Announcements and News

2015 News

Summer 2015

Alumni Profile - Elisa Marie Yzaguirre
Alumni Profile - Bilal Abdallah

 

Elisa Marie Yzaguirre, M.Ed.

  • Secondary and Middle Level Teacher Certification M.Ed., 2015
  • Endorsements: English Language Arts & English Language Learners
  • Martinez Fellow
  • ELL/LA Teacher at Denny International Middle School

What have you learned in the program that you find yourself using or referring to again and again?

I find myself using the curriculum, instruction, and assessment strategies a lot especially with the ELL students I work with. Backwards planning and drawing on student’s cultural background knowledge and language to inform lessons are also ideas that I continue to use and reflect on.  

What would you tell other people considering the UWB School of Educational Studies for the Secondary and Middle Level Teacher Certification M.Ed.?

I would tell others that the program is a wonderful opportunity to explore different aspect of educational theory and practice through classes that focus on ideas of social justice. I would also tell people that they should be prepared for a lot of reading andElisa.jpg writing! Being certified to teach English Language Arts and ELL,  the reading and writing were well worth the time spent. The only exception to this would be the time spent preparing for the edTPA because I do feel that it took away from the overall experience with our professors and classes. Apart from that I feel like my time was well spent and I was able to really dig deeper into education theory.

I would also have to accentuate the awesomeness of the ELL Endorsement! My peers who were a part of the endorsement with me this year, including Alex Straight who is already teaching and returned to the UWB for the ELL endorsement, have been amazing to work with. Having time to collaborate and generate ideas about best practices, bilingual education models, second language acquisition, and bilingual education theory with my peers and of course the professors was very beneficial for my learning through these classes. Dr. Karen Gourd, Professor Jason Naranjo and Renee Shank are all incredibly knowledgeable in their fields related to English Language Learners theory and practice.

Why did you choose to become a teacher?

I chose to become a teacher because of the relationships that form in the classroom and being able to share a community space with educators, students, family, and community members. Sharing my love of literature and the English language through reading, writing, speaking, and listening to encourage all students to become lifelong learners is another reason I choose to become a teacher. Encouraging students to be comfortable in sharing their culture, ideas, and knowledge with those around them to learn from one another and that everyone has something important to contribute is another integral part to my love of teaching.

Why did you choose UWB?

One of the reasons I chose UWB was because I liked how the program was set up as a two year experience with a student teaching experience that was based on a co-teaching model. I also enjoyed reading about the program’s strong connections and ties to social justice and equity for all students. The deciding factor for me was the promise of the ELL endorsement.

How is the relationship between students and faculty?

The faculty at UWB are great! To date I have not had a negative experience with any of the professors. They are always willing to work with individual students to accommodate needs and create opportunities for success. While the work is demanding and a bit overwhelming sometimes, it pushed me to be even more conscious of time management and communication. If there were ever concerns I knew that I could voice them without fear of punishment or flat out negation; the professors have been an integral part of the learning process for me because they have all been incredibly knowledgeable in their respective fields.

For you, what is the best part about the UWB School of Educational Studies?

It’s hard to decide what the best part of the UWB M.Ed. program is for me because the professors, my cohort members, the relationships I built with the faculty, staff, and students at Nathan Hale, and the Martinez Foundation have all contributed to my continued success in the program. Without these supports and the support of my family and friends outside of the program, these two years might have looked much different.

What do you believe is the value of the cohort model?

I do have to say that our cohort (15) has been an amazing source of positive energy and support throughout the program including this final quarter. The friendships and closeness that developed and continues to develop are priceless. Our dedication to one another leads to everyone learning and supporting each other academically, socially, and emotionally.

What is the value of partnerships with local school districts?

Another incredibly positive experience for me during the M.Ed. program was student teaching at Nathan Hale High School. I had the privilege of working with two absolutely incredible teachers, one who teachers Language Arts and one who teaches ELL. The support and guidance from not only my two cooperating teachers, but from other teachers and administrators at the school have taught me more than I could have hoped to learn from the student teaching experience and made the lack of pay worth every minute in the classrooms.

My student teaching experience reinforced my passion for teaching and has fueled my enthusiasm to continue to work in the Seattle Public School District for the upcoming school year.

Tell us about your Martinez Fellows experience.

