Introducing the P-20 Initiative

Imagine a system that successfully ushers every person from birth through the P-12 school and higher education systems and into rewarding careers. What would it take to build such a system, monitor its progress, and ensure that every person has an equal opportunity at getting a high-quality job after graduation from college or an industry-based training program? Sound impossible? Maybe, but planning is already in progress. PSU’s new P-20 Initiative is providing focus for identification and measurement of indicators of success for the education systems from preschool (P) through graduate school (20).

PSU President Wim Wiewel first spoke about the university-wide P-20 Initiative in January, 2009. It is one of his four themes that are University top priorities. “We want to work with all the other partners in the P-20 system to address the achievement gap,” says Dr. Wiewel, who together with the dean of the Graduate School of Education, Randy Hitz, began conversations with community members to look at a model already used in the Cincinnati area called Strive.

Piloted by the University of Cincinnati in 2006, Strive’s goal is to create a “holistic education system for students that spans cradle to career.” The focus is on both academic and community indicators. The Leaders Roundtable, a group of education, business, and policy leaders in Multnomah County, embraced the idea and joined President Wiewel in taking the lead. The P-20 Initiative adds value to existing efforts of city, county, and community-based organizations by creating a way to look at current progress in meeting shared goals.

How it works

The idea behind Strive is to connect all stakeholders—P-12 schools, businesses, social agencies, community organizations and higher education—in an organized way to look at specific indicators at every level. Using “collaborative networks” comprised of multiple agencies, common indicators of success and strategies for improvement are identified to support specific goals. The goal areas are loosely arranged around social and intellectual development: early childhood, early school years, advanced school years, post-secondary education, and career entry. Benchmark measures are identified along the way and strategies to support achievement emerge.


Using the Strive concept, critical academic and social benchmarks are identified that span birth through career entry. These benchmarks are served and monitored by the agencies in the network that are aligned and have interests for that age group.

Goal 1 – Every child will be prepared for school
Goal 2 – Every child will be supported in and out of school
Goal 3 – Every child will succeed academically
Goal 4 – Every child will enroll in post-secondary education or career training
Goal 5 – Every child will graduate and enter a career

“There’s a wealth of data collected in a variety of places,” says Pat Burk, professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy who is assigned to lead the PSU initiative. “The problem is to organize data in a meaningful way that contributes to organizations working together toward common goals.” Many organizations collect high quality data, but they work in isolation. Dr. Burk points out that we can retool high schools and school systems around specific issues like drop-out rates, but we also need to address what employers and communities are looking for when students graduate and what supports are needed throughout the system. The new P-20 Initiative will be a holistic, coordinated process.

One example

Cincinnati elementary children were not performing well in reading and math. District scoring for grades three and eight were well below state standards. The collaborative network team, comprised of 16 agencies from the Cincinnati metropolitan area, decided to support tutoring programs for high-risk students in grades K-8. This was an intervention that led to a measureable outcome that all of them could support.

The work on P-20 is just beginning

The leadership team consists of representatives of the Portland Leaders Roundtable, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, and Portland State University. Through deep conversations, both on and off campus, the P-20 Initiative will help the community identify indicators, measure benchmarks, and determine necessary support and services that will better serve the population of the metro-area. The intention is not to create yet another program, but rather to provide a framework, data indicators and planning opportunities that bring focus and synergy to existing efforts.

The President’s vision for the P-20 Initiative is broader than even this Strive model. Ultimately, he wants to channel PSU resources and faculty research to better serve P-12 schools and to create a seamless and more effective P-20 system overall.

How will the GSE be involved?

In addition to the work and activities related to initiating and organizing this effort, it is anticipated that many research opportunities will arise that will have an impact on teaching and learning. GSE faculty will partner with faculty from other disciplines across the university and community members that share areas of interest. Dr. Burk, who has extensive experience in education at school district and state levels commented, “I’ve truly been impressed by the depth of discussions we’ve had. It’s not just inside the GSE—it’s a conversation that engages the entire university.”

The GSE is in a unique position to participate in this effort. Many of our programs, such as special education, literacy, and ESL already address many of the areas the task force will be looking at. The Center for Student Success will provide support for this effort. “The Graduate School of Education’s focus is on improving education at all levels and we have longstanding and extensive partnerships with P-12 schools,” says GSE Dean Randy Hitz. “President Wiewel’s emphasis on P-20 work will certainly enhance the efforts of the GSE and, at the same time, our experience and expertise will make the GSE faculty key players in the PSU P-20 initiative.”

Keith Stanovich wins prestigeous Grawemeyer Award

Professor Keith Stanovich has won the very prestigious Grawemeyer Award in Education. He holds an appointment in the GSE, and coincidently, is married to Dr. Paula Stanovich in the Department of Special Education. “Keith Stanovich has been acknowledged by his peers as one of the most influential cognitive psychologists in the world.” He was ranked by the Development Review as one of the 50 most-cited researchers in his field and was named by Contemporary Educational Psychology as one of the 25 most productive educational psychologists. The award specifically recognizes him for his book What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought.

