Graduate School of Education News—Special edition
Leading, Learning, Life Changing

PSU Graduate School of Education News

Collaborative program combines students, family, school, home

Roberto and his family practice walking safely in the community. They all work with a CPEP PSU graduate student and an interpreter to help him learn community safety skills.

In 2006, Roberto’s home became a classroom and his family became part of PSU’s Collaborative Professional Education Project (CPEP). Roberto, who has Down syndrome and a hearing impairment, is teaching as well as learning along with graduate students from PSU’s Special Education and Speech- Language Pathology departments and Pacific University’s Physical and Occupational Therapy departments. In an initial visit, Roberto’s parents explained (through an interpreter) that they had two important goals for their eight-year-old son: to improve communication and to learn the meanings of “danger” and “no.”

In 2001, the United States Office of Special Education Programs awarded funds to CPEP’s project director, Ruth Falco, to develop CPEP to provide collaborative, interdisciplinary services for children and youth with significant multiple disabilities and to address the special needs of children from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. The program’s graduate-level students participate in field experiences and research-based curriculum and practices.

CPEP graduate students often admit to having preconceived plans to assess the child’s situation and then apply their special skills, but instead end up learning about collaboration, allowing their ideas to change and blend with those of other students from other disciplines. They learn to assess and understand the child’s actual surroundings, learn his or her actual stories, and witness the intricacies of the child’s family life. CPEP students say in this experience they find better ways to shape their knowledge into a holistic plan that fits the entire family.

The program incorporates knowledge from diverse fields. The PSU graduate students are from programs in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Educator, Elementary/ Secondary Special Educator, Visually Impaired Learner, and Speech-Language Pathology. Pacific University graduate students are from the schools of Physical and Occupational Therapy.

CPEP employs faculty from both PSU and Pacific University and provides for interpreters to help students communicate with the project’s non-English-speaking families. CPEP also hosts seminars featuring guest speakers, panels of special educators, previous CPEP graduates, and participating family members.

Overall, graduates of CPEP agree that some of the most valuable knowledge and skills they learn often come from their experiences working in the child’s home. In addition, CPEP graduates acquire a profound respect for the many obstacles that exist for families of children who have special needs. Roberto’s family, for example, did not know much about Down syndrome or what learning diffi culties he might encounter, and they didn’t know where to fi nd helpful information. Once the CPEP team found Spanish translations of current literature on children with Down syndrome, Roberto’s parents became as involved in research as the graduate students, and all became members of one team.

Together, this team discovered one of the obstacles to Roberto’s ability to communicate. In school he had been learning to use signs to help him communicate, but his non English speaking parents weren’t aware of this. Also, Roberto was learning a few of the English words he heard in school, but again, his family did not understand English, so they were unable to support what he had learned. CPEP students were able to coordinate efforts to get the school and parents working together, and Roberto began to meet goals.

In a report of the CPEP students’ final home visit, Roberto’s mother said, “My son is really learning a lot. . . . He knows so much more, just as we know so much more. . . . He couldn’t talk before, and now . . . he has words.”


Message from the dean

One of the most remarkable and significant changes that has taken place in the last few decades of the 20th century was the attention to the rights of individuals with disabilities.

Key among those rights is educational opportunity. As educational services for individuals with disabilities were greatly expanded and improved, Portland State University played a key role in preparing teachers to better serve this population. Over

40 years ago PSU faculty began a program to prepare teachers in special education. Today we prepare more special education teachers in Oregon than any other higher education institution.

All of our programs meet state and national standards, and our faculty have been remarkably creative in developing unique programs to meet the needs of teachers. Our vision education program is offered nationwide and utilizes computer-based instruction to a high degree. We are proud of our two dual preparation programs—one that prepares individuals in both special education and elementary education and one (of only two in the nation) that prepares individuals in both special education and secondary education. In this newsletter you will also read of our leading edge research and professional development programs.

Students of all ability levels have benefitted from the research and instructional improvements that have come from the efforts to provide high quality education for individuals with disabilities. Most importantly, because of the good work of PSU faculty and others in the nation, we are much closer to realizing the dream of helping all students reach their full potential.

