The Research Institute at WOU

Research to Practice • Practice to Research

Education Evaluation Center – Providing Services That Are Key To Oregon's Future

Posted on September 30, 2015

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EEC LogoWith the growing numbers of adults returning to college to explore second or third careers, especially veterans returning from war with PTSD or brain injury, the work of the EEC is more important now than ever. With the focus on all children in Oregon going beyond high school into college or careers, the services provided by EEC are essential to the success of our collective futures.

Through a lens of decades of experience, and access to the most current and effective assessment tools, the team at the Education Evaluation Center (EEC) constructs a comprehensive, individualized, family-centered assessment for children and adults with cognitive and learning disabilities.

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Participation in Professional Association Crucial to Career Success

Posted on September 30, 2015

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By Carol Dennis

Patricia Blasco, Ph.D.

The first opportunity Patti Blasco had to attend a Division for Early Childhood (DEC) International Conference was as a graduate student at the University of Virginia in 1988. She had heard about this professional association through her professors, who were very involved with the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the parent organization of the DEC.

Because Patti’s interest is in early childhood, it made perfect sense that she would be attracted to the work of these groups. So, while still a graduate student, she joined the CEC and the DEC.

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Western Oregon University Athletics to Play Leadership Role in Fostering Healthier, Safer Campus

Posted on July 21, 2015

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WOU Logo

Western Oregon University selected to participate in Healthy Masculinity Initiative

"Every day we hear news stories about violence but rarely, if ever, are they linked to masculinity. It’s time to make the connection between the epidemic of men’s violence in our country and what society is teaching boys about masculinity. The traditional 'boys will be boys' mentality is beginning to change."

This is the opening statement on the Men Can Stop Rape web page describing the Healthy Masculinity Action Project - a national grassroots movement that began in 2012 to "eradicate the harmful expectations and stereotypes our society teaches boys about what it means to be a man."

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Oregon’s QRIS - Using Data to Strengthen Impact

Posted on July 21, 2015

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Oregon's QRIS LogoQuality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) exist in some form or phase of development in 49 states across the country. The function of each QRIS is to set basic standards for child care programs in the state, and to offer supports and resources to help those programs reach and exceed those standards.

In a typical week during the spring of 2011 (the latest numbers available from the U.S. Census), 12.5 million, or 61 percent, of U.S. children under 5 years of age were in some type of regular child care arrangement – including with relatives and non-relatives.

As the demand for quality child care increases across the country, the importance of collecting data also increases. Only through the collection and evaluation of reliable and objective data can any system ensure that its goals are being reached. And with QRIS, these important goals exist to give each and every child a solid foundation for a successful life.

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Keeping Educators in Education - ODE Mentoring Program

Posted on June 17, 2015

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By Carol Dennis

Teacher turnover costs Oregon school districts $40 - 50 million dollars a year.

Teacher reading a book to her kindergarten class

School districts across the state just hired a lot of new teachers

School districts across Oregon are hiring new teachers. With declining budgets turning slightly back toward the positive, districts are seeing some programs and classrooms coming back. Add year-round kindergarten, and some school districts are experiencing a flood of beginner teachers fresh out of college. With all these new teachers comes the challenge of getting them up to speed as quickly as possible -- in time to keep all their students on track.

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Robyn Lopez Melton Honored as 2015 Emerging Leader in Early Childhood Education

Posted on May 27, 2015

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Robyn Lopez-MeltonTRI’s Robyn Lopez Melton received another national honor, and we at TRI couldn’t be prouder.

Last year, Robyn was appointed to the Nominating Panel of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

The Nominating Panel helps this nationally recognized organization choose its leadership for the next three years. 

Robyn Lopez Melton - 2015 Emerging Leader Award

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Students Improve the Environment Through EPA-Funded Projects

Posted on May 18, 2015

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S.I.T.E. Grant Produces 17 Successful Projects

two students and a teacher cleaning up a river bedLast year, we received an excited email from Mary Beth Tilson, biology teacher at Delta High School in Pasco, Washington. She wrote to tell us that she had just been selected to present at the Sustaining the Blue Planet: Global Water Education Conference in Big Sky, Montana. That email confirmed that the S.I.T.E. program was doing something really great.

What is S.I.T.E.?

