Students from the Child, Family, and School Psychology (CFSP) program—under the mentorship of faculty member Gloria Miller, Ph.D.—have been working with the Colorado African Organization (CAO) to connect with refugee families who have settled in Colorado.

The students and CAO Community Navigators assist refugee families in adapting to and succeeding in the American education system. School-based issues that the families have encountered include religious dietary restrictions conflicting with school lunch menus, expectations about parental involvement, trauma and mental health, language barriers, and education gaps due to prior unstable living situations.

The partnership enables students to obtain experience working with diverse communities and helps them become more well-rounded practitioners while providing newcomer families with tools and resources to thrive. Due to a rising population of refugees and asylum-seekers in the United States and Colorado, services such as those that CAO provide and the involvement of students who are training to serve these populations are becoming increasingly important.

This story is featured in our 2016 Dean’s Report, which you can read in its entirety here.

Cynthia Hazel, Ph.D.—Department Chair of Teaching and Learning Sciences and Professor of Child, Family, and School Psychology at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE)—was selected to participate in the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2016-2017 Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology (LIWP). LIWP prepares, supports, and empowers women psychologists as leaders to promote positive change in the field and in APA governance.

Dr. Hazel’s outstanding career achievements and leadership potential contributed to her invitation to participate in LIWP. Dr. Hazel’s career accomplishments include coordinating arts-based after-school programs for urban youth, serving as the Behavior Evaluation and Support Teams Coordinator for the Colorado Department of Education, and practicing as a school psychologist in impoverished communities.

About Dr. Hazel

As the chair of MCE’s Department of Teaching and Learning Sciences, Dr. Hazel oversees faculty, administration, and student outcomes for the Child, Family, and School Psychology program, the Curriculum and Instruction Program, the Early Childhood Special Education Program, and the Teacher Preparation Program. Furthermore, she was recently promoted to Full Professor at MCE.

Dr. Hazel’s recent contributions to the field include a presentation titled “Supporting the School Success of Students with Emotional Disturbance” at the International Association of School Psychologists conference in Summer 2016, held in The Netherlands, and the completion of her book titled Empowered Learning in Secondary Schools Promoting Positive Youth Development Through a Multitiered System of Supports, published by APA.

MCE extends its heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Hazel!

Recent Child, Family, and School Psychology program graduate Brittany Greiert focused her academic research and dissertation on sex and relationship education for individuals with autism, a topic that has seen little research or development of guidelines until recently.

Prior to enrolling at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE), Greiert worked with a nonprofit reproductive health organization and noticed the lack of resources available for individuals with disabilities. This inspired Greiert to continue her education in order to address the resource gap, and she chose MCE because of the college’s support of her research interests. Greiert says that historically there have been extremely limited resources for comprehensive sexual education for those with autism, and that while there has been progress in the past few years, there are few guidelines on the topic.

Her work has led to a variety of opportunities for collaboration and sharing in the community and on a national level; in 2015, she collaborated with a colleague at Emerge: Professionals in Autism, Behavior, and Personal Growth to present a workshop at the Autism Society of Colorado titled “What happens in Vegas…Autism Style! Sex, dating, and intimacy.” Nationally, Greiert presented her findings on data, resources, and gaps in research at the 2016 National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) annual conference.

Greiert’s dissertation research resulted in the development of the Guidelines for the Development of Sexuality Education Curricula for High Functioning Adolescent Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The guidelines are intended to be used as a tool to guide future sex education curriculum development, address the unique needs of students with autism, and provide suggestions to modify existing curricula so that their needs are met. Furthermore, the guidelines function as an advocacy tool to increase awareness of the unique needs of high-functioning students with autism.  Greiert says that being proactive in creating a structured approach and presentation of information would be of huge benefit to individuals with autism as well as to school psychologists and parents of children with autism.

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 University of Denver Morgridge College of Education was well represented at the 2015 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting. This year’s AERA meeting was held April 16-20, in Chicago, IL, with the theme: Toward Justice—Culture, Language, and Heritage in Education Research and Praxis.

