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.

DePry to join international editorial board

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Special Education Professor and Department Chair Randall DePry has been named to the editorial board of the International Journal of Positive Behavioral Support, a peer-reviewed publication of the British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD) that promotes Positive Behavioral Support (PBS), training, and advocacy to improve outcomes for people with disabilities and/or autism. DePry has an extensive background working in the area of PBS, including past service as an elected member of the Association for Positive Behavior Support board of directors and co-editor of the book Individual Positive Behavior Supports: A Standards-Based Guide to Practices in School and Community Settings (Brown, Anderson, & DePry, 2015).

DePry came to PSU in 2011 to chair the Special Education Department and has since added new courses and programs to the Special Education Department’s robust portfolio. DePry holds a PhD from the University of Oregon and previously served as chair of the Department of Special Education at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. To learn more about the PSU Special Education Department degree, licensure, and certificate programs, please go to the website.

GSE faculty member Hollie Hix-Small accepts Fulbright in Myanmar

holliehixsmallAssistant Professor Hollie Hix-Small has been named a Fulbright Scholar to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. She will reside in the Southeast Asian country for four months, from June to September 2019, and will work to support implementation of their 2017–2020 National Strategic Plan for Early Childhood Intervention. Hix-Small, who has expertise in early childhood intervention and is known nationally and internationally for her work, will help to develop the country’s first higher education curriculum for Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) services. This collaboration among the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief, Relief and Resettlement and seven other ministries with support from UNICEF Myanmar and the Leprosy Mission of Myanmar has laid the groundwork for the opportunity to work with institutions of higher education on the further development of ECI.

Hix-Small will work with professors and other stakeholders in the country to co-develop coursework to support emerging professionals in the field of ECI. Rather than bringing a prescribed curriculum with her, she feels strongly that it will be important to use the perspectives and expertise of local practitioners, parents, professors, and others to jointly generate the content to customize the program to the country and the varied contexts within it. “My challenge is to understand the context and the culture and their learning needs,” said Hix-Small. Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

Storyline methodology frames teacher assessment

Curriculum and Instruction faculty member Olivia Murray will present a new approach to a state-required teacher performance assessment at the International Storyline Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia, this summer. Her trip is supported with a grant from the GSE that is focused on innovative assessment projects.

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Murray has taken a lead role in implementing the new state-mandated teacher performance assessment, EdTPA, in Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP). She has adapted the Scottish Storyline method as a way of teaching and modeling planning, instruction, assessment, and reflection to develop teacher candidates’ knowledge and skills.

Murray is the instructor for a yearlong course in the GTEP elementary program called Instructional Design and Assessment where teacher candidates learn how to design curricula, apply instructional strategies, and assess and evaluate student learning. Using the Scottish Storyline method, the candidates engage in learning content in context, and then by unpacking their experience, they learn how to create fun and engaging learning for P12 students.

The EdTPA was adopted by Oregon in 2015 and is used by 27 other states as a way to measure teacher candidate readiness. Murray selected Storyline to model and frame edTPA components for her candidates within an authentic context. Storyline is a structured curricular approach, which asserts that learning, to be meaningful, has to be memorable. Thus, Murray uses candidates’ enthusiasm for story-making to acquire and practice unit and lesson design, identify academic language demands and corresponding instructional supports, and create/augment assessments to measure student learning. Her utilization of this hands-on method of collaboratively creating a context (i.e., setting and characters) and scenarios (i.e., the plot) elicits creative exploration by candidates who direct their own learning.