Emergent bilingual students now make up 10 percent of the state’s K-12 student population. These students are learning English on top of their regular school subjects, yet many Oregon teachers don’t have the specialized training or certification to meet their needs. But that’s changing.

Thanks to a new, 5-year, $2.5-million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to Oregon State’s College of Education, more Oregon teachers will soon be able to earn their English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) endorsement without having to pay the $10,000 tuition. The grant will also help these teachers work with community resources to build bridges with families of emergent bilingual students.

The TEAMS approach to multilingual education

Known as TEAMS (Teachers Educating All Multilingual Students), the new program will train 80 teachers in the Beaverton, Bend-La Pine, Springfield, Greater Albany and Corvallis school districts to better understand the languages, families and community cultures of their students.

“We know that if teachers don’t have the proper training to support emergent bilingual students, they are not as academically successful,” says María Leija, an Oregon State instructor and TEAMS grant coordinator. “Teachers don’t need to know their students’ languages, but they do need to understand the components of human language — syntax, semantics, pragmatics, phonology and morphology — and the resources that are available to support them.”

For example, a Spanish-speaking student might spell the word coyote with two Ls instead of a Y because a double L in Spanish is pronounced the same as a Y in English. Knowing these linguistic nuances, a teacher can better help students understand errors.

Teachers feel the need

“Teachers have been asking for resources to teach English learners more effectively,” says Karen Thompson, an assistant professor who is leading TEAMS. “This program will ensure that teachers have the best possible preparation for working with this group of students.”

Two cohorts of 40 teachers each will complete six online courses through the College of Education over 18 months, culminating in the ESOL endorsement. The grant also includes funding for a facilitator in each district who will foster connections to local community organizations engaged in cultural understanding. The facilitators and district participants will collaborate with these organizations to co-design education-focused events that deepen a teacher’s ability to engage the parents and wider community of emergent bilingual students.

“Research shows that involvement of parents has a huge impact on student success,” says Leija. “Therefore, we want parents to be an asset, and we want teachers to better understand how they can engage parents.”

If a class is studying a unit on plants, for example, and a teacher knows a student’s parents use plants in traditional healing, the teacher might invite the parents into the classroom to share how plants are used in that culture.

The excitement is palpable among teachers. “We had 27 of our teachers apply for eight slots, so we decided to fund two more teachers through our state transformation grants,” says Heather Huzefka, director of federal programs and student services at the Albany district. “When learning like this occurs, it doesn’t stay just with that teacher in that classroom — knowledge and experiences are shared with other teachers, which has the ripple effect of supporting even more students.”

After earning their ESOL endorsements through Oregon State, these teachers will be poised to make a huge difference for emergent bilingual students. Oregon’s student population may be changing, but Oregon State’s commitment to education for all never will.

A fifth grade boy who hasn’t been engaged in science class suddenly perks up when the after-school lesson involves a visit to a local bakery where he gets to use a mortar and pestle to grind wheat berries into flour for bread making. It turns out the boy helps his Latina grandmother grind corn at his home. Instantly, science is connected to something he can relate to, and a light bulb blinks on.

A third grade girl from the Dominican Republic visits a local tire shop where she gets to use shiny tools like pressure gauges and tire tread measuring devices, and a connection is made in her young mind that math is all around her and much more than the inky symbols printed on worksheets in a classroom.

A group of elementary students learn fractions at a Mexican bakery where they slice up pastries, weigh the portions on a scales, then literally eat what they’ve learned. A weightlifter pumping iron at a local gym fascinates students, and a science lesson about force and weight is driven home. At a Laundromat, students get to disassemble a washing machine and learn about pulleys. A local car dealership serves cookies while students inspect a car that mechanics have put on display in preparation for an after-school lesson

These are all examples from an after-school STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning program/teacher preparation course/research project called FIESTAS that was launched four years ago by OSU College of Education faculty SueAnn Bottoms and Kathryn Ciechanowski and 4-H faculty Ana Lu Fonseca. Since then, the project has grown into a multi-faceted en

terprise that could become a national model for successful STEM learning and teacher education

FIESTAS stands for Families Involved in Educational Sociocultural Teaching and STEM. As the name implies, it is about engaging students from diverse sociocultural backgrounds in STEM learning by involving their families and tapping local businesses to serve as real-world classrooms and hands-on labs.

