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Adopt a Griff – A Success

Ben Harrington ’06, principal of Arthur Middleton Elementary School in Waldorf, MD, sent the following video message to Canisius student-teachers. It also includes a few ‘words of wisdom’ from elementary school teachers at Harrington’s school.

When Professor of Teacher Education Marya Grande, PhD, put a call out to her former students for help, the response was overwhelming.

You see, Grande was concerned about her pre-student teachers who were “having a tough time” figuring out how to teach virtually and still connect with their young students. “There have been some tears and frustration from our student teachers that kids don’t log on or don’t seem to be paying attention,” explained Grande to Canisius alumni who follow her on Facebook. “We have done our best to prepare them but as you know, we have all been learning as we go and this is not how they pictured student teaching.”

Grande called upon her 150-plus alumni followers to consider adopting a Griff by sending a student-teacher an encouraging message of support or words of advice. The response was more than Grande imagined and each of her student-teachers, as well as student-teachers in similar Canisius programs, received an Email or video message of support from at least one alumni educator – some of whom event sent virtual gift cards to the future educators! Below are a couple examples of letters alumni sent to students.

Meaghan Jimenez ’04, an exceptional student services lead at Arete Preparatory in Gilbert, AZ wrote the following to student Anna Kraus:

Hi Anna,

You have no clue who I am, but I was one of Dr. Grande’s students (cough, cough) about 16-17 years ago!  She recently posted in one of our Facebook groups about how student teaching is not what this student teaching cohort expected.  Girl! I cannot imagine!!! She asked that we “adopt a Griff”, so I jumped at the opportunity.

I wanted to let you know that teaching is seriously the most rewarding job I could ever imagine.  I have been through a lot in my almost 17 years of teaching and I wouldn’t change a thing.  I taught in the Buffalo Public Schools as a HS Inclusion, Self-Contained and Resource teacher for 11.5 years.  I saw violence, lack of (perceived) parent involvement, teacher drama, crazy administrator turnover, etc.  Then I met my husband and moved to Arizona.  I  teach in a wildly different environment that now includes parent/student entitlement, mega money, a curriculum I struggle to understand (think Plato in 2nd grade), and parents thinking that their kid shouldn’t fail even when they don’t do work or attend class.  All this to say that I look back and think wow – that stuff was (is) easy compared to the new world we’ve been dealt.  You are NOT alone if you’re thinking teaching online is tough, and possibly that you’re getting the short end of the stick.  What I can tell you is that you will definitely be a better teacher because of it. 

I taught online for the first time starting in March.  Trying to figure out the curriculum, work with the teachers, students, parents, administrators, etc was NOT easy.  Its still not easy! It is a little different down here as we are back on campus full time with about 70% of our students. My teaching responsibilities mostly include resource room and, out of the 5 classes that I teach 3 of them are hybrid.  I am teaching kids through Zoom at the same time as managing kids in person.  I come home at the end of the day thinking “Have I done all I can do for the kids? What could I have done differently? Better? Faster? Slower? Did I include everything I would have in person? Did I forget anything? Anyone?” The list goes on…

I tend to ramble, but I want you to know you are NOT alone! Even us old teachers are struggling.  In fact I could probably learn a thing or two from you – especially with regards to technology – Lord help me!  

Keep it up, Anna.  I know you will do well and once life returns to “normal” again you will be thinking “wow – this is a breeze”

You’ve got this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ian Lewis ’04, a third grade teacher in the Lake Shore Central School District wrote the following to student-teacher Olivia Harvey:

Good evening Miss Harvey.

My name is Ian Lewis, and I am a teacher in the Lake Shore Central School District. I am also a good friend of Dr. Grande. I remember my student teaching year being challenging, but I’m sure it is nowhere near how crazy your year is going. 

I’m reaching out for two reasons. One, I am pursuing my dream as an educational leader, and I have made it my mission to offer myself as a resource to any young educators brave enough to make a name for themselves in this game. Two, I wanted to let you know not to be discouraged. We were not built for virtual education, especially for young and emergent students, however, if you do have the heart for education, you certainly were built for perseverance, challenges, and victory. 

That being said, I want you to know that I am here as a resource to provide assistance, suggestions, modeling, and/or mentorship. Please feel free to reach out and respond. I have had great success this year and last with virtual teaching (I teach 3rd grade, and my students have made incredible gains). My district does virtual Mondays, so if you are interested, I would love to have you join us to watch how the class runs, and even discuss and break it down afterwards. 

