Category Archives: School Psychology

School psychology students elected to nationwide SASP office

Jordan Thayer and Aria Fiat
L: Jordan Thayer, R: Aria Fiat

Aria Fiat and Jordan Thayer, Ph.D. students in the Department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology program, were recently elected president and student interest liason, respectively, of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 16: School Psychology’s Student Affiliates in School Psychology (SASP) Association’s Executive Board.

A second year Ph.D. student in school psychology, Aria Fiat received her B.S. in Education & Social Policy from Northwestern University, where she co-founded and co-lead Supplies for Dreams, a non-profit that provides educational enrichment to economically disadvantaged students in Chicago. Prior to graduate school, she worked as a research coordinator studying risk and resilience in homeless and highly mobile children, and spent a year teaching English in France through the Fulbright Scholars program. Fiat’s research interests include: school mental health, social-emotional learning, positive psychological interventions, school climate, and promoting teacher resilience.

A third year Ph.D. student in school psychology and co-president of the school psychology student association (SPSA), Jordan Thayer earned his B.A. from Black Hills State University in South Dakota where he majored in psychology with an emphasis in industrial/organizational and minor in music. Thayer spent two years working, teaching, and studying education policy before deciding to turn his attention to helping youth in schools. His research interests include: improving behavior problems, particularly those resulting from a lack of engagement and motivation; understanding motivation; low-cost intervention development and implementation, particularly for students with comorbid academic and behavior problems; administrators’ roles in implementation; policy advocacy; and international school psychology.

SASP is currently the only student-led organization within the discipline of school psychology, representing hundreds of graduate students nation-wide. The organization is committed to upholding general standards set by APA, including promotion and maintenance of highly effective training programs, implementation of evidence-based academic and mental health health practices in schools, and adhering to ethical guidelines and expectations for culturally-competent practice.

 

Kincade named finalist in CEHD 3-Minute Thesis competition

Laurie Kincade head shot
Laurie Kincade

Laurie Kincade, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology program,  will be competing with seven doctoral students from across the college in this year’s 3-Minute Thesis (3MT). Kincade’s thesis focuses on “The Impact of the Student-Teacher Relationship for English Language Learners.” The event takes place March 28 from 10-11 a.m. in McNamara Alumni Center’s Johnson Room. First prize is a $300 award, and prizes of $250 will go to the runner-up and people’s choice. The finalists were chosen from a preliminary round competition held last week.

3MT is an annual competition held in over 200 universities worldwide. It’s designed to challenge Ph.D. students to present their research in just three minutes in an engaging format that can be understood by an audience with no background in their discipline. The competition is intended to help students develop a presentation on their research and hone their academic communication skills to explain their work effectively to a general audience.

Judges in the CEHD competition are Karen Kaler, University Associate; Mary Tjosovold, local entrepreneur, author, and humanitarian, and CEHD alumna; and Dr. John Wright, professor of African-American and African Studies in the College of Liberal Arts.

Ed Psych, special education receive top rankings

Education Sciences Building
Education Sciences Building

The Department of Educational Psychology and our special education program were ranked in the top 10 of the 2018 U.S. News & World Report rankings of graduate schools. We maintained a #8 ranking in special education and moved up to #9 in educational psychology. The department is part of the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) which ranked 12th among public professional schools of education, 21st among all schools, in the rankings.

CEHD is a world leader in developing innovative programs to address opportunity gaps in child development, teaching, and learning. Consider its outstanding partnership programs with school districts in Minnesota that apply evidence-based teaching methodologies to strengthen schools. Note also the impact of recent groundbreaking research on autism—which Jason Wolff, assistant professor in special education was a part of—has uncovered new patterns of brain development in infants. CEHD’s productivity last year included $44.3 million of externally funded research.

CEHD’s developmental psychology program (Institute of Child Development) was also ranked by U.S. News &  World Report and is #1 in the country.

“Our college continues to reach new heights of excellence in graduate teaching, research, and outreach,” said Dean Jean K. Quam. “We are focused on improving the lives of students across Minnesota, the nation, and the world.”

