June 2008

Reggio Emilia, Italy exhibits early childhood model
Eight students, two community partner-researchers, and PSU Assistant Professor Will Parnell attended the student and professor study tour in Reggio Emilia, Italy this year. The Italian system was a major topic of Dr. Parnell’s dissertation research, and his expertise is demonstrated in his work at the Helen Gordon Child Development Center on the PSU campus.

Listed as one of the top ten early childhood school systems in the world (Newsweek, 1991), the Municipal Infant-Toddler Centers and Preschools of Reggio Emilia, are a place of inspiration and study for PSU students in the master’s specialization in Early Childhood Education. For several years, different faculty members and groups of students in the Curriculum and Instruction Department’s Early Childhood Education program have traveled to the city that is filled with the visual representations, educational endeavors, and activities of children, parents, and teachers. This city’s inhabitants vitally demonstrate children’s participation in civic life and the many ways that children, families, and teachers can study a city and be changed by it, in turn.

In Reggio Emilia, a pedagogical organization called Reggio Children is dedicated to the dissemination and communication of the rights, potentials, and resources of young children as well as the advancement of teacher professionalism. A reciprocal relationship exists between the schools for young children and almost everyone in the city. The children’s work is taken seriously in the township and the viewpoint of children, as full participatory citizens in community life, is revered.

In order to share the vision of Reggio for Portland’s children, a picture of the work comes alive for Dr. Parnell, his associates, and the master’s students. Imagine a place where the citizens are profoundly interested in children’s thinking and imagination. Envision citizens working together to create learning spaces for children and others. Visitors begin to notice pieces of the children’s work, gifted with care, on every street in this Italian city. A journey through the city shops, restaurants, and open markets reveals people who volunteer their time and talent to the schools in thoughtful and aesthetic ways.

This mindful and exceptional way of thinking about children comes from the energy generated out of Reggio Emilia. The educational coordinators, called pedagogisti, and studio or learning laboratory teachers, called atelieristi, ask that the rest of the world develop our own sense of being with children and capture and celebrate our own experiences of children’s learning and work, and that the name “Reggio Emilia” be spoken softly and only as inspiration for our own creations with children (Carla Rinaldi, personal communication, October 19, 2001). —Will Parnell

Reggio Emilia—not a trademark name
Reggio Emilia is a small city in northern Italy, carving out its own unique and important experiences with children, most notably through their centerpiece of pedagogical exploration, called the atelier or studio-lab, in each school. The reflective practitioners, studio teachers, pedagogical coordinators, and community of this city are continuously awakening to the idea that children matter, their work is important enough to share with others, and that children have rights on our planet.

Message from the dean
This newsletter features our Department of Curriculum and Instruction, the unit responsible for preparing elementary and secondary school teachers. Classroom teachers are the educators on the “front line” of the education process as they interact directly with students.

Over the years, there have been many suggestions for ways to improve education in America, but none is more significant than the effort to provide better preparation and support for the classroom teacher. Research confirms the common sense notion that the relationship between the teacher and student is the key to effective education.

The PSU Graduate School of Education has been a leader in the nation in improving teacher preparation. We were among the fi rst institutions in America to emphasize subject matter competence by requiring that all teacher candidates possess a baccalaureate degree before entering their teacher education coursework. We also have very rigorous subject matter prerequisite requirements depending upon the specific subject that a teacher candidate wishes to teach.

All of our teacher preparation candidates participate in cohorts that foster group learning and problem solving. This prepares our candidates well for the realities of working in teams with other teachers, an increasing situation in our schools, as teachers, like other professionals, are expected to work together to solve problems and assist one another in meeting the needs of clients.

Our teacher candidates, like those in other universities, always point to their practicum experiences as among the most important components of their preparation. The GSE has greatly increased the time that teacher candidates spend in schools. But just spending time in schools is not enough. Our faculty work to ensure that the experiences are well connected to college classes and that they add value to the schools by improving preK-12 student learning.

