie Smith) is an Associate Professor of Education and Coordinator of the Urban Outreach Initiative in the Division of Education at Walsh University. She has been with the Division of Education since 2007. Dr. Smith has served as a teacher and administrator in both public and private education. She has experience in teaching higher education courses, as well as being a high school/middle school/elementary school teacher, forensics coach, and elementary school principal/pre-school director. She holds an M.S. Admin. and M.S. Ed. from Ashland University, as well as certification in Elementary and Middle School Administration and her B.S. in English Education (AYA) from Kent State University. Dr. Smith has recently completed a Doctorate of Education in Leadership and Management with a focus on Diversity in higher education.

Teaching

Dr. Smith teaches courses including ECE210 (Introduction to Early Childhood Education), ECE211 (Growth, Assessment and Development in Early Childhood Education), and EDUC255 (Language and Cognitive Development for Licensure areas: Early Childhood Intervention Specialists and Mild to Moderate Education Specialists) and EDUC 264, Educational Psychology. She has also taught higher education courses in communications and speech. Dr. Smith is an advisor for both Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Intervention Specialist majors.

Graduate Courses: Dr. Smith is co-director of the Holy Cross Academy STREAM project paradigm for K-3 educators aligning and implementing Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics in faith-based catholic schools in Stark County, Ohio.

Scholarship

Dr. Smith has presented and published for both national and international conferences; topics including but not limited to Global Learning initiatives, Israel, June 2011 and Boston November, 2011; Extended Day Programs, NAEYC National Conference, fall, 2011; English as a Second Language, Technology as a hybrid course, including a paper accepted for publication and presentation at an International Conference (eLEARN-AACE) "Hybrid Approaches to the Development of an ePortfolio Learning Community" and a National conference on Global Learning, Fall, 2012. Dr. Smith participates in University initiatives including, The General Education Committee, Diversity Task Force Committee, Diversity Board for the Division of Education, Field Advisory Committee, Teacher Prep Essay Committee, and NCATE Standards 2 and 4 Teams and has traveled to Israel with a Global Learning Partnership in June 2011.

Dr. Smith's research interests include providing academic opportunities and support to local families and community members in impoverished environments, incorporating and understanding the benefits of enrichment programs, incorporating technology in the authentic field based pre-service experience, and recognizing the importance of appropriate field experiences on pre-service teacher candidates when practicing in diverse populations, specifically targeting second language learners, early language learners, children from low socio-economic populations, and students of cultural and linguistic diversity.

Study Abroad Experience

Dr. Smith is currently traveling to Rome, Italy and Athens, Greece, where Walsh University teacher candidates are making their first inaugural trip together in a structured study-abroad platform, visiting classrooms beyond our own borders and exploring education in the 21st century.

Service

Volunteering for diocesan and public schools in her communities, Dr. Smith has initiated a collaborative partnership with The Goddard School, Our Lady of Peace Catholic School, Portage Montessori School, and Imagine Charter School in Canton pairing the Walsh teacher Candidates with young learners in an authentic teaching environment. Dr. Smith is also a board member and Ambassador for the Stark County Early Childhood Resource Center in Canton, Ohio. She is a member of the campus Hybrid Course Learning Community, Education Club Co-Advisor and a member of the following external professional organizations: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), American Association of School Administrators (AASA), the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA), the Ohio Middle School Association (OMSA) and the Society for Information Technology in Teacher Education (SITE), Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and the Canton Chapter, CAAEYC where she hosted Mount Union and Malone Universities at a University-Wide collaborative lesson share in fall 2010. Dr. Smith lives in Magnolia, Ohio where she and her husband of 26 years have raised three children, and many rescue dogs.

Education Students Connect Cultures in the Classroom

Education Students Connect Cultures in the Classroom

Last May, while visiting the Brothers of Christian Instruction in Alfred, Maine, Dr. Constance Argento-Smith was given some sunflower seeds from the Brothers’ flower garden. In the fall, education students studying at Walsh’s campus in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, created a lesson plan around those seeds. Working with a group of kindergartners from the nearby Vatican School, the group planted the Brothers’ sunflower seeds from Maine in Italy to create a Global Garden for the enjoyment of the entire community. The sunflowers they planted will bloom to serve not only as a remembrance of Walsh’s founders, but also as a visible reminder of the global connections we all share.     

The 14 education students spent eight weeks on Walsh’s Rome campus learning, serving, and teaching.  The group consisted of sophomore education majors in all licensure areas, led by Dr. Smith, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education.

As part of their curriculum, Walsh teacher candidates traveled in small groups to visit several local schools where they taught lessons in their specific licensure areas. The group visited the Brothers of Christian Instruction School, Scuola Sant' Ivo, the Vatican School, Albano Laziale School District, the Maria Montessori School, the James Joyce School, and Reggio Emilia, a theory of teaching in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Overcoming language barriers, the Walsh teacher candidates were paired in partner schools where they created lessons plans and connected with the Italian students through shared content, music, games, and play. 

“I gained confidence from this experience,” explained Walsh sophomore Haley Talion.  “I feel that if I could teach there, even with the language barrier, I can teach anywhere. And I know now that I would be able to handle my own classroom.”

The schools were specifically chosen so that the Walsh students could observe a variety of teaching styles and garner hands-on, practical experience in numerous classroom settings.

“The teacher candidates connected culture, community, content, and service in each respective licensure area as they prepared and taught their lessons,” said Dr. Smith. “The impact was a positive and mutual experience with both our partner schools and our future educators. The classroom experiences were rich and authentic. The experience was so impactful, that a few of our teacher candidates are now considering teaching abroad, possibly as a student teaching experience in the same schools they taught in this fall.”

In addition to their busy schedule teaching over 32 lessons in schools in both Italy and Greece, the global scholars visited a total of 13 countries including Spain, Ireland, France, and England. Students who traveled to Germany and Poland learned from concentration camps and made connections with the stories of their own families and the camps they left behind.

A highpoint of the trip occurred in Greece. Dr. Smith and Early Childhood Intervention Specialist major KateLynn Calabretta were invited to present a lecture on diversity at the University School of Athens. Educators and school administrators from the Athens school districts attended the presentation.

"It was so inspiring as a future educator to see educators across the globe discussing and exchanging ideas to better promote learning in their classrooms," said Calabretta.  

Walsh’s educations students will have another upcoming opportunity to teach internationally.  In May 2017, education professors Jennifer Green and Jennifer Webb will lead a two-week trip to Uruguay.  This service-learning experience will again emphasize the legacy of Walsh’s founders by allowing students to live out the Brothers of Christian Instruction’s mission through service and teaching opportunities at the Brothers’ Youth Center in Maldonado Nuevo.

 

 

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