Since its inception in 2000, the Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment has made a tremendous impact on the lives of students and adults with disabilities in Oklahoma and throughout the United States through its research, personnel preparation activities, and community outreach. Dedicated by OU President David L. Boren in May 2001 and made possible by generous gifts from the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation and the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation, the Zarrow Center was founded to facilitate student-directed educational and employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities and to prepare OU students to assume leadership roles in schools, universities and support organizations.

To fulfill the Zarrow Center mission, James Martin, Zarrow Family Professor of Special Education and Director of the center said, “In the fall of 2000 when the Zarrow Center opened its doors there were few transition education activities occurring in secondary programs across the state — very, very few. Transition education practices are essential to increase the number of students with disabilities going from high school to further education and employment. We also needed actual transition education examples for our OU students to experience. It’s one thing to talk about transitional education practices in a class; but for students to understand the impact of quality transition education they need secondary practicum experiences where teachers implement transition education practices, so that OU students can see what they are learning about in their classes. These experiences make a big difference in what undergraduate students will do as future special education teachers.” So, much of what the Zarrow Center has done the past decade has been to implement multiple strategies to improve secondary transition education practices across the state as a foundation for future efforts. This past fall semester, for instance, our undergraduate students had practicum sites where they experienced transition education practices firsthand. In the last decade, we have gone from having no transition education practices being implemented at practicum sites, to transition education becoming a common practice that our pre-service students experience.”

With support from the Oklahoma Department of Education, Martin, along with Amber McConnell, a graduate of the OU Special Education doctoral program and a research associate at the Zarrow Center, wrote a handbook for educators on how to implement secondary transitional education practices. The handbook explains what special educators in Oklahoma need to do to implement secondary transition education practices. According to Martin, “This handbook operationalizes Oklahoma State Department of Education beliefs and practices about secondary transitional education.” The Handbook has been disseminated to educators across the state and is available for download at the Oklahoma Department of Education website.

The Zarrow Center has received almost $6 million in federal and state grant dollars for different projects, with a few offering targeted training to increase the quality of special education personnel. “For example, we recently completed a doctoral leadership grant that enabled us to recruit special education teachers who are African American and Native American from across the country into the OU Special Education Doctoral Program to become transition education specialists, and to receive the preparation needed to become higher education professors and educational leaders,” said Martin. “A new five-year project provides fellowships to master level students to become transition specialists that will further improve transition education practices in high schools around the state.” Martin continued, “The reception of this has just been incredible, we have had many more applicants last spring than we could accept.” Kendra Williams-Diehm, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, and Martin co-direct the Transition Scholar project.  Another cohort of Transition Scholars will be selected this spring semester. This grant also enabled the OU Special Education Program to create a new Transition Education Emphasis area as a part of the master’s degree in special education.

An example of the type of projects that the Zarrow Center completes is one that was funded by the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services and completed in collaboration with staff from the Oklahoma ABLE Tech at Oklahoma State University. They examined ways to teach high school students with disabilities how to attain their transition goals, and how assistive technology could assist with this process. For most people setting a goal increases the likelihood that that goal will be obtained, but for most students with disabilities they also must be taught how to attain the goals they set. Jodie Martin, a Zarrow Center research assistant who is unrelated to James Martin, coordinated this two-year project, which was implemented at three Oklahoma high schools. Students learned the goal attainment knowledge and when they implemented most of what they were taught, short-term transition goals were attained. Assistive technology increased students’ use of what they were taught and resulted in a greater number of attained goals. The first study will soon be published in a major transition education journal, and the second study will soon be submitted for publication.

The Zarrow Center web page has become a repository for transition education materials that provide educators access to lesson packages, assessments and other helpful information. Zarrow Center personnel have developed and field-tested different lesson materials teachers may access at no cost on Zarrow Center website. The most popular of these is called ME! – a lesson package for teaching self-awareness and self-advocacy for secondary-age students with disabilities that teachers around the world are downloading. Another lesson package, titled Student Directed Transition Planning, is popular among high school special education teachers as a tool to teach students to become actively involved in discussions associated with planning their lives after graduating from high school.

The center continues to develop new transition education materials. Zarrow Center researchers are developing a new transition assessment funded by a $2.1 million grant from the National Center for Special Education Research that Martin and Maeghan Hennessey from the Department of Educational Psychology obtained. Martin, Hennessey, and their colleagues, including Robert Terry from the OU Psychology department, gathered all of the known research on non-academic behaviors and experiences associated with post-school employment and further education success of former high school students with disabilities. These include skills such as students with disabilities understanding how their disability impacts their performance, knowing their strengths, attaining goals, participating in their education planning meetings, to holding a paid job while in high school. According to Amber McConnell, research coordinator for the project, “We gathered all of the research, developed constructs, then developed assessment items which have been revised numerous times.” McConnell continued, “We want to create a transition assessment that educators, students and family members can use that will generate annual transition goals based upon students’ needs that, when attained, will increase students’ likelihood of postsecondary education and employment.”