Learn more about Educational Psychology’s top rated masters and doctorate programs.

Rankings methodology: U.S. News surveyed 379 schools granting education doctoral degrees. It calculates rankings based on quality assessments from peer institutions and school superintendents nationwide, student selectivity, and faculty research and resources, which includes student/faculty ratio and faculty awards as well as support for research.

Cook featured in MinnPost article on improving kids’ mental health

Clayton Cook

Clayton Cook, associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology program and John W. and Nancy E. Peyton Faculty Fellow in Child and Adolescent Wellbeing, was recently featured in the MinnPost article, “Want to improve kid’s mental health? Start at school.”

In the article, Cook discusses some of the research-driven programs he’s helped implement in schools that have reduced rates of mental illness among students.

“It’s a much more costly approach to wait until mental health problems arise and then have to organize individual treatments for the 30 percent of kids in the school with mental health needs,” he told MinnPost. “If you can improve the overall environment to address all of your students’ needs, fewer are going to need individual treatment in the first place.”

Cook also shared his own struggles, growing up without advantages most kids take for granted. “My childhood experiences gave me an interest in the discipline and structure of school and how we harness those benefits to help kids by promoting their mental health while they are at school,” Cook said.

Read the full article.

Codding, colleagues honored for article on frequency of math interventions

Robin Codding headshot
Robin Codding

Robin Codding, associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology program, and her co-authors on the paper “Manipulating Treatment Dose: Evaluating the Frequency of a Small Group Intervention Targeting Whole Number Operations,” are being honored with a Samuel A. Kirk Award by Learning Disabilities Research & Practice (LDRP).

The Samuel A. Kirk Award is overseen by the Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD’s) Publications Committee, is given occasionally, and recognizes excellence in professional journal articles that have been published in LDRP.

The paper examined treatment dose of small-group mathematics interventions, comparing the frequency with which these interventions were delivered weekly (i.e., four times, twice, once) with a control condition while controlling for total duration. Results suggested that for the most proximal computation measure, treatment sessions occurring four times weekly produced clear benefits. On the application measure, students in all treatment groups outperformed students in the control condition. For the most complex computation measure, frequency was not a useful predictor. Grade was a moderating variable.

Codding and her co-authors will receive their award at the Special Education Convention & Expo, April 19-22 in Boston, MA.

Clayton Cook: The power of habit: How to succeed at keeping your New Year’s resolutions

Clayton Cook head shot
Clayton Cook

We’re two weeks into the new year – have you already abandoned your New Year’s resolutions? Don’t worry, you’re not alone – and it’s not too late to recommit to your resolutions, particularly if they mean living a healthier life, living more consistent with your values, and/or improving your performance in work. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the common reasons that people fail to achieve their goals and look at some strategies you can employ to increase your chances for success in following through on your New Year’s resolutions. Read more.

Sullivan helps MAP Equity Assistance Center provide schools with professional development, technical assistance

Amanda Sullivan

Amanda Sullivan, associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology program, is one of several Equity Fellows assisting the new Midwest and Plans (MAP) Equity Assistance Center in providing professional development and technical assistance to regional school systems.

The MAP Center was recently awarded a five year grant by the U.S. Department of Education to assist with desegregation and other civil rights issues in public schools in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Sullivan will contribute to the development of MAP products and services to facilitate implementation of culturally appropriate multitier systems of support for students’ academic, social-emotional, and behavioral development.

“I’m excited to partner with the MAP Center to support schools’ efforts to create equitable systems and support the learning and wellbeing of all learners,” she says. “This is as important now as it’s ever been and with the MAP center, we have a great opportunity to develop tools tailored to our local communities.”

