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The Morgridge College of Education (MCE) had a substantial presence at the 2016 Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference, which was held in Denver and attracted over 2,500 participants. Faculty from the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program, Kennedy Institute, and Marsico Institute were all in attendance along with Students from several MCE programs. MCE faculty and students presenting included:

  • Julie Sarama, Ph.D – MCE Faculty and Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Learning Technologies
  • Douglas H. Clements, Ph.D – MCE Faculty and Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning
  • Jeanine Coleman, Ph.D – ECSE Clinical Assistant Professor
  • Pilyoung Kim, Ph.D – Assistant Professor at DU’s School of Art, Humanities and Social Science
  • Rachel Schiff-Gray – ECSE Alumni
  • Heather Blizzard – RMS Graduate Student
  • Laura Dietert – CI Graduate Student
  • Ksenia Polson – RMS Graduate Student
  • Jessica Carswell – ECSE MA Student
  • Tara Brand – ECSE MA Student
  • Katie Belleau – ECSE MA Student
  • Brita Strub – ECSE Cert Student
  • Hazuki Tochihara – – ECSE Alumni

Drs. Clements and Sarama were the keynote speakers for the conference alongside Dr. Bob Sornson Founder of the Early Learning Foundation. They started the Saturday morning conference with their presentation on early math education setting the stage for the rest of the event.

“A few of the teachers in the audience commented that they could not wait to share what they had learned” said Heather Blizzard a Ph.D student in the Research Methods and Statistics (RMS) program. Blizzard presented on the effects of teaching geometry to young children alongside her peers Laura Dietert and Ksenia Polson.

Library and Information Science program (LIS) graduate Marta Pardo was featured in the Elbert County News recently for her work updating Elizabeth Middle School’s Library. Pardo, a Colombian immigrant with an impressive career history as a Medical Doctor and cancer researcher, found herself working in Colorado libraries in 2005. After several years working as a para professional she received a scholarship enabling her to pursue a Master’s degree in LIS at the Morgridge College of Education.

In 2014 Pardo began working at Elizabeth Middle School. “I wanted to work in a small library. Its important work” says Pardo who is firm believer of making a big impact in small communities. In her year at Elizabeth Middle School she has been able bring library technologies forward a decade and turn the library into a paradise for students.

Pardo advocates that her students – especially the female ones – “just do it, get into school, get an education.” She uses her own daughters, who are away at Yale on scholarships, as shining examples of what young woman can achieve.

Elbert County News is a part of Colorado Community Media. Colorado Community Media is a joint venture between MetroNorth Newspapers, Mile High Newspapers and Community Media of Colorado. Colorado Community Media’s authority on the 24 local communities it serves is unparalleled.

Students Sarah Laffin and Aleksandra Matysek completed a six-week school-based mental health practicum this past fall in Beijing, China as part of an international exchange program between Beijing Normal University (BNU) and the CFSP program. The program – now in its fourth year – was developed to broaden students’ multicultural competence and to promote the field of school psychology.

Laffin and Matysek completed their practicum with graduate students from BNU at Jingyuan School, a public middle and high school located in Beijing’s fifth ring. They worked with an on-site supervisor to plan and deliver weekly classroom mental health lessons, group counseling, and career development services. Laffin and Matysek also engaged in a cross-cultural comparison of school-based approaches to identify and manage student anxiety and gave a joint teleconference presentation to graduate students and faculty at both BNU and the Morgridge College of Education (MCE) on the topic.

One important finding discussed was that while levels of general anxiety are about the same in both cultures, social anxiety is more prominent in China due in part to the cultural focus on harmonious relationships and social restraint. Laffin and Matysek learned that students in the United States are more likely to seek help managing anxiety, possibly due to a greater awareness and acceptance of the role mental health plays in academic and life success. Two graduate students from BNU will reciprocate the exchange this spring, coming to MCE to attend selected classes and accompany current CFSP graduate students to their local practicum sites. They will also give a cross-cultural, joint teleconference presentation.

Laffin and Matysek say that their increased global understanding has had a positive influence on their practice and has increased their confidence in communicating with bi-lingual students and families in the United States. The international exchange program has been of mutual benefit as peers and faculty at BNU have been able to employ the counseling tools and methods introduced by CFSP students. The exchange has fostered an increased international appreciation of school-based mental health, helping BNU to establish a graduate program supporting China’s emerging field of school psychology.

