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White House to States: Help School Counselors Now

July 15th, 2014

screen-shot-2014-07-03-at-3-22-05-pmFirst Lady Michelle Obama addressed the critical role of school counselors in helping students successfully complete high school and pursue post-secondary options recently when she was made an honorary school counselor at the annual American School Counselor Association conference

“College is for everyone,” according to Mrs. Obama.  “Every student in this country needs some higher education, whether that’s a two-year degree, a four-year degree, or professional training of some sort.”

Unfortunately, with one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the nation, Oregon’s students will certainly struggle to achieve this goal, which is part of both the White House’s College Opportunity Agenda and Oregon’s 40-40-20 legislative mandate.

Research continues to show that the leadership and collaboration provided by school counselors not only increases student achievement and post-secondary matriculation through college and career readiness planning, but is instrumental in creating environments that help students overcome obstacles which are affecting their ability to learn.

In a recent letter to chief state school officers, Arne Duncan echoed Mrs. Obama’s call to action when he asked leaders to find “systemic and sustainable” support for school counselors.

School counselors are more important than ever to Oregon students, families, and school staff members with forty percent of our state’s children identified as being exposed “to the social-economic, physical, or relational risk factors that adversely impair their ability to develop the foundations of school success.” (Oregon Learns: Executive Summary-OEIB Report to the Legislature, December 2011.)

Before outlining the newest federal funds available to support, hire, and train school counselors; Mrs. Obama stated that school counseling “is a necessity to ensure that all our young people get the education they need to succeed in today’s economy.”

Only eight states have a worse counselor-to-student ratio than Oregon, and Mrs. Obama called the national average, “outrageous.”   Making matters worse, Oregon has never established staffing or funding mandates for school counselors.  While the importance of equitable student access to professional school counselors is at the forefront of a national conversation, Oregon’s educational leaders and politicians should take the necessary steps to ensure that its students are better prepared for academic success, social-emotional well-being, and college and career readiness through the resources and support provided by school counselors.

For more on this topic, please see a previous post: Where Are The School Counselors?.

Gene Eakin has a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Oregon and worked in the public school for over 30 years, including 23 years in the Lebanon School District.  He is the School Counseling Program Lead in Oregon State University’s College of Education and advocacy chair for the Oregon School Counselor Association (OSCA).   Dr. Gene Eakin can be reached at gene.eakin@oregonstate.edu .

Professor Kathryn Ciechanowski interviewed on OPB about bilingual education

July 14th, 2014

Oregon State University College of Education professor, Kathryn Ciechanowski was interviewed by OPB about bilingual education and the interview aired this morning.  Here’s a short excerpt:

Oregon has 70 schools with dual-language programs, with more on the way. Demand is booming for two reasons: research shows that dual-language programs work better for foreign-language speaking students than English-only programs.

But Esperanza de le Vega, the coordinator of Portland State University’s bilingual teacher pathway program, says there’s another big driver. “There is an educated population of sometimes bilingual, sometimes monolingual parents, who want this for their children. I think it’s great, because we have more allies,” she says.

But as programs mulitply and expand into middle and high schools, it gets harder for districts to find teachers who are both qualified in the necessary subject area, and who have the language ability.

Oregon State University language professor, Kathryn Ciechanowski, says school districts pursue candidates who are still in college.

“Our bilingual candidates are very often offered jobs before they even finish their programs,” she says, and adds, “we often advise students to think carefully about what they would like to have in their teaching positions, because there typically will be multiple districts trying to hire them — because of the need for bilingual educators.”

Read more on the OPB website: http://www.opb.org/news/article/bilingual-education/

STEM Workshops for Educators

July 7th, 2014

STEM Workshops for Educators: Offered by OSU research faculty. Free. Lunch provided. Limited funds available to support lodging costs for  participants more than 80 miles away.