Ysseldyke recognized for outstanding contributions to school psychology training

James E. Ysseldyke

Jim Ysseldyke, professor emeritus in the Department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology program, received the 2017 award for Outstanding Contributions to School Psychology Training from the Council of Directors of School Psychology Programs. Ysseldyke was recognized for his contributions to graduate preparation and leadership in numerous centers, professional organizations, task forces, and other local, regional, and national organizations that shaped school psychology since he entered the field 45 years ago.

Amanda Sullivan, coordinator of the school psychology program, and Janet Graden, coordinator of the University of Cincinnati school psychology program and Ysseldyke’s former advisee, presented the award at the Council of Directors of School Psychology Programs’ recent meeting in Hollywood, FL. Educational Psychology professor emerita Sandra Christenson received the award in 2009.

Sullivan and Susman-Stillman share research on how subsidy system impacts children with special needs

Amy Susman-Stillman
Amy Susman-Stillman
Amanda Sullivan

Amanda Sullivan, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, and Amy Susman-Stillman, Ph.D., research associate at the Center for Early Education and Development, recently hosted a research-to-policy briefing to discuss whether the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) equally benefits children with and without special needs.

The CCDBG is a $5.3 billion block grant program that provides funding to states, territories, and tribes in an effort to increase access to quality care for low-income families with young children. In 2014, Congress reauthorized the CCDBG and identified low-income children with special needs as a priority target population.

The briefing shared findings from a research project funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research, Planning and Evaluation. For the project, Sullivan and Susman-Stillman analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of young children with and without special needs to determine whether children with special needs equally access child care subsidies and how child care subsidies affect use of various care types and quality.

Sullivan and Susman-Stillman’s analysis found that throughout early childhood, children with special needs are less likely to access subsidized child care and that subsidy use increased the likelihood that a family would use home- or center-based care. The analysis also found that subsidized children with special needs spend more hours in care than non-subsidized children with special needs, and that subsidy use does not ensure access to quality care.

According to Sullivan and Susman-Stillman, based on the study’s findings, stakeholders should address inequities in accessing subsidized care for children with special needs and reduce barriers parents and providers face in finding and supplying high-quality care.

Christ’s CBM of oral reading article named one of five most cited in Journal of School Psychology

Dr. Theodore J. Christ

Theodore J. Christ, director of CAREI and professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology program, was recently recognized by the editors of the Journal of School Psychology for a paper he and his students published in 2013. The article, “Curriculum-Based Measurement of Oral Reading: Multi-study evaluation of schedule, duration, and dataset quality on progress monitoring outcomes,” was named one of the top five most cited works in the Journal of School Psychology in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

View the award by the Journal of School Psychology

Cook featured in Forbes article on keeping New Year’s resolutions

Clayton Cook head shot
Clayton Cook

Clayton Cook, John W. and Nancy E. Peyton Faculty Fellow in Child and Adolescent Wellbeing and associate professor in the department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology program, was recently interviewed by Forbes for the article “The Science Behind Making New Year’s Resolutions That You’ll Keep.”

In the article, Cook explains which conditions make it more likely we’ll keep our resolutions and how can make them into habits.

Read the full article.

Ed Psych faculty, students call on lawmakers to approve special education funding

On December 2, Jennifer McComas, associate chair and professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s special education program, led a calling party of roughly 20 faculty and students in the special education and school psychology programs. The group contacted federal lawmakers to encourage them to approve a Continuing Resolution for funding that includes funding at last year’s level for Personnel Preparation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

“The House and Senate are expected to vote on a Continuing Resolution by December 9, before they recess for the remainder of the year. Federal funding for Personnel Preparation under IDEA is essential for institutions of higher education to support students in teacher preparation and leadership training programs. In just the past 5 years, more than a dozen Ph.D. students and countless licensure students in the Educational Psychology program have received federal grants and scholarships to support their education. A funding reduction would almost certainly mean a decrease in available fiscal support for students in our Special Education and School Psychology programs. And disabilities affect us regardless of political ideology or party affiliation, so it is one issue that is easy to talk about with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.” 