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Oregon Mentoring Program - Teacher Training that Works

Posted on May 13, 2015

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By Carol Dennis

Empty ClassroomYou walk into the classroom for your first day of prep – not just this school year, but ever. You are finally a teacher – a career you have dreamed about since you were 10 years old. As you step through the door you notice the bulletin boards and walls are empty. This is almost a surprise, since every classroom you have ever been in was covered with posters and artwork and positive messages. But this is YOUR classroom and YOU get to choose what goes up.

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Raising the Quality of Early Childhood Education Through Oregon's QRIS

Posted on May 13, 2015

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children reading a book together

"Being part of the QRIS gives me a feeling of pride. It is an opportunity for my program to be recognized as a quality program in the state." Mrs. Teapot's Tiny Tots

"Not only do the parents view me as more of a professional, but I view myself as more of one as well." Elli's Preschool & Daycare

Two children at lunch"QRIS is amazing. It started me thinking about my education, and now I am working, a mom of 5, and a full-time college student. Thank you, QRIS!" Lisa's Family Day Care

These are the kinds of statements we hear from child care providers who are participating in the statewide field test of Oregon's Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS).

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Oregon Traffic Safety Education Teachers Get Certified

Posted on April 17, 2015

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Registration Table

By Taylor Leech

Beginning in January 2015, three groups of new candidate instructors (in Oregon City, Redmond, and White City) eagerly awaited the first day of their Traffic Safety Education (TSE) classes. For 10 weeks, the instructors-in-training attended a series of in-class, online, and behind the wheel trainings. Upon completion of their training this past March, 15 instructors emerged as Oregon Department of Transportation,Traffic Safety Division-approved driver education instructors.

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My Long Journey to the Answer – Part 3

Posted on April 13, 2015

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Carol DennisWhy should it have to take courage?

By Carol Dennis

I’ve had a full month to digest the report that came out of my learning assessment at the Education Evaluation Center (EEC). That time has been filled with questions, self-reflection and new insights.

There are so many thoughts going through my mind all at once. I’ll try to sort them out and put them into words.

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Meet Dr. Linda McDowell - New Director of the Center on Deaf-Blindness

Posted on March 25, 2015

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Dr. Linda McDowellOn February 16, 2015, just two weeks after her arrival at TRI, I sat down with Dr. Linda McDowell to learn about the woman who now serves as the Director of TRI's Center on Deaf-Blindness (CDB). Housed within the Center on Deaf-Blindness are the Oregon Deaf-Blind Project and the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB). Included in her position as Director of TRI's CDB is the responsibility of serving as Executive Director of NCDB - which coordinates and serves deaf-blind projects in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Island nations.

It was fascinating to learn how she found her passion in the field of Deaf-Blindness.

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Posted on March 25, 2015

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Study on decreasing autism symptoms published in time for April’s National Autism Awareness Month

As National Autism Awareness Month approaches in April, a newly published breakthrough study in the peer-reviewed journal Autism Research and Treatment is giving hope and respite to parents of children with autism. This federally funded autism study conducted by the Teaching Research Institute (TRI) at Western Oregon University (WOU) confirms previous small scale studies reporting effectiveness of a breakthrough treatment for young children with autism.

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My Long Journey to the Answer - Part 2

Posted on March 1, 2015

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Part 2 - Assessment Day

By Carol Dennis

Carol DennisSeven hours of oral and written questions, puzzles, and interviews left me exhausted and exhilarated. The morning after, I felt like my brain had run a marathon - buzzing from all the mental gymnastics. Exhausted, exhilarated, and so glad I did it.

The “it” was having myself tested to see if my long-held suspicion that I have a reading disability is true. (See my previous post for more details.) And the answer turns out to be yes and no. I’ll explain that later.

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My Long Journey to the Answer

Posted on February 22, 2015

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Part 1 - Learning assessment at 62 years old

By Carol Dennis

Carol DennisSeveral months ago, I went through an emotional and eye-opening experience writing an article about the Education Evaluation Center at TRI. Learning that there is a place filled with kind, wonderful, knowledgeable people who can help a person find out why life can sometimes feel like an unsolvable puzzle, I couldn’t help wondering if they might find an answer for me.