Dr. Stanovich was informed of the nomination by his publisher, Yale University Press, about six months ago, but soon forgot about it. “I was flattered to be nominated at the time, but I knew that they usually get 30 to 40 nominations, and it’s not the type of thing that one sits around expecting,” he said. When the award call finally came, he was in Witchita, Kansas, on a book-signing engagement. His wife, Paula Stanovich, a professor in the Department of Special Education, took the message. “He wasn’t immediately reachable,” she says, “so I had an hour or so of walking around the house in a daze, knowing I couldn’t tell anyone and waiting for him to call me back so I could break the good news.” Dr. Keith Stanovich says, “I am thrilled and honored to have been selected, and it is only now starting to sink in.”

In April 2010, the Drs. Stanovich will attend a week-long series of events and a black-tie dinner at the University of Louisville, which administers the Grawemeyer Award. Five Grawemeyer Awards are presented annually to honor ideas, rather than lifetime achievements. Categories include outstanding works in music composition, ideas improving world order, psychology, education, and religion. Grants to the five recipients accompany the awards and total $1 million annually. The group of winners spans the entire world.

The Stanovichs sponsor a scholarship for GSE students and are avid Vikings fans. Dr. Keith Stanovich has graciously consented to give a public faculty lecture here at PSU April 27, 2010.

GTEP alum honored for urban forestry work

Chad Honl, ’07, a graduate of one of the GSE’s math/science GTEP cohorts, was presented the Bill Naito Award by Portland’s Urban Forestry Commission at their annual ‘Dig-it’ event, sponsored for the second year by Portland Parks and Recreation, on October 24, 2009, at Mt. Tabor Middle School. The event brought together city and environmental leaders to celebrate and kickoff the planting season. Mr. Honl was unanimously selected for this honor by the Urban Forestry Commission.

“He is totally deserving of this award,” says Dilafruz Williams, GSE faculty member. “I have known Chad for 14 years, and I have watched him relentlessly pursue his passion for trees to revitalize urban areas.”

Mr. Honl graduated from PSU’s teacher licensure program and is a teacher at Vestal Elementary in Northeast Portland. He has distinguished himself by creating green spaces and gardens at four Portland-area schools by replacing asphalt with trees, plants, and grass. His largest project to date is the Vestal Elementary playground, for which he and students tore up 15,000 square feet of blacktop and replaced it with 20 fruit trees, 500 shrubs, and grasses. Grants and donations totaling $30,000 were collected from Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services, the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Montavilla Neighborhood Association. Last year he worked with Portland Community Gardens, Depave, Women in Trades, parents, and students to create a school/community garden that they will begin planting in February.

Mr. Honl’s “Johnny Appleseed” work can be traced to more than 10 years in the Friends of Trees organization as a volunteer and Neighborhood Trees manager. The group’s mission is to expand the urban forest and bring neighbors together to build community. As part of his work with the Friends, Mr. Honl planted over 8,000 new trees in the Portland area from 2001–04. “His favorite tree is the edible chestnut, which provides food for humans and wildlife, while giving abundant shade and other big canopy tree benefits over a long life,” says Jim Gersbach, past president of Friends of Trees.

Early in his career, Mr. Honl also developed and chaired a fruit tree giveaway in Portland. He was inspired by the fruit trees in public spaces in Bolivia, which not only provide shade but also food for people. He wanted to create a project that would teach students that they can make a difference in their own environment. Students learned how to select appropriate native trees and shrubs for this area, and also how removal of pavement improves storm water runoff. They included a soccer field and nine benches to realize the students’ dream of having their own gathering space.

Mr. Honl also sits on the board of the Learning Gardens Laboratory. He is a certified arborist and has his own tree care company, Honl Tree Care. His next project, the community garden at Vestal Elementary, is already in process.

Find out about the Depave project and other greenscape activities at the Depave Web site.

Learn more about Mr. Honl’s next project, the Vestal Community Gardens and its Partners in Grime.

Read more about the Bill Naito Award at the Portland Parks and Recreation Web site.

Partners in community counseling— PSU and Fir Ridge Campus

What are the ingredients for a great partnership? Enthusiasm? Support? Leadership? All of these come together at Fir Ridge Campus. Fir Ridge Campus is an alternative school in David Douglas School District in east Multnomah County. Led by PSU alumna Catherine Nyhan, high school, community college, and PSU students flourish in an environment that’s invigorating, optimistic, and caring.

Ms. Nyhan, Fir Ridge school counselor, holds a license in mental health counseling and is also adjunct faculty for PSU. She is one of our licensure-only graduates. She teaches a PSU class in working with at-risk youth and supervises PSU counseling students and interns. She is involved in multiple projects at Fir Ridge and recently organized her sixth annual community resource fair for the school’s students and the broader David Douglas community.

“At Fir Ridge, we’re like a lab for counselor education students,” says Ms. Nyhan. “An alternative school has issues that come up with greater frequency than other sites. Students get a lot more exposure here than they would anywhere else in the same time period.”