In addition to high-quality preparation, teachers need support throughout their careers. We are working with education leaders throughout the state to ensure that the teachers from our programs receive the professional development and other support they need and deserve.
―Randy Hitz, dean, Graduate School of Education

Rehabilitation program ranked 24th in the nation
US News and World Report named Portland State University’s Rehabilitation Counseling program as one of the top 25 in the country. The report, released April 29, places PSU’s program at 24th. The 19-year-old Rehabilitation Counseling program resides in the Graduate School of Education’s Special and Counselor Education Department, and is part of the Counselor Education master’s program. The Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) recently accredited the program for an eight-year cycle. “This is definitely gratifying since we are so small,” said Professor Hanoch Livneh, currently the only full-time professor in the program. “Other programs have as many as five faculty in this area.” Portland State’s program is the highest ranked in the region, with Western Washington University and Western Oregon University following at 33 and 45 respectively.

Master’s student adapts early childhood training to international orphanages
Curriculum and Instruction master’s graduate continues professional development

It was an opportunity of a lifetime for Frank Mahler, an early childhood instructor working at PSU’s Helen Gordon Child Development Center. He was invited by a local nonprofit, Hands to Hearts International (HHI), to develop curriculum for young children in third world orphanage settings, starting with India.

Frank Mahler grew up in an Air Force family. “I love to travel and usually go to Europe about once a year,” said Mr. Mahler. He always knew he wanted to work with very young children, so he earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Western Oregon University. His first job after college involved working with preschoolers.

Mr. Mahler worked in Head Start and Early Head Start programs for many years before seeking a master’s degree. In 2005, he entered the GSE Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction program and chose a specialization in early childhood education. When he looked around for a part-time job to help with school, he discovered the Helen Gordon Child and Family Development Center. He worked for the Center and attended classes at the same time, completing his master’s degree in June 2007. In addition to his work at Helen Gordon, he teaches curriculum and instruction classes for PSU.

When Dr. Christine Chaillé invited him to participate in the HHI project last year, he was thrilled to work with his colleague and mentor in a new context. “I’ve collaborated on the development of curriculum for young children as part of my work at Early Head Start, and also at Helen Gordon, but nothing on this scale or this formal,” he said. “It was truly an opportunity for professional growth.”

When they met with Laura Peterson from HHI, Mr. Mahler quickly realized, “we shared many of the same values, and that her organization was one that I would be proud to work with and support.” The project included writing the curriculum and training the trainers who would work directly with the orphanage caregivers, and travel to India to implement and observe the results in the actual settings. This provided an opportunity to assess and adjust the curriculum to fit the children’s specific needs.

It wasn’t long after he got to India that Mr. Mahler realized this trip would be different from his other travels abroad. “India is not for the faint of heart,” he commented. “You have to let go of the expectation that things will be easy.”

Mr. Mahler and Dr. Chaillé spent two weeks working with the trainers and visiting orphanage and adoption centers in Chennai (Madras) India. Some of the curriculum was modifi ed because there very were few materials to work with. They soon realized that when confronted with extremely limited resources, it becomes much more important to step back and rethink what’s really essential in the learning process and how to adapt it to a local situation. The early childhood project will continue with HHI adapting the curriculum and taking the lessons learned in India to other settings throughout the globe.

Frank Mahler credits the GSE master’s program and working at the Helen Gordon Center for providing him with unique opportunities for professional growth. He has come to realize that learning must be made culturally relevant and meaningful, no matter where you are. “You can make the biggest difference in the lives of children when teachers, students, community, and parents work together,” he says.

Helen Gordon’s Frank Mahler enjoys working with tots. He completed a master’s in curriculum and instruction at PSU and continues to welcome professional growth opportunities in early childhood.

I think nothing can fully prepare you for the experience of being in India. It’s a very intense place, full of contradictions. There is great beauty, but at the same time there is also great suffering and poverty there. It was difficult to witness some of the situations that the children were in, but then we met the caregivers, who have little education or training, and are not given much in the way of tangible rewards for the incredibly difficult work they do, and yet there they are, dedicating themselves to working with very limited resources to try to improve the prospects of the children. To me that was just incredible…to see their determination and hopefulness in the face of such enormous challenges. ―Frank Mahler

Hands to Hearts International (HHI)
HHI works throughout the globe to improve women’s empowerment and to positively impact the health of thousands of orphaned and vulnerable children. For more information on their work visit http://www.handstohearts.org.