According to McConnell, “This year we have about 180 educators involved in the assessment research project, along with approximately 1,800 high school students with disabilities and their families. Our goal is to have a sample of 2,000 students, and I really think we will do it.” The students are from all across the United States, including some in Alaska and even from the island of Samoa. Zarrow Center staff will follow along students through their last two years of high school and into their adult lives to determine their employment and further education outcomes. “We will go back and identify the relationship between their initial high school assessment profile and what they are doing after high school to see what items on the assessment predicted the outcome,” said Martin. Most of the educators who have participated in the project in the past continue to participate. The teachers have told the Zarrow Center researchers that their students really enjoy participating in the project because it makes them feel important. The best part of the project is that educators are finding the information the assessment is generating useful.  “There’s no other assessment like it and in fall 2013 we’ll have the assessment up on the website for educators worldwide to access to help identify annual transition goals among their students, which when attained, will increase the students likelihood of post-school employment and education success,” Martin added.

McConnell believes there is a big emphasis right now on Common Core Standards, but the academic skills these represent are only part of what students with disabilities need for posthigh school employment and education. “They (the common core standards) only focus on the academic part of the picture, and we know there’s more to success after high school than learning academic skills. We are advocating that schools also begin to focus on teaching non-academic behaviors associated with post-school success.”   She continued, “There’s not one person who can’t think of someone they went to high school with who made the grades but did not succeed in life; there are other factors involved. It takes more than reading, writing and math to succeed. To make students, especially those with disabilities, college and career ready, it’s going to take more than the academic standards alone. This is where are new assessment can play a useful role.”

The Zarrow Center also has been working with the Oklahoma Transition Council, a statewide group of agency representatives, parents, special education directors and teachers, career technology staff, and higher education representatives who are interested in secondary transition education and what can be done to improve it. Every fall the Council puts on the Oklahoma Transition Institute, where Oklahoma educators come together in teams organized geographically. The participants receive best practice information, and then the teams incorporate the new information into plans to improve transition education in their own area. “It’s a great process to receive the information educators can take back to their schools and use. We’ve had several teachers tour the transition education programs of other schools to see what they are doing and how it can be implement in their own school. These examples are all a direct result of the Institute.” said McConnell. Martin added, “It’s a collaboration of many people from across the state.” With support from the Oklahoma State Department of Education, Martin, McConnell, and other Zarrow Center staff have conducted over the past few years dozens of
transition education professional development workshops for OTI teams across the state.

One project the Zarrow Center wants to work on in the future is the development of a model post-secondary education for young adul t s with intellectual disabilities. “We’re exploring the possibilities of getting such a program started at OU.” Martin noted.  Jennifer Burnes, a Zarrow Center research assistant, is leading the effort to develop this “Think College” type program, with the support of parents of youth with disabilities, high school educators, agency staff, and higher education representatives. They hope this new postsecondary option will be open in the next year or so and will become an educational and living experience for older high school students with disabilities that will lead to community employment. This college experience program will enable students with intellectual and other disabilities that typically would not be admitted to college to audit classes, experience jobs across campus, and interact with college students. “Ideally, we would like to establish this program as a model that other universities around the state can replicate,” said Martin, “but we are just starting that endeavor, so stay tuned as much remains to be done to get this ‘Think College’ type program running.”

For more information on the Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment, visit their website at

Ruth Gilliland Hardman’s passion was helping children learn to read. As a parent of a child with severe reading problems, she truly understood the frustration and the challenges of teaching a child to read. Drawing on her experiences with her own child, Hardman established the Ruth G. Hardman Literacy Service at the Tulsa City/County Library to assist parents, teachers and schools to help those children having difficulty learning to read. A short time later, she wanted to expand that program, so in 2002 she made a generous $1 million gift to establish the Center for Children with Learning Differences within the University of Oklahoma’s College of Education to support parents, teachers and children learning to read.

