Asbury APS student chosen as PBS KIDS Early Learning Champion

Published 10:06 am Thursday, January 3, 2019

From staff reports


Asbury University’s Adult Professional Studies (APS) programs set students up for success through flexible online class offerings and collaborative learning environments, allowing students to experience an education characterized by academic excellence and spiritual vitality while raising a family, working full-time or both.

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One example of the excellence of Asbury’s APS programs can be found in the national news this week.

APS student Tara Haynes was recently named Kentucky’s PBS KIDS Early Learning Champion after being nominated by Kentucky Educational Television (KET).

Haynes works at Pine Mountain Settlement School in Bledsoe of Harlan County. The school was first opened in 1913 and has served as a boarding school, public school and, most recently, as an environmental and cultural center. Haynes works as an environmental educator and Little School coordinator. The Little School is a kindergarten readiness program that offers free early childhood education to children up to five-years-old and their parents.  

Haynes was nominated for the award by Geoff Marietta, director of Pine Mountain Settlement School. Marietta submitted Haynes’ nomination to the KET station in Lexington, who then submitted nominations on behalf of Haynes and four other Kentucky educators to PBS.

“I was very honored to be chosen for this award,” Haynes said. “I live in a very small, rural area of Eastern Kentucky and we are often overlooked or highlighted for unpleasant reasons. It was wonderful to be acknowledged in a positive light.”

Dr. David Riel, director of clinical experiences and associate professor for Asbury’s School of Education, is proud to see Haynes represent the education program at Asbury on the national scale.

“Our success as Asbury School of Education professors is tied to the success of our students,” Riel said. “The only way for us to feel successful is for our students to be successful — so we are thrilled when one of our students has positive experiences in their lives.”

A working mother of two, Haynes chose to get her bachelor’s degree through Asbury’s APS program for the flexibility it offered her. 

“I chose Asbury University after speaking to Josh Fee (dean of Adult and Online Learning) over the phone,” Haynes said. “He is a wonderful representation of Asbury and was so kind and helpful. After determining that the APS program best suited my needs as a mother to two children and working full time, I was sure that Asbury was where I needed to be.”

Haynes is grateful to be recognized by PBS KIDS and encourages families to employ the free programming available through it.

 “Our youngest minds must be nurtured and developed so when they enter the school system they have one less disadvantage to overcome,” Haynes said. “PBS KIDS offers many wonderful resources to families that are meticulously created alongside state standards to offer the best learning experience for all ages.”

Asbury’s APS Elementary Education major gives students the same experience they would receive on campus all with the convenience and flexibility of online programming. Courses are eight-weeks in length and offered at an affordable rate of $399 per credit hour. Scholarships and financial aid are available.

“It speaks volumes to the quality of our program,” Riel said. “Our elementary education APS students complete the identical program our traditional undergraduate students do. The program is just delivered in a different way. Our APS students have secured teaching positions and have much success as they have transitioned into public school classrooms. I am sure that that is exactly what will happen for Tara Haynes.”