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Abby's House App - From a Student's Perspective

Posted on February 16, 2015

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By Taylor Leech

We have all heard the horror stories about the assault that can happen in college, so naturally I was worried when I first came to WOU. Luckily, I learned about Abby’s House and all of the great services they provide. Not only do they provide resources for sexual violence, but they also have information on a multitude of subjects like women’s health, depression, and gender identity. And now they have the Abby’s House mobile app that brings even more peace of mind with resources and services for dating violence and sexual assault available at your fingertips!

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TRI Conducts Research on Executive Function in Babies Born Low Birth Weight

Posted on February 2, 2015

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By Carol Dennis

TRI Logo

Teaching Research Institute, in partnership with the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), has begun recruiting for a study on Executive Function in infants and toddlers born Low Birth Weight (LBW).

"It is so exciting to have cutting-edge research happening at TRI," says Dr. Ella Taylor, Director of TRI. "Since it was founded, more than 50 years ago, TRI has conducted research studies that have dramatically changed the face of education in America." For example, Dr. Edward Palmer's research on what holds the attention of pre-school children to television, that took place at TRI back in the 1960s and 70s, became the foundation for the Children's Television Workshop that created Sesame Street. “This new study on Executive Function in babies born Low Birth Weight has the potential to transform the field as Dr. Palmer's research did in education,” Dr. Taylor stated.

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Doing Everything We Can to Keep our Students Safe

Posted on January 12, 2015

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A new mobile app becomes part of a wider campaign to prevent sexual assault on WOU campus

By Carol Dennis and Jeff Denton

With a new focus on a very old problem, incidents of sexual assault on college campuses across the country have grabbed headlines and raised questions about the safety of our children as we send them off to college – many who are on their own for the first time. Western Oregon University’s Abby’s House (Center for Women and Families) is joining a growing number of universities to develop campus-specific smart-phone apps that will give students easy access to resources to keep them safe from assault, and provide support and advocacy if a student has been a victim or witness of a sexual assault.

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TRI Receives $1 Million ODE Grant to Develop Elementary Math Instructional Leaders in Oregon

Posted on December 3, 2014

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TRI Receives $1 Million ODE Grant to Develop Elementary Math Instructional Leaders in Oregon

The Teaching Research Institute (TRI) at Western Oregon University (WOU) has been awarded a $1 million grant by the Oregon Department of Education to recruit and educate 60 teachers in the mid-valley and mid-coastal areas to become Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leaders (EMILs).  Project DEMILO (Developing Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leaders in Oregon) is a collaboration between WOU, TRI, the Willamette Education Service District, and the Oregon Coast STEM Hub to address the need for increased math content knowledge for elementary school teachers. 

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Special Publication Dedicated to the Memory of a Boy Named Ethan

Posted on November 26, 2014

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Ethan standing next to a large pumpkin

A personal note from TRI's Amy Parker, Coordinator of Professional Development and Products with the National Center on Deaf-Blindness, about a boy named Ethan.

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Software Development Dilemmas Solved

Posted on October 23, 2014

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TRI-TIMS (Technology and Information Management Services) has a 13-year track record of delivering quality software on time and on budget to Oregon state agencies and national non-profits. We took the time to examine what characteristics of TIMS workflow has lead to our successes, and what obstacles and threats we have learned to avoid.

What came out of that exploration is a framework of best practices that we found can put a project – and keep a project -- on track. Below are the 3 essentials for working with software developers that can move your work forward without busting the budget or costing you sleep.

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Project PEPI Widens Reach of Inclusion in Oregon's Early Childhood Education

Posted on September 19, 2014

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Young girl with big smile

Project PEPI (Preparing Early Childhood Educators for Inclusion) is designed to fill in the gaps that currently exist in Early Childhood Education curriculum in Oregon’s community colleges to support the inclusion of children with disabilities and those from culturally diverse backgrounds. After a successful roll-out of a pilot program within four Oregon community colleges, the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP – a division of the US Department of Education) decided to expand the program and has increased funding to Project PEPI by $90,000.00 for the 2014-15 academic year. This increase is allowing the project to add three additional community colleges, nearly doubling its reach.

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Posted on August 27, 2014

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The Teaching Research Institute (TRI) and Louisa Silva, M.D., M.P.H. are announcing a first-time opportunity for parents with children between the ages of 6 and 11 with autism to enroll in a research study to receive free training and treatment. Enrollment has recently been extended through Sept. 12, and is open to residents of Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Yamhill, Polk, Marion, Linn, Benton, Lincoln and Lane counties.

