GSE Annual Report 2015-16


Student news
Theresa Just, Irene Bailey earn sustainability awards
Claire Lagerwey receives PSU Community Engagement Award
GSE students receive academic awards

Alumni awards
Alfonso Garcia Arriola receives regional science teaching award from NSTA
Margaret Calvert named Oregon High School Principal of the Year
Drake Shelton named Oregon Assistant Principal of the Year
Sho Shigeoka named Oregon Association of Latino Administrators Ally
Nancy Sullivan awarded Oregon Secondary Librarian of the Year
Victor Vergara named Oregon Association of Latino Administrators Ally
Heather Yount is Oregon’s 2016 National Distinguished Principal of the Year

Faculty news
Julie Esparza Brown is OALA Distinguished Latino Educator
Christine Cress honored by Campus Compact
Esperanza De La Vega receives President’s Diversity Award
Wendi Laurence receives national science teaching award from NSTA
Beth Unverzagt honored as White House Champion of Change 

Books published by faculty
The Common Core State Standards in Mathematics for ELLs, High School, Anita Bright, Holly Hansen-Thomas, Luciana de Oliveira
Disrupting Early Childhood Education Research (2016), Will Parnell, Jeanne Marie Iorio

Major grants
Certified Orientation and Mobility Educators in Training (COMET)
Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program (CLRC)
Developing Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leaders (DEMIL)
ThinkCollege Inclusion Oregon (TCIO)
Science in the Learning Gardens (SciLG)

Philanthropic support
Bill and Ricky Korach establish endowed GSE scholarship
Marilyn DeVault supports scholarships
GSE awards over $300,000 in scholarships
Donor honor roll 2016

GSE one of the first to earn new accreditation

Retirements for 2016


GSE graduate Sarah Luvaas honored by White House

sarah-luvaasPSU alumna Sarah Luvaas, MS ’08, is a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The award is sponsored by the White House and the National Science Foundation and was presented September 8, at a ceremony in Washington, DC.

Luvaas is a third-grade teacher at Redland Elementary School in the Oregon City School District. She has always worked in Title I schools, including Redland and Mt. Pleasant Elementary Schools.

Winners of this award receive $10,000, travel to Washington, DC, for the ceremony, and have an opportunity to network with other STEM teachers and officials of the Obama administration. Continue reading

GSE receives $1.35 million to improve literacy for English language learners

Children with map book at school

Project Lee (Lectura para excelencia y exito will help ELLs in both general and special education.

Project LEE (Lectura para excelencia y éxito) has been funded through the Office of Special Education Programs in the US Department of Education to facilitate literacy instruction for English language learners (ELLs) in grades 3–5 in general and special education classes. Professors Julie Esparza Brown, principal investigator, and Amanda Sanford, both associate professors in the PSU Special Education Department, will lead this four-year model demonstration grant. Sylvia Linan-Thompson, associate professor in the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Oregon and the primary investigator on a prior model demonstration grant, will also support the grant in a collaborative effort across institutions. Phyllis Ault from Education Northwest will serve as the project’s evaluator.

Model demonstration grants are intended to fund projects that have the most promising practices and potential for positive outcomes in classrooms.

“We are proud that our PSU grant is one of only three of these projects selected by the US Department of Education in the nation,” said Brown.

Brown and Sanford are partnering with the Woodburn School District, working with classroom teachers in three schools, Heritage, Washington, and Nellie Muir.

Using a framework created by Sanford, Brown, and Turner (2012) called PLUSS, the team will use the district’s existing curriculum and embed it with culturally and linguistically responsive practices, specifically for English learners with disabilities (ELSWD).

“While we have evidence to suggest this works from small-scale research, this gives us the opportunity to replicate and scale up the model at a whole school level, with the ultimate goal of scaling up nationally,” said Brown. “The model was created to build upon what school districts already have on their shelves. The problem is that most of these instructional programs have not included English learners in their research. Rather than throw everything away, the PLUSS framework helps teachers adapt that curriculum to the linguistic and cultural needs of the students in their specific classroom.”

The grant will develop lesson plans using the PLUSS framework to be accumulated on Project LEE’s website, generating a database of instructional units that document student performance and outcomes. Along with improving student language and literacy outcomes, the process of implementing this framework with fidelity will be disseminated nationally to benefit children beyond Oregon’s classrooms.

A previous $1.25 million grant to PSU, the Diverse Special Educator Project, was co-authored by Brown and PSU Associate Professor Sheldon Loman and delivers training for aspiring teachers who are competent in working with ELLs in special education and general classrooms.

Next generation of school leaders receive $150,000 for scholarships

Portland State University, Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA), and Chalkboard Project are proud to announce a generous contribution of $150,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation to financially support 22 new candidates in PSU and COSA Leads Preliminary Administrative Licensure program under the innovative Leading for Learning initiative. The teachers, representing a diverse array of communities across the state, are participating in the first cohort of the pilot program, funded by the Oregon Department of Education.