Literacy skills focus of new grant
The Carnegie Corporation awarded Susan Lenski (PI) $100,000 to work with her colleagues Swapna Mukhopadhyay, Ron Narode, and Micki Caskey in a project to redesign its Secondary Graduate Teacher Education Program so that it better prepares new teachers to incorporate literacy skills within content area instruction. Portland State University has joined four other universities (Michigan State, Florida State, Teachers College of New York City, and University of Michigan) to seriously address the problem of low reading skills in our country’s adolescents. While teachers in primary classrooms place much emphasis on reading strategies, literacy skills typically take a back seat to content area material in later grades. If students continue to struggle entering middle school, few options exist to help bolster reading skills. If American students are to achieve higher levels in reading, then the task of intermediate- advanced reading instruction falls to the content area teacher. The PSU team is looking at ways that middle and secondary school teachers plan for literacy. This investigation, they believe, will help new teachers become more cognizant of the role literacy plays in students’ learning. The PSU team has also been collecting exemplary lesson plans in science, math, and English that use a variety of formats from teachers around the state. These lessons, as well as revised syllabi and links to the other Carnegie projects, are on a Content Area Teachers Network website that will be unveiled on June 19, 2008. For more information visit www.teachers.ed.pdx.edu.  ―Susan Lenski

Winning the middle: Micki Caskey leads the way
Focus on faculty

Micki Caskey, PhD, is passionate about middle schoolers. Drawing upon her 21 years as a classroom teacher, she has edited four books, co-authored a textbook, and written a number of articles and book chapters on middle grades education and teaching young adolescents. Dr. Caskey has been promoted to professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction PSU.

Originally, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she went to Florida to look for her first job armed with a BA in art and a teaching certificate in early childhood and elementary education. Although Dr. Caskey wanted to be a classroom teacher in the Tampa public school system, getting a job there was not easy. Finding no openings at the elementary school level, she took a position as a teaching assistant at Dowdell Junior High School. The principal gave her some good advice: “Get licensed as a math or science teacher, and you’ll always have a job.” He explained that these areas had a great need for teachers. Dr. Caskey went back to school at night, earned another teaching credential, and landed a position as a middle school life science teacher the next year. She was hooked. “Middle schoolers are at a crucial turning point in their development. They experience rapid changes cognitively, physically, emotionally, and socially,” said Dr. Caskey, whose mother and sister are also teachers. Her curiosity about learning approaches to support underachieving youth prompted Dr. Caskey to earn a master’s degree and license in Specifi c Learning Disabilities. She taught for two years in a high school before returning to a junior high.

Her interest in effective educational models for teaching young adolescents led to Dr. Caskey’s involvement in the middle school movement. She assumed a number of leadership positions, including team leader for her school and professional development trainer for the district. In this latter role, she assisted the district in making the transition from junior highs to the middle school model while maintaining her role as a classroom teacher.

Dr. Caskey didn’t stop teaching at the classroom door. She took her role to heart and became visible in the halls, outside the school, and in the community. Like many teachers, she often went to sporting events and activities after school hours to let her students know she cared about their interests. She helped bridge the gap between adult members of the community and her young adolescent learners. She looked for ways that youth could become contributing members in their neighborhoods. For example, her students participated in neighborhood service projects such as linking youth to elders in a nearby care facility. Her goals for these young adolescents included promoting social responsibility and building positive relationships. “You have to know the child in the context of their community in order to understand them,” she said.

Other teaching assignments followed, including a strategic instruction model, professional development trainer (at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning) and a curriculum integration specialist. In these roles, Dr. Caskey discovered that she had a talent for working with other teachers and could advance effective instructional approaches and integrative curricula, at the same time as spreading her enthusiasm for teaching young adolescents.

She became a curriculum integration specialist at Middleton Middle School of Technology and at that time decided to pursue a doctorate in curriculum and instruction with a major in interdisciplinary education at the University of South Florida. She studied the way that young adolescents and adults embraced a specific innovation—computers—in school settings. Her dissertation, Effects of Intergenerational Training on Student and Parent Attitudes Toward Using the Internet, underscores this exploration. When reflecting on her doctoral research, she noted, “We needed to help students understand how to use technology in the classroom and then get out of their way.” During her tenure at Middleton, her colleagues honored Dr. Caskey by selecting her as a Teacher of the Year.

