Grant raises math scores in East Multnomah County

Photo caption:
EaMML leadership team (left to right): Nicole Rigelman (PSU), Amy McQueen (DDSD), Karen Prigodich (CSD), Paul Latiolais (PSU), Chandra Lewis (RMC), Jackie Cooke (MESDD), Steve Vancil (DDSD), and Roxanne Malter (MESD).

PSU faculty member Nicole Rigelman, Curriculum and Instruction, and Amy McQueen, David Douglas School District (DDSD) math specialist, have completed a three-year, $1 million project to improve mathematics education in East Multnomah County. The East Metro Mathematics Leadership Project (EaMML) began in 2014 with a grant from the ODE. Both David Douglas and Centennial School Districts saw significant gains in participating students’ math test scores on Smarter Balanced Tests over the three-year period.

The grant has increased the capacity of over 70 K-12 teachers in DDSD and Centennial School Districts (CSD) to more effectively teach math. Both teachers and students were assessed before, during, and at the end of the project. Students were scored using the Smarter Balanced Assessments. The results were on average 34 points higher for EaMML Teachers’ students than those of their peers. Teachers were assessed using a tool from the University of Michigan called Learning Math for Teaching, and their pedagogical knowledge and skills with the Instructional Quality Assessment. Both measures demonstrated significant increases. Continue reading

PSU awarded $1.2 million* for Native American education

aitpThe Graduate School of Education (GSE) has just been awarded a grant in the amount of $1.2 million from the US Department of Education Office of Indian Education (OIE) to recruit and prepare Native American students for teaching licensure and master’s degrees over the next four years.

This is the third OIE professional development grant received by Portland State University (PSU) in six years. The first award, received in 2010, established the American Indian Teacher Preparation program (AITP).

“I am elated,” said Project Director Maria Tenorio. “I think this grant will help us sustain a lot of the work we want to continue with Oregon tribes—in fact, some of our first teachers are now ready to accept student teachers!”

Micki Caskey, associate dean and principal investigator on the grant, praised the AITP’s success. “The Graduate School of Education is honored to receive our third award from the Office of Indian Education. This American Indian Teacher Program award allows us to build on our proud and long-standing relationships with Oregon’s tribal nations. Our partnerships with the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz and the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indians will continue to benefit the tribal and non-Native communities alike.” Continue reading

PSU nets $1.2 million grant for orientation and mobility training

COMETThe US Department of Education awarded the PSU Graduate School of Education a $1,247,470 grant to develop a new certificate program to train orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists. This program will be linked to the existing PSU Visually Impaired Learner (VIL) program.

Over the next five years, Project COMET, Certified Orientation and Mobility Educators in Training, will prepare 38 fully trained and highly qualified O&M specialists to help individuals who are blind or visually impaired to develop the skills necessary for independent and safe travel within their homes, workplaces, and communities. Continue reading

New GSE grant supports math instruction in Hillsboro

DEMIL_GrantThe Developing Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leaders (DEMIL) project is a new grant that will help develop math skills in elementary students in Hillsboro School District for the 2015–16 school year. The Noyce Grant is from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which sponsors the Master Teacher Fellowship capacity building project. Principal Investigator Nicole Rigelman will lead the grant, which involves, in the first phase, two teacher leaders at each of these schools: Witch Hazel, Lincoln Street, Reedville, L. C. Tobias, Mooberry, W. Verne McKinney, and Ladd Acres Elementary Schools.

The grant, for $75,000, is the foundation of what is anticipated to be a model for developing building-based leaders who support mathematics instructional capacity. It supports professional development for teachers to focus on highly effective mathematics instructional practices. Classroom teachers are supported by teacher leaders. A second phase next year will expand the concept to more teachers and include PSU teacher candidates as well. Teachers who persist will be able to earn an Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leader (EMIL) specialization through PSU. Continue reading

New grant provides college access to individuals with intellectual disabilities

Ann Fullerton and Susan Bert

Ann Fullerton and Susan Bert

For the first time in Oregon, individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) will have access to an inclusive university experience. A $2.5 million, five-year grant from the US Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education will create a college program that enrolls students with ID in regular PSU classes and culminates in the certification of skills for eventual employability and adult life. Ann Fullerton and Susan Bert, faculty in the Graduate School of Education, are co-directors of the project. Ruth Falco, Director, Research Center on Inclusive and Effective Educational Practices, was instrumental in bringing partners together for the project and in writing the grant proposal, and will serve as the project evaluator. The Think College Inclusion Oregon (TCIO) project is the first of its kind at a four-year university in Oregon.

“For many young adults, college is a path to independent living and preparation for employment in a chosen career area. Traditionally, individuals with intellectual disabilities have been excluded from the college experience, when college can be a critical step toward their success as adults,” said Fullerton.

PSU faculty and staff will design a program that provides inclusive college coursework, the option to live on campus, and preparation for future employment. The grant also provides academic advising and other academic support to help ensure students with ID are successful in their individualized college experiences. The plan is for 35 TCIO students to participate. The project will start small and focus on building capacity over five years. Continue reading

New grant addresses Next Generation Science Standards

Learning GardensScience in the Learning Gardens (SciLG): Factors that Support Racial and Ethnic Minority Students’ Success in Low-Income Middle Schools is a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant in its second year at PSU that is designed to study the impact of using garden-based education to support Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) among racial- and ethnic-minority students. The $500,000 project, which is a partnership between PSU and Portland Public Schools, serves sixth through eighth graders at Lent and Lane Middle Schools in outer Southeast Portland. Both schools have high numbers of students who are low income and minorities. PSU’s Learning Gardens Laboratory is one of the sites serving Lane. About 200 sixth graders participated in the first year.

The SciLG is led by long-time school garden pioneer and researcher Dilafruz Williams, with Sybil Kelley in Educational Leadership and Policy, Cary Sneider in the PSU Science Education Center, and Ellen Skinner in the PSU Psychology Department in a unique cross-disciplinary approach.

Two important features differentiate the project. First, while most school garden programs exist in lower elementary grades, the SciLG is designed for middle schoolers. By continuing the study with the same group of students over three years, sixth through eighth grades, investigators are collecting unique longitudinal data on engagement and motivation.

Second, the project is aligned with the national Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Oregon is one of the lead states that has adopted the new standards, which had not been updated in 15 years. The new NGSS establish what K–12 students will need to know and be able to do upon graduating from high school. Rapid advances in science and technology in recent years and new information about how students learn prompted the update, along with the goal for American students to graduate and better compete in a global economy. The hope is that by increasing skills and interest at the middle school level, Lane and Lent schools’ culturally diverse students will have better proficiency in STEM classes in high school and beyond.

“We at PSU have seized the opportunity to bring together two significant education movements,” said Williams, principal investigator on the grant. “One is NGSS. And the other is the surge of interest in school gardens across the nation. With tens of thousands of school gardens across the country, research shows that school gardens positively impact student outcomes, especially in science.”

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