Being a part of the Martinez Foundation has also been an incredible source of support for me. The seminars are always outstanding learning opportunities as well as a time to network with other fellows who teach all over Washington State. Another student in our cohort, Sobia is also a Fellow and that connection made for a positive and unique relationship between the two of us. It is so encouraging to be around successful and educated teachers of color who are making positive differences every day for every student.
 

Bilal Abdallah, M.Ed., 2015

  • Director of Workforce Funding, Everett Community College


What have you learned that you find yourself using or referring to again and again?

This program has transformed me as an educator for the better. I have learned so many theories and principals of the philosophy of education, which I constantly refer back to again and again in my daily work life. Some of the concepts include: qualitative research, quantitative research, assessment, educational theories, and data analysis. Mostly importantly, learning how to apply these concepts into a real world scenarios such as program implementation or education grant writing is probably one of the most valuable skills I could ever have asked in life as educator.

How did the School of Educational Studies prepared you to take on leadership roles in your school and community?

Bilal-web-(2).jpgIntelligence is not determined by what you know, but how much you are willing to learn. Prior to entering this program, I never thought of myself as someone who had the capability of leading a team or a department because of my lack of confidence or courage to step up. By the support of my advisors and professors, I gained confidence, responsibility, problem-solving and management skills, which eventually granted me the fundamental skills to become the Director of Workforce Funding at Everett Community College. One thing I’ve noticed is most of the things we do, say, or believe is culturally programmed into us, and are not our original thoughts. This program has allowed me to think outside the box.

What would you tell other people considering the School of Educational Studies Master of Education program?

I had the opportunity to examine current trends and issues within the field of education. Gaining in-depth exposure to these topics has helped me to successfully take-on any issue that has arisen throughout my career as an educator.

The amount of support and encouragement I received from my professors and peers was very remarkable within the School of Educational Studies. During my studies at UWB, my focus was on how I could affect change within an organization. To do this, I learned some of the most necessary techniques by studying change models that address ways in which change impacts people and processes in organizations through social justice perspective.

How are you making a difference based on what you've learn through the School of Educational Studies?

As a Director, I am making a difference by creating a positive, productive workplace by focusing on topics such as corporate structure, leadership, conflict management, motivation, cross-cultural communications and,  last but not least, creating a safe learning atmosphere for Everett Community College students.

If you were a career changer, why did you choose to become an Educator?

The most amazing thing I have learned, and continue to learn every day, is the mind of a student is more amazing than the entire night sky full of stars. On the heels of that, I've also learned I wouldn't trade my life as an educator for all the money on Wall Street.

Why did you choose UW Bothell?

What fascinated me about the University of Washington Bothell was its class-size. You’re basically getting a great deal of education for less money.

What makes the School of Educational Studies distinctive?

The social justice component of the School is what makes the program distinctive. A number of courses across the program focus on developing content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge for challenging injustice issues.

How is the relationship between students and faculty?

The relationship between students and faculty is the center theme of the program. Professors go above and beyond their comfort zone to support students’ success.

What was the best thing about the UWB School of Educational Studies?

Faculty support toward students is definitely one of the best things about the School. Professors work within the model of social justice by teaching constructive lessons that supports and facilitates the cognitive, emotional and corporeal growth of all students, which I really loved.

What is the value of the cohort model?

One of the most notable episodes that significantly received my attention in the program was the amount of teamwork and effort. Every individual in the cohort was willing to contribute during group assignments because of the trust that was built through the cohort model.

 

Autumn 2015

March Mathness!
Research in Progress winter seminar series
UW Bothell Alumna, LEDE faculty, to lead Monroe schools
Diana Butler, M.Ed. graduate, wins award
Alumni Profile - Yvonne Engels
Alumni Profile - Diana Butler
Q and A with M.Ed. student - Kristi Noceda


 

March Mathness! Inspiring young readers to discover joy and wonder for math

Picture a huddle of children, wide-eyed as they listen to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the classic tale of a critter gobbling through one apple, two pears, three plums and oh so much more.

On the simplest level, it’s all about counting. Focus the math lens a bit, say two researchers in UW Bothell’s School of Educational Studies, and it becomes a fun problem-solving challenge for first-graders, who add number after number then debate whether the caterpillar eats 25 or 26 things on its way to a tummy ache.

“When you can say, ‘Let’s count how many things the caterpillar’s eating,’ all of a sudden children start seeing math in more interesting ways in the world around them,” says Allison Hintz, an assistant professor who researches mathematics teaching and learning in early elementary classrooms.