Today, the Hardman Center divides its work between applied research and dissemination of information. On the research side, the center has been working with the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education to discover how to provide better, more effective professional development in literacy for teachers – particularly in the areas of reading comprehension, vocabulary and writing. According to Hardman Center chair and center director Priscilla Griffith, “We have done a lot of research on what makes high-quality professional development and we have pulled that research together into a framework to actually deliver effective professional development to teachers in the schools.” Through various grants and working with a number of schools, — “we were able to structure a framework for high quality literacy professional development within the center,” Griffith said, noting that “the first grants looked at the professional development model and the impact on teachers. The Hardman Center’s study found that in terms of content knowledge, instructional skills and efficacy, those teachers receiving professional development had an increase in each of those three measures and that knowledge had sustainability over time. In the most recent grant, which focused on writing across the curriculum, the center was able to test children in writing with pre and post on demand writing samples. We found that this framework for professional development was not only successful in increasing teacher knowledge, skills and efficacy but increasing child outcomes, which is the goal, the big goal,” Griffith said.  Each year, an intensive Summer Institute is offered that includes follow-up meetings with the teachers who attended during the school year. The Summer Institute incorporates follow-up literacy coaching, where a coach will visit the teacher in their classroom for three hours at a time three times during the school year.  When discussing the center’s work, Griffith contrasts mastery and growth skills. The Hardman Center framework was built on successful work done in collaboration with the Center for Early Childhood Professional Development in the College of Continuing Education.  “From that work, we published data showing that children’s learning could be accelerated in areas such as phonological awareness, letter knowledge and concepts about print—those skills that are important precursors to learning to read because they form a foundation for learning to read,” Griffith said. “We found that having an impact on mastery skills could occur by improving teachers’ content knowledge and classroom teaching skills. In the Hardman Center we wanted to expand that work to growth skills. It can be more difficult to show an impact on broader domains of knowledge such as reading comprehension, vocabulary knowledge and writing, those areas where development continues across a lifetime.“

The other area in which the Hardman Center is very active in the dissemination of information.  Between 2008 and 2011, center staff provided over 5,900 professional development contact hours to 95 teachers in Seminole, Pottawatomie, Comanche and Garvin counties. The most extensive project to date is called “Every Student Succeeds across the Curriculum with Writing,” which adds teachers from Cleveland, Creek, Grady, Lincoln, Muskogee, Noble, Oklahoma, Pawnee, and Tulsa counties to the list of those served.  According to Griffith, “What is important is the dissemination of services to so many counties in the state of Oklahoma.” The Hardman Center also serves as a tutoring “broker” with a database of tutors which includes the age range of children they prefer to work with, their area of expertise and approximately how much they charge per hour. “So, a parent can call requesting a tutor and the center can give them names of several people who fit their needs,” Griffith said.  “We recommend they interview the tutor with their child to figure out who will be the best fit.”  Another dissemination activity is the Parent Lecture Series at Adams Elementary School in Norman. The monthly lecture series will last through the entire 2012-2013 school year.  JRCoE’s Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum department is providing speakers and topics for the series that include: How to Prepare Your Child to Do Well in School, English Language Learners, and other topics covering math, science, middle school children and how to prevent the “summer slump”. At each lecture, attendees leave with a bookmark or something that summarizes the topic for that evening. So far, the lectures have been well-attended and well received by the community.  Through research and dissemination, the Hardman Center continues Ruth Hardman’s passion to help children learn to read. To learn more about the Hardman Center, visit

Photo by Nikki Self

Amy Galoob, special education sophomore, sits in her teaching
class that talks about maintaining the classroom. Galoob was born deaf, but she
has cochlear implants that allow her to easily interact with teachers and
peers. She receives assistance from sign language interpreters and classmates,
but has otherwise flourished in the OU community.

There are stories all around the campus —in classrooms, across the dorm hallway, throughout the Oklahoma Memorial Union during the lunch rush.

A walk down the South Oval is a stroll past a library’s worth of living narratives still being written. Most are average, many are plain boring, but there are a few stories that have a humbling and uplifting thread running through their pages.

Meet Amy Galoob, a special education sophomore, Colorado-native and member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority. A passerby’s glance would illuminate a pretty, friendly, brightly observant undergraduate, but underneath the cover is a student who lives every day with a challenge many on campus don’t experience.

“I was born profoundly deaf,” said Galoob, sitting down for lunch. She was wearing a broad smile that one cannot help but reciprocate.

A daughter of two hearing-impaired parents, Galoob was born with little to no hair cells, which are responsible for making the follicles found in the inner ear that pickup and transmit sound information to the brain. Galoob’s older sister and younger brother are hearing impaired as well.

However, with the help of cochlear implants, Galoob is able to listen and communicate in normal, everyday conversation — as well as dish out her delightful sense of humor.

“It’s really a good gift, actually,” Galoob said. “I’m able to unplug and sleep like a baby every night.”

Bright and articulate, Galoob attends and participates in all regular classes for special education majors — in fact, she was recently asked by one of her professors to stand in front of one of her lecture hall classes and speak about her experience with hearing impairment.

However, Galoob also receives a bit of assistance from interpreters who translate lessons into sign language, as well as classmates who send her notes from each class.

“I’m usually able to hear my teachers just fine, but sometimes there are some important details I might miss, like test dates,” she said. “So I definitely appreciate having interpreters and classmates who help me out in that.”

As a resident of the Alpha Chi house, Galoob’s sense of community is only solidified by the friendships she has with her sisters.

“My roommate is responsible for my complete rescue and safety in case of a fire or tornado emergency,” Galoob said. “But joining Alpha Chi was such a great move for me, and I love all my friends there.”