A doctoral degree also meant a career change for Dr. Caskey. Knowing tha she would not be considered for a tenure line position at the University of South Florida, she began a search for an assistant professorship. After an important discussion with her family, Dr. Caskey had the support she needed to take what she calls a “leap of faith” and left south Florida for a new position and home. Her search led to Portland State’s Graduate School of Education, and she moved her husband and middle-school-aged daughter to Portland. She remarked, “Portland is the kind of community where people want to be. There’s a purpose and a lifestyle that you don’t fi nd anywhere else.”

In addition to her teaching assignments in the GSE, Dr. Caskey serves in two national positions, as chair of National Middle School Association’s Research Advisory Board and as chair of the American Educational Research Association’s Middle Level Education Research Special Interest Group. She edits an international research journal, Research in Middle Level Education Online, for the National Middle School Association. She also serves on the boards of two state level organizations, Oregon Middle Level Consortium and Oregon Middle Level Association. As an emergent researcher, she wrote Preparing Middle Level Teachers in Fieldbased Cohorts. This paper1, which gained her the 2004 Distinguished Research in Teacher Education Award (Association of Teacher Educators), helped her attain national recognition. Today, she is in high demand, with regular requests for articles, reviews, and presentations, both locally and nationally.

In addition to her impressive record, Micki Caskey’s personality truly stands out. She is the exact person you would want to put in the path of a struggling young adolescent. Her enthusiasm and resourcefulness are contagious. As a teacher of teachers, she is able to share her insight and caring to another generation.

1. Caskey, M. M. (2003). Preparing middle level teachers in field-based cohorts. In P. G. Andrews & V. A. Anfara, Jr., (Eds.), Leaders for a Movement: Professional Preparation and Development of Middle Level Teachers and Administrators (pp. 53-76). Greenwich, CT: Information Age.)

On the move

Chris Cartwright, MA, Continuing Education, will become the dean of the International Partnership for Service Learning and Leadership. IPSL is an international nonprofi t that focuses on experiential intercultural learning through service. The agency, based in New York is scheduled to move to the PSU campus.

Deanna Draper, MS, library media advisor in Continuing Education, is retiring from her advising duties after spring term. A Beaverton High School teacher, librarian, and administrator, she came to PSU as an adjunct faculty member in the mid-1980s and took on the library program advising in 2001. She also works in the public library system where she can still be found commanding the reference desk at the Beaverton Public Library. As an active member of the Oregon Association of School Librarians (OASL), she will help organize their fall conference this year.

Jeff Edmundson, EdD, an assistant professor in Curriculum and Instruction, has taken a new position as curriculum director for the graduate programs in the school of education at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Dr. Edmundson has been teaching at PSU since 1990.

Stephanie McBride, MA, senior instructor in Curriculum and Instruction, is retiring from PSU this spring. She has been at PSU since 2001. She is most proud of helping to create the Secondary Dual Educator Program (SDEP) with colleagues Sue Bert and Barb Ruben. Her plans include travel with her husband, acquiring fl uency in Spanish, and to continue learning as a multi-culturalist. She is also working on a book of poetry written by her late mother and intends to publish it. “I plan to shed years of accumulated stuff in so many ways,” says Ms. McBride.

Pramode Parajuli, PhD, associate professor in Educational Policy, Foundations andAdministrative Studies, has taken a new job at Prescott College in Sedona, Arizona, as graduate faculty for the doctoral program in sustainability education. He will also serve as the director for college-wide sustainability education programs. Dr. Parajuli was instrumental in starting the Learning Gardens Laboratory at Lane Middle School as part of the EPFA department’s Leadership in Ecology, Culture and Learning (LECL) program.

Sandra Wilde, PhD, a professor in Curriculum and Instruction, is leaving PSU after 16 years to accept a position at Hunter College in New York City. She is especially proud of the new courses in literacy she developed while here, including those on historical and theoretical foundations of literacy education, linguistics for teachers, and current trends and ideas on using children’s literature in the classroom. In her new job, shewill be focusing on literacy education for New York City schools and will be also seeing as much art and theater as possible.


