How can pursuing an education help you find your voice — and how can you use your voice to transform others?
San José State’s Connie L. Lurie College of Education is subverting the hierarchies embedded in higher education, primarily “systemic racism that has historically prevented full inclusion and equity for our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) students, staff, and faculty,” one initiative at a time. Starting in 2018, Dean Heather Lattimer invited students, staff and faculty to participate in a year-long strategic planning process to brainstorm innovative ways to disrupt education. How could each department, from Teacher Education to Communicative Disorders and Sciences, create an environment that promoted inclusivity, diversity and anti-racist thought?
The first step? Listening. Listening to our teachers, undergraduates, graduate students and staff as well as educators working in the field, researchers and policymakers. Listening to lecturers like Marcella McCollum, ’05 MA Speech Pathology, ’22 EdD, who not only volunteered to serve on the strategic planning committee but also proposed a minor in Transformative Leadership in partnership with Rebeca Burciaga, professor of educational leadership and Chicana and Chicano Studies.
“We need to think about changing paradigms,” says McCollum. “We cannot just offer a class or textbook that tells you how to overcome the challenges that exist in our current educational systems as they are designed. We want students to question why things are the way they are. We want them to have the tools, so they can push back when something looks unjust.”
Throughout the year-long process, the strategic planning committee interviewed students, gathered research and collaborated to update the college mission. The committee created an identity statement and formed four strategic pillars — community engagement, cultural sustainability, holistic approaches and interdisciplinary collaboration — which unites the college’s work across departments. Faculty, staff and students were then invited to submit grant proposals for endeavors that aligned with those pillars.
Luz Nicacio, ’21 Child and Adolescent Development, provided key insight as the only undergraduate on the committee who helped review grant proposals, provide feedback to those submitting ideas and select those that would be awarded funding.
“I saw how influential my voice was in deciding the college’s direction,” she says. “Being on the committee showed me that my college values the opinions of its students and does care about us.”
On September 2, President Papazian announced that after nearly two years, San José State University is finally able to safely host in-person commencement ceremonies!
That means that this December our Fall 2021 graduating students will be invited to attend their college commencement ceremony, and our Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 graduated students will be invited to attend a makeup ceremony of their choice.
Congratulations to Multiple Subject Credential Program Supervisor and Lecturer Asha Sudra Finkel, who has been selected as September’s honorary poet laureate for Santa Clara County! Asha has been recognized by the Santa Clara County Alliance of Black Educators, KQED, TEDx, Content Magazine, SVPride, and GenCreates that she consistently uses her platform to voice out against injustice. She published Crawling in my Skin, a Kafkaesque exploration of the mind and mental health through the metaphor of ants, which was featured by Brown Girl Mag. Her latest book, Not Your Masi’s Generation is a memoir-like workbook that tackles mental health and healing from intergenerational trauma. Her dream is to establish her own K-12 school rooted in restorative practices, art, and social justice based standards.
Join Dean Heather Lattimer and Associate Dean Marcos Pizarro on Wednesday, September 1, from 3-4pm on Zoom for an informal discussion about your student priorities! The information to join the Zoom discussion was sent to Lurie College students via a Google Calendar email invitaiton.
Welcome to the Fall 2021 semester at SJSU’s Lurie College of Education. We are so excited to be back on campus this fall and very much look forward to connecting with you in person. Our faculty, staff, and student leaders have been working hard to prepare engaging and meaningful in person and virtual experiences that are designed to support you on your educational journey.
The past year and a half has repeatedly demonstrated the importance of the academic and professional fields housed in our college. As our society has grappled with the overlapping pandemics of COVID 19, economic inequality, racial injustice, and environmental degradation, it is our teachers, counselors, therapists, school and community leaders who are providing possibility and hope to children, families, and communities.
As a college, we are committed to preparing you to be transformative leaders in your fields. In your classes this semester you’ll be challenged to explore new ideas and dig deep into critical questions. You’ll also have opportunities to connect to faculty and advisors outside of class, work on faculty-led research projects, and pursue initiatives connected to our college strategic plan. Our student-led clubs offer academic enrichment, advocacy, and social activities. And I encourage you to make time to go to your professors’ office hours, drop by our Student Success Center, and just hang out with other students in your program – this human connection is something that we’ve all been craving during the past year and a half. And it is in these informal interactions that life-long connections are made and some of the best, most transformative learning takes place.
