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College of Education

Faculty and Staff

Melissa Baker, Ph.D.

Title: Clinical Assistant Professor, Middle Level Education
Department: Instruction and Teacher Education
College of Education
Email: mbaker@sc.edu
Phone: 803-777-6235
Melissa Baker, Ph.D.

Education

Ph.D. Middle Grades Education, University of Georgia
M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction, University of Tampa
B.A. English, Susquehanna University

Biography

Melissa A. Baker is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Middle Level Education, focusing on English Language Arts at the University of South Carolina. She received her undergraduate degree in English from Susquehanna University and attained her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Tampa. Melissa went on to earn her Ph.D. in Middle Grades Education from the University of Georgia. During her doctoral program, her primary area of research focused on family engagement across the transition from elementary to middle school and professional development school partnerships (PDSs).  

Baker believes school-university partnerships are integral to supporting teacher recruitment, induction, and retention. Since coming to UofSC, she has worked to advance PDSs to support teacher education by:

  • Teaching classes on-site at Fulmer Middle School, West Columbia, SC
  • Serving as professor-in-residence at Fulmer Middle School
  • Serving as a co-chair on the UofSC PDS Network Coordinating Council
  • Serving as Secretary/Treasurer to the American Education Research Association's Professional Development School Research Special Interest Group - being a founding board member and serving as President of PDS SERVE http://pds-serve.org/
  • Serving as Co-PI of a $50,000 Spencer Foundation Conference Grant: Research Renewal Within and Across Southeastern Professional Development School Partnerships
  • Co-developing the Southeastern PDS Research Consortium

Prior to her position at UofSC, Baker taught middle school English Language Arts and Reading at a rural middle school in the Hillsborough County School District, Florida.

Currently, Baker teaches Middle Level Literacy Assessment, Middle Level Content Area Reading and Writing, and English Language Arts methods courses as part of the Middle Level Education program in the Department of Instruction and Teacher Education.  

Baker's experience working in rural public schools and belief that we must support teacher recruitment, induction, and retention in rural schools has led to her serving on the advisory board of the Carolina Teacher Induction Program (CarolinaTIP) and working with the Carolina Collaborative for Alternative Preparation (CarolinaCAP). In addition, Baker serves as Co-PI of a $4.6 million TQP grant, awarded in October 2019, to support career changers to become elementary and middle school teachers in rural South Carolina schools. To learn more, visit: https://carolinateacher.org/

Selected Publications

Selected Publications between 2017-2020

Baker, M.A. (2020). Induction support and mentoring of teachers across South Carolina. Columbia, SC: The South Carolina Teacher Education Advancement Consortium through Higher Education Research.

Baker, M.A., Thompson, K., Nylin, A., & Dresden, J. (2019). Making the shift: Consciously preparing clinically-minded middle grades teacher educators. In Virtue, D. (Ed.), International handbook of middle level education theory, research, and policy. London, UK: Routledge.

Dresden, J., Thompson, K., Baker, M.A., & Nylin, A. (2019). The pattern emerges: Novice teacher educators learn from complexity. In Yendol-Hoppey, D., Hoppey, D.T., & Fitchman, N.D. (Eds.), Preparing the next generation of teacher educators for clinically-intensive teacher preparation. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Van Buren, C., White, B., Baker, M.A., & Blakeney, R. (2019). Sustaining a PDS network through a collaborative leadership model. PDS Partners: Bridging Research and Practice.

Baker, M.A., Brown, L., & Vicere, M. (2018). Addressing trauma and death with young adolescents through Tears of a Tiger. In Falter, M. & Bickmore, S. (Eds.), When loss gets personal: Discussing death through literature in the secondary ELA classroom. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

McGraw, A., Dresden, J., Gilbertson, E., & Baker, M.A. (2017). Site-based teacher education as a context for attending to the complexity and person-centred nature of teaching and learning: A narrative inquiry involving teacher educators from Australia and the United States. In Nuttall, J., Kostogriz, A., Jones, M., & Martin, J. (Eds.), Teacher education policy and practice – Evidence of impact, impact of evidence. Singapore: Springer.

Baker, M.A. & Carrero, M. (2017). Three ways to promote student empowerment and ownership at the middle level. Bridge in the Middle, 6, 15-17.

Baker, M.A. (2017). Parents for public school. In S.B. Mertens, M.M. Caskey, & N. Flowers (Eds.), Encyclopedia of middle grades education. Greenwich CT: Information Age Publishing.

Selected Presentations

Selected Presentations Between 2017-2020

National Presentations

Baker, M.A. (2020, February). Utilizing PDS partnerships to support teacher induction and retention. Presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Professional Development Schools (NAPDS), Atlantic City, NJ.

Baker, M.A. & Carrero, M. (2019, November). Promoting and sustaining student empowerment and ownership at the middle level. Presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Middle Level Education (AMLE), Nashville, TN.

Baker, M.A. (2019, April). Family engagement across the transition from elementary to middle school: Parent perspectives on supports and barriers in a professional development school. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association (AERA), Toronto, Canada.

Baker, M.A., Carrero, M., Curcio, R., & Van Buren, C. (2019, February). Promoting Scholarship and Research in a Professional Development School Partnership. Presented at the annual meeting of the NAPDS, Atlanta, GA.