With faculty from Child, Family, and School Psychology (CFSP), Higher Education (HED), and Curriculum Studies and Teaching (CST), as well as HED doctoral student Kristin Deal and Project Director at the Kennedy Institute for Educational Success, Doug Van Dine, at the conference, MCE made a great impression on Chicago.  Below is a list of the MCE faculty presentations:

HED Presentations:

  • Weaving Scholarship and Policy Making to Promote Inclusive Excellence in Traditionally White Higher Education Institutions Dr. Frank Tuitt, Kristin Deal, et al.

 CI Presentations:

  • Black Girls and School Discipline: The Complexities of Being Overrepresented and Understudied Nicole M. Joseph, et al.
  • Blacks’ Mathematics Education before Brown: An Examination of Mathematics Curriculum in Industrial Schools in the Segregated South, 1854 – 1954 — Nicole M. Joseph
  • Which kindergarten Common Core domains are most predictive of later mathematics achievement — Dr. Douglas H. Clements, Dr. Julie Sarama, et al.

CFSP Presentation:

  • Preschool Teachers’ Perceptions of Shared Book Reading Strategies that Promote Content Vocabulary Learning in DLL Children Sharolyn D. Pollard-Durodola, et al.

MCE Child, Family, & School Psychology alum, Dr. Melissa Reeves, was recently elected to serve as President of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) for 2016-17. Dr. Reeves, an adjunct instructor for Winthrop University and a pre K-12 school psychologist, is a two time recipient of the NASP Presidential award (2006 & 2011). She has received numerous other accolades including the NASP Crisis Interest Group Award for Excellence (2007 & 2011), the Cheery Creek School District Golden Heart Award (2006) and the University of Denver, College of Education Leadership in Learning Alumni Award (2006).

Dr. Reeves has conducted more than 200 workshops and presentations and works with schools on establishing a positive and safe school climate that focuses on prevention programs and positive discipline measures to decrease behavioral incidences while increasing academic achievement. As the co-creator of the NASP PPREPaRE School Crisis Prevention and Intervention curriculum, she developed the first nationally disseminated school crisis prevention and intervention curriculum. She is also an accomplished author, having co-authored three books: School Crisis Prevention and Intervention: The PREPaRE Model; Identifying, Assessing, and Treating PTSD at School; and Comprehensive Planning for Safe Learning Environments: A School Professional’s Guide to Integrating Physical and Psychological Safety: Prevention through Recovery, in addition to co-authoring numerous journal articles and book chapters.

We are proud of NASP President, Dr. Melissa Reeves, and all of her accomplishments.

 

Dr. Sharolyn Pollard-Durodola embodies Inclusive Excellence through her scholarly work, attending to the prevention and intervention of language and literacy difficulties (Spanish and English). Central to her scholarship is an interest in developing intervention curricula that build on validated instructional design principles, evaluating their impact on the language and reading development of struggling readers, and investigating ways to improve the quality of language and literacy practices of teachers and parents of young English language learners (ELLs) and non-ELLs who are at risk for reading difficulties. Dr. Pollard-Durodola is an Associate Professor in the Child, Family, and School Psychology (CFSP) program.

For the past ten years, her work has focused on accelerating oral language and content knowledge (science and social studies) through intensified shared book reading practices with young language learners (English language learners, native speakers of English) in school and home settings. As co-principal investigator in an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) grant-funded research project, Project Words of Oral Reading and Language Development (WORLD), she has collaborated with faculty from Texas A & M (Dr. Jorge Gonzalez, PI; Dr. Deborah Simmons, Co-PI) and the University of Texas – Pan American (Dr. Laura Saenz, Co-PI) to design and implement the WORLD interactive book reading approach in high poverty school and home settings.

In 2014, Dr. Pollard-Durodola received a grant from the University of Denver Internationalization Council for her project: International Perspectives on Bilingual Education. This grant allowed her to provide a keynote speech in Hanoi, Vietnam (August, 2014) at the Consortium to Advance School Psychology- International (CASP-I) Conference. The title and topic of her keynote speech was An Examination of Language, Literacy, and Socio-emotional Needs of Young Emerging Bilinguals: A Responsive and Proactive School Approach. This international experience and collaboration presented Dr. Pollard-Durodola the opportunity to form networks with other researchers whose scholarship attend to the oral language, literacy, and socio-emotional needs of children from high poverty settings who are also acquiring literacy in two or more languages. We look forward to her continued dedication to inclusive excellence.