As we navigate the coming semester, I encourage you to be patient with yourselves and others as we all adapt to the evolving dynamics of the pandemic. Please take care of yourselves and prioritize your physical, mental, and emotional health. Look out for members of our larger community by remembering to wear your mask, stay home, and get tested if you have any COVID symptoms, and – if you haven’t already, please get vaccinated. Our faculty and staff are working to ensure the safest conditions possible. Stay in close communication with your professors and program advisors, ask questions if you need clarification, and reach out if you have a physical or mental health concern. More information about SJSU health policies and additional resources can be found on the SJSU Adapt website. These are challenging times and we all need to prioritize kindness and generosity in our community and remember to give grace to yourselves and one another.
My hope for you is that you will find joy this semester. In the midst of multiple pressures and sometimes overwhelming challenges, I hope that you find joy in your classes, in our Lurie College community, and in the purpose and passion that brought you to SJSU. Our faculty, staff, and leadership team are here to support you and champion your success at every step along your journey.
Take good care and have a fantastic Fall semester!
We are seeking an SJSU student to join our community as a part-time Multimedia Student Assistant! The Lurie College of Education Multimedia Student Assistant will support the efforts of the Dean’s Office to effectively communicate opportunities, resources, and stories to our community through several digital mediums such as graphic design, photography, videography, social media, websites, blogs, newsletters, and Zoom. This position is intended to primarily be remote / virtual but may have in-person opportunities depending on availability and need. Learn more about us via our Lurie College Linktree.
Available to work 10-20 hours per week
Ability to complete projects in a remote, sometimes asynchronous environment
Ability to contribute to a positive workplace environment
Effective oral and written communication skills with various audiences such as current students, prospective students, alumni, faculty and staff
General knowledge of software platforms such as the Microsoft Office suite, Google Suite, and/or Adobe Creative Cloud
Experience with one or more of the following – digital publications, graphic design, photography, videography, social media management, and/or website optimization
General knowledge of SJSU university policies
Ability to work throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, and possibly beyond depending on need, interest, and funding
Prior administrative and/or client service experience
Experience with interviewing and/or storytelling
Familiarity with the Lurie College of Education’s organizational structure
Proficiency with Microsoft Office suite, Google suite, and/or Adobe Creative Cloud
The anticipated compensation for this position will be $16-17/hour, depending on experience. To learn more and apply by Sunday, August 29, visit sjsu.joinhandshake.com and search for job #5217870.
Hello! I’m Desirae McNeil. I am a Graduate Student Ambassador for Lurie College. It was on my heart to start a community with other Black-identifying grad students together. If you are interested in joining me in creating a space to regularly meet for networking and support, please complete the interest form at bit.ly/lcoeblackgrad.
Whether you’re a K-12 educator, caregiver or parent, this fall promises more than the usual back-to-school excitement and anxiety. Nearly 18 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, caregivers and educators must, once again, evaluate how to safely interact with learners while feeling the pressure to make up for lost time.
As the spouse of a high school teacher and mother to a kindergartner and a 1-year-old, I’m all too familiar with these concerns. While I’ll feel better once my kids can access a vaccine, I am still eager to usher them both into classrooms of some kind next week. Like many of my peers, I have way more questions than answers.
This summer, she offered a webinar on considering community and trauma as part of Lurie College’s K-12 Teaching Academy. She was kind enough to answer my questions — and yes, lower my blood pressure — about preparing for school in a COVID world.
How can schools, educators and parents prepare students for returning to a classroom environment?
Lara Ervin-Kassab (LEK): Everyone has experienced some level of trauma during the pandemic, and we need to acknowledge that in others and in ourselves.
First, this is an opportunity for us to step back and ask, what is really worthwhile in education? What is the actual purpose of this whole process? What do we really want it to do?
Then, we can reprioritize and open up dialogues around how we make schools a place where everyone feels supported coming out of this traumatic experience. How can we make schools a place where everyone’s humanity is acknowledged and engaged and their interests are being heard?
How have districts addressed some of these concerns?
LEK: Several of our local districts and parent-teacher associations have started these conversations about what we want schools to look and feel like. At least one district has moved toward offering an in-house online school for parents and students who may have concerns about going back to face-to-face. That, again, is an opportunity to look at making sure our educational system is thinking about everyone’s needs and how those can best be supported.
How has COVID-19 affected how teachers design and implement curriculum?
LEK: I teach a course in classroom management for pre-K and K-12 teachers. I’ve also been researching how teachers should continue to use technology.
I think there has been resistance to changing some of the ways we teach in order to better utilize technology, and COVID either reinforced resistance to the tech or helped teachers overcome their fears. A lot of us used tools we never used before, and the ways we used those tools caused us to reflect on how we’ll continue to use them moving forward.
For instance, I feel strongly that all student voices need to be heard. In a face-to-face classroom, you have students who may never speak, who may not raise their hands or who may feel really uncomfortable engaging that way. Since teaching online, a lot of the students who usually don’t want to raise their hands or speak out loud were very engaged through the virtual chat feature.