—Randy Hitz, dean, Graduate School of Education

Counselor education programs receive eight-year accreditation

Dean Randy Hitz reports that the national Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) has approved the GSE Community Counseling and School Counseling programs for the maximum eight years without conditions. The letter from CACREP states, “Programs receiving accreditation for an eight-year period deserve to be commended for the work they completed throughout the accreditation process. This is indeed a worthy achievement.”

“I am very excited about this accomplishment and our programs,” says Rick Johnson, counselor education coordinator. “We are the only CACREP-accredited program in the Portland area.”

Congratulations to Rick Johnson and the Counselor Education faculty and staff and a big thank you for the work they did in preparation for this accreditation. It is recognition of the high quality of the faculty and the programs they deliver to students.

Connect and renew at the Special Education reunion

Welcome to this edition of the Graduate School of Education newsletter. As you will see, there are many exciting activities in Special Education. One very special event is the Special Education reunion that will occur on Saturday, March 15 on the Portland State University campus. Come celebrate and honor our graduates and current students, the profession, and our many community supporters and partners. You are cordially invited to participate in the event. The reunion begins at 2 pm in Smith Memorial Student Union, 1825 SW Broadway. There will be a short program and lots of time to visit with current and former faculty, as well as students. RSVP to ahaack@pdx.edu for reunion and/or no-host reception ($20).

—Leslie Munson, chair, Special Education Department

Dean Hitz appointed to national expert panel

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) has appointed Dean Randy Hitz to a national expert panel. The 17-member group, which will meet four times over a two-year period, is charged with helping to reform teacher preparation policy and practice. Participants are from universities and educational organizations throughout the country and will convene in Washington, DC, this spring.

Did you know?

The GSE Pathways program is a graduate-level initial licensure program designed to fill critical shortages in early intervention/early childhood special education. It is target toward bilingual, bicultural educational assistants, but welcomes those who wish to gain competencies related to diversity. Generous scholarships are available for qualified students.

Positive Behavior Support aids academics

What if all school children could look forward to a safe and positive school day, where teachers could spend more time on instruction, the principal’s office would no longer feature a pool of young miscreants, and bullies would have disappeared from the school grounds?

Is this a fantasy? Would anyone know how to accomplish this? Well, reports from local schools implementing School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SW-PBS) programs suggest that Chris Borgmeier might have a solution.

Chris Borgmeier joined PSU’s Special Education Department in 2003. His journey to special education began in Minneapolis where he worked in a high school special education classroom. He holds degrees in special education and psychology and a doctorate in school psychology from the University of Oregon where much of the work on SW-PBS originated.

After completing his doctorate in 2003, Dr. Borgmeier was hired by the Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto, California. Geographically, only a freeway divides trendy Palo Alto from East Palo Alto, but by most other measures East Palo Alto is worlds away. In the early 1990s East Palo Alto, was a diverse community with a high poverty rate. While there, Dr. Borgmeier led a district-wide effort across 11 schools to improve student behavior in response to a federal lawsuit that resulted because as late as the mid 1990s the district did not have a special education department.

Dr. Borgmeier spent the school year working with teams from each of the schools to develop and implement SW-PBS. Over the course of the year, things began to change. One of the toughest schools in the district soon began showing improvements in its state Academic Performance Index scores. In fact, in spring 2004, scores at that school improved more than at any other school in San Mateo County. Principal Cammie Harris attributed this gain to the 57 percent reduction in discipline referrals and teachers spending “less time disciplining kids.”

Dr. Borgmeier works with school districts to create a multi-year action plan that focuses on building capacity within the district to implement and sustain effective SW-PBS programs. Districts develop a position for a PBS coach who facilitates district planning and supports school teams. He works closely with the coaches whose follow-up support and technical assistance helps to maximize the benefits of the training the teams receive.

“Chris is incredible!” says Ericka Guynes, PBS district coach for David Douglas School District. “He has given our district guidance, and supported us through the implementation progress of School-Wide PBS at nine elementary schools and three middle schools. In addition to successful implementation at the elementary and middle school levels, we are in the process of implementing [PBS] at our high school and alternative high school, too. We couldn’t have done it without him!”