Ms. Nyhan is originally from Seattle, where she worked in a variety of settings with youth. She interned at Group Health and also volunteered to counsel sexual minorities. She completed a foster care study for the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research—and helped gang-affected teens on a boat-building project. “I enjoy working with complex students and in a more multicultural setting,” she says.

As a PSU alumna, Ms. Nyhan has become a great resource for our PSU Counselor Education program. Always able to spot a collaborative opportunity, she worked with PSU’s Julie Porter on a senior capstone project that provided tutoring and other volunteer opportunities for PSU’s students at the Fir Ridge school. PSU’s Community Counseling Clinic students started participating in Ms. Nyhan’s resource fair years ago, and several GSE students from various specialty tracks volunteer with the fair coordination effort and will work the day of the fair.

The Community Resource Fair at Fir Ridge gives students the opportunity to interact with adults in a positive environment. Students Tonya Smith Pharr (left) and Rashad Tanner learn about services and resources available from local community agencies.

Ms. Nyhan’s professors are equally enthusiastic about her work. “Catherine Nyhan fulfills the school counselor’s mission on every level. She readily serves her students, her colleagues, and the profession,” says Lisa Aasheim, coordinator of the School Counseling program and director of the Counseling Clinic. “While dedicating herself fully to helping her students achieve success at Fir Ridge, she also helps our students at PSU find their best academic selves. She provides supervision, mentorship, and guidance in a creative and nurturing manner. Our students become strong professionals as a direct result of her teaching and guidance.”

Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp recognized

Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp has won the award for Best Credit Program for summer session programs in the west by the Western Association of Summer Session Administrators. The capstone class is sponsored by the Special Education department in the Graduate School of Education and PSU University Studies in collaboration with the Mount Hood Kiwanis Camp Board of Directors.

The camp, which provides authentic outdoor experiences for children with every level of disability, involves the capstone class that has the highest enrollment at PSU. Senior capstone students who have not had any previous experience working with people with disabilities find it to be a life-changing experience. PSU students are paired with young campers for a highly supervised and safe outdoor experience that includes practically every activity available at a typical summer camp, modified to accommodate every kind of disability. The focus is not the children’s limitations but their possibilities.

The Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp has been featured on OPB’s Oregon Field Guide. “It’s one of the hardest, best things I have ever done.”

—PSU capstone student

Kiwanis Camp senior capstone history

The popular senior capstone approaches two decades of operation. Professor emeritus Steve Brannan gives us a view of its colorful history.

How it started

Ann Fullerton, professor in the Special Education Department, spearheaded the Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp senior capstone and continues to coordinate this outstanding community service program that partners with the Mt. Hood Kiwanis to provide a practicum experience for PSU students who serve as counselors of campers with disabilities.

Responding to Oregon’s critical need in the late 1960s for elementary and secondary teachers in special education, Professor Steve Brannan and his staff in the newly established Special Education department developed an eight-week summer program integrating classroom instruction (academics) with outdoor experiences (parks, day excursions, camping).

These summer programs operated for several years with an underlying principle that is still relevant today: informal social, and life-challenging experiences unique to outdoor programming help both counselors and their campers (or teachers and their students) to achieve significant outcomes.

Word soon got out to the Portland community about PSU’s success with outdoor practicum experiences in preparing University students. As a result, in 1971, the Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp board approached Portland State University to discuss the formation of a PSU/urban-area Kiwanis partnership. In the summer of 1972, PSU began the coordination and training of undergraduate and graduate students in special education and related fields to serve as counselors of campers with disabilities at the Kiwanis summer camp.

This community-based practicum grew, and in the 1990s the senior capstone was launched under Dr. Fullerton’s leadership. Now hundreds of Portland State students across various fields of study serve youth and adults with disabilities each summer at the camp. This educational experience has continued for almost 40 years and is the University’s longest running community-based service-learning project. The success of this practicum is largely due to the capstone’s continual demonstration that it is a life-affirming experience for campers and a life-changing experience for their PSU counselors.

Building partnerships, building Professional Learning Communities

This year, the Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP) embarked on a new model for student teaching through a collaboration with two Portland  schools: Winterhaven School in Southeast Portland and Vestal Elementary School on the northeast side of town. Central to this partnership is the development of building- and classroom-based professional learning communities (PLCs).

GSE professors Nicole Rigelman, Barb Ruben, and Karen Noordhoff seek to create a partnership characterized by reciprocal benefits—to make student-teaching settings a place of learning for both the student teacher and the mentor teacher.

Drawing upon the benefits that have been noted for professional learning communities, Drs. Rigelman and Ruben placed two student teachers with each mentor teacher, establishing a three-person team (triad) that works in a classroom with a focus on deepening student learning.

The model engages the triad in a collaborative relationship in which each member contributes knowledge and ideas to support learning about teaching and understanding of student learning. This view of student teaching as a collaborative activity takes the student teacher out of the role of apprentice as imitator and puts him or her into a position of active inquiry and participation. University faculty support these classroom-based PLCs by facilitating monthly building-based sessions focused on protocols and tools for observation and collaboration, and by providing content expertise for the classroom-based lesson study approach that triads use for the planning, observation, and implementation of high-cognitive tasks/activities.

