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Kaplan Early Learning Company and the Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation for the Health and Well-being of Children announced the winners of the 2015 Innovator Award on Thursday evening at a special reception held during the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Annual Conference in Orlando, FL.

The 2015 Innovator Award was presented to Dr. Douglas H. Clements and Dr. Julie Sarama. Most recently known for their contributions to Connect4Learning: The Pre-K Curriculum, these recipients were recognized by the Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation for their innovative approach to teaching mathematics in early childhood education.

“It’s exciting to see the results from the years of piloting this curriculum in classrooms,” says Kyra Ostendorf, Vice President, Curriculum, Assessment, and Professional Development at Kaplan Early Learning Company. “Connect4Learning flips the curriculum, putting math and science at the forefront with literacy and social-emotional development woven throughout. Doug and Julie’s vision is that all children can excel. This curriculum supports that focus.”

In addition, the Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation made a donation to the Fisher Early Learning Center at the University of Denver. The Fisher Early Learning Center was instrumental in the research of both awardees.

Doug Clements 150x150Douglas H. Clements, PhD – Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning; Co-Executive Director, Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy; and Professor, University of Denver.

Julie SaramaJulie Sarama, PhD – Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Learning Technologies; Co-Executive Director, Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy; and Professor, University of Denver

The Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation Innovator Award is given annually to a person, program, product or organization that positively impacts the health and well-being of children. Previous Innovator Award winners include the Devereux Center for Resilient Children (2012); Linda Smith, the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Departmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development for the Administration for Children and Families (2013); Dr. Thelma Harms, Dr. Debby Cryer and Dr. Richard M. Clifford, best known for their collective work on Environment Rating Scales (2014).

Established in honor of Kaplan Early Learning Company’s founders, Leon and Renee Kaplan, the Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation focuses on finding and supporting individuals, businesses and organizations that support the health and well-being of young children. Since 1997, the foundation has gifted more than 2 million dollars in support of programs affecting children and families across the United States.

Kaplan Early Learning Company is based in Lewisville, North Carolina, and provides products and services that enhance children’s learning. Since 1968, the company has delivered innovative products and services that support educators and caregivers worldwide in the creation of quality learning environments.

For the original version of this story visit PRWeb.

The 6th annual Students of Color Reception held on November 11, 2015 had its biggest turnout ever with over 100 community members, students, and educators in attendance. The reception, which is held every year and is moderated by Dr. Frank Tuitt, is designed to give MCE students of color a forum to discuss their experiences in the College and on campus.

The panel this year consisted of students across a range of programs, and included:

The panelists described their experiences as first-generation and underrepresented students and stressed the value of the cohort model used at MCE. Richard Maize, who is in his last year of the Dual Degree Program in Teacher Education, explained that the cohorts create a feeling of belonging and community.

Panelists described how faculty members’ embrace all students into the academic community going as far as to provide customized research opportunities tailored to the student interests and background. Research Methods and Statistics Ph.D student, Kawana Bright, explained that the flexibility of her degree enabled her to focus on a very specific and unique topic of interest for her dissertation.

During the Q&A session, panelists discussed scholarship opportunities for students and the funding of graduate degrees, work life balance, and the need for commitment to your degree.

The evening’s discussion was made particularly poignant by the current events happening at the University of Missouri. The experiences of students of color on campuses across the nation is a topic of much conversation among MCE students and faculty who care deeply about providing an inclusive college environment and strive to support a diverse community where all students feel they belong.

The Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) held their 40th Annual Conference right here in the mile high city from November 5-7. We are excited to announce that 12 University of Denver faculty and students participated and shared their research on institutional change. These movers and shakers’ research covered a broad range of important issues that are sure to advance the conversation of inequality in Higher Education and stimulate collaboration among researchers and decision makers. We took some time this month to visit with these individuals and discover what their scholarship is all about.

Post Doctoral Fellow

Dian Squire

Dian Squire

Dian Squire, PhD Loyola University, Higher Education: Dian Squire is the postdoctoral fellow in the Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (in)Equality. His research examines diversity, equity, and justice in higher education.  His current research focuses on the experiences of graduate students of color.

Presentation: 

  • Graduate Student Session: Conversations with Newly Minted PhD’s.  
Doctoral Students

Meseret Hailu

Meseret Hailu

Meseret Hailu, PhD student, Higher Education: Meseret’s research interests are grounded in comparative international education, with a special emphasis on gender issues in STEM programs in Ethiopian higher education. Methodologically, she aims to craft a mixed-methods research agenda.

Presentations: 

  • Examining the role of Girl Hub in Shaping College-­‐going Culture for Women in Ethiopia
  • Understanding Diaspora women’s Experiences in Ethiopian STEM Higher Education

Delma

Delma Ramos

Delma Ramos, PhD student, Higher Education: Delma’s research interests include access, retention, and graduation from higher education institutions, with an emphasis on underserved populations. Additionally, she focuses on the evaluation and assessment of programs with similar foci and on issues pertaining to educational quality in postsecondary education.