The experiences help students – and future teachers – see how STEM subjects are woven throughout local communities. FIESTAS is also demonstrating that successful STEM teaching depends on a wide range of factors that go well beyond the walls of any school classroom.

FIESTAS started when Bottoms and Ciechanowski partnered with two 4-H after-school clubs and later the local Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis. Their goal was two-fold: 1) expose underserved youth to STEM related projects to increase interest in STEM, and 2) engage preservice teachers (PSTs) in culturally and linguistically diverse settings.

Four years later, the program has grown exponentially and is benefitting students, parents, local businesses, and the 50-plus PSTs who work with students in two dual-immersion elementary schools each year.

“When we started FIESTAS, it was just two after-school clubs, but it has grown all these tentacles and taken on a life of its own because it really resonated with people,” says Bottoms. “Our PSTs find it very rewarding, and parents like it because they hear what’s going on with their kids. It’s so exciting it keeps me going and energizes me.”

Part of what excites Ciechanowski and Bottoms is seeing how the kids – and the PSTs – connect with and learn from the local businesses.

“The community response to this has been amazing,” says Ciechanowski. “There is all this expertise in the community, and when we do a better job connecting teachers to this expertise, we are better at teaching STEM.”

The PSTs meet briefly with the community partners ahead of time to frame the lessons and offer pedagogical expertise, like how to set up activities at stations for hands-on learning.

“And then the businesses just run with it,” says Ciechanowski. “Many are surprised by how well the kids behave, but that’s one of the keys: if you engage children in real-world, authentic ways, they are learning, because they’re not just reading about it – they’re doing it in context.”

By working with people in the local community who use math and science every day, the students see STEM integrated in everyday life, and not something separate.

“We might not identify these individuals as scientists or mathematicians, but they are using science and math every day, so we help kids see that connection,” Bottoms says.

FIESTAS also has a diversity component aimed at helping budding teachers experience first-hand how kids from different sociocultural backgrounds learn in different ways. The program is intentionally targeted at schools with diverse student populations.

“Teachers are generally white, female, and monolingual,” says Bottoms. “We help them broaden their understandings by creating equitable experiences so teachers teach better because they understand kids might not have backgrounds like theirs. Diversity is big and complex and involves religion, race, socioeconomic background, and much more, and as a teacher, you have to understand that the community of children you’re teaching reflects this complex diversity.”

This diversity is also connected to families, which is why FIESTAS reaches out to include the families of the students.

The mother of a Fourth Grade girl told the researchers how her daughter, who ‘hated’ math and refused to do her homework, is now telling people she wants to be an engineer when she grows up. The mother credits the change to FIESTAS, which actively works to communicate with families and sometimes sends videos of the children engaged in the local lessons home with students so their parents can learn, too.

“Parents are partners in this,” says Bottoms. “I always tell the PSTs that kids come with families, and every family is not like your family.”

FIESTAS also has a research component. In addition to the undergraduate PSTs, doctoral and master’s students are involved in data collection and analysis, and Bottoms and Ciechanowski have presented their findings at conferences and published in journals.

“This is a community based research project,” says Ciechanowski.

Bottoms uses the term, “praxis,” or the intersection of theory and practice. “This is what a theory looks like when you put it into practice – an innovative way of preparing teachers to do science and math.”

The researchers have learned that exposing students to STEM in their own community sparks interest and ignites passion, and that STEM learning works best when rooted in the sociocultural relevant contexts of children’s lives. The program is also helping develop teachers who have a deeper understanding of STEM teaching, diversity, community learning, and more.

“We see from our own analysis of the PSTs who are part of FIESTAS that the experience is shifting their perspectives and making a difference in how they approach teaching,” Bottoms says.

The program has been so successful and grown so fast that Bottoms and Ciechanowski are searching to find funding to hire a program coordinator and to support new doctoral students. They believe FIESTAS is so unique and successful that it could be replicated in other communities across the country.