Students, administrators, and parents have all noticed a difference in school climate whenever PBS has been implemented. One parent said, “My son is happy to go to school and enjoys being a part of a positive school.” Another parent commented that this may be “the end of bullies at school” —a persistent issue nationwide.

An elementary school principal, reporting to the school board on PBS, said, “I do not meet with as many students on a daily basis for disciplinary problems as I have in previous years. Teachers and instructional assistants have become more active participants in student management practices rather than choosing to delegate student behavior problems to the school administrator… I believe staff members are uniformly approaching the problem in a more humane, thoughtful manner.”

PBS is catching on throughout Oregon, as nearly 600 schools across the state are implementing SW–PBS programs, including more than 150 schools in the Portland Metro area. In spring 2007 Dr. Borgmeier and his colleagues in the Oregon PBS Network held the fi fth annual state PBS conference in Eugene. Attendance for the three-day event topped 2700. Dr. Borgmeier is most proud of the extensive network of PBS coaches that has formed across the state. The Oregon PBS Network has held two PBS coach trainings each of the last few years. The Oregon PBS Initiative, a grant funded by the Oregon Department of Education, has supported school districts throughout the state to implement school-wide positive behavior support.

“One person cannot do it alone,” says Dr. Borgmeier who offers his materials for free on his web site. “It takes an entire school team consistently working together to create a positive school atmosphere.” Together Chris Borgmeier and local school districts are doing a lot to improve the quality of life and learning for students in Oregon’s primary and secondary schools.


For more information on Chris Borgmeier and the SW-PBS program, visit his web site at www.web.pdx.edu/~cborgmei

A national trend

Positive Behavior Support (PBS) is a national trend to change school climate and improve academics through explicit teaching of behavioral expectations, regularly acknowledging desired behavior, and dealing with discipline in fair and consistent ways with a focus on instruction of appropriate behavior. PBS is founded on the principle that a proactive approach that sets students and staff up for success is preferable to waiting to respond to problem behavior. The use of punitive and exclusionary discipline (such as detention and suspension) is minimized in favor of research-based practices to prevent problem behavior and databased decision making in response to problem behavior. In 2007 the Positive Behavior for Effective Schools Act (H.R. 3407, S. 2111) was introduced in the U.S. Congress. If it passes, this bill will allow Title I and II funds to be used for trainings and school improvement activities, including those that support SW-PBS.

Students from many disciplines drawn to Kiwanis capstone course

In 1972 Steve Brannan, professor in special education, established a partnership with the Metro area Kiwanis Clubs who operated a residential camp for children with disabilities. A two-week practicum was developed for pre-service teachers to work with children at the camp. The camp program provided a rich setting where teachers and college students could learn about and practice teaching daily living and social skills to these children.

In the late 1980s PSU broadened the campus undergraduate curriculum to include community-based learning so that all undergraduates would have opportunities to learn first-hand about diversity, civic responsibility, and community service. Senior capstone courses were developed with a wide

Because of the partnership with PSU, the camp program provides all campers with the support of a student-counselor. This makes it possible to offer the experience to those in our community with more significant and complex disabilities. To see a video of the program aired on OPB’s Oregon Field Guide last year, go to www.opb.org/fieldguide. To learn more about the camp program, go to http://www.mhkc.org.

Nearly ten percent of all PSU seniors have chosen this experience for their capstone course, and enrollment has grown to over 280 students per year. Often, students comment “…this is one of the hardest but one of the best things I have ever done.”

This awareness leads to greater understand- array of partners; in 1990 a senior capstone course was developed for Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp. The pre-training and continual coaching built into the course made it possible for students who had little or no prior experience with persons with disabilities to participating and support of persons with disabilities and their families in the workplace and our communities. Capstone students also report the personal rewards of service, providing them with a greater sense of civic responsibility.


PSU students say:

“No class or lecture has ever taught me as much about life as this experience.”

“Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp was a wonderful experience for all parties involved, campers and counselors. Programs like Kiwanis Camp provide an opportunity for PSU students from all fields to better understand disabilities and their impact on the person and their family. This promotes the understanding and acceptance that is essential to erasing discrimination.”

“Never again will I look at someone with a disability the same. Instead of thinking about what they cannot do, I will look to see what they are capable of doing.”