Hood River partnership grows multiple offerings

A long-standing partnership between Hood River County School District and the Graduate School of Education resulted in bringing master’s degrees and teacher licensure and endorsement programs to the Columbia Gorge. Programs offered in cooperation with the GSE’s Continuing Education unit, Hood River County School District, and the Columbia Gorge Education Service include: three master’s in curriculum and instruction cohorts, three Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP) cohorts where students obtained general education licensure, a cohort that completed licensure and a master’s degree in special education, several cohorts of teachers obtaining English as second language endorsements, and two cohorts obtaining their reading endorsement.

“Portland State has made it easy for individuals in rural areas of the Gorge to be able to advance their education.”

While Gorge residents have access to the Columbia Gorge Community College, there is no four-year university in the region to provide teachers with degrees, post-baccalaureate licensure, endorsements to add to their license, or professional development. Hood River Superintendent Pat Evanson Brady and her husband, Middle School Principal Phil Brady, provided leadership and initiative for hundreds of teachers over the past 12 years. Mr. Brady has served as the on-site coordinator for all of the master’s and GTEP cohorts and has taught many of the courses. PSU’s programs in Hood River County School District were also open to students throughout the Gorge area, including The Dalles, and extending across the river to the White Salmon, Washington, community.

Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction
In 1997, the Bradys contacted the GSE about offering a master’s degree in the Gorge. They had recently moved from Alaska, where they had taught for the University of Alaska, and wanted to provide educational opportunities for teachers in their new home area. Thus began a long-term collaboration that resulted in at least one program offered every year. The first program was a two-year master’s cohort held in White Salmon, Washington. Mr. Brady assisted with recruitment and teaching, and partnered with a GSE faculty member to provide advising and support for the students’ research projects. He worked with two other cohorts over the years.

Special education endorsement and master’s degrees
In 2001, Dr. Evanson Brady contacted the GSE to discuss the possibility of a special education endorsement. She saw a need to build capacity in her district and wanted to encourage several teachers to move into special education. The program began with 14 students getting their special education license, and resulted with them adding the master’s degree program as well. Marcia LaDuke was the on-site coordinator. She later moved to a position in human resources for the district, and became a good friend to the GSE, working as a liaison for many programs offered in the Gorge in later years.

Ms. LaDuke, now retired, says, “Hood River does an excellent job of providing opportunities for staff to take advantage of PSU programs without having to travel to campus. The school district values lifelong learning as evidenced by their partnership with post-secondary educational institutions. Portland State has made it easy for individuals in rural areas of the Gorge to be able to advance their education.”

Graduate Teacher Education Program
The Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP) was brought to Hood River to develop new teachers from within the community. The first GTEP cohort began in 1999. The most recent GTEP cohort completed coursework in winter 2009. Mr. Brady led the 10 people in the program. Seven specialized in early childhood/elementary, one in secondary, and two in the added elementary program. “Seven students began teaching immediately after the program,” says Cailin O’Connor, the program manager who coordinates the part-time GTEP.

Reading endorsement program
During the 2008–09 school year, Continuing Education worked with Susan Lenski, a professor in Curriculum and Instruction, to coordinate a series of reading classes for Hood River County School District. Terri Vann, the director of the district’s instruction and special programs, took a proactive approach to improving literacy. Her project grew, resulting in PSU offering four classes that satisfy the requirements of the ReadOregon 12-credit reading certificate. The district has added coursework so that other interested staff can also receive the reading endorsement. Thirty Hood River employees have participated in the classes. “The PSU reading series has had a positive impact on our entire school district,” said Ms. Vann. Two cohorts of the ReadOregon endorsement have been held in the region, with the second reading endorsement cohort finishing this year.

ESL/Bilingual Endorsement program
Two ESL/Bilingual Endorsement series were offered for teachers in Hood River County School District from 2004 to 2009. A total of nearly 50 district teachers took coursework, and approximately 25 completed all requirements for the ESL/Bilingual Endorsement. The program was partially financed through a federal grant.

According to Cheryl Livneh, director of Continuing Education, the partnership has been overwhelmingly successful. “The partnership with Hood River County School District is an illustration of the best of all collaborations—both the district (and teachers and potential teachers in the surrounding area) and the University have benefited from it. All of the district personnel we have worked with have been extremely supportive to both the students in the programs and PSU, have assisted in identifying potential instructors when needed, have found funding sources that have supported their teachers, and have identified needs in the district and found innovative ways to meet those needs. The bottom line is that good teachers impact the learning of their students. We in the GSE hope we have assisted individuals to become the type of teachers we wish our own children had.”

Helen Gordon students introduced to Will Vinton’s Claymation

Supporting Young Children’s Investigations and Expressions:
A collaboration between Portland State University’s Helen Gordon Child Development Center and the Oregon Historical Society.

A recent partnership between the Helen Gordon Child Development Center of the Graduate School for Education and the Oregon Historical Society/Oregon History Museum (OHS) produced unique artwork that was on display at the museum. Children from Helen Gordon made a field trip to the current Will Vinton ‘Claymation’ exhibit and were treated to a hands-on experience. “We’ve had a developing partnership with the museum for the past year,” explains Helen Gordon Director Ellie Justice.