However, being hearing-impaired does come with its handy hidden talents. Most notably, Galoob has the ability to read lips.

“It was quite useful in middle and high school when gossip was very popular,” Galoob said. “But I’ve toned back a bit.”

The transition from high school to college was a bit rocky, Galoob said. But she said she has finally found some stability at OU.

Galoob’s experience has influenced her future goals. She plans on specializing in teaching disabled children and students.

Hidden talents and greek groups aside, Galoob also is the new president of the Association for Disabled Students on campus. Although it’s a role she’s only inherited this semester, Galoob has big plans and deep passion for the group.

Although it seems life for Galoob is enjoyable and well defined, she admits her path has not always been this straight. Growing up with her challenges with hearing, as well as the trials of speech therapy, Galoob described her childhood by progressing through a handful of schools, searching for the one that would best meet her needs.

“There were definitely times it was difficult and hard to do. Always meeting new people, not really having that group of friends you go through elementary, middle and high school with,” said Galoob. “But overall, I just love talking with people. And I really feel like I’ve finally found a solid home here at OU with a great school and great friends.”

March 29, 2012

AnonymousThe Norman TranscriptThu Mar 29, 2012, 11:12 AM CDT

NORMAN — Dr. Leslie J. Rainbolt-Forbes of Oklahoma City has been elected as chairman of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents and Richard R. Dunning, also of Oklahoma City, has been elected as vice chairman of the board.

Rainbolt-Forbes was appointed by Gov. Brad Henry to the OU Board of Regents in 2006. She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Newcomb College at Tulane University; master of business administration degree from Thunderbird, the Garvin School of International Management; and a medical degree with special distinction from the OU College of Medicine. She served on the OU College of Medicine faculty as an assistant clinical professor of dermatology and adjunct assistant clinical professor of pediatrics until her retirement from practice.

Rainbolt-Forbes currently serves on the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center’s Board of Visitors and the board’s nominating committee. Also active in the community, she serves the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma as secretary and scholarship committee chair, as well as on the board of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Oklahoma County, the Children’s Hospital Foundation and Oklahoma City’s Casady School Board of Directors. She and her husband, Scott, have four daughters.

Dunning was appointed by Gov. Henry to the OU Board of Regents in 2007.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in geological studies from OU in 1977.  He founded Indian Oil Co. in April 1981 and currently serves as president and CEO of Indian Exploration Co. LLC in Oklahoma City. He served as a member of the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Committee from 2003 to 2007 and is a member of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association and the Wildcatters Club; additionally, he previously served on the board of Friends of the Mansion and on the Governor’s Energy Board.

At OU, Dunning serves on the advisory committee of the ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics in the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy. He and his wife, Jennifer – an OU graduate – also serve on the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center Leadership Council. The Dunnings, who have six children, are the primary benefactors of the Keystone Adventure School and Farm, an art-based, multi-age and project-oriented elementary school and working farm that addresses the needs of each child in the unique way that he or she learns.

Chris A. Purcell of Norman was elected to serve as the board’s executive secretary and vice president for university governance. Purcell, who has been re-elected each year since 1992, also serves as secretary of OU, Cameron University and Rogers State University.  She was selected in 2005 by OU’s Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education as one of “75 Who Made A Difference” as well as being honored with the Walter Neustadt and with the UOSA Outstanding Administrator awards.  In addition to her other duties, she teaches courses in adult education, higher education and human relations.  She earned her bachelor of arts, master’s in education and doctoral degrees, all from OU.

Officials at the University of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma City School District say they expect a U.S. Department of Education grant will dramatically increase college preparedness among the city’s low-income students.

The school district and OU’s Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education were awarded a seven-year, $26 million grant designed to improve college readiness and boost high school graduation rates.

Staff from OU’s K20 Center for Educational and Community Renewal will work with about 4,500 sixth- and seventh-grade students at 10 low-income middle schools: Centennial, Douglas, Jackson, Jefferson, John Marshall, Northeast, Rogers, Roosevelt, Taft and Webster.

Scott Wilson, OU’s director for innovative technologies, said OU staff will work with school leaders, faculty members, parents and students during the project. The staffers begin working with sixth- and seventh-grade students and follow that cohort until graduation, he said.

Although the program focuses on a single cohort of students, he said, it will still have an impact on classes that follow in later years because it will leave behind teachers who are better equipped and have more resources to draw on. In that sense, he said, the grant’s impact will be sustained for years after the funding period is over.

One of the goals of the program, he said, is to help teachers tailor their instruction to allow students to take a larger role in what they do in class. That style of instruction helps students understand how the lessons they’re learning apply to the real world.


Part of the aim of the program is to make students more comfortable with the idea of going to college, Wilson said. To do that, coordinators will try to get students onto a college or university campus at least once a year.