Hintz and Antony Smith, Associate Dean of the School of Educational Studies, are researching how this “mathematizing” of story-time reading can nurture children’s joy and wonder for mathematics.

“We have seen teachers transform read-alouds into engaging experiences that are also mathematically powerful for students,” Hintz and Smith wrote in an article about some of their early research published in The Reading Teacher, a national practitioner journal for educators.

During March, Hintz and Smith teamed with Mie-Mie Wu, a children’s librarian at the Bothell branch of the King County Library System, where field tested the first of several toolkits they’re developing with step-by-step tips for sparking conversations about math while reading to children.

Wu recommended many of the titles that Hintz and Smith chose for their first two toolkits that included a set of books, discussion prompts, and story synopses. One focuses on math practices, time, number, and combinations; another concentrates on shape, size, and pattern. Wu was excited to use them during the Bothell Library’s “March Mathness” story times.

“This is such a great opportunity,” Wu says. “We don’t have to be experts who can talk about theorems and proofs to bring math into story time conversations.”

Hintz and Smith will gather data on their toolkits by observing story times and interviewing librarians and parents. Then, they’ll fine-tune their toolkits as they work to develop 13 others, with input from librarians in other King County Library System branches. They hope to secure future funding for a larger-scale study examining story-time math discussions in library and school settings.

“The ultimate goal” Smith says, “is to help children see mathematics as meaningful and relevant to their lives – as a way to make sense of their world – and to see themselves as vibrant young mathematicians and readers.”

Hintz and Smith are two of UW Bothell’s 2014 Worthington Distinguished Scholars, a prestigious faculty honor that awards research funding to promising and innovative scholars.

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School of Educational Studies faculty featured in Research in Progress winter seminar series

Research In Progress seminar series featuring UW Bothell investigators discussing their research, are open to interested faculty, students and staff as well as alumni and interested community partners. The aim of this series is to foster interdisciplinary communication/collaboration to increase awareness of work currently being done by UWB faculty. Read more here.

UW Bothell Alumna, LEDE faculty, to lead Monroe schools

Dr. Fredrika Smith (IAS ’94) has been named the new superintendent for the Monroe public schools. Smith also holds a doctorate in education from the University of Washington Seattle. She is a faculty member in the LEDE program in the UW Bothell School of Education Studies. Read more about Fredrika Smith.

M.Ed. graduate wins Outstanding Thesis Award

Diana Butler, who received a Master of Education from UWB in June 2014, received the American Montessori Society's 2015 Outstanding Thesis Award for her application of knowledge product which she developed as part of her degree completion. After taking Dr. Carrie Tzou’s Assessment course (BEDUC 537), Diana, a Montessori educator, was fascinated by the implications of current educational research for deepening understanding of the dynamics of Montessori elementary education. Her project, “Right Where They Are Right Now: Formative Assessment in Montessori Lower Elementary Classroom,” used an anonymous online survey, field observations, and semi-structured interviews to investigate how Montessori teachers in the early grades know what their students know when they give so few paper-and-pencil tests, and how they use that knowledge to guide students’ next steps in learning.

Her research found that Montessori teachers’ use of formative assessment relied on their written records, their reviews of students' work and their observations of students to build a picture of what each student knows. This knowledge about where each student was in their learning was channeled into short, focused, collegial conversations with students during work time. The conversations, in which teachers mostly asked questions rather than gave directives, empowered students to take the next step in their learning.

“Carrie provided me with skilled formative assessment throughout the project,” Diana said. “It was thrilling to experience the affirming, challenging and even frustrating nature of formative assessment from my point of view as a student struggling to expand and succeed in what were to me, uncharted waters. Carrie’s expertise in the field of educational research, and her skill at figuring out what I didn't know and how I could get where I needed to go were exactly what I needed. She made this project possible.”

Diana presented her research in a breakout session and as well as the poster session at the American Montessori Society’s Annual Convention which was held in Philadelphia in March. The poster and the paper are available online in the American Montessori Society’s Research Library.

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Alumni Profile - Yvonne Engels

Yvonne currently teaches on a military installation for the United States Air Force in Ramstein, Germany, and for the last 9 years has primarily taught first and second grade German Immersion. Recently, Yvonne took the time to share her journey to becoming a teacher and her experience here at UW Bothell.