Brown, J., & Doolittle, J. (2008). A cultural, linguistic, and ecological approach to response to intervention with English language learners. Practitioner’s brief. Retrieved April 24, 2008, from National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems (NCCRESt) website: http://nccrest.org/publications/briefs.html

Caskey, M. M. (2008). Comprehension strategies that make a difference for struggling readers. In S. J. Lenski & J. Lewis, (Eds.), Reading success for struggling adolescent learners (pp. 170-188). New York: GuilfordPress.

Lenski, S. D. (2008). Struggling adolescent readers: Problems and possibilities. In S. Lenski & J. Lewis (Eds.), Reading success for struggling adolescent learners (pp. 37-57). New York: Guilford Press.

Lenski, S. D. (2008). Teaching from a critical literacy perspective and encouraging social action. In S. Lenski & J. Lewis (Eds.), Reading success for struggling adolescent learners (pp. 227-245). New York: Guilford Press.

Lenski, S. D., & Lanier, E. (2008). Making time for independent reading. In S. Lenski & J. Lewis (Eds.), Reading success for struggling adolescent learners (pp. 133-152). New York: Guilford Press.

Lenski, S., & Lewis, J. (Eds.) (2008). Reading success for struggling adolescent learners. New York: Guilford Press. Ranker, J. (2008). Composing across multiple media: A case study of digital video production in a fifth grade classroom. Written Communication, 25(2), 196-234.

Williams, D. (2008). Political engagement matters. Authored review in Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 14(2), (pp. 2).

Williams, D. (2008). Sustainability education’s gift: Learning patterns and relationships. International Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, 2(1), (pp. 1).

Making a difference by supporting students preparing to become teachers
One woman’s story

Janette Drew did not have a formal connection to the GSE, but she endowed a scholarship for its students because she felt very strongly that an investment in public education can provide opportunities for students at all levels. Mrs. Drew believed in having good teachers for our community, and ultimately fulfilled her dream, albeit in a different way than her original plan.

In the late 1920s, Mrs. Drew prepared to be a teacher, but found there were no teaching jobs available. Instead, she worked as a secretary. After she met and married her wonderful husband Sid, she had a successful life serving her community by volunteering for many causes. In 1993, a longtime friend and advisor introduced her to Portland State and the Graduate School of Education. She liked the program and began giving annual scholarships for students who wanted to become teachers and who had a record of community service in the Metro area. Subsequently, Mrs. Drew endowed the scholarship and gifted her house to increase the endowment. When she died in 2003 at the age of 94, she bequeathed to the GSE a portion of her estate, which increased the endowment to more than one million dollars.

Meeting her scholarship students and reading their letters was a special joy for her. She kept a folder with their notes and had them reread to her many times. Her response to our thanks was always, “I am just glad that I can help.”

Eighty-nine teacher candidates have received Drew Scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000, and most are now teaching in the greater Metropolitan area. Because of her generosity, each year upwards of eight additional scholarships will be awarded in perpetuity. What a wonderful legacy.

If you would like information about how you can make a planned gift or name a scholarship, please contact Sandy Wiscarson at wiscars@pdx.edu or 503-725-4789. Gifts of all sizes make a difference and can changes lives. ―Sandy Wiscarson

GSE pioneers environmental education
HISTORY SECTION: The GSE Environmental Education Center
The late 1960s saw a social revolution overtake American society. In universities across the country, this era was manifested by students’ search for relevance in education and solutions to pressing problems all about them. One significant way in which the Portland State University School of Education responded to these concerns was to bring to campus an Environmental Education Center (EEC). At that time, Portland Public Schools had on its staff Dr. Donald Stotler, a visionary science education specialist who believed that the science curriculum in elementary and secondary schools needed to be relevant. He assembled a team of educators, scientists, social scientists, and community leaders to assist in preparing a proposal for a grant to support an EEC.

