Dr. Doug Clements, Director of Marsico Institute for Early Learning at the Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver, has been appointed as one of 18 members of a new advisory panel created to encourage U.S. scientific and technological innovations in education, as authorized by the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act. Clements was chosen after extensive interviews and consideration of 500 other candidates by The National Science Foundation (NSF), in consultation with the Department of Education, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The University of Denver recently announced its 2018 professor awards and four Morgridge professors were honored, with two taking home the top award of Distinguished University Professor.

Drs. Douglas Clements and Julie Sarama, from Morgridge College of Education Marsico Institute, are the inaugural recipients of the Distinguished University Professor award at the University of Denver. This new award is the highest award that the University bestows on its faculty members. Selection for this honor is based on scholarly productivity, national and international distinction in a field of research/scholarship, and work that makes a positive impact on society. Their title will remain in effect until resignation or retirement from the University of Denver, at which time they will be named Emeritus Distinguished University Professor.

Clements is a professor of Curriculum and Instruction in the Teaching and Learning Sciences department as well as the Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning, Kennedy Institute for Educational Success, and the Director of the Marsico Institute for Early Learning. He received his PhD from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Previously a preschool and kindergarten teacher, he has conducted funded research and published over 500 articles and books in the areas of the learning and teaching of early mathematics and computer applications in mathematics education. Clements was a member of President Bush’s National Math Advisory Panel, the National Research Council’s Committee on Early Mathematics the Common Core State Standards committee and a coauthor of their reports.  His research interests include creating, using and evaluating research-based curricula, taking successful curricula to scale using technologies, and learning trajectories in standards, assessment, curriculum and professional development.

Sarama is a professor of Curriculum and Instruction in the Teaching and Learning Sciences department as well as the Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Learning Technologies, Kennedy Institute for Educational Success, and Co-Director of the Marsico Institute for Early Learning. She received her PhD from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. She designed and programmed over 50 published computer programs, including her version of Logo and Logo-based software activities (Turtle Math™, which was awarded Technology & Learning Software of the Year award, 1995, in the category “Math”). Sarama has taught secondary mathematics and computer science, gifted math at the middle school level, preschool and kindergarten mathematics enrichment classes, and mathematics methods and content courses for elementary to secondary teachers.  Her research interests include developing and evaluating research-based educational software and other technologies, using learning trajectories in standards, assessment, educational technology, curriculum and professional development, developing and evaluating research-based curricula, and asking successful curricula to scale using technologies.

Clements and Sarama will be able to share their expertise with the University faculty, staff, friends and DU community at large through the University of Denver Distinguished University Professor Lecture and Performance Series, which will showcase their work.

Dr. Kathy Green was honored as the 2017-2018 Distinguished Teaching Award, as recommended by the Faculty Senate Awards Subcommittee. This award is presented in recognition of excellence in teaching. Green is a professor of Research Methods and Statistics in the Research Methods and Information Sciences Department. She received her PhD from the University of Washington-Seattle.  She was named University of Denver United Methodist Teacher/Researcher of the Year in 1999 and honored with a Fulbright Scholarship to the Slovak Republic in 2002. Her research interests are in applied measurement, specifically applications of the Rasch model, survey research, and teaching statistics.

Dr. William E. Cross, Jr. has been awarded the rank of Emeritus Professor. Cross retired from Morgridge College in June 2018 after serving as a Professor of Higher Education and Counseling Psychology. Cross received his PhD from Princeton University. He holds professor emeritus status from another university but remains active, and he is President-Elect for Div. 45 (APA). His recent publications interrogate the structure of the self-concept; the range of identity profiles found among African American adults; cultural epiphanies; the identity implications of cultural miseducation and false consciousness; and the multiple ways racial identity is enacted in everyday life.

Morgridge College of Education (MCE) had a robust presence at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in New York City, April 13-17. More than 50 faculty and students presented papers, and four were recognized for Division and Special Interest Group (SIG) awards. AERA is a national community of education researchers, comprised of 12 divisions and over 155 special interest groups (SIGs).  The Annual Meeting serves as a forum for academic institutions, departments, non-university-based research institutions, and professional associations to share information about federal education research, and engage in shaping policy with regard to significant research issues. This year’s conference theme was “The Dreams, Possibilities, and Necessity of Public Education.”