“We’re underfunded because FIESTAS is so unique that it doesn’t fit into a box,” Bottoms says.

Although programs in other parts of the country include some of the “tentacles” of FIESTAS – activities like family math and science nights, no other program incorporates so many different threads or maintains such long-term connections with community partners, Ciechanowski says.

“The difference between our program and others is the level of complexity and the long-term aspect of FIESTAS,” says Ciechanowski. “Universities are often criticized for going out into a community to do research and then returning without necessarily giving anything back to the community. What we’re trying to do differently with FIESTAS is build long-term relationships that benefit all partners.”

By: Gregg Kleiner

What if part of your teacher education included an intensive, 2-year residency inside a public school where you co-taught with – and were mentored by – a seasoned teacher from day one? (Think medical school residencies, but in schools instead of hospitals.)

What if, during the first year of your residency, you were encouraged to substitute teach, helping fund your education and reducing the school district’s substitute shortage? And during the second year, what if the district paid you a stipend for teaching full time in a classroom, where you could immediately apply what you’re learning in courses?

Finally, what if your residency potentially puts you at the front of the line for teaching jobs in the district?

A newly-launched, graduate program is doing all of this, and more. Now entering its second year, Oregon State’s immersive Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Clinically Based Elementary Education is a partnership between the College of Education and one of Oregon’s largest and most diverse public school districts: Beaverton. Just outside of Portland, the district has 2,300 teachers, 53 schools and 41,000 students — half of whom are minorities from homes where 101 different primary languages are spoken.

Graduate students in the new program are mentored by experienced Beaverton educators, called clinical teachers. The first-year students are known as practicum teachers and hone their skills in the classroom two days a week. When not teaching, they take online and hybrid courses and can work as paid substitute teachers within the district under a restricted license.

Second-year students, called resident teachers, dive in deeper. They teach five days a week while taking classes and earning a 0.4 FTE stipend paid by the district. During the second year, the clinical teachers split their time between two different classrooms, each run by a resident teacher.

“This is super immersive learning — from the first day of the year, the grad students are introduced as teachers, not as student teachers,” says Nell O’Malley, a senior instructor who helped launch the program and serves as director of education licensure at the College of Education.

Everyone benefits

The graduate students are not the only beneficiaries of the new program.

“Our partnership with Oregon State not only allows grad students to learn from our master teachers and apply what they’re learning in their OSU courses the very next day, but our teachers and staff also get exposure to the latest educational research,” says Sue Robertson, the chief human resource officer at the Beaverton School District.

Clinical teachers get quality help with teaching loads, and the district gains access to good substitute teachers, who are in short supply nationwide. And because the grad students are in the same school for two full years, the school’s entire staff and students benefit.

A big boost for teacher retention

Studies show that more than 40 percent of new teachers leave the profession within three years, often because they are not prepared for real-world challenges ranging from socioeconomics, to special needs, to language barriers.

Matt Nyman, the Oregon State instructor who coordinates the MAT program, believes it will have a significant impact on teacher retention rates.

“This is learning by immersion — our students experience exactly what they will be getting into as teachers, and they are prepared for that,” Nyman says. “We’re accessing the wisdom of practice from Beaverton clinical teachers.”

Competitive and collaborative

Although there are other immersion-type teacher education programs in the U.S., the sustainable funding model of the Oregon State program sets it apart.

“Having students in classrooms as substitute teachers during the first year, and then as part-time employees the second year — now that is very different,” O’Malley says.

Robertson has worked closely with the teachers’ union, and so far, the MAT program is proving to be a good fit.

“We have a very good relationship with the teachers’ association,” says Robertson. “They understand that the better prepared teachers are, and the more the district invests at the front end, the more successful teachers will be in the long run.”

Another distinguishing feature is that everyone gets a say in which graduate students are accepted into the program and which clinical teachers get to work with them.