The Morgridge College of Education is proud to recognize the faculty, alumni, and students from the Early Childhood Special Education program who will be presenting at the 2016 Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference in Denver on February 19 and 20.

This Is Your Brain on Poverty: Helping Families Overcome the Effects
Pilyoung Kim & Rachel Schiff-Gray (ECSE MA Graduate)
Friday February 19, 11:00am – Colorado Convention Center Room 604

This workshop will provide early childhood professionals an overview of the effect of poverty on brain development and practical evidence-based strategies that can help families overcome some of these effects. This workshop is ideal for participants who work with children exposed to poverty.

Saturday Keynote Address – The Building Blocks of Mathematics
Dr. Douglas H. Clements (MCE Faculty) & Dr. Julie Sarama (MCE Faculty)
Saturday February 20, 7:45am – Colorado Convention Center

What are the building blocks of mathematics? How important are they? Drs. Clements and Sarama will answer these questions by summarizing recent research and development work including works they helped write. These works include the National Research Council report on early childhood mathematics, the report of President Bush’s National Math Advisory Panel, and the Common Core. Effective instructional approaches featured in this session include basing instruction on learning trajectories, which will be illustrated through a set of NSF- and IES-funded projects. Video segments and hands-on activities will provide concrete examples.

The Power of Knowledge: Teaching Geometry to Young Children
Heather Blizzard, Laura Dietert, and Ksenia Polson (MCE Graduate Students)
Saturday February 20th, 9:00am

This session will include a presentation of graduate student research on the best methods for teaching geometry to young children. The presentation includes a workshop that will provide instruction to administrators and teachers on how to better discuss attributes of mathematical shapes with preschoolers.

Effective Inclusive Partnerships: Collaborating with Parents
Jessica Carswell, Tara Brand, and Katie Belleau (ECSE MA Students)
Saturday February 20, 9:15am – Colorado Convention Center Room 702

Participants will learn about the importance of keeping parents involved with inclusive practices within a classroom. The presenters will provide strategies for effective communication between all specialists, guardians and teachers involved in supporting a child’s development.

Engaging Ways to Support Fine Motor Development
Brita Strub (ECSE Certificate Graduate)
Saturday February 20, 9:15am – Colorado Convention Center Room 605

In this workshop participants will learn fun, easy, and effective ways to increase students’ fine motor skills. Participants will be able to implement these into the classroom immediately, in both large group and small group settings. The activities are easy to differentiate, set up/clean up, and interactive.

To Kindergarten & Beyond! Parents’ Perspective & Supporting Transitions
Hazuki Tochihara (ECSE Graduate) & Ali Van Heusen
Saturday February 20, 11:00am – Colorado Convention Center Room 502

This presentation will share firsthand accounts of what parents and guardians of young children with special needs have experienced before, during, and after major transitions, such as welcoming an infant with a disability to a family and going to Kindergarten.

Evidence-Based Practices for Children with Disabilities
Jeanine Coleman, Ph.D. (ECSE Clinical Assistant Professor) & Lissanna Follari
Saturday February 20, 1:30pm – Colorado Convention Center Room 402

The Division for Early Childhood recently published a new version of Recommended Practices. This presentation will bring the Recommended Practices to life by giving participants realistic examples of how to implement the practices within inclusive early childhood environments.

Teaching Strategies Gold: A Collaboration between ECE & ECSE Teachers
Jeanine Coleman, Ph.D. (ECSE Clinical Assistant Professor) & Max Panten
Saturday February 20, 3:15pm – Colorado Convention Center Room 402

This workshop will present a guide for itinerant Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) teachers to use Teaching Strategies Gold (TSG) in collaboration with Early Childhood Education (ECE) teachers. ECSE and ECE teachers will understand how to use TSG to plan for differentiated instruction for children with disabilities, plan for tiered intervention strategies for children who are at risk for delays, and inform Individualized Education Program (IEP) annual reviews.

 

Students Kimmie DePinto and Jane Nelson from the Library and Information Sciences program have been working to archive materials from the family of Marlon Green, the African-American pilot whose employment discrimination lawsuit against Continental Airlines led to a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court in 1963 and a victory for Green and the Civil Rights Movement.