Here’s the summer schedule of workshops:

  • July 31-Aug. 1: Explorations in Nanotechnology for 6-12th Grade Educators.
  • Aug. 11-12: Climate Change and Ocean Acidification.
  • Aug. 14-15: Biological Motions through the Lens-An Advanced Light Microscopy Workshop.

To register or for more information, email Kari van Zee, Program  Coordinator STEPs, at vanzeek@science.oregonstate.edu541-737-1773.

OSU receives federal grant to study academic outcomes of Oregon’s English learners

July 7th, 2014

VIA PRESS RELEASE

ELLMOOCHeader2CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has won a grant of nearly $400,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to investigate what happens to Oregon students who begin school as English language learners.

Researchers will use the grant to examine the academic performance of current and former English language learners and determine how best to support their academic achievement, said Karen Thompson, an assistant professor in OSU’s College of Education, who will lead the study.

“Being able to see, over a long period of time, how a student is doing is very important,” Thompson said. “Some students might need ongoing assistance even after they are considered proficient in English, while others might achieve at very high levels.”

Students who do not speak English proficiently when they enter school are considered English language learners. When students master the language, they are no longer considered English language learners and are reclassified as English proficient students.

Some states continue to monitor former English language learners throughout their school careers, but until recently, Oregon has only monitored them for two years, as required by the federal government, Thompson said.

The grant, from the education department’s research arm, the Institute of Education Sciences, will give investigators the opportunity to assess the longer-term academic success of students who enter school as English language learners, including graduation rates, she said. Researchers will also collect and analyze data about how current and former English language learners are faring in different types of programs, including dual-language programs, which have greatly expanded in Oregon schools in recent years, Thompson said.

The grant runs from Aug. 1 through July 31, 2016. The Oregon Department of Education and WestEd, a nonprofit education research agency, are partnering with OSU on the project. David Bautista, an assistant superintendent at the Oregon Department of Education, will serve as co-principal investigator.

The three agencies have established the Oregon English Learner Alliance in an effort to improve educational outcomes for Oregon’s English language learners. The alliance is part of a larger effort by the Oregon Department of Education to improve educational outcomes for students learning English.

The number of English language learners in Oregon has grown dramatically over the last 20 years and now makes up about 10 percent of the state’s kindergarten- through 12th-grade population. The number of reclassified students also has grown, making it more important than ever to understand how those students do in school once they’re no longer receiving extra help to learn English, Thompson said.

If researchers identify areas where current and former English language learners do well, they want to examine practices in those classrooms or schools and share the best of them with other educators, Thompson said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This work will be supported by U.S. Department of Education grant number R305H140072. The amount of federal funding is $399,928, the non-federal funding for the project is $29,009 and the project’s total funding is $428,937. Of the total funding, 93 percent is federal and 7 percent is non-federal.

About the OSU College of Education: The mission of the College of Education is to prepare, inspire and support teachers, counselors, educational leaders, researchers and volunteers to promote lifelong learning in schools, colleges, universities, communities and workplaces.

First QTL Summer Institute has a successful debut

July 3rd, 2014

It might be summer but last week Furman Hall was buzzing with teachers and over 30 middle school students from Lane County who participated in the first Quality Teaching and Learning Institute.

The five-day QTL Summer Institute, supported by the OEIB and hosted by OSU, focused on the development of pedagogical skills that will prepare a new generation of teachers to work with students meeting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

QTLCollage

The institute engaged teams in rethinking educator preparation pedagogy approaches to better support models of teacher preparation. Participants include arts and science faculty, educator preparation faculty, and K-12 school partners.

Participants built:

  • a common vision of high quality instruction,
  • a shared language to describe and analyze teaching, and
  • a means for articulating core practices that can be examined and improved.

Learn more about the QTL Summer Institute here.