“It’s very competitive because both OSU and Beaverton have to agree,” says Melissa Potter, university partner liaison for the Beaverton School District. “We’re at the table when deciding which grad students will go into the classroom. And they’re at the table when selecting the clinical teachers. It’s very unique.”

Although it has been just a year, all parties are committed, flexible and looking forward to the second year.

“We’re really lucky to have such a special group of people — both at OSU and here in Beaverton,” Potter says. “It’s very exciting.”

 

 

By: Maia Farris

Fabiola: advisor
Fabiola Sandoval-Morado

Fabiola Sandoval-Morado has triumphed over unbelievable challenges growing up as an undocumented citizen in extreme poverty and a culture where she was the only non-English speaker in her community. “[Growing up], I thought I had to give up my language and my culture to be successful”, Sandoval-Morado shares; but today, she sees that “being bilingual bicultural has given [her] many career opportunities”.

Originally from Uruapan, Michoacán in Central Mexico, Sandoval-Morado came to the United States with her mother, to join her father, who was already residing in Gary, Indiana.  Arriving with no English-speaking background, she started kindergarten in the U.S. and remembers learning a lot of English from watching Sesame Street every morning. It was difficult for her to learn English as the only non-English speaker in her kindergarten class, in a school where bilingual education did not exist. Her parents did not want to raise any alarms about being undocumented by speaking spanish. As a result, they highly encouraged speaking English outside of the home, saying, “You are in America, you speak American!”

Sandoval-Morado felt torn between her two cultures, asking herself, “Am I Mexican? Am I American?”, and feeling like she was never enough of either. This torn mindset made her decision to become a citizen difficult. Ronald Reagan’s IRCA amnesty of 1986 gave her the opportunity to legitimize her status.  She became a Legal Permanent Resident the Spring of her Junior year in High School, and she realized that college could be a reality for her.   But it wasn’t until in 2008, that Sandoval-Morado decided to go through the process of becoming a citizen of the United States. She found it easy to pass the US History & Civics and English Language exams, stating that “even though I walked two cultures, my education has been in the United States.” Today, she has dual citizenship in the U.S and Mexico, embracing her two cultural identities.  

After high school, Sandoval-Morado made the brave decision to leave her family and go to college in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she received her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Fine Arts. Raised in a single parent household by her mom, it was tough to leave because she was a second provider for her family and she felt very under-prepared as a first generation college student.

Growing up in the midwest, she agreed with the popular opinion that “multiculturalism is a detriment” and believed that she “needed to be more American to be accepted.” It wasn’t until after she graduated from Kalamazoo and started her graduate studies at Oregon State University, that her point of view changed entirely.

When Sandoval-Morado started her family, she had to stop her graduate studies and go to work to support her family. Finding a job as a Department of Human Services as a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (DHS TANF) worker made her realize that she could “embrace her multiple identities” in Oregon as a bilingual speaker and bicultural parent, helping families access Safety Net services.

Today, Sandoval-Morado has returned to Oregon State University as the Academic Advisor and Outreach Specialist. She is open about her story as a previously undocumented citizen in hopes that she can be an ally to students who may come from similar multicultural and multilingual backgrounds. Growing up feeling that she “needed to be more American to be accepted” is a statement Sandoval-Morado shares, that she still hears from students today, and she wants to help change that mindset. As an advisor and outreach specialist, she wants to share her student’s language, concerns of being away from home, and the understanding of having to balance family and the importance of getting an education.

Her experience working as a DHS TANF worker lends her the expertise in her current job as an outreach specialist for the College of Education while working with under-represented students in the community and state who are considering becoming a teacher. Growing up, there were no bilingual or bicultural teachers as role models, which made Sandoval-Morado feel that “she didn’t have a future in education”. Today, being bilingual bicultural has added value to her career in making connections with individuals on a more personal level. There is a great need for bilingual teachers in the country, and Sandoval-Morado is an advocate to those who are interested in being bilingual teachers. Bilingual and dual-immersion education increases the level of parent participation, understanding, and minimizes the gap in miscommunication when educators can speak the same language, while also increasing student success in and out of the classroom.

