On May 30, the Fisher Early Learning Center completed another successful school year, which saw 42 children graduate on to kindergarten programs in the Denver-metro area. For the first year, the entire staff of teachers and administrators attended the graduation, making it a truly inclusive celebration. Early childhood is a critical time in a child’s life and we are very fortunate to have such dedicated professionals working on behalf of these children and families. Fisher’s exemplary program and ongoing commitment to serve as the model for high quality care and inclusive education are observed as the teachers and staff bring out the best in these littlest Pioneers each day.

See all of our pictures from the event on our Flickr Album (linked below)!

The University of Denver (DU) Morgridge College of Education (MCE) announces Phillip Strain, PhD, will become the third James C. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Urban Education in the Teaching and Learning Sciences (TLS) Department. Strain is widely regarded as one of the nation’s leading researchers on autism and preschool inclusion. He is recognized for creating the LEAP model of inclusive services for young children with autism in 1981.

Strain, will be partnering with the two existing Kennedy Chairs, Doug Clements, PhD, and Julie Sarama, PhD, to

steer the Kennedy Institute for Educational Success at MCE.

“This is a game-changer for Morgridge College of Education,” says Dean Karen Riley. “Phil is the perfect complement to the nationally-recognized work that Doug and Julie are already doing in early childhood education. I expect a lot of energy to be generated from this high-level collaboration.”

As Endowed Chair, Strain will be responsible for conducting and guiding research and disseminating knowledge to improve the lives of children and families locally and nationally. He will also provide leadership to the MCE faculty, students, and community in curriculum development and research initiatives with an emphasis on finding solutions to 21st century challenges in teaching and learning in urban environments.

Select achievements of Strain’s include:

  • Authoring over 180 peer reviewed journal articles
  • Contributing to 47 book chapters
  • Writing 9 books
  • Receiving $85 million in sponsored grants

Strain’s most recent grants total over $4.7 million and will provide full research funding for the next four years.

Strain has served as a professor in Early Childhood Special Education, and the director of the Positive Early Learning Center (PELE) at the University of Colorado Denver. He and his PELE research team will join the  Morgridge College on July 1, 2018.

The Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy (MIELL) is assisting the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) in conducting a state-mandated study. This study centers on the development, delivery, and administration of comprehensive early childhood care and early childhood education in North Dakota. Dr. Carrie Germeroth, Assistant Director of Research at Marsico and the project director, works closely with a State Advisory Committee to provide insight on early childhood needs. The Marsico study “has really given us a roadmap, I think last session we didn’t have enough information to really make some changes,” said Senator Michael Nathe in the Grand Forks Herald. The state funding would cover approximately half of the cost of pre-kindergarten education for an estimated 6,000 children through annual grants of $1,000 per student. “With just 36 percent enrollment among 3- and 4-year-olds, the state ranks fifth from the bottom in early childhood education,” said Kirsten Baesle, State Superintendent. Under the legislation, communities would have to organize coalitions of early childhood education providers, both public and private. Dr. Germeroth also works closely with the State Advisory Committee developing a state Early Care and Education Framework and Parent Brief to support further legislative efforts.

Morgridge College of Education faculty member, Dr. Douglas Clements, sat down with NPR Morning Edition to discuss Why Math Might be the Secret to School Success. Across the country, enhancing the education of young children has been a major area of focus from academia to politics. This podcast focuses on Building Blocks, a math curriculum developed by Dr. Clements and Dr. Julie Sarama.Currently, in New York City, a $25 million study is collecting evidence on ways to effectively raise educational outcomes for children in poverty. Building Blocks is one math curriculum being tested in the study. Dr. Clements and Dr. Sarama believe that math may be key to increasing educational outcomes.

The NPR Morning Edition podcast was released a day prior to the December 10, 2014, White House Summit on Early Childhood Education. Morgridge faculty are at the forefront of the conversation of early childhood learning. Their work is pushing the envelope on how teachers engage and promote educational outcomes for future generations.


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