So, going forward, how can I still provide my students with that ability to be a part of the conversation through chat once we’re back in a face-to-face environment?
Many of my teaching colleagues have provided their students with options to do videos or podcasts in lieu of more traditional assignments. This semester will be a test case for what sticks and what doesn’t, not only in K-12, but in education writ large and even in the corporate world.
As COVID protocols continue to shift and the Delta variant poses a threat this fall, how can teachers manage their own stress, mental health and well-being as well as that of their students?
LEK: I recommend teachers and parents look into the Center for Reaching and Teaching the Whole Child, which was founded by Emerita Professor of Elementary Education Nancy Markowitz. It is grounded in the idea of helping the whole person learn. It’s very integrated with social emotional learning — helping our students learn to engage socially to understand and regulate their own emotions.
This is especially important after more than a year of being isolated from other people. With every class I teach, whether in person or online, I start with a short mindfulness activity that helps reinforce how to breathe and sit in the present.
The center has a great teacher competency anchor framework that reminds teachers to do the work alongside their students. So, for teachers and parents alike, if you take a few minutes to practice mindfulness with your kids, remember to practice it yourself. These activities are very helpful when you or your kids are feeling overwhelmed.
What main message do you have about returning to school, whatever it looks like, in 2021?
LEK: Be patient. Be kind to yourself and to all the people around you.
Take this uncertainty and find ways to embrace your creativity. This year is an opportunity for us to acknowledge the discomfort, and with that, we can either push back and close down, or we can say, “This is uncomfortable. What do I need to do to make it better? How creative can I be right now? How can I think of how these possibilities could recognize our diversity?”
What’s one tip you’d give every parent and teacher?
LEK: When you’re not sure about something, ask the children and listen to their answers. Because even children as young as 2 or 3 years old have a really good sense of what they need. They may not have the vocabulary for it, and they may not be able to distinguish between what they want and what they need, but if you have a conversation with them, you can begin to understand what they need.
Congratulations to Teacher Education alumni Erin Enguero, who was one of four CSU alumni featured on the CSU website as part of their ‘Cheers to the Class of 4 Million’ series!
Advice for graduates: “There are a lot of people … [who] pursued one thing, and it turned out not actually being where they end up. That’s something important to tell students, because you’re stressing so much about, ‘What am I going to major in? What school am I going to go to?’ And really, I think it’s a matter of keeping your mind open and being OK with where you end up.”
When Erin Enguero started her kinesiology degree at San José State, she was on track to graduate and head into physical therapy school. And she did just that in 2016—though after one semester of PT school, she realized it wasn’t what she wanted to do and left the program.
“That was really hard for me because I was so used to having this to-do list, and suddenly I didn’t know what was next,” she says. “There’s a part of me that looks back that wonders what would have happened if I spent a gap year trying to gather things up and reflect where I am in my life instead of rushing ahead. And now that I’ve gone through everything, I think it’s a good thing to give oneself time to think about what they’re doing.”
During a year and half of figuring out her next step, Enguero applied to a job as a gymnastics coach for children with special needs and later an assistant children’s librarian. Through these experiences, she realized her desire to work with children and began taking early childhood classes at a local community college. In 2019, she returned to SJSU to earn her master’s in education and a teaching credential.
“I knew SJSU had a focus on social justice and equity, which is really important to me,” she says. “Having grown up with hearing loss and learning to be an advocate for myself and others, returning back to my alma mater was like finding that missing piece in the puzzle.”
While the program included two semesters of student teaching, Enguero extended her time student teaching to work with her supervisors and mentors on solutions to help her adapt to the classroom environment. Following her December 2020 graduation, she’s been applying to positions in elementary and middle schools.
“I decided to go into teaching hoping I could help kids think more about what it means to be an empathetic citizen, someone who can be successful, who could use their talents and abilities in a way that best reflects who they are and what they could do for themselves and, one day, their community,” Enguero says.
Our innovative SAGE in Teacher Education programs create opportunities for SJSU undergraduate students to enroll in Credential and Masters programs while simultaneously completing their final three semesters of their undergraduate degrees. These programs offer SAGE scholars a combined pathway of theory, practice, and K-12 subject matter. The programs integrate these three legs of teaching early and often, and give scholars ample time to assimilate the linkages prior to when they are required to demonstrate understanding and skills through student teaching.