“It’s as if I found a fork in my straight road of life that I thought I had all planned out. But instead I must now venture down this new road and see where it leads me.”

“I always like to learn new things that are essential for my academic growth. . . . But the most rewarding class to me was, without a doubt, the Kiwanis experience. This is a class that teaches people not only about how to care for others with disabilities, but also teaches people how to dig deep inside themselves and get the caring human out of them.”

New technology study focuses on braille literacy for early childhood

Learning to use written language plays a significant role in cognitive, cultural, and social development, and early braille literacy is crucial to young blind children if they are to participate equally with sighted peers. Braille is unique because it incorporates both alphagraphic and orthographic symbols in a code for written language. Historically, Braille literacy skills have been taught using the manual braille writer and paper, but emerging technology is beginning to change that.

In summer 2007, the United States Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs awarded funds to PSU’s Dr. James Bickford for a project called Technology for Early Childhood Braille Literacy. This two-year project will investigate the differences between children’s learning outcomes when using a braille writer and paper versus using an electronic notetaker and Braille display.

Comparing the Perkins Braille Writer, an industry standard since 1951, with the new technology of the PAC Mate™ electronic notetaker with a refreshable braille display, the project will provide an evaluation of the feasibility of this promising new technology-based approach and furnish clear and replicable procedures for applying the technology in school settings.

Dr. Sandra Shelnutt, vision teacher in Cobb County Public Schools in Marietta, Georgia, and her students are participating during the fi rst year of the study. Her students’ fi rst reactions to the new technology were positive. “I wish you could have seen [the students] with the PAC Mate™ yesterday,” she said. “[One child] loved discovering the PAC Mate™ could help her learn her whole word [braille] signs with the auditory feedback.” Data will be collected from the Georgia students throughout this school year.

Additional sites across the country will be involved in an expanded study during 2008-09.

Dr. Bickford collaborated with Ruth Falco, director, and Twila Nesky, technical writer, of PSU’s Research Center on Inclusive and Effective Educational Practices (RCIEP) to develop and submit the proposal. This project is an example of how special education program faculty, supported by the Research Center, are increasing external funding to carry out important projects in areas of faculty expertise.


GSE launches bilingual special education project

Portland State University’s Bilingual Special Education (BiSPED) project is coordinating a consortium of nine school districts to develop and provide a high-quality, research-based program for bilingual, bicultural instructional assistants leading to initial special education licensure in high-incident disabilities and ESL/ bilingual endorsement. The five-year grant totaling over $1,419,000 is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and the Office of English Language Acquisition and runs from 2007 through 2012. Ten students per year will receive tuition stipends, and a total of 40 students will participate in the project. The application deadline for the first cohort year is March 1, 2008.

As principal investigator for the project, Assistant Professor Julie Esparza Brown brings her experience as the director of the Bilingual Teacher Pathway (BTP) program, which is a model for the BiSPED project. Ms. Esparza Brown is currently completing her doctoral degree in special education with a research focus on the assessment of bilinguals. Her research interests also include response to intervention and bilingual students, literacy, and the interpretation of standardized assessment results of English language learner students.

The nine partner school districts are Beaverton, Canby, David Douglas, Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Molalla River, Portland Public, Reynolds, and Woodburn, all of which are among the 20 partnerships already part of the BTP program. “The districts are very committed to the project by ensuring two administrators from their ESL and special education departments participate in the program. There are many benefits to the program and cooperation,” said Ms. Esparza Brown. In addition, the program will include two different curricular themes: The first will augment regular Special Education classes with a diversity focus and the second will involve specific courses for the cohort that include nondiscriminatory assessment.

The ultimate goal of BiSPED is to have a welltrained cadre of special education teachers.Developing and monitoring collaborative agreements with school districts and community colleges is essential to its success. Said Ms. Esparza Brown, “We’ve heard from former BTP graduates who are already teaching and are interested in applying to the BiSPED cohort program.” —SHARON  MURPHY

GSE research center generates needed funding for many projects

In 2004, the Research Center on Inclusive and Effective Education Practices (RCIEP) was one of several projects funded, initially, by the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects at PSU. The center has a strong record of external funding and much potential for research expansion.

