2006-November

GSE Alumna Named Oregon’s Top Teacher 2006
Jackie Cooke, a 1981 and 1992 GSE Graduate, has been named Oregon’s 2006-07 Teacher of the Year by Superintendent Susan Castillo. Cooke’s strength in and dedication to math literacy drew her ahead of fellow candidates for the award.

“Jackie is an outstanding example of excellence in the classroom, leadership, commitment to teaching, and involvement in the community. Jackie’s passion for math and the importance of learning a second language will help our state make progress in the preparation of our workforce and our students for the 21st century,” Castillo said at the ceremony.

Cooke currently splits her time between teaching first grade at West Gresham Grade School and teaching professional development across the state and nation. She leads the Gresham-Barlow District math curriculum for K-5 and is also the co-editor of the Oregon Mathematics Teacher magazine.

Did you know?
During the 2005–06 school year Counselor Education students contributed more than 2,300 hours of individual counseling to the community through the PSU Counselor Education Clinic and the David Douglas School District Clinic.

GSE Looking Toward the Future
A Message From Dean Randy Hitz

By nearly any measure P-12 schools in America are better today than they have ever been. But they are not good enough. In order to succeed in our global and increasingly complex society, students must be educated at much higher levels. There is also a moral imperative to ensure that all students have equal access to high quality education. We can no longer accept the high drop out rates and low expectations of the past.

The PSU Graduate School of Education is committed to preparing professionals to lead in making our schools more effective and more accountable. Advances in technology notwithstanding, the key to effective education still depends primarily upon the relationship between the educator and the student. The need for well-prepared educators has never been greater.

School populations are increasingly diverse and educators are expected to meet the needs of all students regardless of their abilities or backgrounds. That is a very high expectation and one that we must address with our greatest effort. Our faculty and staff are working to ensure that educators are as well prepared as possible to meet the growing achievement and accountability demands of Oregon and the Nation.

This newsletter is designed to both inform you of the GSE’s good work and to engage you in the conversation about how to improve educator preparation and our schools. We look forward to hearing from you.

From The Development Corner
By Sandy Wiscarson, Director of External Relations
Welcome to the GSE’s first e-newsletter. We hope you will enjoy staying updated about our wonderful alums, students, and stellar programs. I am fortunate to be part of the team telling our story and to meet so many of our students.

We are continuously appreciative of the many contributors who support the GSE through scholarship and program gifts. On October 17 we had an opportunity at our annual Harvest Festival to thank donors and also to recognize students who received scholarships.

More than 130 students applied for scholarships this year and we were able to award sixty-eight totaling $129,000. Students consistently remark about the important financial assistance and how encouraged they are to receive a scholarship.

Here are quotes from several thank you notes from our students.
“You have changed my life. It is people like you who make this world go ‘round because you have managed to find a way to instill a great sense of hope and gratitude into someone you have not even met.”

“The generosity of your scholarship and the honor of being selected has proven to me that I am not alone in this hope to become a great educator.” I hope that it will make you proud to know…you will help me become the best resource I can be for members of our community who need it the most.”

“I have worked two jobs to support my family and now with your financial help I will be able to concentrate on my studies, use less loan money and work part-time. I am very grateful.”

Thank you to ALL donors for making gifts of any size. You are making a difference!

Faculty Earn Three USDE Grants for Special Projects
Portland State’s Graduate School of Education (GSE) has received almost $2.4 million in grant money from the USDE Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) for special education inclusion projects and scholarships for special education graduate students.

The GSE’s Research Center on Inclusive and Effective Educational Practices (RCIEP) and faculty in the Special Education Program received the funding for three new Personnel Preparation projects. Each project is funded for approximately $800,000 over four years, a total of almost $2.4 million dollars. Sixtyfive percent of these funds go to scholarships. PSU submitted three proposals to this national federal competition and all three were funded.

The Pathways Project will prepare culturally responsive personnel for young children with special needs. This project will increase the cultural and linguistic diversity of licensed personnel serving young children with special needs. Leslie Munson is Project Director and Julie Esparza-Brown is Co-Director. BRAILLE USA prepares teachers for children who have visual impairments or are blind, through an innovative distance education program with participants from throughout the nation. James “Blue” Bickford is Project Director and Cheryl Grindol is a faculty contributor to this project.

The Inclusive Elementary Educators Program prepares educators with both general and special education licenses to teach in elementary schools. This project focuses on preparing elementary teachers to use evidence- based educational practices to improve the education of all children. Paula Stanovich is Project Director.

The Graduate School of Education is dedicated to developing innovative and inclusive programs for our preservice students. The funding of these proposals is evidence that our faculty is actively pursuing these ends and helping to grow Portland State’s national reputation.

Submitted by Twila Nesky, Support Specialist, RCIEP Department of Special and Counselor Education

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