In the early years, those college visits may not have anything to do with the institution itself, he said. For example, students may go to a college campus to learn to use handheld GPS devices to log longitude and latitude.

While such activities could easily be done nearly anywhere in the city, holding them on campus helps students get a better idea of what college looks like.

“They can see themselves there,” he said. “They can see other students walking around that, maybe, look like them.”

As the students get older and closer to graduation, the campus experience would get more heavily geared toward college preparedness, he said. Coordinators will speak with students about why college is important. Students may go to a campus and complete a miniature college schedule to help them get a better idea of how college life differs from high school, he said.

The program also includes summer experiences, including one that brings students with their parents to a campus to share a dorm room. Not only does that experience give students a better idea of what going to college would be like, it also helps ease the minds of parents who, in many cases, have no experience with college themselves, he said.

That component of the program has the potential to have a major impact in students’ thoughts about college, said Sheli McAdoo, the school district’s executive director of secondary schools and reform.

If the program can get students engaged with campus activities, rather than simply putting them on campus, it will help them get a better idea of how they might fit into a college setting. That could get students, as well as parents who didn’t go to college, more used to the idea of higher education.

“I certainly see it having a big impact on our current sixth- and seventh-graders,” she said.


This article first appeared in the March 8 issue of The Oklahoman.
By Silas Allen, Oklahoman Staff Writer

Kathleen Evans , Assistant Campus Editor, OU Daily

The percentage of A’s given in OU colleges has increased
over the past 10 years, and A’s were the most common grade given in all but one college during the fall 2011 semester.
July 2011, a team of researchers looked at the percentages of A’s on a national level and found the top grade accounted
for 43 percent of all letter grades in 2008, an increase of 28 percent since 1960, according to research published in the Teachers College Record.

The rise in A’s corresponds with a decrease in C’s, D’s and F’s, according to the research.

The Daily received records of the percentages of A’s in each college over the past 10 years, which takes into account the grades of any students receiving grades in classes offered in those colleges, not necessarily just majors. It also excludes people who did not receive a letter grade in classes.

OU colleges match this national trend, showing a 2 percent average increase in the percentages of A’s in the past 10 years, according to the records. In fall 2002, colleges gave 51.22 percent A’s, opposed to 53.87 percent in fall 2011.

Academic provost Nancy Mergler said the percentage of grades in each college is not an accurate representation of the average abilities of students because it does not take into consideration the weight of each grade.

However, the average GPA has increased from 3.06 in fall 2004 to 3.10 in fall 2010, Mergler said. She does not see this as grade inflation but rather an increase in the academic preparedness of students entering OU.

OU does not have an institutional policy on grades or grade inflation in place, Mergler said. Faculty and staff have varying viewpoints about how to gauge students, so OU does not put restrictions in place.

The Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education had the highest offered A’s in courses 82.9 percent of the time, according to records. The next highest were the OU Honors College with 73.76 percent and the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts with 67.41 percent.

The College of Education does not have any policies regarding grade inflation, Communications Director Christine Frank said. The administration credits the high grades to high admission standards within the college.

“We are very concerned about only sending the best and the brightest into Oklahoma classrooms, because of this, our students have to reach high standards to pursue a career in teaching,” said Dr. Teresa DeBacker.

At the lowest end of the scale is the Price College of Business, which gave 31.03 percent A’s in fall 2011 and was the only college to give more B’s that semester, which totaled 43.10 percent.

Even with the lowest percentage of A’s, the college has seen an increase in higher-level grades, according to reports; in fall 2002, As made up 23.74 percent and B’s were 41.90 percent.

The college does not have a policy about grades, but administrators do take grade distributions into consideration when evaluating professors.

“When the faculty are evaluated in the college, vigor, including grading vigor, is among the things looked at when deciding if a faculty member is doing his or her job,” Associate Dean Nim Razook said.

The college also has a culture in which it emphasizes vigor in its courses and training students, Razook said.

However, Razook said he emphasized that this mindset and culture is not only within the business college, but also in
others across campus.

“It’s just a matter of culture, I guess,” Razook said. “In some way I am glad that we’re relatively less lenient in passing out A’s, but I don’t think it’s because of any reason other than culture.”

Minneapolis, MN (PRWEB) February 15, 2012

Free Spirit Publishing brings service learning to the primary curriculum with
Service Learning in the PreK–3 Classroom: The What, Why, and How-To Guide for Every
(Free Spirit Publishing, $39.99), written by early childhood
education experts Vickie E. Lake, Ph.D., and Ithel Jones, Ed.D.

What is service learning? Service learning is an instructional approach that combines thoughtfully organized community service with experiential student learning in a way that changes and improves both the student and the community. It can be a powerful tool in reaching, teaching, and inspiring young children, and this book presents the background knowledge and skills needed to effectively use service learning in preK and primary

Service Learning in the PreK–3 Classroom is based on field trials the authors conducted with over 2,000 students and 215 educators, during a three year grant funding Drs. Lake and Jones to infuse service learning into their early childhood teacher education program at Florida State University. During this time, Lake and Jones realized the need for a resource written to help teachers of preK–grade 3, administrators, and early childhood professionals increase
their understanding of service learning and its role in the early childhood classroom.