Since its inception, working with faculty in the Special Education and Counselor Education departments, RCIEP has submitted increasing numbers of proposals and has had growing success in obtaining funding. Seven currently funded projects will bring in more than $5 million for research and training over the next four years. Projects include autism training, braille literacy, inclusive elementary educator preparation, special education program improvement, the preparation of culturally responsive early intervention/early childhood special educators, and a dual special education/ ESL/bilingual endorsement.—TWILA NESKY

GSE donors

You have made a difference! Thank you.

Your gifts, ranging from $25 to $25,000 have allowed the GSE to:

  • Award scholarships to more than 70 students with demonstrated financial need. Scholarships of $1,000 to $5,000 were given to students from all programs in the school.
  • Give educational technology packages, along with specialized training, to our students preparing to teach math or science.
  • Make conference attendance possible for students to present their work.
  • Host special events and communicate with alumni and friends.
  • Purchase additional resources for the Helen Gordon Child Development Center and for checkout from our instructional lab—books, tapes, technology
  • Engage speakers and consultants

And more . . . . .

We appreciate your support and belief in the work of the school.

—Sandy Wiscarson


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

Hardt, U. (2007, Nov). A literacy of peace. Paper presented at National Council of Teachers of English, New York, NY.

Parnell, W., & Green, L. (2008, Feb). Defi ning and exploring culture in early childhood schools. Training presented at Neighborhood House/ OPK Professional Development Day, Portland, OR.

Sanford, A., (2008, Jan). Progress monitoring. Paper presented at COSA conference for special education administrators, Gleneden Beach, OR.

Sanford, A., Putnam, D., Baker, D., Castro-Olivo, S. (2008, Feb). Paper presented at Indicadores dinámicos del exito en la lectura: Spanish language literacy assessments. Paper presented at National Association for School Psychologists, New Orleans, LA. Smith, C., & Allen, J. (2008, Feb). Co-Admission Programs: The Role of Academic Advising. Paper presented at at the Student Success and Retention Conference, Portland, OR.

Smith, M .J. (2007, Nov). Low-income African American parents in college choice: Uninvolved or unfairly characterized? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education, Louisville, KY.

Swaim, D. (2008 Jan). Heart zones education curriculum and a new projection heart rate technology system. Paper presented at the Heart Zones Education Summit, Ogden, UT.

1976—PSU’s Special Education gains international recognition with Costa Rica program

This 1976 distinguished service award was presented by National Partners President Alan Rubin (center) to PSU President Joseph Blumel (left), and Keith Larson (right), Special Education Department chair. The presentation marked the only time the Partners award had been given to a university department.

The Special Education Department of years past at Portland State University had a rich history of involvement with the Partners of the Americas, an international organization of Latin American countries that are partners with various organizations of the United States on a nongovernmental basis. Oregon became a partner with Costa Rica in 1960, facilitating hundreds of student, professional, and occupational exchanges on a private volunteer basis and with the support of private foundations. Beginning in 1969, the PSU Special Education Department was heavily involved with such exchanges and helped Costa Rica create its first national program of special education through a new department of special education within the Costa Rica Ministry of Education. Parallel efforts also helped establish a new special education curriculum for teacher candidates attending the University of Costa Rica.

During the 1970s, Portland State’s Special Education continued to spearhead exchanges of administrators, faculty, and teachers with Costa Rica. Marlene Rodrequez, director of special education for Costa Rica, and Susan Roberts, special education professor at the University of Costa Rica, each spent an academic year in training at Portland State University. Focusing on the education of students with disabilities, Costa Rican teachers visited classrooms in Portland and Portland teachers visited classrooms in Costa Rica. Special Education Department faculty members Steve Brannan, Jean Edwards, Keith Larson, and David Martinez traveled to Costa Rica to assist schools and institutional programs for persons with disabilities.