The 2014, Students of Color Reception: Celebrating a More Inclusive College was a success. Despite bitterly cold temperatures (day high of 39°, and 19° at the start of the event) the fifth annual installment of the event saw increased attendance from the past couple years, with nearly 70 guests joining Morgridge faculty, staff and a student panel. Beginning the night with delightful hors d’oeuvres, prospective students were introduced to current students and faculty to hear more about Morgridge and learning opportunities within the college. Current Higher Education Masters student, Ana Ramirez, spoke of the event saying, “It was a great opportunity to meet other individuals within the Morgridge College of Education and share my experience with prospective students.”

Guests at Morgridge Students of Color Reception

Guests at Morgridge Students of Color Reception

Associate Provost for Inclusive Excellence and Associate Professor of Higher Education at Morgridge, Dr. Frank Tuitt, was the event facilitator for the evening. He spoke to the ongoing need for the college to utilize Inclusive Excellence pedagogy, in order to create equitable education opportunities for all students, specifically students of color. Dr. Tuitt then introduced a panel of current and former Morgridge students of color, to speak about their experiences as students of color on the predominantly white campus of the University of Denver. The panel spoke at length about the investment of the college’s faculty in the success of students of color, both emotionally and academically. There was much praise by the panel on the cohort model as an aid in confronting the challenges that come with being a grad student (e.g. balancing work/social life, having children, the substantial school-workload). Financial resources on campus was a topic of great interest by many of the prospective students. There was an echoed sentiment of the panels’ initial perceptions of the University of Denver being that of a private school with excessive tuition prices; upon acceptance to their respective programs and further conversations with different departments on campus, they discovered the multitude of assistantship, fellowship, and scholarship opportunities to help fund their education.

The event was impactful. Prospective and current students were able to share their stories and engage in conversations with regard to the meanings of their journeys in and through higher education.  The night culminated with panel member, Dr. T. Lee Morgan’s plea to diversify the makeup of the campus and bring voice to communities of color, “If we are going to change the diversity of DU, of Morgridge, we need you here. You have valuable experiences that no one else can bring to the table.”

Thank you to all who attended and supported the Students of Color Reception, and a special thank you to Dr. Frank Tuitt and the panel members:

  • Casey Crear, Curriculum and Instruction PhD (Current Student)
  • Dr. T. Lee Morgan, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies PhD (Alum)
  • Raquel Wright-Mair, Higher Education PhD (Current Student)
  • Ruby Lopez, Teacher Education Program MA (Alum)
  • Hazuki Tochihara, Early Childhood Special Education MA (Current Student)
  • Jamie Kawahara, Child Family and School Psychology EdS (Current Student)

A morning advocating for additional support for children with autism, to an evening dinner networking with some of the great thinkers in the field of School Psychology. This was a day in the life of Brittany Sovran and Jessica S. Reinhardt at the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Annual Convention.  The highlight, however, was the two students’ attendance at the Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation’s Dinner. For the first time in the history of the Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation’s Dinner event at the NASP Annual Convention, students were nominated by faculty to attend.

The Woodcock-Muñoz Foundation (WMF) is a private, nonprofit, operating foundation that supports the advancement of contemporary cognitive assessment. The WMF engages in programs of instructional support to professional preparation programs, research concerning the abilities of individuals with diagnosed exceptionalities, and closely-related educational and research projects and applications.

Child, Family and School Psychology faculty members, Dr. Karen Dittrick-Nathan and Dr. Cynthia Hazel, who were invited to the dinner event, nominated Brittany Sovran and Jessica Reinhardt for the honor of attendance. The two University of Denver students were then selected by the event’s planning committee to attend.

Both Jessica and Brittany took the conference as an opportunity to network and advocate for their agenda.  Earlier in the conference they visited Colorado Senator Mark Udall (D) to advocate for additional funding for mental health in school. Jessica shared that the event, “was a great opportunity to meet a variety of professionals in the field, including faculty from other universities, and those highly regarded in the area of test development.” Both students stressed that the opportunity to form relationships with potential mentors from other institutions, could prove beneficial for learning additional techniques for educating and training school psychologists.