Presentations:

  • The Uphill Battle: An Analysis of Race and Gender Struggles in the Academic Pathways of Doctoral Women of Color
  • Limiting Levels of Involvement of Low-Income, First-Generation, Families of Color through Controlling Images
  •  Inequity in Workforce Outcomes of College-­educated Immigrants of Color: Human Capital Transferability and Job Mismatch

MSarubbi headshot

Molly Sarubbi

Molly Sarubbi, PhD student, Higher Education: Molly crafted a 3-day, embedded conference experience for local Indigenous practitioners and Tribal College Presidents in which they could have participated in various conference presentations, events, and community building sessions. In an effort to further celebrate the Indigenous cultures of expression, she also scheduled local spirit leaders to lead the group in opening and closing ceremonies. Local artists also were invited to showcase their cultural works.


Raquel Headshot

Raquel Wright-Mair


Raquel Wright-Mair, PhD student, Higher Education: 
Raquel’s research is grounded in social justice and focuses on issues of access and equity, as well as the identification of ways to create inclusive campus environments for underrepresented populations. Her research agenda includes looking at the experiences of students, faculty, and administrators of color on college campuses and examining structures, policies, and systems necessary for their growth, development, and success.


Bryan Hubain

Bryan Hubain

Bryan Hubain, PhD candidate, Higher Education: Bryan’s research is multifaceted and mutually informing. He focuses on the intersections of identities and how specific intersections of marginalized identities influence someone’s personal experiences and perceptions. His current dissertation research agenda focuses on a queer and intersectional analysis of the narratives of Black gay international students and racism in LGBTQ communities.

Presentation: 

  • Dialoguing the improvisation of risk: Critically addressing racial inequality and racial incidents in higher education 

Varaxy

Varaxy Yi-Borromeo

Varaxy Yi-Borromeo, PhD student, Higher Education: Varaxy’s research focuses on historically underrepresented and marginalized populations in higher education. Specifically, she is interested in Southeast Asian American college student success.  Varaxy is also interested in graduate student support, especially for graduate students of color.

Presentations: 

  • The Uphill Battle: An Analysis of Race and Gender Struggles in the Academic Pathways of Doctoral Women of Color
  • Understanding the Experiences of Faculty Engaging in Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Curriculum in the Classroom
  • The Impact of Culturally Engaging Campus Environments on Sense of
    Belonging among White Students and Students of Color
  • Navigating Two Worlds: Educational Resilience of Burmese and Bhutanese Refugee Youth
Master’s Students

Jeffrey Mariano

Jeffrey Mariano

Jeffrey Mariano, Master’s student, Higher Education : Jeff’s research uses the Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) model as a means to explore how faculty members across various disciplines (STEM, professional fields, arts and humanities, and social sciences) incorporate culturally relevant pedagogy and curriculum into their classrooms. Specifically, this study highlights the ways these faculty engage the cultural backgrounds and knowledge of their students and the barriers and challenges they face.

Presentations: 

  • Understanding the Experiences of Faculty Engaging in Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Curriculum in the Classroom
Faculty

NickCutforth-150x150-e1425592954469

Dr. Nick Cutforth

Dr. Nick Cutforth, Research Methods and Statistics: Dr. Cutforth’s research and teaching interests include school health and physical activity environments, qualitative research, physical activity and youth development, university/community partnerships, and community-based research. His current research involves school-based intervention studies related to physical activity and healthy eating among K-12 students in the San Luis Valley in rural Colorado.

Presentations:

  • The Civic Engagement Movement: A Symposium and Participatory History
  • Exploring the Power and Potential of Community-Based Research to Address Educational Inequality

Ryan Gildersleeve

Dr. Ryan Everly Gildersleeve

Dr. Ryan Everly Gildersleeve, Higher Education: Dr. Gildersleeve’s research agenda critically investigates the social and political contexts of educational opportunity for historically marginalized communities. He pursues this agenda in three inter-related braided lines of inquiry: critical policy studies, cultural analyses of higher education institutions, and poststructural philosophy/critical qualitative inquiry. Cumulatively, he hopes to contribute new tools for the study of inequality and the role(s) of postsecondary education in affirming social opportunities for non-dominant youth.

Presentations

  • Ritual Culture and Latino Students in American Higher Education
  • Exploring Posthumanism in Higher Education: Methods, Contexts, and Implications

Judy Kiyama

Judy Marquez Kiyama

Dr. Judy Marquez Kiyama, Higher Education: Dr. Kiyama’s research examines the structures that shape educational opportunities for underserved groups through an asset-based lens to better understand the collective knowledge and resources drawn upon to confront, negotiate, and (re)shape such structures. Dr. Kiyama’s current projects focus on the high school to college transition experiences of first-generation, and low-income, and families of color and their role in serving as sources of cultural support for their college-aged students.

