Q&A: Using research to transform educational leadership

Educators meeting
Aug 11 2017

School districts across the nation are turning to research to transform their central offices in ways that support better teaching and learning for all students.

Yet putting that research into practice is no easy task, even when districts bring in high-quality outside help says the University of Washington’s Meredith Honig, associate professor of education policy, organizations and leadership and executive director of the District Leadership Design Lab.

STEM Inside: Arts-integrated STEM learning programs

STEM learning
Jul 27 2017

Teens from marginalized communities often contend with strong cultural messages and under-resourced schools that discourage them from pursuing STEM learning. How can programs that embed science, computational and design skills inside other activities—like participating in science events at outdoor music festivals—build student interest, develop their skills and shift their perceptions of what science is and can be for them?

Exploring new ways of teaching, learning and knowing

Meixi
Jul 26 2017

How can schools move from being a source of inequity and harm to a source of community resurgence?

Intrigued by this question, Meixi (PhD ‘19) found that building relationships between communities and schools is the key to unlocking new ways of teaching, learning and knowing.

Originally from Singapore, Meixi spent childhood years at an indigenous hill tribe school in northern Thailand, which is where she saw the deep need to explore diverse methods of teaching and learning.

From volunteer to decision-maker: how parents can play a greater role in schools

Math problem solving
Jul 24 2017

Most schools offer parents specific ways to help out: Join the PTA, chaperone a field trip, grade papers for a teacher or assist on a classroom art project.

Those volunteer opportunities, however, not only reinforce the top-down power structure of schools, but also cater to mostly white, privileged families, maintaining the institutionalized racism that marginalizes low-income families and families of color, said Ann Ishimaru, assistant professor of education at the University of Washington.

Improving practice, inspiring growth

Summer Leadership Institute
Jul 20 2017

For several years, Stacy Thomas (EdD ‘15) and her colleagues at Blaine School District watched with concern as approximately half of 3rd graders weren’t able to read at their grade level.

“Our scores district-wide had been hovering in that range for quite some time, and there were indications it seemed to be getting worse,” said Thomas, the district’s executive director of teaching and learning.

Building community in the teaching profession

Elzena McVicar
Jul 17 2017

Growing up in New Orleans, Elzena McVicar (MIT ‘10) was surrounded by a family filled with teachers. Years of family conversations about education convinced McVicar that teaching was not for her.

While working on her bachelor's degree in anthropology, however, McVicar took a work study job as a tutor. Then, after graduating from college, she found herself working in an elementary school as an AmeriCorps volunteer. These two experiences changed McVicar’s perceptions of education, ultimately leading her in a new professional direction.

Connecting learning with making

Virtual reality 3D painting
Jul 13 2017

When Luke Reichley was in elementary school 20-odd years ago, paint and clay were his primary tools for making.

While children have long used their imaginations to create toys and art from whatever is at hand, digital technologies are opening new opportunities for educators to bring making into their classrooms. This summer, Reichley and his fellow elementary teacher candidates at the University of Washington College of Education are experiencing a glimpse into that future.

Learning gardens aim to grow student engagement in science

Students at learning garden.
Jul 12 2017

Despite the growing awareness of socio-ecological challenges facing humans in the 21st century, science learning still mostly takes place inside the classroom, disconnected from the natural world.

Rethinking social justice teaching

Lisa Sibbett
Jul 6 2017

While working as a high school English teacher, Lisa Sibbett (PhD ‘18) became aware of a disconnect between social justice-focused teaching and its real-world application.

Building bridges between cultures

Patricia Ferreyra
Jun 15 2017

From her formative years in Buenos Aires to pursuing a PhD at the University of Washington in Seattle, Patricia Ferreyra has combined her passion for both music and education to build bridges between cultures.

As a high school student, Ferreyra’s love for the guitar introduced her to teaching, as she tutored peers in both guitar and English.

“I believe teaching was a natural choice for me,” she said. “I had a good experience at school and with my teachers. I loved going to school and I believe that experience influenced my interest in education.”