Sybil Kelley and Jean Aguilar-Valdez help make STEM classroom a reality

Sybil KelleyJean Aguilar-Valdez

Two GSE faculty members were recognized by the PSU Foundation for their leadership in acquiring $1.25 million in funding toward the GSE’s new home that opens in fall 2020. Assistant Professor Jean Aguilar-Valdez and Associate Professor Sybil Kelley are leaders in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) instruction. The PSU Foundation presented them with the Philanthropic Leadership Award at this year’s Commencement Ceremony. Aguilar-Valdez and Kelley have played significant roles in developing programming that led to the philanthropic gift to build the Vernier STEM Classroom in the new 4 th and Montgomery building.

Aguilar-Valdez teaches science methods and social justice courses for the Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP) in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. This includes working with teachers in the Bilingual Teacher Pathway program and with students to develop community activist approaches to education.

Kelley leads the Leadership for Sustainability Education (LSE) program in the Educational Leadership and Policy Department. In addition, she teaches the elementary science methods course for GTEP in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and is also the faculty coordinator for the Learning Gardens Laboratory in Southeast Portland that provides garden- based education for public school students, university students, and community members.

GSE’s Sybil Kelley honored with 2018 PSU sustainability award

imgsybilEach year the Institute for Sustainable Solutions honors a faculty member whose teaching inspires students to embrace sustainability both inside and outside the classroom.

Sybil Kelley, PhD, is an associate professor of science education and sustainable systems in the Leadership for Sustainability Education (LSE) program in the Educational Leadership and Policy Department. In addition, she teaches the elementary science methods courses for the Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP) in the Curriculum and Instruction Department and is the faculty coordinator of the Learning Gardens Laboratory.

Rather than rely solely on theories, Kelley incorporates innovative and experiential pedagogies to reinforce the content. This means that students not only learn about sustainability, they experience it in a reflective and integrated way through engaging in-class activities and community-based learning. Beyond teaching individual courses, Kelley helps to grow sustainability educators through the LSE degree program, from which students graduate ready and willing to dig into the work of sustainability in different capacities and forms. She has inspired countless students to become sustainability leaders throughout her time in the program.

Kelly has worked for Portland State since 2001 and holds a PhD in environmental science and an MS in science teaching from Portland State. She is the recipient of the 2017 Fred Fox Distinguished Service to Science Education Award from the Oregon Science Teachers Association.

PSU science professor wins national award

Cary Sneider is the recipient

Cary Sneider

We are proud to have Dr. Cary Sneider as our colleague!

of the Robert H. Carleton Award from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).

This is the most prestigious award an NSTA member can receive. The Robert H. Carleton Award recognizes one individual who has made outstanding contributions to, and provided leadership in, science education at the national level and to NSTA in particular. It is NSTA’s highest honor. —NSTA

Sneider is a visiting scholar in the Educational Leadership and Policy Department and co-PI on the Science in the Learning Gardens grant. Until last year, he was an associate research professor at PSU’s Center for Science Education, where he taught courses in research methodology in the Master of Science Teaching (MST) degree program.

Sneider has a stellar career in curriculum development, teacher education, and assessment and frequently consults on best practices in both formal and informal science education. He contributed to and was on the writing team for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which are rolling out across the United States and so far have been adopted by 19 states and the District of Columbia. Oregon adopted the NGSS as its state science standards in 2014. Sneider is also a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as The Nation’s Report Card.

We are proud to have him as our colleague!

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Meyer Memorial Trust grant aims to increase diversity of educational leaders

The Meyer Memorial Trust has awarded the GSE $113,000 to fund Project LEAD (Leadership for Equity and Diversity), a two-year effort to increase diversity among Oregon’s school leaders. The project’s goal is to recruit and train school administrators of color, which will increase the pool of diverse school leaders in Oregon. Professors Deborah Peterson and Susan Carlile were instrumental in securing the grant and will lead this initiative in collaboration with colleagues in the Initial Administrator Licensure program. The project has the opportunity to change how the Graduate School of Education recruits and trains future educational leaders. The goals for the project are to recruit and mentor educators of color, to modify the existing program to prepare leadership for equity, and to influence policy and systems to benefit all students. The grant is part of the Trust’s Equitable Education Portfolio.

Over 36% of Oregon’s preK–12 student population are students of color. The Oregon Department of Education reports that only 10% of Oregon’s teachers and 11% of Oregon’s administrators are educators of color. To Carlile and Peterson, this disparity perpetuates a system of racism and inequity that benefits white students and harms bilingual and/or students of color who may never have a school leader reflecting their diversity.

In Oregon’s seven administrator preparation programs, only 9% of participants are educators of color. PSU intentionally recruits more bilingual future leaders and future leaders of color, which makes it a leader in the state. If successful, these efforts could more than double the overall number of Oregon administrators who are bilingual and/or leaders of color.

Project LEAD builds on previous work by faculty in the Educational Leadership and Policy department, which was originally funded by PSU’s Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion, the Oregon Department of Education, and the Chalkboard Project, and leverages the expertise of colleagues throughout the GSE. Continue reading

GSE joins Carnegie iLead initiative to innovate school improvement

A 100-year-old business concept from Japan promises effective school improvement practices in the US.

Susan Carlile leading an Improvement Science exercise

The GSE and 10 other educational entities have been selected for a new project launched by the Carnegie Foundation to advance education. The Improvement Leadership Education and Development (iLEAD) initiative uses Improvement Science (IS) to help schools solve problems using collaborative continuous improvement processes. GSE’s program leaders will learn how to apply IS concepts to their work in the educational leadership courses.

For the past three years, Professors Pat Burk, Deborah Peterson, and Susan Carlile were involved in IS training and, along with former Dean Randy Hitz, have been looking for ways to bring the practice into the GSE. The Carnegie iLEAD program will provide opportunity for five individuals to attend four face-to-face meetings to learn continuous improvement strategies toward the dual goals of equity and excellence.

Since 2015, ELP faculty have participated in a Networked Improvement Committee (NIC) at the Carnegie Foundation that looked at problems of practice in the school administration field. NICs are a central tenet of the IS program and provide access to other similarly focused groups across the country who will also contribute to the knowledge pool. Technology is a helpful component for these efforts, and webinars are common. By collaborating on the same common problem, NICs are able to accelerate solutions. Continue reading

GSE faculty member Sybil Kelley receives science award

GSE Associate Professor Sybil Kelley received the Fred Fox Award for Distinguished Service to Science Education from the Oregon Science Teachers Association (OSTA). Kelley teaches science methods in two different disciplines: Curriculum and Instruction, where she leads a cohort in the Graduate Teacher Education Program, and Educational Leadership and Policy, where she works in the Leadership for Sustainability Education (LSE) program.

“I was delighted to have the opportunity to nominate Sybil,” said Professor Micki Caskey. “She deserves this recognition. Like Fred Fox, Sybil is highly respected and well-loved by her peers and students.”

Kelley came to PSU in 1999 as a research assistant in the Center for Science Education and earned an MS in Science Teaching and a PhD in Environmental Sciences and Management, both from Portland State. She is an expert in sustainability education and works closely with the Learning Gardens Laboratory.

About the award (from OSTA)

This award is named in honor of Fred Fox, a distinguished and well-loved teacher educator from Oregon State University (1957–82). The award is intended to honor those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to mentoring and developing new teachers. It is intended for nominees involved in teacher training programs at the college level, ESD, or district administrators or other administrative positions. The awardee is selected based on career longevity, breadth of influence, enthusiasm for science and the profession of science education, and the demonstrated ability to motivate.