Many other community professionals from public and private schools and universities also supported the Costa Rican program. Mike Lembach, a teacher and former special education graduate student at Portland State, volunteered for a three-month period in Costa Rica to help restructure a rehabilitation program for young adults with mental retardation. Collaboration with PSU’s Speech and Hearing Program expanded the Partners of the Americas collaboration. James Maurer, professor of audiology in the Speech and Hearing Program, obtained and delivered hearing test materials, hearing aids, and a soundproof testing room for hearing impaired children to professionals in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Speech and Hearing Program also enrolled students Soledad Chaverria and Ilsa Lehman from Costa Rica who spent an academic year in training at PSU.

In 1976 Portland State University and the Special Education Department received the “Distinguished Service Award” from the Partners of the Americas. This international award was given by the organization “in recognition of outstanding leadership and services” provided by PSU’s Special Education Department under the leadership of Keith Larson.—STEVE BRANNAN

Doctoral student inspires Latino women

Doctoral student Gina Moreno is a new clinical faculty member in Special Education. Her face may be familiar, since she previously worked as an adjunct instructor in the Special Education and Continuing Education departments. The emphasis of her doctoral studies is on students with severe disabilities. She began her path to Special Education while pursuing her associate degree in 1978 at Clackamas Community College. When RCIEP Director Ruth Falco and other faculty members caught wind of her interests and background, Ms. Moreno found immediate support and mentoring in the Special Education Department.

As she was growing up, the cultural values in Ms. Moreno’s Latino family didn’t really include college as an option for her. As a result, she didn’t see an advanced degree as a goal, either. “Without encouragement and caring from teachers, I probably wouldn’t have continued,” said Ms. Moreno, the first person in her family to go to college. Since those first few classes, she has gained a profound passion for special education, spending nearly 30 years working in the field. She’s also worked her way through several degrees. “The more I study and practice, the more potential I see,” she commented.

As a doctoral candidate at PSU, her research and scholarship includes paraprofessionals working with students with low-incidence disabilities and severe disabilities. As a former paraprofessional, she appreciates the important role paraprofessionals play with students, families, and in school districts. “Paraprofessionals are the least trained and have the most contact with special education students in schools, providing essential support,” she observed.

When asked about the PSU Special and Counselor Education program, she said, “PSU is one of the few organizations that focuses on severe disabilities; it’s a comprehensive approach. PSU’s commitment to all potential educators is unwavering.” As a fixed-term faculty member, Ms. Moreno plans to continue working with faculty in an effort to research special education in relation to paraprofessionals and para-educational teams. As the number of para-educators employed in schools increases, preparing special education teachers to supervise them is vital. Ms. Moreno works with various Portland and southwest Washington area schools to create a collaborative process to support paraprofessionals in fulfilling the responsibilities of their expanded roles and assists with appropriate training and supervision.

Her positive experiences working as a paraprofessional have inspired many students to pursue teaching as a career. These paraeducators have begun to recognize their own intuitive ability to teach. This model for success has come full circle for Ms. Moreno as she completes her doctoral program and is a role model for other students in the community. —SHARON MURPHY

Did you know?

The distance learning program to prepare teachers of visually impaired children has provided classes to students in 23 different states since 2002.

News and notes

Bickford, J. O. (2008, Feb) Interview about Project Braille and education of blind students on KBOO Radio 90.7 FM at 10:30 am.

Ulrich H. (Rick) Hardt, PhD, professor emeritus of the GSE, has been named editor-in-chief of the Oregon Encyclopedia of History and Culture. The project is scheduled to be published electronically in 2009 as part of Oregon’s sesquicentennial celebration, with a hard copy to follow in 2010.

Rae Miyuki Loui, BA, a PSU special education vision student from Hawaii, has been selected to receive the Delta Gamma Foundation Graduate Student Stipend Award from the American Foundation for the Blind. Only ten awards per year are issued by the AFB, and PSU students have won every year for the last six years. The recipients, chosen for their leadership, receive a $250 stipend and a free trip to the AFB’s National Conference in San Francisco.

Local educator, Bill Korach, EdD, was interviewed for a story in the Oregon English Journal (XXIX, 2). Dr. Korach, who received both a master’s degree and EdD from Portland State University, has served as Lake Oswego’s school superintendent since 1987. He has taught classes for PSU in education administration.