MCE Award Recipients

  • 2018 AERA Division K Innovations in Research on Equity and Social Justice in Teacher Education Award: Maria Salazar, PhD, Higher Education Faculty
  • 2018 Shelby Wolf Literature SIG Outstanding Dissertation Award: Kimberly McDavid Schmidt, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor
  • 2018 Leadership for Social Justice SIG Dissertation of the Year Award: Angelina Walker, EdD, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Graduate
  • 2018 Family, School, and Community Partnerships SIG Dissertation of the Year Award: Kayon Morgan, PhD, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Graduate

MCE Presenters

Marsico Institute for Early Learning post-doctoral research fellow Candace Joswick’s work was recently featured on the March 2018 issue cover of Mathematics Teacher, from the Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Joswick and her co-author, Dr. Anna A. Davis from Ohio Dominican University, offer insights and activities to use geometric constructs in art to teach math.

Drs. Doug Clements and Julie Sarama are co-directors of the Marsico Institute of Early Learning at the Morgridge College of Education. Clements,  previously a preschool and kindergarten teacher,  has conducted funded research and published over 500 articles and books in the areas of the learning and teaching of early mathematics and computer applications in mathematics education. Sarama has taught secondary mathematics and computer science, gifted math at the middle school level, preschool and kindergarten mathematics enrichment classes, and mathematics methods and content courses for elementary to secondary teachers. The dynamic team sat down with a Media Planet Education and Career news reporter to give advice on how to make sure your child’s trajectory is one moving towards success.

The Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy in the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education was recently awarded the Central Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) along with four other partners, led by Marzano Research Laboratory. The award for $181,000 spans the next year with opportunities for additional funding over the next five years.

The REL program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences and serves the United States through ten designated regions. Each REL supports state and local agencies in its region and provides technical assistance, research assistance, and resources to introduce best and proven practices into the nation’s schools. Specifically, REL Central supports these efforts in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Marsico’s focus for this year will be on early childhood education in rural areas. Although Marsico resides in an urban setting at the Morgridge College of Education, the Institute and College are committed to educational equality across the age span and across the region. This includes a focus on the children and families that reside in the region’s rural communities. Across all levels of the College, researchers are pioneering innovative solutions to ensure that rural school districts have access to the best practices and resources in the field. Additionally, faculty are collaborating with rural school districts to improve student outcomes in areas ranging from early learning, to physical activity, to college access.

Led by Dr. Douglas Clements and Dr. Julie Sarama, who are national experts in the field of early childhood education, Marsico identifies the best in early learning research, practice and policy and delivers this information to academics, practitioners, policymakers, and parents.

“We connect with the people who can create and implement changes to improve the lives of young children,” said Sarama.

Dr. Carrie Germeroth, assistant director of research at Marsico, has previously worked with several states involved with REL Central and said, “Being awarded the Central REL will allow us to further our reach with communities who may otherwise not have access to these resources. Everyone at Marsico is thrilled to work with Marzano Research Laboratory to enact change and bring education to everyone.”

Morgridge College of Education Dean Karen Riley, is delighted to see the Institute continue to grow and believes being awarded REL Central highlights the great work being done by the entire College regarding education expansion to rural areas.

“We have several programs within Morgridge that allow us to work with educators in rural districts,” said Riley. “From our top-ranked educational leadership program to teacher preparation and piloting new approaches to distance learning, we are committed to working with rural partners across the region. For the University, being awarded the Central REL shows our dedication to the community beyond its campus borders and allows us to live up to our pledge to be a great, private University dedicated to the public good.”

iNTRODUCING bOSTON Pre-K Students to Math

“Early math is cognitively fundamental” said  Doug Clements, Ph.D, during PBS News Hour’s  feature on early math education in Boston Public Schools. The Building Blocks curriculum developed by Dr Clements and his Co-Researcher Julie Sarama, Ph.D, was heavily featured in the piece which showcased how critical math is to Pre-K students.

Through early introduction to math, Pre-K students using the Building Blocks Curriculum not only learn to count, and identify shapes, but also learn why we talk about shapes and numbers the way we do. They are taught to think critically about math as they move forward with their education.

As part of MCE’s ongoing initiative to make a positive impact on the Denver community, the Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy is proud to announce their significant contribution to the Jeffco Prosperity Project (JPP), a major collaboration between local educational, business, non-profit and government agencies aimed at tackling poverty in the greater Denver area.

Under a three-year contract, Marsico’s Assistant Director of Research Dr. Carrie Germeroth and Research Project Director Dr. Crystal Day-Hess will be evaluating the project and providing strategic feedback in an effort to maximize the JPP’s positive impact on the local community.

Drs. Germeroth and Day-Hess will be collecting data from a variety of sources including JPP participants, coaches, and administrators, as well as surveying key JPP partners to assess the project’s effectiveness. Based on their evaluations, they will be providing recommendations to JPP administrators on any programmatic changes that should be made to improve family services and support systems.