My educational journey took me to many places, even countries.  I was born in Munich, Germany, to a gypsy mother and baker/musician father.  Needless to say, with my mother not going beyond 6th grade and my father following his dreams of becoming famous, I was not really set up to making it to higher education.  In my 11th year, after my mother remarried a soldier in the United States Air Force, we moved to Omaha, Nebraska.  I thought I would see cowboys and Indians, palm trees and Michael Jackson (that was when it was still Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5).

Omaha was nothing like my imagination and after three years we moved back to Germany only to ping pong back and forth between Germany and the U.S. every one to three years.  By the time I graduated I was again in Germany and decided to go to a two year American university in Munich.  In my last semester of my second year, a week before school started, I was told I could not return due to the fact that I did not have the finances.  I was very disappointed and felt like the dream of going to university was over.  I ended up selling potatoes in a potato shack, taking some independent courses, just to fill the requirements for my Associates degree.  I thought I would try my luck at a German university since they were free, but after one semester realized that a student had to know exactly what direction she wanted to study and I was still not certain.  So I made a list of all the things I wanted to do in this life.  Afterward, I ended up crossing out most of the things, realizing they were dreams of others and only on my list to gain love and/or acceptance.  What did remain was to travel and to go back to school.

So I combined these two things, worked three jobs for a year then took my savings and bought a one-way ticket to the States.   Upon arrival I found a Volkswagen Westfalia van and set out on a two-year-long journey through North America and college campuses.  What was to follow is a memory that was filled with many tears of joy and sadness, visions of beauty and grand landscapes, and discoveries both outside the windshield of my van and inside, huddled in the cozy confines of my sanctuary.  I remember when I was in Seattle, about to head up to Alaska, I stopped at the Bothell campus after it was recommended by the UW main campus.  I remember talking to Mimi Bowers and feeling really cared for.  This was the first step, or first impression of UW Bothell, and they couldn’t have picked a more fine-feeling person to support a student such as me.  Armed with this information, I continued my journey through British Columbia, Yukon and into Alaska on the Cassiar Highway.  

I still had to go through quite a few detours, but eventually I ended up finishing my degree and teacher certification at the UW Bothell campus.  This is not where the story ends though, happy ending and all. It now actually begins.  If the teachers and campus were not set up the way they were, I would not have made it through to end up a graduate-or even having a Masters degree.  The scaffold that allowed me to reach such an accomplishment started with the professors.  I can say that each professor was available to talk through doubts, uncertainties and amazing ideas, ideas from all spectrums-good and bad.  This personal openness and support was unthinkable for me and gave me so much encouragement that I was able to finish not only my Bachelors degree, but also obtain my teaching certification.  Another important aspect of this school, that to this day I can’t thank enough, is the financial aid department.  I was supported through all the confusing finances and was able to afford and finish my degrees without the added stress of thinking one semester at a time or worrying that I would have to quit once again. 

With these burdens dealt, with I was able to focus on the academics.  The courses I took during the teacher cohort were inspiring, thoughtful, challenging and rigorous.   The way that we worked as a cohort to attain our certificates allowed us to really delve deeply into issues around education, taking apart our own and building a foundation to step out into the field ourselves.  The fact that we were able to learn and experience first hand the ideas of team work, collaboration, reflection and support was invaluable. These skills are still foundations of my own teaching.  Not only did we learn the skills or practical aspects of teaching, but we confronted the emotional aspects as well.  We were able to step into the roles as the student, the parent and the teacher in many instances.  It is this ability to look at a learning situation from so many perspectives that gives me the chance to incorporate some out-of-the-box-thinking.  

The cohort model also gave me other valuable resources: colleagues.  As in writing a great story, there are many steps and eyes that help make the final product a success.  I have people that I know understand my visions because we learned them together by taking them apart and reassembling them.  I am here in Germany, far away from the opportunity to sometimes lean on my colleagues, but I still have the foundation of the experience itself to guide me and to know when I need to reach out. 

And last, but not least, I could not have ended this without paying tribute to the UW Bothell Writing Center.  I learned not only the importance of writing from the Center, but that it is a process (sometimes flowing like a stream-slow and steady, and sometimes dammed up and just waiting for that one pebble to become unblocked).  These many valuable aspects of the UW Bothell campus made it possible for me to take these lessons and pass them along for the last nine years here in Germany. 

