Dr. Susan Piazza, Associate Professor of Literacy Studies, was invited to co-author an editorial piece for NBC News Education Nation: The Learning Curve. Piazza and Patricia A. Edwards, Distinguished Professor of Teacher Education at MSU titled their piece /Beyond the NAEP Reading Scores, an Education Debt. Their commentary on 2011 National Assessment of Education Progress scores highlights stagnant 4th and 8th grade reading scores since 2009, and little change
since 1992. The authors raise issues about inequitable access to schools, health care, libraries, housing, and other sociological factors that are too often overlooked when educators are criticized for not closing achievement gaps. Piazza and Edwards are partnering on several projects and will present two research presentations related to culturally relevant pedagogies at this year’s Literacy Research Association in Jacksonville, FL.
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Posted November 18
Lauren Freedman and Karen Thomas, Department of Special Education and Literacy Studies, will present their research conducted in Benton Harbor Areas Schools over the past three years at the annual Literacy Research Association conference held this year in Jacksonville, FL in December. Freedman and Thomas have developed a Literacy Initiative in the middle schools with a Literacy Studies graduate cohort and worked with teachers, students, administration and the School Board in this initiative and continue to be a part of Benton Harbor Area Schools for Professional Development .
Posted October 17
Esther Gray, associate professor, Literacy Studies, Department of Special Education and Literacy Studies, presented two poster sessions at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria, on Friday, July 8, 2011, at the International Orff Schulwerk Symposium celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Orff Schulwerk Teacher Training Institute in Salzburg, Austria. The posters reported her research in a classroom with U.S. children and her research on the history of the Orff Schulwerk approach to music education. They are titled , "U.S. Third Grade Children's Projects: Student Research about Music and a Student Songwriters' Workshop" and "The Development of Orff's Schulwerk Viewed in Orff's Relationships with Colleagues of Günther School Days, 1924-1944."
Posted September 28
Deanna's new position demonstrates WMU's commitment to support the clinic's growing success as the CoEHD prepares for the move in fall 2012. The reading clinic has earned recognition in both higher education and the Kalamazoo community for its excellence, and Deanna Roland brings just the right skill set to lead the organization as it grows. Deanna is responsible for supervision of graduate and undergraduate training and research, the administration of program development, fiscal planning, grant-seeking, and community outreach.
Deanna is a graduate of Western Michigan University and has a Master of Arts in Literacy Studies. She worked as a classroom teacher for Kalamazoo Public Schools for seven and a half years and during that time; she was trained and certified as a Reading Recovery teacher. After working for Kalamazoo Public Schools, Deanna served as the Coordinator of Family Programs for WMU's Early Reading First Grant for two and a half years. Deanna brings a proven track record of success working with families and students in the community, which will be invaluable in meeting the departmental, college, and university's strategic planning goals. Please welcome Deanna Roland as our new Director of the McGinnis Reading Center and Clinic when you see her.
Posted September 16
Dr. Allison Baer, Associate Professor of Special Education and Literacy Studies will have the following articles published this summer:
Baer, A. L. (In press). Diversions: Finding space to talk about young adult literature in a juvenile home. The ALAN Review.
Glasgow, J. N., & Baer, A. L. (In press). Lives beyond suffering: The child soldiers of African wars. English Journal.
Posted June 6
Alumna Stacy Reed was awarded "Special Education Teacher of the Year" in St. Joseph County. She is currently a special education teacher for Mendon Middle and High Schools. She wants to thank the Department of Special Education and Literacy Studies because “this (award) is a direct reflection of the education I received at WMU.”
The Intensive, Recruitment, Preparation and Retention Program II (IRPR) second cohort of 15 graduate students graduated in December, 2010. This program was funded by the U.S. Department of Education-Office of Special Education Programs. It was an intensive competency and field-based preparation graduate program designed to increase, prepare, and support diverse general educators currently working as special educators without full certification and training. The four year program prepared two cohorts of 15 teachers with dual endorsements in learning disabilities and emotional impairments. The program had a 100% completion rate. Each student selected for the program received full tuition support. Drs. Sarah Summy and Elizabeth Whitten were awarded the grant to direct the project. This is the second IRPR grant. The first IRPR grant (2002-2006) graduated 37 out of 43 students for an 86% completion rate.
The purpose of the project was to: (a) decrease the number of teachers currently working under emergency or temporary certification, (b) prepare special educators in exemplary coursework relevant to their practice, (c) utilize a cohort model for the purpose of building teamwork, collaboration, peer coaching, and on-going support, (d) provide excellent advising and mentoring, and (e) enhance relationships with school districts in Michigan by developing inclusive learning communities that emphasize the importance of partnerships between higher education and K-12 institutions.
Posted April 5
Dr. Esther Gray, Associate Professor of Literacy Studies, Special Education and Literacy Studies Department, had two sessions at the Michigan Reading Association Conference in Grand Rapids. On Saturday, March 12, 2011, she was one of 3 professors on a higher education panel, “Teacher Education and the Common Core Standards.”On Sunday, March 13, 2011, her session was, “Teaching Pre-service Teachers to Support Engaged Learning within the Common Core.”
Posted April 4
Special Education and Literacy Studies associate professor, Dr. Allison Baer, co-wrote an article with colleague Dr. Jackie Glasgow, Ohio University, titled "Negotiating Understanding through the Young Adult Literature of Muslim Cultures.” The article was recently selected as the recipient of the 2011 Virginia Hamilton Essay Award. Established in 1991, the Virginia Hamilton Essay Award recognizes a journal article published in a given year which makes a significant contribution to professional literature concerning multicultural literary experiences for youth. The award is given annually at the Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature. The conference is held at Kent State University each spring.
Posted Feb 15
Dr. Lauren Freedman and Dr. Karen Thomas, Professors in the Literacy Studies unit in the College of Education and Human Development along with Don Pearson (Literacy Initiative Coordinator for Benton Harbor Area Schools) and two 7th grade Geography teachers and two 7th grade English Language Arts teachers at Fair Plain Junior High School have received one of four Literacy Community as a Global Gateway to Innovation grants in the amount of $1,000 from World of Words and the Longview Foundation for January-August, 2011. This grant will fund the purchase of international literature to be included in text sets of multiple materials that the students will use within an inquiry process this spring to learn about the physical and cultural geography of countries in Asia. The literacy community made up of Freedman, Thomas, Pearson, and the four teachers will focus on ways to more fully integrate Language Arts and Social Studies and to discuss the impact of the books on student engagement and learning through embedding literacy development within the curriculum.
Posted Feb 15
Dr. Lauren Freedman and Dr. Karen Thomas will continue to assist the Benton Harbor Area Schools with its K-12 literacy initiative, with a special emphasis on middle school children, from fifth through eighth grades. Lauren and Karen are advisers to the Southwest Regional Center in Benton Township.
Posted Jan 26