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College of Education takes first in TRY-Athlon

June 30th, 2014

The TRY-Athlon is a team-building fundraiser that brings faculty, staff, and students together to compete for the title of TRY-Athlon Champion in both the event and fundraising categories. While there is a competition portion of the event, the main focus on the event is getting people moving and raising funds for the Faculty and Staff Fitness program to be used towards endowing a Coordinator Position.

It is a combined number of laps for 3 events; running, walking and swimming. Each team has 6 members who run, walk or swim, passing the baton and continuing for 20 minutes. The College of Education won first place due to having the most combined laps (see results below).

This year our swimmers were Eric Weber, Allyson Dorko and Catherine Law. Our walkers were Nell O’Malley, Sue Helback, Sue Ann Bottoms, Shelley Dubkin-Lee, Paul Thomas, Ken Winograd and Melinda Winograd. We needed an extra because of an injury. Our runners were Tom Scheuermann, Deb Rubel, Kevin Schrier and Jen Humphreys.

tryathlonresults

Congratulation to all of the participants for leading the College of Education to first place and thanks to Lynda Thomas for being Team Captain!

Free Choice Learning PhD Candidate Guest Blogging at ISTE

June 30th, 2014

ISTEConFree Choice Learning PhD Candidate Jen Wyld is attending the ISTE (International Society for Technology) conference taking place since this past weekend through Tuesday.

The ISTE conference serves as a part idea incubator and part collaborative workspace and brings educators of all types and grade levels together to share discoveries and develop solutions for their greatest challenges—all while connecting to a global network of education resources.

Jen is not just attending the conference but is also guest-blogging for them. Here is a link to her first post: http://blog.iste.org/making-connections-making-connections.

OSU Welcomes Dr. Martin Storksdieck as Director of STEM Learning Research Center

June 25th, 2014

Via Press Release
Contact: Julie Risien, 541-737-8664 or Julie.Risien@oregonstate.edu

MartinStorksdieckCORVALLIS, Ore. – OSU is an international leader in the study of how people of all ages learn science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) both in and out of school. In recognition of the collective expertise of its faculty OSU established the Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning in 2012 with a mission to enhance understanding of how individuals with diverse life circumstances and identities become lifelong STEM learners, practitioners and researchers.

This June Dr. Martin Storksdieck begins his tenure as Director of this unique research center, with the charge to grow it into an internationally distinguished hub of learning research to better prepare us to meet the 21st century challenges that will require a STEM ready workforce and citizenry. Like 16 other OSU Research Centers, the Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning is under the direct supervision of the Vice President of Research.

Storksdieck joins OSU after serving as Director of the Board on Science Education at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C. There he was responsible for several national efforts to improve K-12 science education, including the first step in the development of the Next Generation Science Standards, oversaw the Academies’ efforts to improve the quality of undergraduate science and engineering education, directed the Academies’ Climate Change Education Roundtable, and worked on science assessment in and out of school. Storksdieck’s research background focused on voluntary, or “free choice” learning, and how learning is connected to behaviors, identities and beliefs. He has also explored the intersection of school and out-of-school teaching and learning.

Storksdieck comes to OSU prepared with an abundant research agenda stemming from the recommendations of the many Board on Science Education reports he oversaw. When asked about his new role Storksdieck said “I am delighted to join OSU and honored to be given the opportunity to shape the Center’s focus. In my new role I will help fill the national research gaps and provide answers where those reports recommended more research.”

The OSU Center is unique among STEM center counterparts in its focus on research and commitment to understanding learning across all settings (in and out of school) and across the lifespan. According to founding Center Director, John Falk, “We are fortunate to have someone of the caliber of Dr. Martin Storksdieck taking over the helm the Center. We are poised to make a profound impact on our understanding of how STEM learning can be advanced to meet the challenges we face as a nation and Martin brings the right combination of experience, vision and skills to move us towards achieving that potential.”