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EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL CHILDREN - TRI on the cutting edge of inclusion

Posted on August 21, 2014

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This past July (2014), TRI faculty and staff were invited to present at national education conferences across the country to share their innovative approaches to inclusive education -- assuring that all children have an equal opportunity to succeed. Freshly back from the OSEP Project Directors Meeting (the Office of Special Education Programs), and the 2014 Deaf-Blind Summit, they share their thoughts, observations and reflections.

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How to Use Sign Language Interpreters Effectively

Posted on August 11, 2014

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Image result for icon for ASL  

This blog post provides some basics about using a sign language interpreter. Thanks to our talented student worker Leanne Cook for providing this information. Leanne is a senior in the ASL Interpreting program at WOU, and is a great resource for us all.

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TRI Staff to Present Unique Approach to Program Rating at the QRIS National Meeting

Posted on July 16, 2014

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By Carol Dennis

After a successful presentation on Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) at the 2014 National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development in Minneapolis, TRI staff members Robyn Lopez Melton, Pat Aldrich and Tom Udell were invited to repeat the presentation at the QRIS National Meeting, July 23-25, 2014 in Denver. The Portfolio Approach: A cost-effective measure for evaluating program standards focuses on Oregon’s unique use of a portfolio system to document standards as a cost effective approach.

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S.I.T.E. Project Gets National Attention

Posted on June 19, 2014

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TRI received great news from Mary Beth Tilson, Biology teacher at Delta High School in Pasco, WA. She has been selected to present at the Sustaining the Blue Planet Global Water Education Conference, taking place June 24 – 27 in Big Sky Montana. Why is this important to TRI? Because the student program that will be the centerpiece of her presentation was funded through a sub-grant received from TRI as part of a larger U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant. The SITE projects had to meet standards for both effective environmental education and service learning.

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For the Sake of the Children: Oregon's QRIS Field Test Launches Statewide

Posted on April 17, 2014

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On February 18 - 20, 2014, Oregon’s Quality Rating & Improvement System field test for early childcare programs prepared to launch statewide with a three-day training held at Western Oregon University.  The following article reflects the excitement surrounding Oregon’s QRIS launch.

It had been a very busy week at the Teaching Research Institute (TRI), Center on Early Learning. A dozen people working into the evening hours printing, collating, and making final decisions about the order of things. Banners and flyers had to be designed - centerpieces assembled. PowerPoint presentations copied into grand notebooks would serve as a great remembrance of what would be taught. The staff was exhausted and excited, and wondered where they would find the energy to sustain themselves for the three-day training that was now less than 12 hours away. 

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TRI part of newly awarded Mid-Willamette Valley Promise Consortium

Posted on April 8, 2014

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The Oregon Department of Education has announced that the Mid-Willamette Valley Promise Consortium has received a $500,000 grant for a collaborative program that will expand the ways that high school students in Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties can earn college credit during high school.  The Consortium is a collaboration between 20 school districts in Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties, Willamette Education Service District, Western Oregon University’s Teaching Research Institute, Oregon Institute of Technology, Corban University, Chemeketa Community College and the South Metro-Salem STEM Partnership.  This model, called the “Willamette Promise”, is based on the Eastern Promise program and will create additional opportunities for high school students to participate in college-level classes, as well as earning college credits or certificates.   The Willamette Promise was formed to create an educational environment that empowers all students to envision post-secondary and career success.  This consortium will offer these opportunities to school districts serving over 77,000 students. 

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TRI Awarded Grant to Close Opportunity Gaps for Students who are Culturally and/or Linguistically Diverse

Posted on April 7, 2014

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The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently awarded $200,000 to WOU’s Teaching Research Institute and College of Education, one of nine competitively funded grant awards, to support Project High Five – Culture, Collaboration, Commitment, Communication and Community.  The project is a collaborative endeavor between WOU, Central School District 13J, the Ella Curran Food Bank, and the Oregon Child Development Coalition to develop a strong Professional Development School (PDS) partnership program between Central School District and Western Oregon University based on principles of culturally responsive pedagogy while strengthening and expanding English Language Development (ELD) for English Learners and being actively involved with community partnerships and service to the community.

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