Sandoval-Morado believes that “Education is one of  the biggest catalysts for social justice” and that it “brings out the best in a generation and creates what America is supposed to be.” Her goal for the College of Education surrounding this belief, is to increase the enrollment and retention support for underrepresented students in the College to match that of the University.

Sandoval-Morado has already submerged herself in our unique and diverse campus culture. She enjoys taking fitness and cardio classes, being a part of the DACA taskforce, and the Community Diversity Relationships group; all of which support “the mission of having a safe community regardless of where people come from.” Visit Fabiola Sandoval-Morado in Furman Hall and share your story, learn more about hers, and gain insight on how to become an educator.

 

“Elephants are what counselors should be—empathic and caring”

By: Maia Farris

Gene Eakin
Gene Eakin and an Elephant friend

The College of Education’s Counseling Program Coordinator, Gene Eakin, shares an impactful story about a veterinarian whose death was mourned for by a group of elephants. The veterinarian cared for the elephants, and when he passed away, the elephant herd was reported to have stood in front of the veterinarian’s house and bowed their heads. Eakin’s favorite animal is an elephant because he believes that “elephants are what counselors should be—empathic and caring”.

This year we are congratulating Gene Eakin who has been awarded the 2017 Leona Tyler award. This annual award was established by the Oregon Counseling Association to recognize individuals whose work has had statewide implications for counseling. Eakin is the 8th person from Oregon State to receive the Leona Tyler award.

(Past winners listed here http://or-counseling.org/Past-Awards )

Eakin has worked hard on both the state and national level to strengthen school counseling and connect people to the current issues that are especially found in K-12 schools. This past June, Eakin and his wife Twila celebrated 50 years as OSU Alumni.  As an alumus and experienced counselor educator, Eakin is passionate about his work in the counseling program. He is proud to share that in the counseling hybrid program (online and in person), 31 out of 35 students were working full time as they started their third year in the program. The hybrid format fulfills Oregon State University’s land grant mission in providing individuals from all areas of Oregon access to becoming a counselor.

Eakin’s counseling work has spanned forty-two years in Oregon working at Lebanon High School, West Salem High School, Lewis and Clark College, and Oregon State University. Being awarded the Leona Tyler award is unique and means a lot to Eakin, because previous award recipients have mainly been a part of the large population of clinical mental health counselors, and he is one of the few to be recognized for his work as a school counselor and school counselor educator.

He hopes that this award will give him a platform to “speak to the mental health needs of our children and adolescents.” Going forward, we need counselors who will advocate for these needs and have the empathic and caring traits of an elephant. There is an increase in the number of elementary school students who need this support; as elementary school counselors across the state report that more and more students’ lives have been affected by family trauma related to the recession and the resulting family poverty.

Award
Leona Tyler Award

Eakin says, “there are a limited number of mental health counselors in most communities providing services to children and adolescents and Oregon, overall, ranks 49th in provision of mental health services to our citizens.” Eakin expressed that “we need more school counselors doing the good work that they do and more school social workers doing the good work they do in order for Oregon schools to increase attendance rates, graduation rates, post high-school education matriculation rates, and improve the behavioral and mental health of our students.” With Oregon’s student-counselor ratio (510-1) ranking 39th, Eakin vows that he will continue to advocate for the school counseling profession and for the work they do in meeting our youth’s career and college readiness, counseling needs, academic counseling needs, and personal-social-emotional counseling needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Gregg Kleiner

For 12 years, Lindsay Dec worked as a licensed massage therapist. She noticed that many of her
clients would talk during the massage — telling her stories about their lives and describing
challenges they were facing, from fears to family issues.
“People seemed to be looking to me for help or advice,” Dec says.
Because she didn’t feel qualified to do much more than listen, Dec started looking for a new
career that would give her the skills and credentials to help people in a new way — one that
could bridge the mind-body connection. During her search, she stumbled across the Master of
Counseling program at OSU-Cascades.
“When I found that, I just knew,” she says. “I wanted to continue to help others, so this was
perfect.”