Marlon Green was an Air Force veteran who, despite extensive flying experience, was unable to obtain employment as a commercial pilot in the 1950s; he secured an interview with Colorado-based Continental Airlines only after leaving the “race” box on the application unchecked. Green was ultimately passed over for employment at Continental in favor of white pilots with much less experience than he, leading to a complaint to Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Commission that he was discriminated against due to his race. The case was not resolved until the U.S. Supreme Court became involved and ruled in Green’s favor. Green went on to fly for Continental until his retirement in 1978.

Paula Green, Marlon’s daughter, contacted DU in 2015 about processing materials that came into her possession after the passing of her mother, Eleanor, and was able to begin working with DePinto and Nelson during the fall of 2015. Students from another university had processed some materials in 2004; however, Paula had since been in contact with the Smithsonian Institute about a possible donation of the collection and she wanted to renew progress on creating an organized collection in order to bring her father’s story to greater national prominence.

The project began as an independent study for DePinto, who was later joined by Nelson to assist. DePinto was interested in this opportunity because of her interest in working with minority collections to provide a voice for groups who would otherwise go unheard. “The hands-on involvement in a project of such importance allows students to put theory into action, provides a richer experience in the program beyond academic coursework, and prepares students for future employment” said LIS faculty Heather Ryan, Ph.D.

CRISPA is a six-dimensional Perceptual Teaching and Learning model that provides approaches to enrich learning beyond outcome-based standards. P. Bruce Uhrmacher, PhD, faculty of the Research Methods and Statistics, Curriculum and Instruction, and Teacher Education Programs, was inspired to create CRISPA based on interactions between artists and educators as well as the views of philosopher John Dewey; in particular, his view that aesthetic experiences can exist outside of the arts.

The six dimensions – Connections, Risk-Taking, Imagination, Sensory experiences, Perceptivity, and Active engagement – support research-based strategies that serve as a common ground for educators, enable teachers to enrich lessons, and allow students to explore their creativity. CRISPA is growing in popularity and is used by many educators nationwide – including many of Dr. Uhrmacher’s former students – to create better experiences for students and teachers alike.

MCE alumna Kristina Mahoney works at the Denver Art Museum (DAM) where she used CRISPA to co-develop and implement a tour program for young children this past year. Mahoney worked with DAM while completing her dissertation regarding the role of CRISPA’s elements in art museum education and recognized how the model can be applied in practice. The tour program was created to help children make connections to artists by using their imaginations to relate to the artmaking process. The tour program launched in 2015, providing children with opportunities to have hands-on experiences as well as to engage with art and artmaking materials.

Bradley Conrad, a former student of Dr. Uhrmacher’s and current Assistant Professor of Education at Capital University in Columbus, OH, frequently uses CRISPA in his teaching and has written about and presented on the model. He conducted a one-day lesson planning workshop utilizing CRISPA in Denver with K-12 teachers as part of a study recently published on curriculum disruption. The teachers’ perceptions changed noticeably after the workshop – those who had not considered themselves to be creative realized that CRISPA gave them the tools to design creative lessons and provide meaningful experiences for their students. One participant said that it was “important for us to be creative as educators. We are teaching the future doctors, the future scientists, people who are going to create the world that we live in”.

Research Methods and Statistics Ph.D Candidate Priyalatha Govindasamy received top award at the University of Denver Research and Performance Summit (DURAPS) on January 29. Govindasamy presented her research at the DURAPS poster session highlighting the software package that she has been developing with Antonio Olmos, Ph.D and Kellie Keeling, Ph.D.

Govindasamy explained that “effect size is the key to conducting meta-analysis, but not all the studies report empirical information required for computing effect sizes.” Studies will often report different types of statistical information that require different mathematical algorithms to compute effective sizes. To overcome this hurdle, Govindasamy and her supporting faculty developed the Effectssizecalculator Package in R for Meta-Analysis. This package was designed to compile all different mathematical algorithms and estimate the effective sizes into one module and leverages the R statistical analysis software.

The Morgridge College of Education would like to congratulate Miss Govindasamy on her award and recognize her fascinating research.


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