The Oregon Safe Schools and Communities Coalition (OSSCC) will honor Dr. Olivia Murray at their yearly awards ceremony for her work supporting LGBTQIA students.
Murray is an associate professor of practice in the Curriculum and Instruction Department, where she teaches in the Graduate Teacher Education Program. She leads a student group on the PSU campus that meets periodically to discuss pressing issues related to gender and sexual orientation in education. Her research interests include culturally responsive classroom management and the use of queer-inclusive pedagogy in teacher education.
The OSSCC Safe Schools Awards celebrates Oregonians who have made schools and communities safer for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth.
Each year PSU honors individuals for their outstanding accomplishments in making PSU a more diverse, inclusive campus. Awardees are selected from students, faculty, staff, and the campus community. This year’s honorees from the GSE are PACE student Ebony Oldham, who received an award from the Commission on Sexual and Gender Equity, and incoming GTEP student Nancy Perry, who is the winner of the Commission on the Status of Women Essay Contest. Congratulations to Ebony and Nancy. We are proud of you!
Previous awardees from GSE faculty, staff, and students include:
Aslihan Alkurt, ’17
Carmen Anderson, ’10
Julie Esparza Brown
Esperanza De La Vega
Samuel Henry, X 2
Virginia Luka, ’16
Judy Bluehorse Skelton, ’08
Shannon Sprague, ’14
Hope Yamasaki, ’12
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.
Each 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.
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.
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.
Susan McCourt, ’15, has little classroom experience, but that’s not stopping her. As a former computer programmer, she knows all about solving problems. As a recent GTEP graduate, she is enthusiastic about her newest challenge—working with kindergarten students. She recently collaborated with Graduate School of Education Professor Sybil Kelley on an article that describes the work she did last year during her practicum for a science unit about sound. “Assessing the Unseen: Using Music and Literature to Access and Develop First Graders’ Knowledge of Sound Waves,” was published in the January 2016 issue of Science and Children and provides insight on her exceptional ability to differentiate instruction for students with various skills.
“I’m so excited and proud of this article,” said Kelley. “Susan is really an amazing educator and colleague!”
McCourt is a kindergarten teacher at Chenowith Elementary School in The Dalles, Oregon. Kelley is an assistant professor of science education and sustainable systems at Portland State University in the Leadership for Sustainability Education program. She also teaches the Elementary Science Methods courses in the Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP). Continue reading