“The idea that a kindergartner can be actively involved in service learning
projects—and understand the impact of their actions on others—is one that often surprises people,” says Jones. “But the fact is, young children can make a big difference in their communities.”

Rich in both theory and practice, the book reflects the tenets of the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) developmentally appropriate practices (DAP), combining community service with differentiated curriculum-based learning to meet the academic and social needs of young children in meaningful ways. The sample lesson plans in the book are based on tried and tested classroom projects and correlated to national service
learning, Head Start, and core content standards. An accompanying CD-ROM offers
customizable versions of the book’s dozens of forms and templates for lesson planning, assessment, and more. It also includes a PowerPoint presentation for use in preservice and professional development.

Service Learning in the PreK–3 Classroom provides service learning opportunities that support high academic standards and, at the same time, foster children’s social development by teaching them to be good citizens.

About the authors

Vickie E. Lake, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of early childhood education the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at The University of Oklahoma. She holds a master’s degree in education from Vanderbilt University and a Ph.D. in philosophy from The University of Texas at Austin. She has written for the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education and Childhood Education, among other publications, and presents at professional conferences. A former teacher, staff developer, and early childhood district coordinator, Vickie has a passion
for character education and high-quality education for young children. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Ithel Jones, Ed.D., is an associate professor of early childhood education at Florida State University. He earned his M.S. from the University of Wisconsin at Stout and his doctor of education at the University of Georgia. Ithel was a teacher and primary school principal in his native Wales, and he has been a teacher educator at three universities in the United States. He currently teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in early childhood education and has
published more than 30 articles and book chapters. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

About Free Spirit

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Free Spirit is the leading publisher of learning tools that support young people’s social-emotional health and their educational needs. Free Spirit’s mission is to help children and teens think for themselves, succeed in life, and make a difference in the world. For more information, visit

$39.99 / Softcover / 224 pp. / 8½” x 11″ / For teachers of PreK–grade 3, administrators, and early childhood professionals

Service Learning in the PreK–3 Classroom (Book with CD-ROM): The What, Why, and How-To Guide for Every Teacher ISBN 978-1-57542-367-8

Advance praise for Service Learning in the PreK-3 Classroom:

“A wonderfully useful guide [that] belongs on the shelf of every preK–3
teacher interested in bringing learning to life through service.”—Joe Follman,
founding director, Florida Learn & Serve

“Wonderfully comprehensive . . . incredibly practical . . . rich and
innovative . . . includes everything teachers will need to implement projects.”

—Judy Jablon, educational consultant and author of Powerful Interactions:
How to Connect with Children to Extend Their Learning (NAEYC)

“A great resource for educators to embrace their critical role in shaping the
mindset of young students.”—Clifton L. Taulbert, K–12 education consultant and
author of Eight Habits of the Heart for Educators

“Comprehensive . . . remarkably clear . . . a required resource for anyone
who wants to link experiential learning with the development of social
responsibility.”—Elizabeth A. Ethridge, Ed.D., associate professor of early
childhood education, University of Oklahoma

“A helpful guide for educators who want to ensure that our youngest
participants have opportunities to contribute to society.”—Cathryn Berger Kaye,
M.A., author of The Complete Guide to Service Learning


By Jerri CulpepperThe Moore AmericanWed Jan 25, 2012, 07:08 AM CST

MOORE — Imagine living in a family, a neighborhood, where no one you know has ever gone to college, or even aspired to it. Imagine knowing from an early age that, more than likely, after graduating from high school, if you made it that far, you are destined to work in the same factory, fast food restaurant or other blue-collar job as your parents, siblings, friends and neighbors.

Then, imagine this. In middle school, you are approached and told that, while it will require you to work hard now and in the coming years, you have a choice. College is a possibility, if you desire it. So is a career. You can aspire to become a journalist, teacher, architect, engineer, lawyer, doctor — the possibilities are endless.

That scenario will become reality for more than 4,500 sixth- and seventh-graders in 10 low-income urban schools within the Oklahoma City Public School district, thanks to a recent seven-year, $26 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to the University of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma City Public Schools.

The GEAR UP for PROMISE (Promotion of Readiness through Opportunities that Motivate and Increase Student Expectations) project seeks to better prepare urban students for college by increasing the ability of students to meet established performance levels in math, science, literacy and technology. The program also aims to provide students and their families with a better understanding of how to prepare and pay for college.