Jessica emphasized that it is life changing to meet the frontrunners in test development at various moments of the conference. “This event [WMF dinner], specifically at this conference inspired me to pursue a career in academia.” Jessica describes herself as both an academic and practitioner, and although she wants to continue working at the grassroots level, her appreciation for having a more systemic impact by training school psychologists is even greater. She shares that “in the future, I can now see myself in a faculty position at a university, where having a greater impact is possible.”

The Faculty in the Child, Family and School Psychology Program encouraged all Morgridge College of Education students attending the conference to speak with legislators who can influence change on a variety of issues affecting child, family, and school psychologists in Colorado. The CFSP program provides students the foundation to not only be Change Agents and advocates in the field but also highly competent, collaborative, ethical and self-reflective scientist-practitioners.  To learn more about the program and the Morgridge College of Education, visit www.du.edu/education.

Child, Family, and School Psychology alumna, Rachel Wonner Kersteins, is 1 of 15 national semi-finalists for the Health Mart Champions of Care Challenge. Kerstiens volunteers with the organization Girls on the Run, which is an after school running program that engages girls from Grade 3-8.  The program focuses on  teaching girls to embrace difference and celebrate their individual voices through healthy and active practices.

Kerstiens work has earned her a nomination as an unsung community hero. Associated with this nomination was a $1,000 grant that was donated to her Charity of choice; Girls on the Run. There is a $50,000 grant to be donated by Health Mart to the organization, however the winner will be chosen by a vote.

Support CFSP alumna, Rachel Kersteins and “Girls on the Run” by voting: www.healthmartcommunity.com.

The original story was covered on Channel 9 news: http://www.9news.com/story/sports/2014/03/20/denver-nonprofit-grant/6646465/ 

In addition to the success of The 2014 Graduate Research and Performance Summit, graduate students from various programs at the Morgridge College of Education stood out due to their engaging research. The event occurred February 7th 2014, as an initiative of the Graduate Student Government (GSG) to engage in interdisciplinary research and dialogue across DU. The theme for the summit was Breaking Down the Silos.

Research Summit - C&I

Curriculum & Instruction doctoral student Katherine Newburgh presenting at the summit

MCE students’ research at the summit showcased their InContext applications of theories or cross-cultural immersions, which were linked to some classes pursued over the course of the year. Here is a list of presenters and projects:

Aiding or Abating: Electoral Fraud Through a Lens of Social Justice
Tara Rhodes, Research Methods and Statistics

Cross-Cultural Collaboration on Mental Health Issues in School Settings
Ariel Haytas, Child, Family, and School Psychology
Libby Malone, Child, Family, and School Psychology
Lizzy Savage, Child, Family, and School Psychology

Common Core State Standards(CCSS) in Higher Education Primer Project
Kate Burns, Higher Education

Teachers Who Become Professors: Running to or Running From Teaching
Eron Reed, Curriculum & Instruction

Coping Strategies of Students of Color in Student Affairs and Higher Education Preparation Programs
Evette Allen, Higher Education

Who says racism is dead? A Creative Representation of the Racialized Experiences of Students of Color in Student Affairs Graduate Preparation Programs
Bryan Hubain, Higher Education

Mapping the Ineffable: An Exploration of Teacher Growth in Unscripted Moments
Katherine Newburgh, Curriculum and Instruction

CLICK HERE  To learn more about what students presented on. Each program was centered around Inclusive Excellence and Social Justice.

This quarter, the Morgridge College of Education welcomed Dr. Diana Howard as the new Interim Director for the Ricks Center for Gifted Children. Dr. Howard is a nationally recognized leader in the field of gifted education and brings a wealth of experience to this new position.

Diana Howard photo

The Ricks Center is a pre-eminent program that provides gifted education to about 250 advanced learners ranging from three years of age to eighth grade and serves as a model demonstration site for graduate students. Its mission is, “to provide a dynamic and challenging educational environment that anticipates and responds to the individual, intellectual, social, emotional, physical, aesthetic, and cognitive needs of gifted children.” Dr. Howard’s commitment to gifted education and strategic vision will move the school forward in furthering this mission throughout the remainder of the academic year.