The 2008-09 school year began with the formation of a new collaboration in the community with the Helen Gordon Child Development Center of the Graduate School of Education at Portland State University. What began as simply a means to expose the Helen Gordon children to the museum’s exhibits has now become a full-fledged exhibit at OHS. During the run of the Will Vinton exhibit, The Amazing World of Claymation, the studio teachers in the preschool classroom decided to forge a link between the exhibit and a classroom activity.

Students used Claymation to explore and express sadness, and then created a series of characters as a result of their lesson. These pieces were featured on the first floor of the museum through the end of 2009, giving the students a chance to see their work presented in a public showcase.

Reprinted with the kind permission of the Oregon Historical Society.

Breaking news in development

The Graduate School of Education will be strengthening development efforts with the recent restructure of its development team. The GSE and the School of Social Work have created a team by sharing development officers who will work for both schools. The schools will share current development director, Sandy Wiscarson, and also add the expertise of Aaron Pearlman as Director of External Relations for a more team-focused strategy that supports development functions in both schools.

Aaron Pearlman, as the director of external relations, will focus primarily on developing major gifts for both schools, and will lead the team. Sandy Wiscarson will become the director of development for both schools and will provide leadership in the areas of cultivation and creating a pipeline of prospects.

“This new approach provides a ‘cluster’ of development staff in the GSE and the SSW that is large enough to provide the full range of development responsibilities intrinsic to effective donor development and cultivation,” says PSU Director of Development Dick Knight. Dean Kristi Nelson, SSW, and Dean Randy Hitz, GSE, agreed to combine development resources due to the highly complementary nature of the work done in these schools. “I am very excited for this new role at PSU,” says Mr. Pearlman. “I have a passion for children, for education, and for social welfare, all of which come together in this new ‘cluster’. Sandy Wiscarson and I are looking forward to bringing great success to the fundraising efforts in the GSE and the SSW.”

Development must be a partnership

By Sandy Wiscarson

Partnerships and trust are the basis for fund development. Our donors commit resources because our work matches their values and they trust that we will be good stewards of their gifts. This support is necessary for the success of our students and programs.

Here are a few of the many partnerships we value. We welcome your participation in any of these areas.

GSE Tours: Community leaders host “learning tours,” inviting their friends to hear from faculty about GSE programs and to have interactive discussion about how the GSE addresses their educational concerns and interests. Some discussion topics include: challenges for school leaders, special education, early childhood education. (You could host a tour.)

Scholarships: Donors trust us to select worthy scholarship recipients, and they enjoy meeting awardees annually. Community members are part of the team that evaluates applications and then learns firsthand about the next generation of high-quality educators who will inspire our children and youth. (You are invited to contribute to a scholarship.)

Projects: Many projects and programs in the GSE are possible because of partnerships with generous donors who support them. (You may participate also.)

  • The annual Helen Gordon Child Development Center Auction is successful because parents, former students and their families, and staff work together organizing an event to raise funds for scholarships and for facility upgrades, such as this year’s greening of the outdoor play area.
  • Math/science teacher education students attend annual workshops at Vernier Software, hosted by Dave and Christine Vernier, to learn effective uses of technology that make science and math come alive in the classroom. Intel and Boeing have been corporate partners.
  • The Men’s Health Project in Continuing Education is supported by the American Cancer Society and others. It offers community education urging health screenings for African American men who have a higher risk than the general population of developing certain diseases.
  • The Learning Gardens Laboratory provides opportunities for Lane Middle School students to participate in hands-on learning about food sources, healthy diets, composting, and gardening through partnerships with a variety of organizations.

New faces in GSE

Pat Burk, PhD, joins the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy this year after 30 years in K–12 public education. He most recently served as the chief policy officer for the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), and has also been the associate superintendent for federal programs at ODE. His experience includes serving as the deputy superintendent for Portland Public Schools and as a Oregon school principal for 25 years. In 2002, Dr. Burk earned the award for leadership and support from Junior Achievement of Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Heather Burns, EdD, is an assistant professor and coordinator of the Leadership in Ecology, Culture and Learning program in the Educational Leadership and Policy department. She is also the coordinator of the Learning Gardens Laboratory. Dr. Burns completed her doctorate in educational leadership with an emphasis in sustainability education at PSU. Her master’s degree from Oregon State University combined adult education, women’s studies and communication studies into an interdisciplinary degree focusing on social justice education abroad. Dr. Burns has over 15 years of experience as an administrator and instructor in higher education, predominantly working with international students. Her research interests include sustainability pedagogy in higher education, sustainable food systems, and the roles of community-based learning and service-learning in creating sustainable change. In addition to her academic interests, Dr. Burns also started her own community supported agriculture farm business in the Portland area.

B. Lynn Coupland, MEd, is a new instructor in Special Education. In addition to teaching and supervising in SPED, she also supervises for the English as a Second Language program. She has been a teacher in general and special education, as well as a principal, a vice principal, and a director of student support services for Kootenay-Columbia School District in British Columbia, Canada. She is currently a student of Japanese language, and has previously worked in Japan as a director of English studies.