Gregg Garn, interim dean of the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education and director of the K20 Center for Educational and Community Renewal — a statewide education research and development center based in the college that promotes innovative learning through school-university-community collaboration — and Scott Wilson, associate director of the K20 Center, say that the implications go far beyond helping the students directly served through this grant. If successful, the model can be used to launch similar efforts in other impoverished areas across the state.

Any practice that has a significant chance of breaking the cycle of poverty is worth close investigation, not only, of course, for the alleviation of human suffering, but because of the tremendous costs associated with welfare programs.

In Oklahoma, as in many parts of the nation, poverty rates are, tragically, rising. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, which recently released new state-level data from the American Community Survey on poverty in 2010, some 616,610 Oklahomans — one out of every six — lived in poverty in 2010. The state’s poverty rate rose from 16.2 percent in 2009 to 16.9 percent in 2010. Oklahoma’s poverty rate remains 1.6 percentage points above the nation’s and was 14th highest among the states. The statistics are worse for children. The poverty rate for children, at 24.5 percent, is higher than that of working-age adults (15.5 percent) or seniors (9.3 percent). And the poverty rate for children rose 2.2 percentage points in 2010.

Poverty is closely correlated with education. An individual with only a high school degree is four times as likely to be poor as a college graduate. And persons without a GED or high school diploma are almost seven times likelier to be poor than college graduates. About a quarter of poor Oklahomans over age 25 did not graduate from high school.

Wilson, who also serves the K20 Center as director of Innovative Technology Partnerships, said the grant will fund the recruitment and employment of 21 professionals, ranging from master teachers, who will mentor cohort teachers on the use of research-based instructional strategies, to a veteran school teacher with knowledge of the schools’ specific needs. In all, he explains, the grant will allow the hiring of 10 professionals with work experience within schools and/or with students from areas with high poverty; five technical staff who will author Digital Game-Based Learning environments that target specific project goals and objectives; and six research, evaluation and support professionals who will help implement project services.

The project will utilize a four-phase model developed by the K20 Center.

In the first phase, Wilson said, each of the schools will send leaders — including teachers, counselors and parents — to a leadership seminar, where they will form teams. These teams will develop an action plan that ties technology integration and school goals and build a community that supports authentic learning that aligns with core standards established by the state. Phase one also includes a “Counselor Academy,” where counselors gain insight from urban-based research and learn best practices to increase students’ and families’ knowledge of and access to college financial aid.

In phase two, school administrators and teachers learn how to involve students in critical thinking through real-world learning scenarios that lead to self-directed student learning. Wilson explains that experience has shown that, as students develop critical-thinking skills, they also gain the confidence to take and succeed in rigorous courses, which increase the likelihood of their graduating from high school.

In the third phase of the project, the teachers will participate in the K20 Center’s Authentic Teaching Experiences summer intervention program, where they will learn how to implement interactive lessons that will engage their students. K20 staff will provide ongoing support through mentoring, debriefing, regional meetings and institutes after they return to their classrooms.

In the fourth phase of the project, the middle school students in the program will be taken to visit several colleges and universities in the state, where they will be exposed to campus life and learn about the different degree paths and/or careers that are available to them. During this visit, the students will have a chance to visit with college representatives and to receive specific information on such issues of concern as entrance requirements, cost, scholarships and other financial aid options.

Students and their parents also will be invited to participate in a two-day college forum, where they will be invited to explore different majors and visit the learning spaces, labs and facilities used by students currently following the major or career path in which they are interested.

Noting that all of the schools selected for the GEAR UP project regularly score very low on the College Readiness Benchmarks — a measurement that predicts success in freshman-level college courses — Wilson said their overall goal will be to move this cohort of students’ performance in mathematics, science reasoning, literacy and technology to the state average. Also in the process, they aspire to a number of other incremental improvements, including an increase in daily attendance and a greater percentage of students who are promoted on time to successive grade levels.

One of the ways they hope to accomplish this is by exposing the teachers to new ways of teaching that have proven to be more effective than relying solely on traditional methods, including lectures and memorization.

“While teachers are not entertainers,” Wilson said, “they should be able to provide the connections from what students are asked to learn to an application in the real world. This type of learning, known as authentic learning, has been shown to improve student achievement for all students and is particularly effective with students of low socioeconomic status.

“When instructional tasks are interesting and require creativity by students, student engagement and achievement are positively impacted,” he added.

The K20 staff also hopes that by providing more guidance on the courses college-bound students need to take and by exposing them to campus life at several colleges, these students will be better armed with the prerequisite skills and strategies to succeed in their studies, both now and when they head off to college.

“This seven-year partnership helps students and their families explore opportunities and develop plans which can unlock doors to future career options we cannot imagine today,” Garn said.  “It’s good for individual students and their families, their schools and our state.”

OU Board of Regents approve new tobacco policy

By Caitlin SchudallaTheNorman TranscriptWed Jan 25, 2012, 01:29 AM CST

NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents approved a policy banning smoking on campus — except in two designated areas — during its meeting Tuesday afternoon.