Nancy Parker, MA, an instructor in the infant/toddler mental health program, was recently named the director of Clark County’s largest provider of mental health services. Ms. Parker has been with Columbia River Mental Health Services for 11 years. She plans to upgrade technology at the agency so that more time can be spent with clients and less on paperwork.

Amy Driscoll, EdD, former faculty member in the Curriculum and Instruction Department and professor emeritus from UCMB, led the Carnegie Conversation on January 24, 2008. The Center for Academic Excellence sponsors the series, Carnegie Conversations on Student Success. Dr. Driscoll is the author of Developing Outcomes-based Assessment for Learner-centered Education, Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Sped student drawn to PSU programs

New Jersey native Jodi DuBose took a circuitous route to special education—by way of the Appalachian Mountains. She is a master’s student in the Special Education program specializing in working with children who have mild to severe disabilities.

When Ms. Dubose entered the University of Maryland (UM) in College Park to study elementary education at age 18, she was convinced she wanted to be an educator. After all, she had been playing “teacher” since grade school where she taught her stuffed animals how to spell. At UM, she had a change of heart.

Like Portland State University, the UM campus community is focused on the environment, diversity, and sustainability. While working on her bachelor’s degree there, Ms. DuBose felt connected to the natural world for the first time, experiencing the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains. She went on many hiking and camping trips there. She realized how disconnected from the environment she had been, growing up in her highly populated hometown. “I felt that it was very important for me to study the earth and the interrelation between human beings, civilizations and the environment,” she said. She changed her major to natural resource management and geography, graduating in 2001, putting her dream of teaching aside for awhile.

That summer she moved to Portland with a friend. She had heard that Portland was a beautiful place to live, and the culture of sustainability and community echoed her own belief system. Her fi rst full-time job was volunteer coordinator for Transition Projects, an agency that helps find housing for homeless people. Her work took her to elementary schools where she talked to children about hunger and homelessness. Ms. DuBose commented, “Every single time I stepped into an elementary school, I felt the call, ‘You belong here!’” A special education teacher, Jackie Hultine from Stafford Elementary School, took notice of her interaction with the students and invited her to volunteer in her classroom.

Her next position was with the Oregon Food Bank. There she also worked with student groups and enjoyed her role teaching them about community service. That experience led to more volunteering, this time in a special education classroom at Buckman Elementary School in Portland. The seed was planted. Ms. DuBose was hooked on special education and the close interaction of individualized instruction with these students. “I felt a deep sense of purpose and fulfillment while working with the students,” she said. “In the resource rooms with these enthusiastic teachers, students are valued and their strengths and areas of need are honored.”

Jodi DuBose is a valued member of the GSE as a graduate assistant in both EPFA and Special Education departments and recently worked on the Special Education History Project. She also participated in the Early

Childhood Assessment and the Regional Program for Autism Training Sites. She has earned two scholarships, the Friends of the GSE Scholarship and the Joe Kaplan Scholarship. “She is wonderful,” says Dr. Leslie Munson, the department chair. We are all looking forward to her successful career in

special education. Ms. DuBose will graduate this spring. —NANCY EICHSTEADT


Carr, C., & Ruhl, T., (guest Eds. of special issue). (2008). Transforming myths: From interagency competition to collaboration, or the small state that tried and succeeded. Education Leadership Review, 9(1)

Bickford, J. O. (2008). Assessing attainment of competency and program characteristics of a distance preparation program for teacher of students with visual impairments: One university’s experience. RE:View, 38(3), 99-113.

McIntosh, K., Borgmeier, C., et al. (2008). Technical adequacy of the functional assessment checklist: Teachers and staff (FACTS) FBA interview measure. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 10, 33-45.

Borgmeier, C. (2007). A school-wide approach to promoting young adolescent behavioral and social success in middle schools. In S. B Mertens, V. A. Anfara, Jr., & M. M. Caskey (Eds.). The young adolescent and the middle school (pp. 343-366). Charlotte, NC: Information Age.

Mertens, S. B., Anfara, V. A., Jr., & Caskey, M. M. (Eds.). (2007). The young adolescent and the middle school. Charlotte, NC: Information Age.

