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.

Dr. Julie Sarama, the Morgridge College of Education’s Kennedy Endowed Chair and Curriculum and Instruction professor, will be joining the Design for Impact in Early Childhood Education Initiative, funded by New Profit and its Early Learning Fund. Led by Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, former director of the Office of Head Start, this project brings together a network of scholars, program and policy leaders, communities, and support organizations to develop, implement, and evaluate variants of a comprehensive design for an early education program for three to four year olds. The goal of this initiative is to develop and test effective, adaptable, and holistic support models for early education programs that are based on contemporary evidence. The pilot program is scheduled to launch in 2016.

Dr. Sarama is a leading curriculum designer for early childhood education, particularly for mathematics instruction. She is the co-creator of the pre-K math curriculum, Building Blocks, Building Blocks Learning Trajectories (BBLT)—a teaching tool for early math educators—and the forthcoming Learning and Teaching with Learning Trajectories (LT2), a web application that updates BBLT to reach an even wider audience.

Kitchen-150x150Dr. Richard Kitchen, Kennedy Endowed Chair and Professor in the Curriculum & Instruction program at Morgridge College of Education (MCE), aims to advance equity and diversity in education through Access in Mathematics for All (AMA), a project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. “The goal of the program,” says Dr. Kitchen, “is to recruit talented students of color and low-income students to come to DU to study mathematics, to encourage them to become mathematics teachers and return to their communities to serve as educators.”

Dr. Kitchen and his fellow researchers—Dr. Nicole Joseph and Dr. Alvaro Arias, also from DU, and James Gray from the Community College of Aurora (CCA)—are developing an infrastructure that will provide academic and social support for future students in AMA. The team has built relationships with CCA and Aurora Public Schools to recruit potential students through a pilot tutoring program, host math talks focused on the importance of mathematics and mathematics education, and integrate existing services at DU to better serve future AMA students.

To augment the impact of AMA, Dr. Kitchen and his team have submitted a second proposal to the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program for $1.45 million to fully fund five students in MCE’s Teacher Education Program each year for five years.

AMA addresses a critical need for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers, as identified in the National Science Foundation Authorization Act and the America COMPETES Act. The program also supports the National Science Foundation goal to “Prepare and engage a diverse STEM workforce motivated to participate at the frontiers.”

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.

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.

Morgridge’s Dr. Douglas H. Clements, Professor in Curriculum Studies and Teaching and Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning at the Kennedy Institute, co-authored the report, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth to Age Eight: A Unifying Foundation. The report, released through The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and The National Research Council (NRC), explores the science of child development, focusing specifically on the implications for professionals that work with children birth through age eight. Dr. Clements and his colleagues offer recommendations with a goal of developing a workforce unified through the foundations of the science of child development and early learning. Their research and recommendations promote shared knowledge and skills that are needed to provide consistent, high-quality support for the development and early learning of children from birth through age eight.


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