The proposal, was funded in 1971 and included the following objectives:

  • To house a clearinghouse of information related to both academic and curricular environmental issues
  • To organize and sponsor conferences that address environmental issues
  • To prepare course materials on the environment which can be infused into science and social science courses
  • To develop courses for university students preparing to become teachers who would address environmental issues
  • To publish newsletters about environmental issues

In searching for a venue to house the EEC, Dr. Stotler realized that an academic setting would lend credibility to the project. PSU’s School of Education was selected over many other institutions. The EEC was housed in an abandoned space in Lincoln Hall. This cavernous space was converted into a spirited, interesting, and functional place to work and study. It manifested imaginative design using recycled materials, space, and colors. The EEC had substantial impact on course offerings within the School of Education. Two courses, Environmental Education for Teachers and Energy Education for Teachers, taught by Professor Michael Fiasca, attracted wide student participation. Both preservice students and teachers in the field enrolled in these courses. In addition, a series of energy education workshops were offered for Oregon high school science teachers between 1973-1979; these were supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Office of Education, and local utility companies PGE and Northwest Natural Gas. The instructional programs were organized and taught by Michael Fiasca, and Professor George Tsongas from the School of Engineering. Collaboration in energy education reached another level when the American Association for the Advancement of Science asked the duo to take part in its “Chautauqua Circuit.” Energy education concepts and materials for instruction were brought to college and university teachers of science and social science throughout the nation in 1979-1981.

Another significant resource for teachers was a publication called Clearing. Mike Soulé and Larry Beutler edited this publication that provided ideas, classroom activities, resources, and information on environmental topics. After federal and university cuts in the late 1970s, Clearing moved off campus and continued under Beutler’s editorship.

Today environmental issues and overuse of natural resources are still two of the most presssing challenges facing our society. Over three decades ago, key players who saw the need for an EEC were unaware of how visionary they were.
―Michael Fiasca, PhD, professor emeritus, GSE

Turkey is home, PSU her dream come true
Doctoral student Serap Emil’s story

Serap Emil never dreamed she would be able to get a doctoral degree from an American university. That is, until she met Professor Dannelle Stevens. A native of Turkey, Ms. Emil had always excelled in school. Her parents did not have college degrees, but made certain that she and her brother and sister finished college. All three earned university degrees in Turkey and found jobs. Ms. Emil holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in educational science from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey.

After graduating, Ms. Emil worked in a youth summer camp program and then as a staff development coordinator at a private K-12 school. She missed her friends who were pursuing graduate degrees in America and often thought about getting a doctorate there, but the list of issues around studying abroad seemed insurmountable. How would she do it? How could she afford it? And how would she adapt to speaking and working in English all of the time?

When Professor Dannelle Stevens came to Bilkent University in Ankara and offered seminars on rubrics at TED Ankara College (a private K-12 school), Serap Emil was assigned to translate her materials into Turkish. But first they both had to find an equivalent Turkish word for “rubric”!

“I noticed that she was bright, extremely competent, and very respectful― qualities that go a long way in any setting,” said Dr. Stevens. “As someone did for me many years ago, I suggested that she might want to get her doctorate, and I could help her with an application to Portland State.” Dr. Stevens then became her mentor and guide in what was to be a two-year-long process to get to the U.S.

Ms. Emil’s American education experience has some surprises. “Learning paradigms are different here,” she remarked. A professor asked her to share her thoughts about a topic at the first class session―a customary practice in an American class. “This doesn’t happen in Turkey. Professors do not ask your opinion, and it is considered disrespectful to offer it,” she said. It took a little while for her to get comfortable with America’s style.

Though she is a full-time graduate student, she still needs to work to make ends meet. When not attending classes, Ms. Emil works at PSU as a graduate assistant in the Dean’s Office, primarily assigned to assessment. She also sits on the university’s Institutional Assessment Council, providing an important connection to the larger institution. According to Associate Dean Steve Isaacson, “She is an important member of the Assessment Task Force and helps me in innumerable ways. It’s often the case that, just as I’m beginning to think of something that needs to be done, Serap is all over it. It’s always wise to have a grad assistant who makes you look more clever and competent than you really are.”

Ms. Emil really enjoys the collaborative nature of the department, especially working with faculty and administrators on important projects. Her goal is to use this experience to inform her own educational leadership path. After earning her doctoral degree, she plans to return to her country, where she hopes to fi nd a university teaching position.


GSE professor emeritus and golfer, Mary Kinnick, tied for first place in the women’s division of the Oregon Net Championship at the OGA Golf Course in Woodburn, May 4. Her fellow-winner was 15-year-old Kendall Prince of Lake Oswego, a high-school varsity player. “I’m still pumped up,” she says. “[Thereis] fifty years difference between me and my co-winner!” Congratulations, Dr. Kinnick.

