Hallye Smith uses skills learned from Texas Tech’s Early Childhood Education program in her role as a director of curriculum and teacher supervision
In May of 2002, Hallye Smith became an alumna of the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) with a degree in Early Childhood Education (ECE). She wanted to teach children at the beginning of their educational journey.
In high school, Smith was a teacher's assistant for a creative movement class at her local dance studio and took a child development class as an elective. After these experiences, she decided to major in early childhood education.
“Texas Tech's Early Childhood program was also ranked #1 in the state, and I wanted to learn from the best,” Smith said. “The small class sizes in the HDFS department and the large campus environment with abundant student life opportunities matched perfectly with the college experience I was looking for.”
The Early Childhood program is an excellent foundation for students looking to be an early childhood teacher. Here, students can gain experience and work directly with children.
“Early Childhood at Texas Tech is nationally recognized as one of the best early childhood programs in the country,” Smith said. “They truly prepare you for working with young children.”
Smith also recommended getting involved with student organizations within the HDFS program. These organizations are a great way to get involved with other students and gain additional knowledge and experience.
“I was also a member of Phi Upsilon Omicron which provided me a place to meet fellow students in various majors within the College of Human Sciences (COHS),” Smith explained. “Make the most of your experience at Texas Tech and become involved with the College of Human Sciences organizations that interest you.”
Looking back at her time at Texas Tech, Smith uses her HDFS degree skills to improve her community through volunteer work. Most of her volunteer work has centered around language and literacy development in students and adults. Smith volunteered to work with schools to improve students' language and literacy development.
“In other volunteering opportunities, I have used my teaching skills to plan events, collaborate, and make decisions with committee members,” Smith said. “I have also brought volunteering into my classrooms and created activities and lessons for my students to look at how they can make an impact and help their community.”
Today, Smith works as the director of curriculum and teacher supervision at the Country Day School in McLean, Virginia. She takes on many responsibilities such as daily operations, hiring, curriculum director, director of professional development, teacher supervision, administrative team operations, and much more.
“We have amazing teachers at the Country Day School with extensive early childhood knowledge,” Smith said. “I also love hearing the laughter of the children and watching them learn, grow, discover, and explore from their teachers and classmates.”
She uses many skills and experiences she learned through the HDFS degree in her current role. One of these experiences comes from the Child Development Research Center (CDRC), where students can work directly with children.
“My colleagues are always very impressed with the amount of classroom experience I had at the CDRC within the College of Human Science and the classroom experience through the College Of Education and Lubbock ISD,” Smith said. “The classes taught me to be resilient, flexible, and a risk-taker as a teacher in the classroom and personally.”
The students and teachers at the Country Day School have implemented projects to make their school a greener and healthier place. Recently, the Country Day School became the first early childhood program in the nation to become a certified Project Learning Tree (PLT) GreenSchool. The PLT GreenSchool certification recognizes the commitment to environmental and sustainability efforts made by students and teachers.
“Becoming the first early childhood program in the nation to become a certified PLT GreenSchool underscores our belief that it is vital for students to learn at an early age how to be stewards of the environment and protect the health of our planet,” Smith said. “I would love for fellow Texas Teach Early Childhood alumni to bring the PLT Early Childhood program and certification to their schools.”
The HDFS degree prepares students for future careers and inspired them to make the community a better place. The unique program promotes the health and well-being of individuals, families, and relationships across the life span through research, teaching, service, and community outreach and engagement.
“The College of Human Sciences is a true ‘gem' at Texas Tech University,” Smith said. “The college has numerous degrees and programs that are nationally ranked among the best in the country and COHS continually strives to be the best by creating innovative ways to improve and create new programs for students.”