Benefits of Enrolling in a SAGE Program
Reduced economic barriers to entering into a graduate program
No application fee for graduate program
Fewer total units in combined SAGE program than completing each program separately
Shorter timeline to earning credential and master’s degree
Enhanced professional development
SAGE Programs Accepting Applications in Fall 2021 for a Spring 2022 Start
Our Credential Services Office is now located in Sweeney Hall (SH) 445! Stop by during their normal office hours for support with applying for your credentials and learn more about their resources and services at sjsu.edu/education/academics/credentials
Abby Almerido | Coordinator, Workforce Development and Organizational Culture | Santa Clara County Office of Education | Twitter: @abbyinprogress
Culture eats strategies for breakfast! Hold an SEL-compass toward stronger working relationships and collaboration by weaving in opportunities for your learners to learn and share about who they are. Leave with a toolkit of activities to try Monday and a deeper understanding of the power of seeing and being seen by others.
Emma Pass | Middle School Language Arts Teacher, PSD Global | Consultant, Empowered Edu | Twitter: @emmabpass
As teachers prepare to return back to the classroom, we will return, not as the teachers who began remote learning last year, but as teachers fully changed. We have adopted new tools and technologies, rethought assessment and instructional strategies, and had a glimpse into student home lives and gained insight in the importance of social and emotional learning. In this session we will reflect on a year of teaching and learning through the COVID pandemic, and determine what to take back with us to the classroom to be better educators than before.
Julia Duggs | Ethnic Studies teaching candidate | SJSU Lurie College of Education
Victoria Durán, PhD | Social Science teacher | Overfelt High School
Marcos Pizarro, PhD | Associate Dean | SJSU Lurie College of Education | Twitter: @sjsulurie
Luis Poza, PhD | Assistant Professor, Teacher Education | SJSU Lurie College of Education | Twitter: @luisepoza
This presentation brings together SJSU faculty and practicing Ethnic Studies teachers to deepen participants’ understandings of the purposes and core principles of Ethnic Studies teaching alongside examples from classroom practice. Webinar participants will have the opportunity to learn about the documented benefits of Ethnic Studies for students (regardless of racial and ethnic background) as well as specific culturally responsive curriculum activities that afford student agency, community engagement, and meaningful social analysis as part of students’ academic and personal development. Such activities include Youth Participatory Action Research, student counterstories and testimonios, and an in-depth look at a multi-faceted unit of instruction implemented in the 2020-21 academic year that fostered healing, home and community connections, and students’ “freedom dreaming” — collective envisioning of a more just society.
Robert Marx, PhD | Assistant Professor | SJSU Lurie College of Education | Twitter: @RbrtMrx
Frank J. Peña | Outreach and Speakers Bureau Coordinator | The LGBTQ Youth Space
For some trans and genderqueer students, returning to in-person school may bring anxiety, fear, and expectations of victimization. For others, though, school may be the sole safe haven from an unsupportive home environment. This webinar, therefore, will provide the knowledge and skills needed to establish or enhance affirming and supportive classroom and extracurricular spaces, with a specific focus on practical steps to foster gender equity and inclusion. The presenters bring their experience teaching high school English, serving as a GSA advisor, providing direct community support to teachers and LGBTQ+ youth in the Bay Area, and conducting research with trans and genderqueer adolescents about their families, schools, and communities.
Wanda Watson, EdD | Associate Professor | SJSU Lurie College of Education | Twitter: @wawatty
This session explores how TK-5th grade teachers launch the school year with three main interrelated goals at the forefront: Building a classroom community that humanizes students and values their intersectional racialized identities, particularly those from Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian backgrounds; Learning about students’ strengths, interests, experiences, and barriers to learning; Integrating students’ funds of knowledge and community cultural wealth into Ethnic Studies and Anti-racist curricular and pedagogical practices to facilitate liberatory student learning.
Eric Cross | 7th Grade Science Teacher | Albert Einstein Academies | Twitter: @sdteaching
In The Next Normal we will reflect on lessons learned from the prepandemic era of teaching and provide practical strategies to restore an equitable classroom community while supporting teacher wellness.
On Friday, July 30, join Teacher Education faculty Brent Duckor and Counselor Education faculty Lorri Capizzi at the online CCOG Educator Summit, where we will feature Dr. Erika Zepeda, Educational Psychologist and CCREE consultant, in our breakout session “Using Trauma Informed Approaches in a Post-Pandemic Classroom for Students in Foster Care and Youth Experiencing Homelessness.” Dr. Zepeda will provide educators with “on-the-ground” tools to assess and support students transitioning back into the classroom in a post-pandemic world. Dr. Zepeda will include her experience in working with culturally diverse communities and in identifying student protective and risk factors through a trauma informed approach for all students and in particular for students in foster care and youth experiencing homelessness. Register to attend the summit by Thursday, July 15, by completing this Google form.