Darby Croston, MS, is a new senior instructor in the department of Special Education. Her bachelor’s is from Western Oregon University, and her master’s degree is from the University of Oregon. She provides training and consultation to regional autism training sites throughout Oregon. She also conducts training workshops and provides hands-on training for classroom staff and other assistants. She consults on appropriate behavioral and instructional procedures for working with students with autism. Ms. Croston is an early childhood education specialist with special expertise in autism and life skills education.

Liza Finkel, PhD, is an associate professor in Curriculum and Instruction. She is the coordinator of the Bilingual Teacher Pathway (BTP) program and recruits and trains bilingual classroom assistants to become licensed teachers. Her background is in geological sciences with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from George Washington University and the University of Michigan, respectively. She holds a PhD in curriculum and instruction (emphasis in science education), from the University of Wisconsin.

Dot McElhone, PhD, is an assistant professor in Curriculum and Instruction and a National Academy of Education/Carnegie Corporation Pre-Doctoral Literacy Fellow. Dr. McElhone completed her doctorate in curriculum and teacher education at Stanford University. Her research examines patterns of teacher-student talk about texts, with an emphasis on teacher talk that presses students to think further about their interpretations, elaborate on their ideas, and support their thinking with evidence. She has conducted research addressing the role a well-articulated, cohesive teaching vision may play in the development of effective practice among new teachers. Dr. McElhone earned her teaching credential at Vanderbilt University and has taught in the Portland area.

Aaron Pearlman, MSW CFRE, is the new Director of External Relations for the School of Social Work and Graduate School of Education “Cluster.” In taking this position, one might jump to the conclusion that Aaron Pearlman is trying to work in every unit on campus. After four years working with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, where he helped to cultivate and close the $1.5 million gift from Lorry I. Lokey, Mr. Pearlman spent the past four months as the interim director of development for the Millar Library. He has a master’s in social work from Columbia University, where his dual-degree program included a master’s in Judaic studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He spent four years running the Young Leadership Department at the Jewish Federation in San Francisco and was the development director at Clackamas Women’s Services before coming to PSU in 2005. He also helped launch the Greater Portland Hillel and served as the volunteer executive director. One of Mr. Pearlman’s strengths is starting new projects, and this contributes to his excitement in taking on a leadership role at PSU, and working with Sandy Wiscarson, director of development for the Graduate School of Education, to define and implement the new “cluster” development model. Aaron Pearlman grew up in Portland, where he currently lives with his wife and their two children. Among his many volunteer roles, he is a past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Oregon and SW Washington Chapter.

Amy D. Petti, EdD, joins the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy after 27 years in K–12 education. She currently teaches in the westside Initial Administrator Licensure program. She spent 14 years as a classroom teacher in elementary and middle schools. She was also an assistant principal and the media coordinator at Banks Elementary School. Most recently, she was the director of instructional improvement and the director of federal programs for North Clackamas School District. Dr. Petti was a principal at Hollyrood Elementary School in Portland Public Schools and director of the Accelerated Schools Project.

Candyce Reynolds, PhD, is an associate professor in the Postsecondary, Adult and Continuing Education Program in the Graduate School of Education. She completed her doctorate in counseling psychology at the University of Oregon and has worked as a psychologist, administrator, and faculty member at several universities. Before coming to the GSE, Dr. Reynolds served as the director of mentor programs in University Studies at PSU, an innovative student-centered learning general education program, and the director of teaching and learning at the Center for Academic Excellence at PSU. She brings her expertise in service-learning pedagogy, adult learning, student-centered learning, learning communities, authentic student learning assessment practices, online learning, and student development theory to the GSE. Her recent scholarship has focused on developing professional identity and reflective practice through the use of ePortfolios.

Deborah Sommer, EdD, is a new assistant director in the Center for Student Success. In addition to her work in the Center, she teaches in the Continuing Administrator Licensure program. Her courses emphasize school organization and restructuring, curriculum implementation, and school reform. Dr. Sommer has more than 30 years of experience in public education. She has been a teacher, staff development specialist, vice principal, principal, director of curriculum, executive administrator for K–12 instruction, superintendent for several school districts, and a regional ESD.

Jennie Willis, MS, is a new senior instructor in Special Education. Her master’s is in special education and she holds an Oregon teaching license. At an early age, she worked directly with twin boys with autism. Her relationship with these young boys directed her lifelong career path in working with individuals with autism. She provides training and consultation to regional autism training sites throughout Oregon. Her assignment includes conducting training workshops and leading hands-on training of classroom staff. Ms. Willis provides consulting to staff on appropriate behavioral and instructional procedures for working with students with autism. Her interest areas include early childhood and elementary special education.

News and notes

Dilafruz Williams named Principal for a Day

Faculty member Dilafruz Williams reads Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf to kindergartners at Marysville School. She is co-chair of the board of the Portland Public Schools. Marysville named Dr. Williams their Principal for a Day. The school suffered a recent fire, forcing the students and staff into another building while repairs are being made. GSE faculty and staff are collecting school supplies to help teachers rebuild their classrooms.