“We feel morally obligated as an educational example to help save lives in our community and our country,” OU President David Boren said. “Over 500 colleges and universities nationwide have already adopted similar policies to make their campuses tobacco-free.”

The policy will go into effect July 1 and will be enforced by fines of up to $50 for repeat offendors. As a campus policy, the smoking ban will apply to visitors and OU students, faculty and staff.

When the policy goes into effect, it will prohibit all smoking at sports venues, such as the Gaylord Family Okahoma Memorial Stadium and Lloyd Noble Center.

The features of the policy were based largely on the conclusions of Boren’s tobacco policy advisory committee, led by OU College of Public Heath Dean Gary Raskob, Ph.D.

“We truly did seek very broad input from the campus and surrounding community,” Raskob said. “We’ve received enormous support from local and national groups. The timing is right for this step.”

In spite of a committee majority of around 80 percent favoring a completely tobacco-free campus, Boren and the board of regents agreed to designate two smoking areas. The proposed isolated locations in the parking lots of Dale Hall and Lloyd Noble Center are intended to minimize exposure to secondhand smoke.

Boren called these smoking areas a “compromise,” saying he and the committee recognize the difficulty in quitting smoking and wish to make the intended transition to a healthier lifestyle as smooth as possible.

The university will offer free tobacco-use cessation classes beginning February and free quit kits, personal coaching, online tools and up to $500 coverage of prescription drug coverage for those who qualify. Norman Regional Hospital also offers a free, four-session program for tobacco-use cessation called QuitSmart.

In addition to adopting the new tobacco policy, the regents approved the purchase of a warehouse space at 705 E. Lindsey St. They also sanctioned the university to actively attempt to acquire the residential properties at 209, 211, 213 and 215 E. Brooks St.

The warehouse space will continue to serve as shop space for the university’s Facilities Management. The residential spaces will be operated and maintained by University Real Estate Operations, pending their purchase.

Other actions of note include:

· Gregg Garn was approved as the new dean of the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education.

· The regents approved the purchase a $2.1 million cluster supercomputer for the OU Supercomputing Center for Education and Research.

· The Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course was approved to receive new maintenence equipment, including new service vehicles and golf carts.

· A 24,000 square foot practice facility for the women’s intercollegiate rowing team  was added to the Campus Master Plan of Capital Improvement Projects for the Norman campus.

Caitlin Schudalla  366-3541 cschudalla@

Read More Here – It’s Official!

From: OU News

Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 8:22 AM



CONTACT: OU Public Affairs, (405) 325-1701

NORMAN – Gregg A. Garn, a teacher and researcher who has worked to improve the quality of education in Oklahoma, is expected to be named dean of the University of Oklahoma Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, pending approval of the OU Board of Regents at its January meeting.  Garn, who has served as interim dean of the college since July 1, 2011, also was named as head of the Division of Teacher Education and as director of the Education Profession Division.

“Nothing is more important than the training of those who will teach and mentor the next generation,” said OU President David L. Boren. “Gregg Garn will provide outstanding leadership to the Rainbolt College of Education.  He already enjoys a national reputation as an innovative leader in the field of education.”

Garn also serves as a professor of educational leadership and policy studies and director of the K20 Center for Educational and Community Renewal, a university-wide research and development center focused on teaching and learning innovations for K-12 schools.

Garn joined the faculty of the college’s Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in 1998, becoming the faculty program coordinator for the department’s degrees in educational administration, curriculum and supervision in 2004. Serving in a variety of leadership roles within the college, he was named associate dean for professional studies in 2007 and associate dean for the School of Community Partnerships in 2009. He also was awarded the Linda Clarke Anderson Presidential Professorship.

Garn is active in several national organizations, including the Politics of Education Association, the University Council for Educational Administration and the American Educational Research Association. He has been a part of multiple externally funded projects focused on K12 education and has worked with state policymakers and professional associations to improve the quality of education in Oklahoma. Garn’s research focuses on school choice, policy development and implementation, and the politics of education. He has been published in such scholarly journals as Educational Administration Quarterly, Education and Urban Society, Education Policy Analysis Archives
and Educational Leadership.

Garn earned his bachelor’s degree in history and education from the University of Northern Iowa and his master’s and doctoral degrees, in social and philosophical foundations of education and educational leadership and policy studies, respectively, from Arizona State University.

The Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2005, has an enrollment of 1,587 (829 graduate and 758 undergraduate students) and offers degree programs that prepare educators for the classroom as well as for careers in such diverse fields as administration, counseling, literacy and advocacy. The college is home to more than a dozen centers and institutes that directly help Oklahomans in their daily lives. The college is nationally recognized for its programs in counseling psychology, educational psychology, continuing education, school improvement, early childhood literacy, school leadership and multicultural issues in education.  Last year, the college attracted $6 million in external funding for research.


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