Woodring projects given funding to pursue innovation

Western Today staff

Woodring College of Education at Western Washington University has announced a number of projects that have received funding to increase excellence and/or pursue innovation.

The funded proposals are, alphabetically, as follows:

Collective Impact Partnership Retreat: Western Washington University and Bellingham School District
Primary contact: Bruce Larson, Secondary Education
Since fall quarter 2011, a group of approximately 20 Western Washington University, Bellingham School District, and community members have held meetings focused on the shared goal of “High achievement equity among schools in the Bellingham District and measureable improvement in teacher preparation served by a seamless clinical partnership.” These meetings have launched an innovative partnership model based on the concept that collective efforts will make a greater impact on student performance than single program initiatives can and that University students develop professional skills more effectively when course content is genuinely combined with applied practice. Funding from the Woodring College of Education’s Innovation and Excellence Grant will allow the group to participate in an extended meeting (retreat) to provide ample time to develop action plans.

Community Learning Resource Center
Primary contact: Gail Coulter, Special Education
The faculty of Special Education in Woodring College of Education is committed to providing affordable, exemplary services to families in Northwest Washington for children who are experiencing academic or behavioral difficulties that impact their opportunities for school success. The support will be provided through the Community Resource for Education Support and Service. This community support, sponsored by the College of Education, is for the following two purposes: (a) to provide clients with a variety of educational support, especially through tutoring interventions, and (b) to provide Woodring College of Education students the opportunity to observe faculty and practice skills as they work learn to work with children with disabilities and children at risk for school failure. Woodring College of Education students will learn about the needs of families in their community and provide direct services to children in need.

Compass 2 Campus -Phase II Research Toward Innovation
Primary contact: Cyndie Shepard, Special Education
The Woodring College Innovation Grant will be used for furthering the mission of the Compass 2 Campus Program by providing stipends in the summer months for research assistants to organize collected mentoring data from participating schools, and for faculty involved in the research team to analyze and evaluate these data so that findings can be documented and published. This necessary step is essential in securing future funding to sustain C2C, and to validate the thousands of hours of mentoring work being provided to districts each year by C2C to promote academic achievement, high school graduation, and establish a pipeline to higher education.

Developing a collaboration with an “American” International School in Mexico
Primary contact: Marsha Riddle Buly, Elementary Education
This project focuses on collaboration between Woodring College of Education and the John F. Kennedy International Baccalaureate School in Queretaro, Mexico, also known as The American School of Queretaro. The opportunity for the Language Diversity Director, the Chair of Elementary Education, and our bilingual TESOL faculty member to personally visit Queretaro, Ole language school, and the John F. Franklin school during the academic year provides an opportunity to expand our collaboration, assess the current instruction and curriculum in the school to determine the match to LLC/WCE objectives, and work with the staff to determine collaboration options for WCE students. We need to first have an understanding of the faculty, curricular expectations, and community of the school so that we can build rich two-way collaborative opportunities for our students and faculty. Ultimately, this could lead to faculty exchanges, professional development for teacher education faculty from WCE, professional development for John F. Kennedy’s staff either in Queretaro or on campus in Bellingham, student exchanges, and P-12 opportunities in Queretaro for our future and present teachers.

Global Citizens: An International Concentration in Human Service Practice
Primary contact: John Korsmo, Human Services
This proposal aims to support an important move to create a global/international focus for students in the Human Services (HS) major. The proposal responds to several needs: 1) the increasing requests from students for an international experience as part of their time in the HS Major; 2) the continued need globally for culturally competent international human services efforts, and; 3) the HS field is inter-disciplinary by nature, and thus will benefit from increased inter-disciplinary academic opportunities on and off campus. Our students frequently request international experiences as part of their time in the major, and yet throughout our 40-year history, we have never offered one. Creating an international focus within the major will open many more opportunities for those who HS credits, and who do not have the luxury of extending their time to graduation. This initiative will include a pilot project, co-teaching a service-learning based, 12-credit course in South Africa (Summer, 2012). Results from this work will inform future international offerings within the program.

Human Development Policy Research Center (HDPRC)
Primary contact: Victor Nolet, Secondary Education
This project will investigate the creation of a center that employs interdisciplinary approaches to researching policy pertaining to human development. Human development is a process of enlarging people’s choices, enhancing human capabilities and freedoms, and enabling people to live long and healthy lives. The goal of a human development policy research center would be to provide policy makers with pragmatic, actionable recommendations for addressing fundamental social problems that affect human development. The Innovation and Excellence grant will be used to investigate the feasibility of establishing a human development policy research center in the Woodring College of Education. The project team will seek to identify potential funding strategies, as well as potential audiences and markets for center products and services. The team plans to begin conducting interdisciplinary policy research by the end of summer, 2012.

Northwest Writing Teachers’ Collective
Primary contact: Tracie Coskie, Elementary Education
The Innovations and Excellence Grant from the Woodring College of Education will provide the Northwest Writing Teachers’ Collective with funding to launch as a new professional development organization for K-12 teachers. This winter and spring we will bring together a diverse array of teaching professionals from the region and work with them to think deeply about the practices that will best support the writers in their classrooms and to use our investigations to improve instruction. Currently 50 teachers from nine districts and three independent schools representing the range from Kindergarten to Grade 12 AP English will be participating.

Woodring Technology Faculty Fellows Proposal
Primary contact: Paula Dagnon, Elementary Education
Mobile technologies offer us, as educators, an opportunity to efficiently and effectively demonstrate and model the integration of mobile and other emerging technologies that can support Universal Design for Learning and the differentiation of instruction at all levels of teaching and learning. Thus, we will establish a professional community of practice for 10 Woodring faculty to explore various mobile and other emerging technologies and consider how they might be used in teaching and professional practice. This group—the Woodring Technology Faculty Fellows —will be coached and supported in their learning by more experienced faculty mentors.