November 2020 Newsletter

Beth Foraker to Co-Direct UC Davis College Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities

Long-time School of Education lecturer and supervisor Beth Foraker, ’86, Cred. ’87 has played a key role in securing a $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to create an inclusive, four-year college program for students with intellectual disabilities at UC Davis. The MIND Institute and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will jointly run the program, which will be fully integrated into the campus community and includes residential options.

Foraker will co-direct the Supported Education to Elevate Diversity, or SEED, Scholar program, which will be the first of its kind in California. The goal is to create a model that can be used by other universities in the state. Read the full story and watch the video.

The First Quarter at Aggie Square: Transformative Justice Studies

Quarter at Aggie Square, an undergraduate academic program, launched virtually this fall quarter with Transformative Justice Studies. This inaugural curriculum, developed by Maisha Winn and Lawrence “Torry” Winn, co-founders and co-directors of the School of Education’s Transformative Justice in Education Center, combines courses in education, sociology and African American studies with remote internships at an elementary school in the Oak Park neighborhood of Sacramento. Read more.

Welcoming New Board of Advisors Members

Davis Joint Unified School District Superintendent John Bowes has joined the School of Education’s Board of Advisors. Prior to his role in Davis, Bowes was assistant superintendent of Human Resources in the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District. He began his career in the Los Angeles Unified School District, where he served in many different roles over 24 years, starting as a teacher and eventually becoming the Director of Labor Relations. A former Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala, he speaks Spanish fluently.

Dr. Bowes holds a doctorate in Education Leadership from UCLA, a master’s degree in Educational Administration from California Lutheran University, and bachelor’s degrees in both finance and management.

We also welcome new Board member Jennifer L. Johnson, who currently serves as Vice President of Government Relations for Calbright College, which was established to increase Californians’ access to skills-based credentials and certificates, helping to address the state-wide issue of income inequality. She previously served as the Deputy Legislative Secretary in the Office of the Governor of California from 2017–2020, overseeing the Governor’s K-12 education legislation policy portfolio, providing the Governor with briefings and recommendations on all K-12 education bills, and negotiating with stakeholders.

She has also served as the Education Programs Consultant for the California State Board of Education, the External Affairs Project Manager for the Office of the State Administrator, Oakland Unified School District, among other roles. She earned her Juris Doctor from UC Hastings College of the Law.

Gifts from PowerSchool and Microsoft Name New Digital Learning Lab

The School of Education has received $50,000 gifts from both PowerSchool Inc. and Microsoft to remodel one of our classrooms in support of our Classroom Improvement Project and create a digital learning environment. The completed classroom will be named the “PowerSchool and Microsoft Digital Learning Lab,” and will be a collaborative, connected hub for students to tackle real-world challenges that face classrooms and communities everywhere. “Our students have told us that classroom improvement is one of their top priorities,” said Dean Lindstrom. “We’re so pleased that this combined $100,000 gift from Microsoft and PowerSchool will allow us to create a forward-looking learning environment where leading-edge digital tools will bring classroom lessons to life.” 

Faculty News

Margarita Jimenez-Silva Receives National Science Foundation Grant

Prof. Margarita Jimenez-Silva is a co-principal investigator on a $1.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning program. The project is a collaboration among UC Davis, Arizona State University, and the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, and is focused on family problem-based learning with the goal of empowering Latinx families to support middle school-aged girls in science activities. UC Davis will partner with local schools to offer seven weeks of programming around rocketry and urban farming.

Darnel Degand and Nicole Sparapani Named Hellman Fellows

Prof. Darnel Degand and Prof. Nicole Sparapani have both been named 2020 Hellman Fellows. The Hellman Fellows Fund provides research support to promising faculty members when they need it most, in the early stages of their careers. “This is important recognition for their excellent work,” said Dean Lauren Lindstrom, “and a great honor for the School of Education to have not one but two faculty members chosen.” Read the winning proposals by Degand and Sparapani

Michal Kurlaender to Serve on State Education Task Force

Prof. Michal Kurlaender will serve on the Recovery with Equity Taskforce, which was recently established by Governor Gavin Newsom’s Senior Policy Advisor for Higher Education, Dr. Lande Ajose, in consultation with the Governor’s Council on Post-Secondary Education. The Taskforce is made up of state and national experts in higher education equity and innovation. It was created to produce a roadmap for the state’s education leaders, government and philanthropic institutions to ensure that California’s public post-secondary institutions recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Learn more.

Heather Rose and Patti Herrera Release Policy Brief on Education Budget Deficit

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a budget deficit of $54 billion for California, causing significant implications for K-12 school districts and potentially harming high-poverty districts more severely. In their new policy brief, “Prosperity or Hardship: Equity-Driven Education Funding in the Era of COVID-19,” Prof. Heather Rose and Patti F. Herrera, EdD ’19, from School Services of California, Inc. examine the pending impact of budget deferrals, which avoid deep education funding cuts by shifting education spending from one fiscal year to the next. Read the brief.

Elizabeth Montaño Named Chair of CANDEL

Associate Professor of Teaching Elizabeth Montaño has been named Chair of the CANDEL Program, which prepares our EdD students to become exemplary educational leaders in schools, community colleges and universities. “I’m confident that Prof. Montaño’s visionary leadership will continue to propel CANDEL forward in these unchartered times in education,” said Dean Lindstrom. Montaño served as the co-director of  CANDEL with Prof. Kevin Gee prior to taking on her role as the sole Chair.

Alumni News

Nancy McIntyre, PhD ’15 has been appointed Assistant Professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders, in the College of Health Professions and Sciences at the University of Central Florida. She researches social communication, language, and literacy development for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder.

Matthew Zajic, PhD ’18 has joined Teachers College, Columbia University as an Assistant Professor of Intellectual Disabilities and Autism. Zajic’s research focuses on understanding and supporting the writing development of individuals with autism spectrum disorder, with specific interests in theory, measurement and instruction.

Recent Research Publications

Prof. Nicole Sparapani co-authored the publication “Secondary Analysis of Reading-Based Activities Utilizing a Scripted Language Approach: Evaluating Interactions Between Students With Autism and Their Interventionists,” published in the Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research.

Prof. Paco Martorell co-authored the report “Assessing the Effect of Corequisite English Instruction Using a Randomized Controlled Trial” through the College Completion Network.

Prof. Cassandra Hart co-authored the working paper “Online Course-Taking and Expansion of Curricular Options in High Schools” through the Annenberg Institute at Brown University.

Prof. Steven Athanases and PhD candidate Sergio Sanchez co-authored “Seeding Shakespeare and Drama in Diverse 21st-Century Classrooms through a Cross-National Partnership: New Teachers’ Challenges and Early Practices,” published in the International Journal of Education & the Arts.

Prof. Michal Kurlaender and colleagues co-authored “Curriculum Reform in The Common Core Era: Evaluating Elementary Math Textbooks Across Six U.S. States,” published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

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