Alumna Laura Weigandt recognized by Vancouver School District

Laura Weigandt, one of our amazing graduates of Special Education, has been recognized by Vancouver School District for her interest in the autism spectrum and work with students with autism. Cohort leader Christine Downs says of Ms. Weigandt, “She’s a natural teacher and an optimist. Laura is a great ambassador for our program. I’m sure she makes the special education experience of kids, parents, and fellow teachers a joy, while advocating hard for her students when and if needed.” Read the superintendent’s full article.

PACE graduates promoted at OHSU

Paula Gubrud-Howe, EdD, MS, RN, is an alumna of the PSU doctoral program and recently was named the associate dean for academic partnerships, technology and simulation at OHSU. In this role she will serve as a critical liaison to sustain and advance the partnerships of OHSU’s school of nursing with the Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education (OCNE), the Oregon Master’s of Public Health program, and the Western Institute for Nursing. She earned an undergraduate degree in nursing from Walla Walla College, a master of science degree in nursing in community health care systems from OHSU, and an EdD in Educational Leadership from Portland State University.

Tanya Ostrogorsky, EdD, JD, is the new assistant dean for evaluation science at OHSU. She completed a bachelor of science in psychology with a business minor at the University of Puget Sound and an MS in administration of justice, an MS in psychology, and her EdD in Educational Leadership from Portland State University. She joined OHSU in January 2006, having served in a variety of educational and consultative roles in educational venues prior to that.

Counselor Education graduate featured on television

In September, counselor education graduate Julie Jesky-Murphy, MS, ’09, was contacted by KOIN 6 Television to participate in a story called “Boost In the Bedroom.” Soon after that story aired, she was called back into the KOIN studios for the “Keep It Local” show to do a follow-up on how to get the spark back in your relationship. Her master’s specialty area is Couples, Marriage and Family Therapy. The show went so well that she was asked to make weekly appearances as their “relationship coach.” You can find Ms. Jeske-Murphy’s segment on “Keep It Local” every Wednesday from 4-5pm on KOIN 6. She also maintaines her own small, but growing family counseling practice.

Published and presented


Caskey, M. M., Andrews, P. G., Bishop, P. A., Capraro, R. M., Roe, M., & Weiss, C. (2010). Research and resources in support of This We Believe (2nd ed.). Westerville, OH: National Middle School Association.


Burns, H. (2009). Skilled in sustainability: Teaching sustainability in skills-based courses. In W. Leal Filho (ed.), Sustainability at universities: Opportunities, challenges and trends. (pp. 195–206) Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Cress, M. C., & Hart, J. (2009). Playing soccer on the football field: The persistence of gender inequities for women faculty. In Equity and excellence in education, 42 (4), pp. 473–488. New York and London: Routledge.

Farahmandpur, R. (2010). Teaching against consumer capitalism in the age of commercialization and corporatization of public education. In Sandlin, J. and McLaren, P. (eds.), Critical pedagogies of consumption: Living and learning in the shadow of the shopocalypse, (pp. 58–66). New York and London: Routledge.

Farahmandpur, R. (2009). A critical pedagogy of hope in times of despair. In Macrine, S. (ed.), Critical pedagogy in uncertain times: Hope and possibilities. (pp. 97–115). New York: Palgrave Press.

Ranker, J. (2009). Bilingual students’ appropriation of writing lessons through hybrid composing practices: Direct, diffuse, and indirect use of teacher-offered writing tools in an ESL classroom. In Journal of Literacy Research, 41(4), 393–431.

Ranker, J. (2009). Redesigning and transforming: The role of semiotic import in young students’ uses of composing resources while learning to write in English as an additional language. In Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 9(3), 319–347.


Allen, D., and Perrin, K. (2009, October). Developmental screening and referral: An overview. Paper presented at the Oregon Association for the Education of Young Children Conference, Portland, OR.

Allen, D., and Perrin, K. (2009, October). Supporting older adults and young children involved in intergenerational activities. Paper presented at the Oregon Association for the Education of Young Children Conference, Portland, OR.

Anctil, T., & Schenk, P. (2009, July). School counselors’ roles and perceptions of career development. Poster session conducted at the meeting of the National Career Development Association, St. Louis, MO.

Anctil, T., & Bauman, S. (2009, October). Increasing future school counselor’s data self-efficacy.  Poster session conducted at the meeting of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, San Diego, CA.

Anctil, T., Dahir, C., & Portman, T. (2009, October). Transforming school counselor preparation through data informed practice and accountability. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, San Diego, CA.

Mertens, S. B.; Flowers, N.; Anfara, V. A., Jr., & Caskey, M. M. (2009, November). National Middle Grades Research Project on common planning time: Phase II.  Workshop presented at the annual meeting of the National Middle School Association, Indianapolis, IN.

Virtue, D., Caskey, M. M., & Howman, C. (2009, November). Writing for publication demystified. Workshop presented at the annual meeting of the National Middle School Association, Indianapolis, IN.