Project LEEP trains school psychology students for faculty careers

The U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs recently awarded associate professors Robin Codding and  Amanda Sullivan with a $1,192,606 leadership development grant (over five years from 2016-2021). The project, Leaders Enhancing Evidence-based Practices (Project LEEP), funds fellowships designed to prepare future faculty in school psychology with expertise in applying and sustaining evidence-based practices to schools. Five students in the Department of Educational Psychology’s school psychology program were awarded LEEP fellowships: Jordan Thayer, Alaa Houri, Aria Fiat, Kourtney McNallan, and Madeline Larson.

Project LEEP fellows are trained in: data-based decision making; development and evaluation of evidence-based practices; prevention and intervention using evidence-based practices, and consultation and translation of interventions; as well as leadership competencies in instruction and mentoring in higher education, and research and dissemination. Students receiving the award must complete a variety of experiences—coursework in research methods and statistics, research related to multi tier systems of support (MTSS), and apprenticeships with faculty with related research interests.  

In addition, fellows attend monthly pro-seminars that provide professional development opportunities for pursuing a career as a faculty member. Past pro-seminar topics have included: finding your “fit” in a faculty position based on professional values and goals; types of faculty positions available in the field of school psychology; and what is tenure and how to successfully achieve it. Future Project LEEP pro-seminars will help fellows identify their professional goals and structure training plans to meet the benchmarks needed to obtain a faculty position upon graduation.

Learn more about the school psychology program.

McConnell, LENA Start recognized by Mayor Hodges

Scott McConnell headshot
Scott McConnell

The University of Minnesota and College of Education and Human Development, with leadership from Scott McConnell, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology’s special education program, were recognized recently by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and Kara Dukakis from Too Small to Fail for contributions to the launch and evaluation of LENA Start, a promising intervention to promote parent-child interaction and early language development—and, as a result, reduce disparities—for families of young children. Part of this work will help support Mayor Hodges’s Talking is Teaching campaign.

Codding publishes book on Effective Math Interventions

 

Building foundational whole-number knowledge can help put K-5 students on the path to academic success and career readiness. For this reason, Robin S. Codding, associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology school psychology program, and her colleagues, Robert J. Volpe and Brian C. Poncy, recently published a book, Effective Math Interventions. Filling a gap for school practitioners, the book presents step-by-step guidelines for designing and implementing class-wide, small-group, and individual interventions for mathematics difficulties. Effective procedures for screening, assessment, intervention selection, and progress monitoring are described and illustrated with detailed case vignettes. User-friendly features include 20 reproducible handouts and forms; the print book has a large-size format with lay-flat binding for easy photocopying. Purchasers also get access to a Web page where they can download and print the reproducible materials.

The book (which comes out February 2017) is available for pre-order now.

Dr. Codding’s research interests focus on the intersection of intervention and implementation by developing and exploring the effectiveness of school-based interventions, the factors that contribute to student responsiveness of those interventions, and strategies to support intervention implementation. Her work has emphasized academic interventions and associated assessment for data-based decision making, particularly in the area of mathematics. Dr. Codding is currently an Associate Editor of the School Psychology Review and has previously served in the role of Associate Editor for the Journal of Behavioral Education and the Journal of School Psychology.  

Three Educational Psychology faculty recognized with endowed chairs and professorships

Recently, three faculty members from the Department of Educational Psychology were honored with endowed chairs and professorships. These appointments— awarded over a period of three years— recognize the professors’ professional achievements and the impact of their work.

Dr. Clayton Cook (school psychology) is the first-ever John W. and Nancy E. Peyton Faculty Fellow in Child and Adolescent Wellbeing.  Dr. Panayiota Kendeou (psychological foundations of education) holds the Guy Bond Chair in Reading, and Dr. Michael Rodriguez (quantitative methods in education) will continue in his role as Campbell Leadership Chair in Education and Human Development. Please join us in congratulating them on their excellent contributions!

Faculty members in the Department of Educational Psychology hold a total of seven active endowed chairs and professorships.

Learn more about the other endowed chairs and professors of educational psychology.