As a ten year vet, I know that I craved more feedback and more exposure than what I got from my cooperating teacher when I student taught, so I would like to be that option for you. 

I look forward to hearing back from you soon. Have a great day, be blessed, and remember that you are made for great things, and if you have persevered this far, this is but one more obstacle to overcome in order to reach your dreams! 

Submitted by: College Communications

Does Your Dog Have Bed Privileges

If you’re a dog owner who snuggles up with your four-legged friend each night, you’re not alone.  A new study by Associate Professor of Animal Behavior Christy L. Hoffman, PhD, finds that nearly 70% of pet parents co-sleep with their dogs.  The finding is one of several revealed in the study, which examined the contextual nature of human-animal co-sleeping practices, including who is more likely to allow their dogs in bed at night, where their dogs sleep in the bed or bedroom and their impact on human sleep quality. 

“Studies of humans’ relationships with their companion animals have almost exclusively focused on the ways people engage with their pets during their waking hours yet people commonly spend their sleeping hours with pets in their beds or bedrooms,” says Hoffman.  “This study presents one of the few comprehensive investigations into the practice of human-dog co-sleeping and supports previous claims that dog owners commonly choose to sleep with their dogs in their beds or bedrooms.”

More than 1,000 people between the ages of 18 -78 participated in the study titled “Human-Animal Co-Sleeping Practices Among Australian Dog Owners.” Of those, nearly half (49%) reported sleeping with their dog in their bed.  Another 20% indicated their dog slept in the same bedroom but not in their bed.  The remaining 31% of those surveyed reported their dog slept outside the bedroom.

A number of factors were associated with whether participants shared their beds with their dogs.  According to Hoffman, “Older participants were more likely to bed share with their dogs, as were singles and individuals who had small dogs rather than medium- or large-sized dogs.  Bed size also impacted the likelihood of bed sharing.”

Click here to read more about the study.

Submitted by: College Communications

Engaged Scholarship Process and Recognition

The Division of Academic Affairs has developed a new, streamlined process for the college’s three primary summer funding mechanisms: Faculty Fellows, Mission & Identity Fellows and Arts & Sciences Dean’s Summer Grants.

Internal summer funding is an essential resource for many faculty to progress in their scholarship and creative pedagogy. This new process will make applying for internal funding easier, raise awareness of these opportunities and provide broad support for our faculty. Application information and timelines can be found on the Academic Affairs wiki.

A new initiative to recognize engaged scholarship will also be rolled out with the new application process. Scholarship at Canisius is often engaged in meaningful ways with our community and mission. The offices of Academic Affairs, Diversity & Inclusion and Mission & Ministry want to raise up and recognize this engaged scholarship as well as encourage you to think about the ways in which your scholarship may now or in the future be connected to specific engagement priorities. Applicants for summer fellowships, CEEP and ISD will be invited to self-identify the ways in which their scholarship reflects a number of engagement priorities. Click here to read more about this initiative.

Many thanks to the deans, Sarah Signorino, Mary Rockwell, Fatima Rodriguez Johnson and the members of the Summer Fellowship Selection Committee for their input on the delivery of these initiatives and to the Faculty Senate for their unanimous endorsement of this new process.  Questions can be directed to Jenn Lodi-Smith, assistant vice president for academic affairs (faculty development), at

Click here to RSVP for a workshop Tuesday, December 15 at 10:00 am on the many ways Canisius can support your scholarship.

Submitted by: Emily McGorry, executive assistant, Academic Affairs

This Week’s Advent Meditation and Scriptural Reflection

The Office of Mission & Identity invites you to participate in this week’s Advent programming. All are welcome!

Thursday, December 10 at 12:00 p.m. will feature a Meditation on St. Joseph.
Zoom information:

Saturday, December 12 at 4:30 p.m. will feature Scriptural Reflection on the Visitation by Mary Mietlicki Makar ’08, MS ’13.
Zoom information:

Submitted by: Sarah Signorino, director, Mission & Identity



Justice in Policy

Justice in Policy.png

The Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology and the Ignatian Solidarity Network have released their four advocacy priorities for 2021.  They are:

  • Environmental Justice
  • Economic Justice
  • Criminal Justice
  • Migration

Click here to read more about these priorities and related advocacy.

Submitted by: Sarah Signorino, director, Mission & Identity