As a University of Denver alum, Dr. Howard graduated with a Ph.D. in Gifted Education and Administration in 1994. Her 24 year career includes studying in Ghana as a Fulbright scholar, a Peace Corps volunteer in Uruguay, and serving as a librarian and facilitator for advanced learners in both private and public schools thought Denver. She has also aided in opening and/or leading schools such as Challenge K-8 in Cherry Creek, Douglass Elementary in Boulder, Polaris at Ebert in Denver and Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy K-12 in Denver. In addition, Dr. Howard has been honored as outstanding Elementary Principal for the State of Colorado with the Wright Way Award in 2004, Colorado Art Education Association’s Award for Distinguished Leadership in the Arts in 2009 and the Gully Stanford Award for Arts Leadership in 2011.

In addition to her current position, Dr. Howard teaches college courses in Arts in Education, Young Gifted Children, Girls and Mathematics, Children’s Literature and Curriculum Integration. Her community involvement includes serving on the boards of VSA/Access Gallery, which serves youth with disabilities, and The Globeville Community Center, which provides education to people in need in the local community. She has also worked with the Denver Art Museum’s Creativity Resource website for teachers, and assisted with launching El Sistema Colorado at Garden Place Academy, which transforms the lives of children living in poverty through music.

This month, the University of Denver will launch a national search for a permanent director for the Ricks Center, with the goal of instating the new director by June 1, 2014.

Nestled in Katherine A. Ruffatto Hall, the Counseling and Educational Services Clinic is the home to in-house clinical training and research for students in the Counseling Psychology and Child, Family and School Psychology programs. For 17 years, the clinic has been providing counseling, assessments and consultations to members of the community on a sliding scale basis, giving the opportunity for a variety of counseling and educational support services to underprivileged individuals and families who may not be able to afford them otherwise. Counseling services offered at the clinic range from depression to anxiety, parenting to career counseling and are given in a variety of settings: individual, group, couples, and family counseling. Educational services offered at the clinic range from learning disabilities to behavioral issues to gifted learning.

Learning InContext

For every hour in class, a Morgridge student spends 4 hours a week in the clinic. With state-of-the-art live observation rooms, MCE students are learning InContext with a real client, supervisor and student team. The students have the benefit of getting team feedback during their client’s session, giving them the opportunity to make immediate adjustments in their practice. The clients of the in-house training clinic have the benefit of the collective intelligence of 4-6 people working on their case at the same time. This type of live supervision and feedback is unique to Morgridge College of Education’s School and Counseling Psychology Department.
The Counseling branch of the clinic at Morgridge College of Education is the largest provider of treatment services for problem gambling in the state of Colorado. Director of the Problem Gambling Treatment and Research Center and MCE adjunct professor, Michael Faragher, is one of only two psychologists certified to treat problem gambling in Colorado. Faragher’s work has provided a unique opportunity in behavioral psychology specialization for MCE students and to the Denver community, as well as leading research that continues to develop and change the field of Addiction Counseling.

The clinic’s other supervisors and their students are continuing research on treatment preference and treatment effectiveness. The research on treatment preference involves the client in the process of selecting treatment methods, resulting in a more invested client and more desirable treatment outcomes. The clinic’s research helps maintain an active role in giving presentations and publishing work contributing to the advancement of counseling services. Within the clinic, there are also several other research opportunities that support dissertations of CP and CFSP doctoral students.

CP InContext

 The Educational Services branch of the clinic serves children and young adults, up to age 21, with achievement, learning and behavioral disabilities. Through state-of-the art, research-based services, MCE students and licensed clinic supervisors provide psycho-educational assessments, consultations and recommendations for the youth, their families and their school.

New to the clinic is a Parenting Group that unifies the clinic’s two focuses – Counseling Psychology and School Psychology. By offering a Parenting Group, the clinic is able to provide support, skills and techniques for parents who have children with learning disabilities.

The clinic is expanding by adding more operating hours each year. Contact 303-871-2528 for questions or to schedule an appointment, or come by the clinic at:

University of Denver
Morgridge College of Education
Katherine A. Ruffatto Hall, First Floor
1999 East Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208-1700


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