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Alumni Profile - Diana Butler

Diana Butler, who received a Master of Education from UWB in June 2014, received the American Montessori Society's 2015 Outstanding Thesis Award for her application of knowledge product which she developed as part of her degree completion. After taking Dr. Carrie Tzou’s Assessment course (BEDUC 537), Diana, a Montessori educator, was fascinated by the implications of current educational research for deepening understanding of the dynamics of Montessori elementary education. Her project, “Right Where They Are Right Now: Formative Assessment in Montessori Lower Elementary Classroom,” used an anonymous online survey, field observations, and semi-structured interviews to investigate how Montessori teachers in the early grades know what their students know when they give so few paper-and-pencil tests, and how they use that knowledge to guide students’ next steps in learning.

Her research found that Montessori teachers’ use of formative assessment relied on their written records, their reviews of students' work and their observations of students to build a picture of what each student knows. This knowledge about where each student was in their learning was channeled into short, focused, collegial conversations with students during work time. The conversations, in which teachers mostly asked questions rather than gave directives, empowered students to take the next step in their learning.

“Carrie provided me with skilled formative assessment throughout the project,” Diana said. “It was thrilling to experience the affirming, challenging and even frustrating nature of formative assessment from my point of view as a student struggling to expand and succeed in what were to me, uncharted waters. Carrie’s expertise in the field of educational research, and her skill at figuring out what I didn't know and how I could get where I needed to go were exactly what I needed. She made this project possible.”

Diana presented her research in a breakout session and as well as the poster session at the American Montessori Society’s Annual Convention which was held in Philadelphia in March. The poster and the paper are available online in the American Montessori Society’s Research Library.

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Q & A with M.Ed. student - Kristi Noceda

Q.  How did the School of Educational Studies prepare you to take on leadership roles in your school and community? How are you making a difference based on what you've learned?

A. Creating communities in education grounded in equity and democratic education.  The environment is grounded in the idea that we are all are thinkers and learners.   I have learned that I am a catalyst for social justice and equity in education.  With that being said, we are moved to be part of the core strategy to share the information we received in our learning through various channels.

Q. What would you tell other people about the School of Educational Studies M.Ed. program?

I want others to know that no matter what their goals are in the field of education the UWB program is supportive. Every person from staff to faculty are your biggest fans and they will go above and beyond the call of duty to help you be successful in the program. Most importantly, they understand the importance in knowing that every student is equipped with their own knowledge and views of the world and they cultivate learning and thinking opportunities with this in mind.

Lastly, what I learned from attending the conference in February 2015  was that the educational community at UWB is leaps and bounds ahead in learning because their idea of democratic and equity education is molded with the idea that every student has their own unique identity that brings boundless opportunities for learning.  For example, when I attended the critical questions in education conference in San Diego in February, I learned that we get exposure to what others are studying and researching through common practices embedded in our learning.   We learn various methods for inclusive learning and access for all students.

Q.  How is the relationship between students/faculty?

Their commitment to the students goes beyond teaching. The faculty makes extra efforts to uncover complexity and to go below the surface. They acknowledge that there are multiple ways to do this.  One tool they use is through journaling and reflection.  They want to know what the students have learned and how they can better help their learning in a safe environment.  Thus, they make investments in every student by learning about each student individually.  Moreover, the faculty demonstrate the importance of connecting through encouragement and their commitment to keeping abreast on research and development.   They teach us and learn that they will grow, morph, and change during this entire process.  They are passionate about learning and believe that through their relationships with their students they will learn, too.  Learning never ends.

By building my confidence, pushing me outside of my comfort zone, and grounding my questions to learning outside of the classroom I have redefined what I know and can do in this world.   Because of this program I do not operate in fear but I am happy, confident, and driven.

Q. What have you learned in the program that you find yourself using or referring to again and again?

A. We are all stakeholders of our community and should embrace the dynamics of diversity and the capacity for collaboration with students as the key to innovation.

In fact, to further my learning and development I was fortunate to share a paper that I co-wrote with Professor Karen Gourd at the Critical Questions in Education Conference.  In this paper we challenged critical data to demonstrate that vulnerability is made  and that narratives are important.   Moreover, the UWB program supported my goals to change the avenue in which research based approaches are used and helped me to get the support I needed to attend the conference. Collectively they worked fiercely to help me find the funding so that I could participate in an important opportunity. They truly practice what they preach.