Lenski, S. D. (2008). The future of teacher research, in C.A., Lasond, & S.E. Israel, (Eds.). Teachers taking action: A comprehensive guide to teacher research (pp. 177-189). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Lenski, S. D., Lanier, E. (2008). Developing an independent reading program: Grades 4-12. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon.

Munson, L. J., Catlett, C., & Winton, P. (2007). Resources within reason: Feeding young exceptional children. Young Exceptional Children, 11(1), 40.

Murphy, S. (2007). Buckshot [Short story]. Oregon English Journal, 29(2), 34.

Ranker, J. (2007). Using comic books as readalouds: Insights on reading instruction from an English as a second language classroom. The Reading Teacher, International Reading Association, 61(4), 296-305.

Ranker, J. (2008). Making meaning on the screen: Digital video production about the Dominican Republic. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 51(5), 410-422.

New faces in the Graduate School of Education

Angelena Garlock Balzer, BS, has joined the GSE in a new accounting position. She has a bachelor’s degree from PSU in business administration with an accounting concentration. Ms. Balzer worked in manufacturing accounting for 15 months prior to joining the GSE, and she says she is thrilled to return to the PSU campus and begin a career in nonprofi t/fund accounting. She is excited to support the GSE family of educators, which includes her husband, who teaches special education. Next time you are on the sixth fl oor, stop and say hello to Angelena, or ‘Angie,’ as she likes to be called.

Twila Nesky, MA, has been promoted to grant project specialist for the Graduate School of Education. She will work with the RCIEP’s director, Ruth Falco, to support special education proposal development, building on her technical writing background and the knowledge she has gained about grant proposals. She will also work alongside the GSE’s research and scholarship director, Ann Fullerton, to help expand resources schoolwide. Ms. Nesky has won several writing awards, and her work has been published in news sources and anthologies, nationally and internationally. Her favorite acceptance letter, for an Excellence in Writing Award, came from Japan’s Maruoka-Cho Cultural Foundation. “Congratulations,” it said, “many read your story and made exclamations.”

Kate McPherson-Hope, MTS, is the new assistant marketing coordinator for CEED. She assists with the production of publications, provides support for conferences and events, and coordinates CEED web site updates. She has a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School in theological studies. Her interests include the study of feminist spirituality, music, and writing. She enjoys the vibrant urban campus environment at Portland State University and is excited about the university’s contributions to the community.

Cailin O’Connor, MA, is an educator with expertise in art education and multicultural education. Ms. O’Connor has been a secondary art educator, adjunct faculty in art education, and community-based art initiatives, and has worked in the museum sector in several cities in the United States and Ireland. She is currently managing the part-time GTEP and service-learning programs for Continuing Education, which echo her experience. Ms. O’Connor is also a practicing multimedia fi ber artist and weaver. She plans to exhibit a new series of felt paintings in the months ahead.

Kathy Lovrien, LCSW, MSW, is the new mental health and addictions programs coordinator for Continuing Education. She became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker after receiving her MSW from PSU in 1988. She has worked primarily with systems that provide mental health and addiction services to children, adolescents, and families, often in school-based programs. Her career includes 15 years in Multnomah County’s Behavioral Health Program as a supervisor of the School Based Health Centers Program. While this was an invaluable experience, her primary skills and knowledge about adolescents come from raising three of her own. In her spare time she likes to read, garden, and work on a pottery wheel.

Will Parnell, EdD, is an assistant professor in the Curriculum and Instruction Department, and pedagogical director for early childhood programs. Dr. Parnell coordinates the master’s specialization in early childhood education. He has 23 years of experience in early childhood education teaching and administration. Currently, Dr. Parnell serves as a board member of The Emerson School, a Portland Public Charter School, where he is coorganizing a capital campaign. He also works closely with PSU Child Development and Family Services (CDFS) programs: The Helen Gordon Child Development Center, Student Parent Services, and the ASPSU’s Children’s Center. In these programs he is developing, enhancing, and researching our mission and educational goals to further promote quality early education, both regionally and nationally.

Did you know?

In 2006-07, the Research Center on Inclusive and Effective Educational Practices helped principal investigators in the Special Education Department obtain external funding for seven new programs, bringing in $5,219, 427 over the next five years. Currently, four new proposals are pending review, and two are in development for March deadlines.

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