PSU alumnus Gustavo Balderas named Eugene superintendent

Gustavo BalderasDr. Gustavo (Gus) Balderas, a 2001 graduate of the PSU Master in Curriculum and Instruction program, has been selected as the new superintendent of Eugene 4J School District. He is originally from Nyssa near the Oregon/Idaho border and attended Western Oregon State College and Portland State University. He did both his Initial and his Continuing Administrator Licensure at Portland State. His doctorate is from the University of Oregon. He is currently superintendent of Ocean View School District in California and will take over for Superintendent Sheldon Berman in Eugene on July 1.

Balderas has been in education for 23 years, 17 of those in the Hillsboro School District. He has served as a teacher, school principal, counselor, and assistant superintendent. He brings a solid history of work around diversity and cultural proficiency. He is a co-founder and past president of the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators (OALA), and a past member of the Oregon Leadership Network (OLN).

The Eugene School District is the seventh-largest district in Oregon, with over 17,000 students in 18 elementary schools, two K–8 programs, seven middle schools, and four comprehensive high schools.


PSU honors GSE members for length of service

On Thursday, March 5, 2015, PSU honored faculty and staff who reached a length of service milestone in 2014. PSU employees were honored for 20, 25, 30, and 35 years of service to the university.

Congratulations to the following Graduate School of Education members. GSE faculty honorees included:

20 years

  • David Bullock, manager of technology
  • Dannelle Stevens, doctoral program coordinator
  • Laura West Vanderpool, Helen Gordon Child Development Center (not pictured)

25 years

  • Becky Boesch, assistant professor, Educational Leadership and Policy

Please join us in acknowledging our fellow colleagues for their significant achievement and contribution to the Graduate School of Education and Portland State University

Associate Professor Will Parnell publishes book on school readiness

Parnell_pubThe world is changing rapidly, both outside and inside the classroom. Early childhood educators have new challenges every day that provide opportunities to rethink and reimagine approaches to conventional early childhood instruction. In a new volume, co-edited by professors Will Parnell (Curriculum and Instruction) and Jeanne Marie Iorio, a total of 27 early childhood experts from across the United States, Canada, and Australia (as well as Parnell and Iorio) offer insight and innovative practices for working with the youngest students. The book, Rethinking Readiness in Early Childhood Education: Implications for Policy and Practice, is part of Bloch and Swadener’s Critical Cultural Studies of Childhood series.

“The current early childhood readiness discourse positions the child and family as deficit,” said Parnell. “Focused on rethinking readiness, our text opens doors to seeing what is possible when the experiences of children and families from across the world are honored and central to policy and educational decision making.”

Continue reading

Christine Chaillé publishes early childhood math and science book

Integrating Science and Math smallDr. Christine Chaillé, Curriculum and Instruction (CI), has published her third book on early childhood curriculum, entitled Integrating Math and Science in Early Childhood Classrooms through Big Ideas: A Constructivist Approach.

Chaillé, and co-author Sara McCormick Davis from the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith (UAFS), wanted to provide a unique approach to math and science instruction by combining both subjects in each lesson. Most books cover both topics but treat them in separate chapters. Chaillé and Davis, who is a former GSE faculty member, wanted to show preservice teachers that a successful way to approach student learning is to think the way children do—with large concepts.

The book introduces broad topics, or “big ideas”: patterns, transformation, balance, symmetry, movement, and relationships. It carefully illustrates for teachers how to set up lessons and classrooms to accommodate big ideas. A section on assessment helps teachers to think ahead about how to integrate assessment tools into the lessons. All of the chapters in the book address Common Core State Standards for Math, Next Generation Science Standards, and Head Start Standards. Continue reading

GSE mentor project yields robotic champs

Caskey_legoHow do you motivate elementary children to love science and math? Answering that question led five local middle school students; their coach, Arun Sagiraju; and their mentors, GSE doctoral student Donna Webb and GSE faculty member and Associate Dean Micki Caskey to victory in the 14th Annual Intel Oregon FIRST* Lego League Championship tournament at Hillsboro’s Liberty High School on January 18, 2015.

Their team, Lego Legends, was one of two Oregon teams that will move on to the World Championship in Lego Robotics, combining the plastic building bricks with technology. The win is a significant accomplishment because Oregon has over 400 robotics teams, making the Intel event one of the largest in the country.

The competition required the teams to identify a community-based problem, build a functioning Lego robot that would solve the problem, and then describe what they did to judges. The competition’s theme for this year was “How to find a better way to help someone learn.”  Continue reading

GSE offers LGBTQ discussion panel

Event Details
Date: Thursday, March 5, 2015
Time: 6:30-8pm
Location: Room 408 PSU Graduate School of Education, 615 SW Harrison, Portland

The Graduate School of Education Queer-Straight Alliance (QSA) invites students, faculty, and community to an event that will explore issues around LGBTQ in schools. The event will feature a panel of professionals discussing their experiences as teachers, counselors, and administrators.

It is hoped that participants will:

  • Engage in open and honest dialogue with queer professionals to increase personal comfort and understanding in negotiating queer identity and/or advocacy efforts
  • Begin/continue to develop a personal framework for encountering and making sense of sexual orientation and gender as they manifest in schools

The format of the event will take a two-fold approach. The first 45 minutes will feature panelists as they respond to questions that have been prepared ahead of time by members of the QSA. During the second half, panelists and other professionals will lead small round table discussions that offer attendees the opportunity to share their experiences, fears, and hopes related to queer identity and/or queer advocacy in the workplace. Continue reading