Chief Education Office Hosts Inaugural Quality Teaching and Learning Summer Institute

June 23rd, 2014

Via Press Release

College of Education logo(Corvallis, OR)- The Chief Education Office will be co-hosting a Quality Teaching and Learning Summer Institute at Oregon State University (OSU) from June 23-27. The inaugural institute will focus on the development of teacher candidate skills that will prepare them to support students on meeting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The five- day institute will engage educator teams in rethinking approaches to most effectively support teacher preparation. Cohosts include the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Core to College grant.

Institutional teams representing major Oregon universities offering educator certification programs will be attending including: Eastern Oregon University, George Fox University, Oregon State University, Pacific University, Southern Oregon University, University of Oregon and University of Portland. Together these institutions prepared 44% of new Oregon teachers during the 2012-13 year.

“Charged with improving outcomes for students from birth to college and career, the Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) knows that the single-greatest in-school factor for student success is an educator” said Chief Education Officer, Nancy Golden. “The Summer Institute will create a focused and dynamic opportunity for the Network for Quality Teaching and Learning to bring educators together to reflect on, and refine their approach to preparing new teachers to effectively support student success.”

The Network for Quality Teaching and Learning was created by HB 3233 to strengthen recruitment, preparation, induction-year support, and ongoing professional development for Oregon’s educators. The Network empowers educators to help implement curriculum needed to support students‘ success, document the impacts on results and infuse current preparation programs with in-the-field practices that are working for Oregon’s students.

The institute will feature morning sessions in which arts and science faculty, educator preparation faculty, and K-12 school partners will observe and participate in lessons with middle school students.

Attendees will then use reflective discourse to determine core practices identified to successfully engage students and further learning.

The institute is designed around the tenet that teachers improve their instructional skill by engaging in the work of teaching. To facilitate that opportunity, more than 30 youth from the Lane Equity Achievement Project (LEAP) program will actively participate in portions of the institute. LEAP’s mission is to ensure that each child in Lane County has opportunities for intellectual growth and success regardless of their location or need. While on the OSU campus the attending LEAP students have a host of opportunities to explore the college and future careers.

“The Lane middle school students will have opportunities to experience some of the best that OSU campuses have to offer, said Nell O’Malley, Director of Education Licensure at OSU. “In addition to being part of the institute, students will participate in hands-on STEM activities such as robotics, tsunami and wave exploration, and computer animation. They will spend time at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center for remotely operation vehicles development and estuary investigations. Throughout the week students will be chaperoned by STEM students at OSU and campus leaders creating multiple opportunities to explore career pathways. ”

Each afternoon, scheduled sessions will be open to the public. Sessions will address recruitment and retention of culturally and linguistically diverse educators, the new performance assessment (edTPA) adopted by Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, recent results from statewide surveys of educators, and even a demonstration that uses avatars to help future educators practice classroom management skills. Materials will also be available online after the institute has concluded. For a full schedule of events and additional information on the institute, click here.

The Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) is chaired by Governor John Kitzhaber, and led by the Chief Education Officer. It was created in 2011 to oversee an effort to build a seamless, unified system for investing in and delivering public education from birth to college & career. OEIB is dedicated to building a student-centric system that links all segments of the educational experience together to ensure each student is poised for a promising future. 

coretocollegeOEIB

INTO OSU: Looking for Community Partners for Mexican Teachers

June 12th, 2014

intoOSUINTO OSU is seeking educators at all levels as “Community Partners” for 30 Mexican teachers coming for English Teacher Training at INTO OSU, July 16-Aug. 14.  Meet with a teacher for a couple of hours each week of their stay, at times and places you choose together, for conversation, a walk, coffee, a snack.

You can also show our community spirit by hosting for a half day on July 20, a visit to your home and a meal.  It’s all very flexible –  whatever you might be doing anyway on a summer Sunday in Corvallis or nearby.

Contact Kathleen Rochester, INTO OSU Special Programs Coordinator at 541-737-5678, or kathleen.rochester[at]oregonstate[dot]edu.

 

 

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