Goodman, J. & Baker, M.A. (2018, October). From Silos to Launching Pads: Encouraging Metaphorical Thinking Across Content Areas. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the AMLE, Orlando, FL.

Baker, M.A., Van Buren, C., Curcio, R., & Carrero, M. (2018, October). Conducting Scholarship and Research in Professional Development School Partnerships. Presented at the annual meeting of the National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER) Conference, Charlotte, NC.

Baker, M.A., Carrero, M., & Posey, A. (2018, June). Building Momentum in Improving Student Learning through Inquiry.  Schools to Watch Conference, Washington, DC.

Andrews, P.G., MacMillan, T., Moulton, M., & Baker, M.A. (2018, March). Advancing School Improvement Through Service-Learning in a PDS. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the NAPDS, Jacksonville, FL.

Baker, M.A., Carrero, M., & Van Buren, C. (2018, March). Beginning a Next Gen Professional Development School Partnership: Perspectives from School and University Partners. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the NAPDS, Jacksonville, FL.

Baker, M.A. & Carrero, M. (2018, March). Beginning a Next Gen Professional Development School Partnership: Promoting and Sustaining Student Empowerment and Ownership. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the NAPDS, Jacksonville, FL.

Nylin, A., Baker, M.A., & Dresden, J. (2018, March). Make it Work: Designing the Graduate Student Experience within the PDS for the Benefit of All. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the NAPDS, Jacksonville, FL.

Nylin, A., Baker, M.A., & Moulton, M. (2018, March). Tales from the Field: How PDS work can inform Dissertations. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the NAPDS, Jacksonville, FL.

Ogletree, S., Granville, H., & Baker, M.A. (2018, March). Ready… Set… SERVE! Regional Conferencing for Deepening Multi-University/Multi-K-12 PDS Partnerships. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the NAPDS, Jacksonville, FL.

Baker, M.A., Thompson, K., Andrews, G., & Nylin, A. (2017, November). Supports and Barriers to Family Engagement Across the Transition to Middle School: Parent Perspectives. Paper presented to the AERA Middle Level Education Research (MLER) Special Interest Group at the annual meeting of the AMLE, Philadelphia, PA.

Baker, M.A. & Andrews, P. G. (2017, March). Responding to one middle school’s needs: PDS PhD course creation, a dissertation, and its impact. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the NAPDS, Washington, D.C.

Dresden, J., Gilbertson, E., Baker, M.A., Capuozzo, B., Lee, M., MacMillan, T., Moulton, M., Nylan, A., Perry, A., & Waldrip, P. (2017, March). Camp DIVE: An enriching summer program to prepare teacher candidates and prevent summer learning loss. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the NAPDS, Washington, D.C.

Dresden, J., Gilbertson, E., Baker, M.A., Guay, M., Thompson, K., & Waldrip, P. (2017, March). Engaging in inquiry across our PDS. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the NAPDS, Washington, D.C.

Nylin, A., Baker, M.A., & Matheson, M. (2017, March). Collegiate conversations: Graduate students reflect on PDS partnerships. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the NAPDS, Washington, D.C.

 

Regional Presentations

Adgerson, A., Baker, M.A., Curcio, R., Guest, J., Roy, G., Thompson, S., D’Amico, L., & West, H. (2020, October). Reinterpreting Rural Teacher Education Within the Context of Virtual Spaces. Presented at the annual meeting of the Professional Development Schools Southeast Regional Vision for Education (PDS SERVE) Conference, Virtual.

Guest, J., Adgerson, A., Baker, M.A., Curcio, R., & Griffith, B. (2020, October). Childhood Trauma in the Classroom: Strategies to Create Supportive Environments in Physical and Virtual School Settings. Presented at the annual meeting of the PDS SERVE Conference, Virtual.

Baker, M.A. (2019, October). Addressing Teaching Induction and Retention through PDS Partnerships. Presented at the annual meeting of the PDS SERVE Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Baker, M.A., Conyers, E., Fehlig, E., Prince, B. (2018, March). Integrating Curriculum in a Seventh Grade Classroom. Presented at the annual meeting of the South Carolina Association of Middle Level Education (SCAMLE) Conference, Myrtle Beach, SC.

Nylin, A. & Baker, M.A. (2017, September). Graduate Student Experiences with the Scholarship of School-University Partnerships. Interactive symposium to be presented at the annual meeting of the PDS SERVE Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Baker, M.A. & Andrews, P.G. (2017, February). Using a school-university partnership to better family engagement during the transition to middle school. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Georgia Middle School Association (GMSA), Valdosta, GA.

 

Invited Presentations

Baker, M.A., & Carrero, M. (2020, April). Induction support specific to the school environment. Was to be presented at the Secondary Inquiry Matters Conference, Irmo, SC.

Baker, M.A., & Carrero, M. (2019, April). Sustaining student engagement and ownership through inquiry. Presented at the Secondary Inquiry Matters Conference, Irmo, SC.

Baker, M.A. (2019, February). PDS SERVE. Presented at the annual meeting of NAPDS, Atlanta, GA.

Baker, M.A. & Carrero, M. (2018, June). Coaching and evaluation in professional development school partnerships. Presented at the annual meeting of the Cultivating and Supporting a Coaching Culture Conference, Columbia, SC.

Carrero, M. & Baker, M.A. (2018, May). Sustaining student empowerment and ownership through inquiry. Presented at the annual Lexington 2 School District Symposium, Cayce, SC.


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