Rutledge Institute

Rutledge Institute

Karen and Tom Rutledge Institute for Early Childhood Education

Take the lead in early childhood education. Become a Rutledge Institute Scholar.

Academically qualified students are encouraged to apply to the Karen and Tom Rutledge Institute for Early Childhood Education, a center for educational excellence based at California University of Pennsylvania.

The Rutledge Institute provides:

  • High-quality preschool education for children ages 3-5. The institute’s on-campus education center is staffed by teachers from The Village, a state- and nationally accredited preschool based in downtown California, Pa.
  • Exceptional learning opportunities for selected students enrolled as Rutledge Institute Scholars in Cal U’s bachelor’s degree program in Pre-K to Grade 4 Education. Students gain valuable experience as they work with children under the direction of Cal U faculty and The Village teachers.
  • An innovative preschool curriculum that focuses on learning experiences in science, technology, reading, engineering, arts and math (STREAM), with an emphasis on emerging literacy in an information age.

Who are the Rutledge Institute Scholars?

Rutledge Institute Scholars are academically strong undergraduate students, with the disposition required for success in early childhood education. They are motivated to excel, and they have a passion for teaching young children. Rutledge Scholars support one another as peer mentors and collaborate as future leaders in the profession.

Just 10 highly qualified students are selected for the program each year, based on a rigorous set of academic and nonacademic qualifications. 

Successful applicants enter the program as first-year students and continue through graduation, with the goal of earning a Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.Ed.) in Grades PreK-4 Education, plus Pennsylvania teaching certification and the Integrative STEM Education Endorsement, in four years.

As a Rutledge Institute Scholar at Cal U, you will:

  • Gain teaching experience. With faculty guidance, you’ll work alongside teachers from The Village at the on-campus preschool program. You’ll also develop teaching skills through fieldwork in the University’s network of Professional Development Schools.
  • Build a community: From Day One, you’ll be part of a residential learning community composed of your fellow Rutledge Institute Scholars. A structured peer-mentoring and leadership development program pairs upperclassmen with underclassmen to collaborate, co-teach and study together.
  • Stay on the leading edge: You’ll supplement your classroom studies and fieldwork with an annual summer workshop, where you’ll explore innovations in teaching and learning.

Each Rutledge Institute Scholar receives an annual scholarship that covers the cost of tuition, academic fees and on-campus housing, so long as he/she continues to meet program requirements.

Students pay for their own meal plan, parking fee and books.

What is required to become a Rutledge Institute Scholar? 

Applicants must meet California University’s admissions standards, as well as the academic requirements, nonacademic professional disposition requirements, and all entry-level requirements for Pennsylvania teaching certification. 

Candidates will be selected based on these initial pre-screening criteria:

  • High school grade-point average of 3.5 or higher.
  • SAT or ACT scores to meet the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s qualifying score requirements.
  • Written essay. (A specific prompt will be provided.)
  • Letters of recommendation from three non-relatives (e.g., employer, teacher, guidance counselor, etc.) who have professional interactions with the applicant.
  • Applicant’s interview performance.

How to Apply

To be considered for candidacy in the Rutledge Institute, applicants must meet the following initial admissions criteria: 

  • Be an incoming freshman
  • Major in Education Grades PreK-4 
  • Have a minimum high school GPA of 3.5
  • Meet the following test scores on either the ACT or the SAT: 

ACT (Sept. 1, 2015 – Aug. 31, 2016): Reading 22, Math 21, Writing 21 
ACT (taken after Aug. 31, 2016): Reading 22, Math 21, Writing 8
SAT (taken prior to March 2016): Reading 500, Math 500, Writing 500  
SAT (taken after March 2016): Reading 27, Math 26, Writing and Language 28

OR

Pass the PAPA Basic Skills Test or the Praxis Core Test and have official scores. 

*If you do not meet the minimum scores for the SAT or ACT, you may take the PAPA Basic Skills Test or the Praxis Core and submit the official scores with your application documents.  Follow the links below for more information such as test dates and locations.  Note: There is a fee to take the PAPA test or Praxis Core test.  Basic skills tests are required for all teacher education candidates by the Pennsylvania Department of Education; however, meeting the SAT or ACT score requirements would exempt you from taking the PAPA or Praxis Core test options.  To reference the score qualifications for all test options, click the appropriate link below.

If you meet the criteria described above, CONGRATULATIONS!  

Here are your next steps if you have already applied and have been accepted to Cal U:

  1. Please complete the Rutledge Institute for Early Childhood Education Application
  2. Submit the application along with the required documents via postal mail to the program coordinator, Dr. Rebecca Maddas by November 15, 2018.  Candidates who meet this deadline will receive first consideration for the fall 2019 semester. The required documents include:


-- Your high school transcript sealed in an envelope
-- Your official SAT, ACT, PAPA, or Praxis Core scores
-- Three letters of recommendation
-- All required Clearances: 

Act 24 – PDE Arrest and Conviction Form
Act 31 – Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Training
Act 34 – PA Criminal History Report
Act 151 – PA Child Abuse History Report
Act 114 – FBI Criminal Background Check

*Visit the following link for obtaining Clearances information: https://www.calu.edu/inside/student-resources/clearances/index.aspx  Note: There is a fee for Clearances and they must be renewed each year in the teacher education program in order to do field work in schools.

Here are your next steps if you have NOT already applied to Cal U:

  1. Complete Cal U’s General Application for Admission.
  2. After you have received an acceptance letter from Cal U, complete the Rutledge Institute for Early Childhood Education Application.
  3. Submit the application along with the required documents (see list of required documents above) via postal mail to the program coordinator, Dr. Rebecca Maddas by November 15.  Candidates who meet this deadline will receive first consideration for the upcoming fall semester. 

After review of your application, you will be informed of your candidacy and the next steps in the process, which will include a writing sample and an interview. 

Download the application process checklist

Contact us to learn more.

Download an Application

For more information about the Rutledge Institute Scholars program, email Dr. Rebecca Maddas, coordinator of the Rutledge Institute for Early Childhood Education, at maddas@calu.edu, or phone 724-938-4494 or 724-938-4135.

Learn more about Karen and Tom Rutledge.