The pilot program supports 32 aspiring school leaders who serve Oregon’s diverse population of students in K-12 schools. The candidates—chosen for their unique perspective and depth of understanding of equity—will receive on-the-job leadership experience by participating in half-time internships supervised by experienced mentors. The scholarships—ranging from $3,000 to $10,000—will apply toward tuition, books, fees, and travel.

“This is a unique collaborative effort among the Oregon Department of Education, Chalkboard, Portland State University, and COSA that helps us prepare future administrators to close the opportunity gaps in our schools,” said Susan Carlile, associate professor in the PSU program.

“It brings increased resources to instructional leadership for equity,” said Deborah Peterson, assistant professor in the PSU program. “In addition to release time, a key feature is that new leaders can work alongside experienced principal mentors, much like medical interns work alongside licensed physicians.”

Leading for Learning promises to deliver high caliber, equity-focused, instructional leaders to districts across the state. “It allows us to partner with districts in a new way and engage candidates in authentic administrative responsibilities,” said Colin Cameron, COSA’s deputy director.

“This is an important step toward achieving equity and true representation of our school leaders matching our growing diverse student population,” said Erin Prince, Chalkboard’s new vice president of education policy. “The program pulls from successful models and best practices nationally to prepare and support future leaders to enhance student success.”

The recipients are: Catherine Barber, Jackson County; Bijoli Biswas, Beaverton; Kelsey Bowers, Lake Oswego; Scott Burns, Portland; Christian Chavez, Hillsboro; Kathy Childress, Gresham-Barlow; Ardis Clark, Madras; Darryl Coppedge, North Clackamas; Alyssa Dodds, Springfield; Maria De Valdenebro, Portland; Shelby DiFonzo, Ontario; Michelle Eagleson, Vernonia; Tamika Hampton, Salem-Keizer; Miranda Johnson, Sherwood; Claudia Kis, Woodburn; Salvador Munoz, Salem-Keizer; April Murphy, Silverton; Carlos Ruiz, Salem-Keizer; Dulce Nash, Beaverton; Myrna Salinas, West Linn; Sean Saxton, Albany; Edgar Solares, Beaverton; Britta Sorensen, Gladstone; Cassandra Thonstad, Newberg; Robin VanBuren, Sheridan Estella Weigand, Forest Grove; and Ashley Wildfang, Salem-Keizer.

The first cohort of aspiring leaders began meeting in spring 2016 and continues through the next year. The program aims to prepare 120 new school principals by 2018-19.

GSE fundraiser on KGW news

Catherine Marshall

BY: Cathy Marshall, KGW

PSU Students raise money for children in Brazil affected by the Zika virus

PORTLAND, Ore. — News of the Zika threat at the Olympics inspired students at Portland State University to do something for kids in Brazil impacted by the virus.

They’re fundraising to bring a program called Go Baby Go to the country.

“The nonprofit in this country provides specially adapted vehicles to kids with mobility issues,” explained graduate student Hannah Wilson.

The vehicles are basically toy cars that sell for about $200.

In a short amount of time, they can be modified so that a child with physical limitations can operate one.

“My daughter loves her car,” said Katherine Villagomez of Portland, as she watched her 17-month-old daughter Kate. “She can now keep up with her cousins and feel a part of things.”

The PSU students hope to raise $5,000 through a crowdfunding site.

“We want to get Go Baby Go started in Brazil by teaching them how to modify the vehciles,” said Wilson. “Then kids born with microcephaly because of the Zika virus can be helped.”

“If we can get a thousand people to give up the money they would spend on a cup of coffee we’ll reach our goal,” said PSU assistant professor Samuel Sennott.

Anita Bright publishes common core math text for ELLs

Common Core Math for ELLsFaculty member Anita Bright has published a new book that will help English language learners (ELLs) with math. She co-published it with Holly Hansen-Thomas and Luciana de Oliveira for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).

Bright is an assistant professor in the Curriculum and Instruction Department in the Graduate School of Education and a National Board Certified Teacher. She is the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program supervisor, teaches courses in ESOL, social justice, and mathematics education, and leads a cohort in the doctoral program.

About the book
With a focus on best ways to tailor instruction to capitalize upon the strengths each ELL brings to the classroom, The Common Core State Standards in Mathematics for English Language Learners, High School explores some of the ways high school mathematics content can be made accessible to ELLs by building from their strengths and scaffolding their opportunities to learn more. The chapters included in this text describe specific lessons and instructional moves teachers may make that will support their students in learning not only the mathematical content but also the associated English structures that accompany the content.

Each chapter also provides reflection questions and action plans that are useful for practicing teachers, preservice teachers, graduate students, academics, researchers, and professional development providers.