The Gresham Outlook recently published a story about the Centennial School District Transition Center that included an interview with Kriss Rita, the center’s transition coordinator. Ms. Rita is a graduate of the Special Education program.

Carolyn S. Carr is directing a research study for the Oregon Department of Education. The study, conducted by members of the Oregon Professors of Educational Administration, is part of her service on the Oregon Leadership Network Steering Committee. It is one of four studies looking at the impact on professional practice of the changed leadership standards.

Program aids international teachers
ITEP: Helping committed educators obtain Oregon teaching credentials

Many highly qualified teachers from outside the United States arrive in Portland hoping to teach but lacking credentials for American schools. The International Teacher Education Program (ITEP) provides a credentialing path for educators from other countries to obtain the initial license needed to teach in Oregon. ITEP’s director, Dr. Jacqueline Temple, evaluates the degrees and transcripts from the student’s home country and then creates an individualized program of study, including a field-based student teaching experience based on the match between the candidate’s original licensure, course preparation, the Graduate Teacher Education Program, and the requirements of the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission. This open enrollment program may have 12 to 15 students at any one time, many of whom go beyond licensure to obtain master’s and doctoral degrees. “These students are exemplary educators,” said Dr. Temple. “They are conscientious and determined to continue their careers regardless of infrastructure barriers.”

Mario Vilela was born in a very small town in Peru, but his dreams often included big buildings in which he saw himself talking to people in a different language. Mr. Vilela became a teacher in Peru and, thanks to the ITEP, he is licensed to teach high school in Oregon. He will complete a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction this summer. His dream now is to work in both countries, teaching Spanish in Portland during the school year and training teachers in Peru during the summer. Dr. David Bullock, manager of the GSE’s Metropolitan Instructional Support Laboratory where Mr. Vilela works, observes, “Teachers from other countries have real insight into what’s happening in the world. They are bilingual and bicultural, and they come with a real caring attitude for kids, especially those from lower socioeconomic strata.”

Michael Morales, also from Peru, is an ITEP graduate focused on Latino students who are at risk of dropping out. A teacher with the Academia Virtual de Exito (AVE), in North Clackamas School District, Mr. Morales develops an individualized, online curriculum for each of 40 students, tailored to the student’s credit needs as well as his or her proficiency in English and Spanish. Mr. Morales uses an online math and science curriculum in Spanish available through the Mexican Consulate and an online literature and language program in English. He has developed online courses in U.S. government, history, health, and Spanish. “Students must be self-motivated,” he explained. “We want them to be bilingual and bi-literate. Many can read and write in English, but their Spanish is terrible,” while others are just learning English. The goal is to help students get their GED or graduate from high school.

Mijail Otero grew up in Cuba and has encountered many career barriers. He went to Russia for a teacher education program, spending five years learning to teach students who are blind or autistic. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mr. Otero made his way through Europe to the United States, eventually finding work as a teaching assistant at the Spanish Immersion Program at Ainsworth Elementary School in Portland. Quickly recognizing his skills, the principal told him he was needed as a regular teacher at Ainsworth and worked with TSPC to get him a temporary license. Mr. Otero enrolled in the ITEP in 2000, received his Oregon teaching license in 2007, and recently won a Fulbright scholarship. “I am very happy now, very proud,” he said upon completion. “I had to become a teacher—the school needs me.”

ITEP assists professionals like Mr. Morales, Mr. Otero, and Mr. Vilela obtain their credentials so that their rich experience and skills may benefit students in Portland, North Clackamas, and beyond. In so doing, ITEP fulfills the GSE’s commitment to build an intentionally inclusive, diverse community of educators. “These are determined, gifted, and talented educators,” says Dr. Temple. “We help them work through the maze.” ―Cindy Stadel


News and notes
University honors

Yer Thao, assistant professor in Curriculum and Instruction, received the PSU President’s Diversity Award at a ceremony May 21, 2008.