Caskey, M. M., Andrews, P. G.; Bishop, P., Capraro, R. M., & Weiss, C. (2009, November). Research and resources in support of This We Believe: Tools for practitioners. Session presented the Research Advisory Board at the annual meeting of the National Middle School Association, Indianapolis, IN.

Hardesty, R. (2009, November). Women accessing tertiary education opportunities and challenges online. Paper presented at the PSU Women’s Resource Center Faculty Favorite Lecture Series, Portland, OR.

Job, A. (2009, October). Working with diverse teams and personalities. Workshop delivered to Clean Water Services of Washington County, Hillsboro, OR.

Johnson, P. (2009, June). Spiritually-oriented psychotherapy. Keynote speech at the Pacific University Diversity Day Conference, Forest Grove, OR.

Johnson, P. R. (2009, October). Reclaiming your real self: A psychological and spiritual integration. Readings from the book at Controversial Books, San Diego, CA.

Johnson, P. (2009, October). Spiritually-oriented counseling: A personal growth model. Paper presented at the national meeting of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, San Diego, CA.

Johnson, P. (2009, November). Psychological and spiritual integration in therapy. Keynote speech at the annual meeting of the Oregon Counseling Association, Portland, OR.

Machalicek, M. (2009, May). Training teachers to assess the challenging behaviors of students with autism using video teleconferencing. Paper presented at the symposium at the Association for Behavior Analysis International 35th Annual Conference, Phoenix, AZ.

Stevens, D. D., & Caskey, M. M. (2009, November). Using student rubrics to assess teaching and learning: A surprising and generative SOTL opportunity. Pre-conference workshop presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Bloomington, IN.

Thieman, G. (2009, November). Emerging trends in digital citizenship and web 2.0 in pre-service teacher education. Paper presented at National Council for the Social Studies, College and University Faculty Assembly, Atlanta, GA.

Williams, D. R. (2009, November). Sustainability education: Learning Gardens and Portland Public Schools. Keynote speaker at Fulbright Japan conference, Best Practices in Education for Sustainable Development, Portland, OR.

Williams, D. R. (2009, November). English language learners. Invited panelist, with Assistant Secretary of Education Thelma Melendez and CNN’s Solidad O’Brien as moderator on Townhall Meeting on Council of Great City Schools annual meeting, Portland, OR.

Williams, D. R. (2009, October). Celebrating the whole child: Life’s lessons, the learning environment, and policy. Keynote speaker for North Carolina Outdoor Classroom Symposium: Creating Outdoor Learning Spaces at Schools, Raleigh-Durham, NC.

Williams, D. R. (2009, October). Innovations in U.S. education: Classroom impact for teachers. Keynote speaker at the Workshop/International Classroom Teacher Exchange, Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program, Academy for Educational Development, Portland, OR.

Williams, D. R. (2009, October). Case study of a 21-year-old partnership between Portland Schools and Portland State University to enhance academic achievement of English language learners. Paper co-presented at Council of Great City Schools annual meeting, Portland, OR.

Williams, D. R. (2009, October). Socio-ecological pedagogies: Current research and practice. Invited symposium participant, North American Association of Environmental Education annual meeting, Portland, OR.

Williams, D. R. (2009, September). Democracy’s challenge and promise: Service-learning and educating for civic responsibility. Invited speaker, video-conference, broadcast to 33 campuses, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico.

New doctoral program offered

Applications due March 1

Portland State University is offering a Doctorate of Education (EdD) that will specialize in higher education leadership. This three-year cohort program will begin in the fall of 2010, and is specifically designed for those who wish to pursue careers as educational leaders in colleges and universities. The program will admit 15 students and is designed to accommodate working professionals. Applications are due March 1, 2010. If you are interested in learning more about the program, contact Janine Allen at 503-725-5801

Attend an informational meeting at 5pm, February 1, 2010,in room 604, Graduate School of Education, 615 SW Harrison, Portland.

Message from the Dean

This newsletter focuses on some of the many significant ways the Graduate School of Education faculty and students are engaged in our community. Such engagement has long been a priority for PSU and the GSE, and our commitment to engage with the community has only become stronger over the years. For the GSE in particular, because President Wiewel established work with P-12 schools as one of his top initiatives, we have a unique opportunity to improve our work in the community and to provide service leadership for the campus as a whole.

We engage with the community to help our students to connect meaningful life experiences to their academic life. The education of our students is vastly improved as they apply their classroom work to the realities of the P-12 schools and to making a difference in the overall community. Our faculty benefit as their instruction and research are enhanced. Simultaneously, the community benefits from the service and research involvement of our faculty and students.

“The education of our students is vastly improved as they apply their classroom work to the realities of the P-12 schools and to making a difference in the community.”

In a very real way, this work is about tearing down the silos of our profession. The preparation of teachers is a responsibility higher education shares with the P-12 schools. Likewise, the improvement of P-12 education and student achievement at that level, is a responsibility professionals in those schools share with higher education and the broader community.

The challenges we face in education today are far too great for any one individual or institution. PSU is joining forces with community colleges, the P-12 schools, and the greater community to improve education at all levels.

Randy Hitz, Dean

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