Presentations: 

  • Limiting Levels of Involvement of Low-­‐Income, First-­Generation, Families of Color through Controlling Images
  • Presidential Session: Reflections on Connecting Research and Practice in College Access and Success Programs
  • Presidential Session: Culturally Relevant Research in Higher Education
  • Exploring the Power and Potential of Community-Based Research to Address Educational Inequality

Frank Tuitt

Dr. Frank Tuitt

Dr. Frank Tuitt, Center for Multicultural Excellence: Dr. Tuitt’s research explores topics related to access and equity in higher education; teaching and learning in racially diverse college classrooms; and diversity and organizational transformation. Dr. Tuitt is a co-editor and contributing author of the books Race and Higher Education: Rethinking Pedagogy in Diverse College Classrooms, and Contesting the myth of a post-racial era: The continued significance of race in U.S. education.

Presentations: 

  • Dialoguing the improvisation of risk: Critically addressing racial inequality and racial incidents in higher education
  • The (un)intended consequences of campus racial climate on university faculty
  •  The Black Womanist Manifesto: Navigating Media Influences in Higher Education

NOTE: This blog post is being featured from the official blog of the University of Denver’s Office of Graduate Studies. View the original post here.

Brinda Prabhakar-Gippert, a PhD candidate in the Counseling Psychology program at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE), has been selected as one of the two graduate student winners for the November 2015 Distinguished Graduate Community Leader Award.

The award reflects Prabhakar-Gippert’s demonstration of excellent work ethic, dedication to her research, good character, and inclusivity. Her doctoral dissertation, an embodiment of her commitment to improving services for underrepresented groups, explores mental health-seeking behaviors of international college students with the hope of uncovering ways to provide them with better resources and services. Additionally, she has published work on parental support and underrepresented students’ math and science interests. She is a dedicated researcher who is committed to thoughtfully integrating scientific findings into her clinical work.

Prabhakar-Gippert also works at Denver Health Medical Center as a pre-doctoral intern in the APA accredited psychology internship program, spending more than 40 hours each week providing counseling services to the community. She is an involved community member at DU actively participating as a student leader and serving as past representative of doctoral students at MCE. Colleagues and peers look up to her, stating that she is consistently warm, respectful, attuned to issues of power and privilege, punctual, and funny.

DGCLA winners are selected through a peer-nomination process. To nominate a colleague, email du.gsgs@gmail.com with a 250-500 word statement describing why the nominee deserves to be an DGCLA winner.

LEWISVILLE, N.C. – Kaplan Early Learning Company announced today the launch of an innovative approach to early childhood education that puts math and science at the forefront of learning. Connect4Learning: The Pre-K Curriculum is a research-based, interdisciplinary approach to learning that was developed by nationally recognized experts in early childhood education and through funding from the National Science Foundation.

The Connect4Learning (C4L) curriculum, available January, is exclusively sold through Kaplan Early Learning Company. A preview of the curriculum and its components will be revealed at the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference on November 18. Curriculum principal investigators are Julie Sarama, PhD, University of Denver; Kimberly Brenneman, PhD, Heising-Simons Foundation; Douglas H. Clements, PhD, University of Denver; Nell K. Duke, EdD, University of Michigan; and Mary Louise Hemmeter, PhD, Vanderbilt University.

After years of research and classroom testing, C4L’s principal investigators designed the curriculum to address growing concerns that the majority of Pre-K instructional time is not balanced among literacy, science, math, and social-emotional domains. One study found that a literacy-based curriculum teaches only 58 seconds of mathematics instruction in a 6-hour day.* Limited opportunities for early math and science learning are factors that can contribute to the United States falling behind other countries in math and science proficiency**.

The C4L prekindergarten curriculum includes 6 units that address 140 measurable learning objectives and support children’s development of 10 fundamental cognitive processes. The learning objectives are fully aligned with the new Head Start Outcomes Framework and state early learning standards. C4L seamlessly integrates child-centered activities with teacher-led instruction. With its project-based approach and rich vocabulary use, C4L aligns with recommended practices to support dual-language learners and children from under-resourced communities. Fundamental to the curriculum is the importance of play-based learning:

Research tells us that children naturally explore and engage with content areas such as mathematics during free play,” says Clements. “So we know that, when they are playing, they are acting out the foundations of their lessons from the classroom.”

Results from pilot programs report that children achieve their learning goals beyond expectations, and teachers and parents have been surprised at how effectively the curriculum improves the children’s performances across all domains.

The C4L curriculum also includes:

  • Pre-K Teacher’s Handbook
  • Director’s Handbook for Pre-K or Principal’s Handbook for Pre-K
  • Pre-K Kit
  • Classroom Book Set
  • Formative Assessments
  • Online Portal, including how-to videos, professional development offerings, classroom management tools, and math games

*Farran, Lipsey, Watson, & Hurley, 2007.

** Ginsburg, Cooke, Leinwand, Noell, & Pollock, 2005

 

About Kaplan Early Learning Company

Kaplan Early Learning Company is based in Lewisville, North Carolina, and provides products and services that enhance children’s learning. Since 1968, the company has delivered innovative products and services that support educators and caregivers worldwide in the creation of quality learning environments.


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