Julie Esparza Brown named Distinguished Latino Educator

Julie Brown Graduate School Education Associate Professor Julie Esparza Brown has earned the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators (OALA) 2016 Distinguished Latino Educator award. The award is given to a Latino educator who has “exhibited leadership in educational administration and has implemented strategies or activities aligned with OALA’s mission, purpose and goals in their district or institution.”

Brown, an associate professor in Special Education, is a tireless educator and advocate for second-language learners. She is the originator of the award-winning Bilingual Special Education (BiSPED) Program, a five-year grant-funded program that prepares bilingual/bicultural special education teachers who are uniquely skilled to differentiate English learners who may be struggling due to language differences rather than disabilities.

In 2001, she was named the director of the Bilingual Teacher Pathway program, an award-winning program that identifies bilingual classroom assistants and supports their entry and completion of teacher licensure. Through this program, more than 300 PSU bilingual teacher alumni are now working in schools throughout the region.

“It is difficult to measure the impact of her work, but her legacy in Oregon education is one of an educator who will stand by us and help us through our moments of uncertainty,” said Marisol Jimenez, ELL, Migrant Education and Equity coordinator at Northwest Regional Education Service District. “We are honored to have Dr. Brown as a colleague and friend and she is well deserving of recognition for changing the color of teachers in Oregon.”

In June 2015, Brown was elected to the Portland Public Schools (PPS) board. PPS is one of the largest school districts in the Pacific Northwest, with 49,000 students, 44.1 percent nonwhite.

GSE hosts winter conference of the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators

oalaThe Oregon Association of Latino Administrators (OALA) winter conference is coming to Portland State University February 6, 2016, at University Place Hotel. The conference theme is: “Staying the Course: Our Students of Today Are Our Educational Leaders of Tomorrow.” Although this is the first time GSE has hosted the conference, it is the second year that it has partnered with the OALA mentee program to offer a preconference session. Sponsors and supporters include the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) and more than 25 school districts and educational organizations.

Held annually, the OALA winter conference offers intensive exploration of the field of innovative instructional and learning strategies for Latino students, best practices for parent involvement, closing of the achievement gap for English language learners, and professional development training for aspiring administrators. Participants can expect a hands-on curriculum which includes presentations by nationally-recognized authors and educational officials. The Oregon Association of Latino Administrators was founded in 2002 to support and mentor Latino administrators to ensure educational equity for all.

The event offers one PSU graduate credit for students who need an elective credit in their Continuing Administrator Licensure program. Continue reading

GSE faculty member Will Parnell publishes new book

Will Parnell bookAssociate Professor Will Parnell (CI) has published a book on early childhood research practices, Disrupting Early Childhood Education Research (Routledge, 2016), with Jeanne Marie Iorio, a senior lecturer in Early Childhood Education at Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia. Parnell is an Early Childhood Education faculty member and pedagogical liaison to the Helen Gordon Child Development Center. He has published and presented scores of papers on early childhood pedagogy. This is his second book.

About the book

Recent and increasing efforts to standardize young children’s academic performance have shifted the emphases of education toward normative practices and away from qualitative, substantive intentions. Connection to human experience, compassion for societal ailments, and the joys of learning are straining under the pressure of quantitative research, competition, and test scores, exemplified by federal funding competitions and policymaking.

Disrupting Early Childhood Education Research critically interrogates the traditional foundations of early childhood research practices to disrupt the status quo through imaginative, cutting-edge research in diverse U.S. and international contexts. Its chapters are driven by empirical data derived from unique research projects and a variety of contemporary methodologies that include phenomenological studies, auto-ethnographic writings, action-oriented studies, arts-based methodologies, and other innovative approaches. By giving voice to marginalized social science researchers who are active in learning, school, and early education sectors, this volume explores the meanings of actionable and everyday approaches based on the experiences of young children, their families, and educators. Continue reading

Computer software engineer switches careers to teaching

Susan McCourt, ’15, has little classroom experience, but that’s not stopping her. As a former computer programmer, she knows all about solving problems. As a recent GTEP graduate, she is enthusiastic about her newest challenge—working with kindergarten students. She recently collaborated with Graduate School of Education Professor Sybil Kelley on an article that describes the work she did last year during her practicum for a science unit about sound. “Assessing the Unseen: Using Music and Literature to Access and Develop First Graders’ Knowledge of Sound Waves,” was published in the January 2016 issue of Science and Children and provides insight on her exceptional ability to differentiate instruction for students with various skills.

“I’m so excited and proud of this article,” said Kelley. “Susan is really an amazing educator and colleague!”

McCourt is a kindergarten teacher at Chenowith Elementary School in The Dalles, Oregon. Kelley is an assistant professor of science education and sustainable systems at Portland State University in the Leadership for Sustainability Education program. She also teaches the Elementary Science Methods courses in the Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP). Continue reading

GSE alumnus Drake Shelton awarded Assistant Principal of the Year

Drake-SheltonOregon’s 2016 Assistant Principal of the Year is Drake Shelton, IAL ’12, who works at Alliance High School in Portland Public Schools (PPS). He was chosen by the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) and the Oregon Association of Secondary School Administrators (OASSA) and will be acknowledged in June at the annual COSA conference in Seaside. He is automatically in the running for the national title and will travel to Washington, DC, later this year for the National Association of Secondary School Administrator (NASSA) celebration. Continue reading

GSE alumna Marilyn DeVault donates winnings to GSE scholarship

Marilyn DeVault displays one of her cakes, with professor emeritus Steve Brannan

Marilyn DeVault displays one of her cakes, with professor emeritus Steve Brannan

Alumna Marilyn DeVault, MS ’71, has parlayed what she learned in the Graduate School of Education (GSE) Special Education program at PSU into a career, “creating desserts that are amazing and that all can enjoy.” This includes her patrons with special dietary needs. And, thanks to her skills and talent, she is able to donate $10,000 toward a scholarship to support students in the Special Education program.

DeVault studied special education under Professor Steve Brannan, one of the founders of the Special Education Department, and received her master’s in 1971. After graduating, she taught students with disabilities for several years. In 1978, she made a career change, opening the Piece of Cake Bakery in Sellwood. Here, she combined her love of baking with her interest in supporting people with special needs. Abundant research exists on the impact of nutrition and learning. Devault’s teaching experience inspired her to address dietary issues, developing formulas that are gluten-free, organic, and vegan. Her bakery offers a wide variety of items that meet the needs of people who are pursuing gluten-free or other food sensitivity–related diets. Continue reading