Jeffco Prosperity Project Model

Jeffco Prosperity Project Model

Initiated in 2010, “The Jeffco Prosperity Project will change the way human services and education services are provided to low-income families in Jefferson County.” The project aims to reduce generational poverty by providing vital support services for families, including those that focus on school readiness, family self-sufficiency, and health/mental health well-being.

The Marsico Institute was given $156,976 in funding for the three-year contract, part of a $1.6 million dollar award from the Daniels Fund to The Action Center, the JPPs primary funder. Other key partners include the Jeffco Schools Foundation, which is supporting the project’s implementation, as well as the Jefferson County Department of Human Services, Jeffco Public Schools, and Arvada Head Start.

Since its conception in 2010, the JPP has gone through vital early planning stages and launched what is now an innovative, implementation-ready program that aims to see tangible improvements by the end of the 2017-2018 school year. According to one JPP parent, “This program is a gift for a lifetime. My kids will have more opportunities for a better future than I had.”

Be sure to stay tuned for more updates from the Morgridge College of Education and the Marsico Institute on their involvement in this important collaboration.

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.

Doctors Julie Sarama and Doug Clements, the Morgridge College of Education’s Kennedy Endowed Chairs and Curriculum and Instruction professors, as well as Dr. Heather Ryan, Library and Information Science assistant professor, will present at the University of Denver’s Pioneer Symposium on September 25-26. During this two-day event, DU accomplished alumni and distinguished professors will present lectures and host panels and keynote speakers who will discuss a range of critical issues.

Doctors Sarama and Clements will lead a session entitled “The Surprising Importance of Early Math,” where they will discuss five research findings about early mathematics: its predictive power, children’s math potential, educators’ understanding of that potential, the need for interventions, and what we know about effective interventions.

Dr. Ryan’s session, “Preserving Our Digital Cultural Heritage” will address new challenges in maintaining access to our digital cultural heritage over the long term, and the “digital dark age.”

The Pioneer Symposium features a wide array of topics, including “The Right to Health in Practice: Lessons and Challenges,” “Film as Religion,” “Mental Illness and the Courts: Myths, Challenges, and… Hope?” among many others. DU’s Chancellor Rebecca Chopp will kick off the event during a welcome luncheon and panel discussion on September 25. View the full event schedule here.

The Pioneer Symposium is in its eighth year and open to everyone–alumni, parents, friends, and students of the University.

EVENT DETAILS:

Date: Friday, September 25 through Saturday, September 26, 2015
Time: 10 am to 6pm on Friday and 8 am to 2 pm on Saturday
Location:
The University of Denver
2199 S. University Boulevard
Denver, CO 80208
Cost: $40 fee covers all sessions and lunches on Friday and Saturday

MCE’s Drs. Doug Clements and Julie Sarama, have been awarded a $3.5 million grant to study learning trajectories in early childhood mathematics instruction. Drs. Clements and Sarama, both Kennedy Endowed Chairs at the Kennedy Institute for Educational Success, have been funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences for their research. The project, which evaluates the effect of learning trajectories used in early childhood mathematics instruction, looks specifically at whether learning trajectories are better than other approaches in the support of young children’s learning.

Drs. Sarama and Clements will be working with colleagues Art Baroody and David Purpura, conducting research out of the Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy and the Kennedy Institute. By conducting eight experiments in local schools, they will investigate the efficacy of learning trajectories. Their results will impact the ways in which learning trajectories are used across a variety of subject fields, but the implications for mathematics is particularly important. Mathematics is a strong predictor of later school success in mathematics, but also for overall school achievement, graduation, and even college entry.

Doctors Julie Sarama and Doug Clements’ pre-K math curriculum, Building Blocks, is being implemented throughout New York City, following successful results seen in Boston, Buffalo, and Nashville. This roll out is part of the New York City Department of Education initiative, “NYC Pre-K Explore,” which also promotes improved literacy and science programs. Deputy Chancellor, Josh Wallack, expects the Building Blocks curriculum will be used by 13,500 children in 750 district and community-based classrooms by fall 2015, and by the vast majority of New York City children within the next three years.

Early math skills are seen as a strong predictor of success in school and later in life; however, preschools across the country tend to ignore anything beyond basic counting games. Dr. Clements says that many preschool teachers aren’t comfortable with numbers because they went through the U.S. education system, which “is just not very good about teaching math and making it fascinating.”

With the implementation of the Building Blocks curriculum, preschool teachers will have the opportunity to use puzzles, games, art projects, and songs to help children learn more about numbers, shapes, and patterns. Those who volunteer to adopt Building Blocks will receive the books, related games, seven days of training, and coaching for one year to help facilitate successful outcomes.

If you have a Wall Street Journal account, you can read more about the New York City Building Blocks implementation here.

 


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