The program’s location was also perfect, since Dec was already living in Bend, Oregon, where
she’d moved in 2010. The program’s part-time option allowed her to continue her massage
practice while pursuing a master’s degree.
She credits her parents with influencing her overall career path.
“They always taught us t

o help people, to foster connections with others, and my mom always
emphasized the golden rule,” Dec says.
In 2014, she earned her master’s in clinical mental health counseling and now works as a
counselor at Bend Counseling and Biofeedback Inc.
“The best part of the program was — and still is — the faculty,” Dec says. “They are just
amazing — the adjunct faculty, too. There is great breadth of experience and a range of
strengths. I felt very well-supported, and I’m still in contact with some of the faculty.”
While in the program, Dec completed three different internships — one at the Warm Springs
Indian Reservation, one at a Bend relief nursery for vulnerable children and one at the
counseling office where she now works. She also earned a certificate in Interpersonal
Neurobiology from Portland State University and completed HeartMath Biofeedback training
during her graduate program.
“It was a little insane,” she says of all she did while working on her master’s.
Now that her formal training is complete, Dec still stays busy. She serves on the OSU-Cascades’
Counseling Program Advisory Board and is raising a puppy named PJ to be a certified therapy
dog.

“Therapy dogs are great in nursing homes, and they can help kids who struggle with reading,”
says Dec, who brings PJ to the office with her. “My clients love her and say PJ is
going to make a great therapy dog.”
For Dec, OSU-Cascades was the right location with the right faculty and the right focus. And it’s
clear she loves her new career.

 

Society needs good counselors.

Oregon State has been educating them for 100 years.

By: Gregg Kleiner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Timeline Graphic By: Maia Farris

Oregon State University has one of the oldest continuously operating counseling
education programs in the U.S. The first course was taught in 1917 — just five years
after Harvard University offered the first counseling course in the nation.
The earliest courses focused on the vocational training movement that prepared people
for a range of key jobs during wartime. That focus remained until the late 1920s when
courses expanded to include emotional and psychological issues.

Today, Oregon State’s counselor education program is one of the largest in the nation,
with 125 master’s and 72 doctoral students taking course work delivered in a
combination of in-class and online formats. These hybrid programs include students
from across Oregon, as well as students coming from as far away as Chicago, New
York and North Carolina. Master’s students meet for two days a term at Chemeketa
Community College in Salem, while doctoral students attend two weekend sessions a
year at Clackamas Community College in Wilsonville. A more traditional master’s
program of mostly in-class courses is offered at OSU-Cascades in Bend.

“Because of our national reach, we have amazingly talented and diverse doctoral
students who will go on to train the next generation of school and mental health
counselors,” says Cass Dykeman, an associate professor of counseling in the College
of Education.

Larry Flick, Dean of the College of Education in his office

College of Education’s Dean, Larry Flick reflects on his past six years at OSU saying, he could not have remained in the role of dean for six years “if I did not have caring, committed people beside me all the way.” With spring term coming to an end and summer just around the corner, we are also saying our farewells to the retiring dean.

Larry assumed the dean position on July 1, 2011. He graduated from Purdue University as an engineer, and says that “OSU brought back many fond memories” such as being one of the editors for the Purdue student newspaper, the Exponent, as an undergraduate. Flick reminisces, “seeing the Student Experience Center go up on the OSU campus was very exciting! Orange Media is on the top floor of the beautiful building and I made a point of going for a look around as soon as it was done. The Exponent offices were in the basement of the Purdue Memorial Union, but I loved every minute of it.”

The job as a dean is very busy and sometimes challenging. Flick shares that, “this time in higher education is very challenging with universities facing an enormous amount of change.” Flick says that he is lucky to have had the “distinct pleasure of working with a very smart group of faculty and administrators in the college as we have worked to adjust to these challenges and changes in how colleges are funded.”  Flick adds that he has also “thoroughly enjoyed being among highly committed and talented people in the Provost Council and President’s Cabinet.”

After retirement, Flick and his wife are hiking in the Swiss Alps (this July) and traveling to Italy, Costa Rica, and Panama where they plan to go kayaking, snorkeling, and doing some more hiking, while enjoying some cultural experiences in the mix.