Recognition earned – Julie Esparza Brown, faculty member in Special Education, is a newly appointed member of the advisory committee for the National Center on Response to Intervention (RTI) in the U.S. Department of Education’s Offi ce of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Ms. Brown (soon to be Dr. Brown) recently defended her doctoral dissertation, The Use and Interpretation of the Bateria III with U.S. Bilinguals. She is the director of the Bilingual Teacher Pathways program and co-director of the Pathways to Preparing Culturally Responsive Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Educator program.

Portland teacher Elisa Schorr is a recipient of one of this year’s Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards. The award, accompanied by a $25,000 check, is presented to outstanding American teachers at surprise assemblies in their schools. Milken cited Ms. Schorr, who teaches science at Roosevelt High School, for her “exceptional work with students from diverse backgrounds.” She is completing her Initial Administrator License at PSU.

International press
Rosalyn McKeown, an associate professor in the Educational Policy, Foundations, and Administrative Studies Department, was recently interviewed by a TV news team from Kosovo about environmental education. The news team conducted the interview during a trip to Germany to present workshops on sustainability in education for Dresden Technological University.


Brown, J. E., & Pullen, L. (2008, April). Latinas – De raices a fl ores. Paper presented at 2008 MEChA Statewide Conference, Forest Grove, OR.

Brown, J. E. (2008, February). Distinguishing dyslexia from cultural, linguistic and experiential difference. Paper presented at 2008 ORBIDA Conference, Corvallis, OR.

Draper, D. (2008, February). New ALA/ AASL standards for the 21st century learner. Paper presented at Oregon Association of School Libraries, Portland, OR.

Cartwright, C. (2008, April). Bridging the experience from cultural curiosity to cultural capacity: A personal and collective journey for orientation directors. Paper presentation at the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA) Regional Conference, Portland, OR.

Caskey, M. M. (2008, March). Lesson study in middle grades education. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, NY.

Caskey, M. M., Samek, L. L., Musser, P. M., Greene, W., & Casbon, J. (2008, March). Programs, principals, and practitioners: Alignment of expectations and realities. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, NY.

Anfara, V., Caskey, M. M., Roney, K., & Mertens, S. (2008, March). National middle grades research project on common planning time. Workshop presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, NY.

Cooper, J., & Stevens, D. (2008, April). Assessment of classroom journal writing: Meeting the goals of reflective judgment and civic engagement. Co-presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, NY.

Cress, C. (2008, April). Connective leadership: New pathways for individual development and organizational change and assessing the outcomes of service learning: Strategic techniques. Paper presented at the American College Personnel Association

National Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Cress, C. (2008, April). Pedagogical and ethical dilemmas of teaching service-learning: Promises and practices of community engagement. Paper presented at the 2008 Continuums of Service Conference, Portland, OR.

McKeown, R. (2008, April). Environmental education and communication. Presented 11 lectures over four days at Dresden Technological University, Dresden, Germany.

Mukhopadhyay, S. (2008, April). Discounting Iraqi deaths: A societal and educational scandal. Paper presented at the second annual conference on Creating Balance in an Unjust World, Brooklyn, NY.

Mukhopadhyay, S. (2008, May) Ethnomathematics: Legitimizing the link between mathematics and culture. Paper presented at the Oregon National Association for Multicultural Education Conference, Corvallis, OR.

O’Connor, C. (2008, April). Service-learning online to promote sustainable partnerships through academically sound practice. Paper presented at the Oregon Community Education Association Conference, Seaside, OR.

Smith, M. J. (2008, April). Low SES African American parents in college choice: Opportunity for service and early outreach for the greater good. Poster presented at the Continuums of Service Conference of the Western Region Campus Compact Consortium, Portland, OR.

Stanovich, P. J. (2008, April). Removing barriers to learning: An overview of effective and inclusive instructional practice. Paper presented at All Born “In”: A Cross Disability Inclusion Conference, Portland, OR.

Stevens, D. D., & Caskey, M. M. (2008, March). Reflection in action research: The engine of teacher empowerment. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, NY.

Swaim, D. (2008, April). Heart zones education, education with heart rate monitors. Inservice training for school district health and physical educators, Osawatomie, KS.

Thao, Y. (2008, April). Culturally responsive teaching to Mong students and The Mong oral tradition. Paper presented at the University of Wisconsin- LaCross School of Education Symposium, LaCrosse, WI.

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