Social-Emotional Health is Key in Student Success

Social-Emotional Health is Key in Student Success

In the latest Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto speaks with Rosalie Sumsion.
Sumsion is a reading specialist at McBride Elementary in the St. Helens school district, working with small groups of readers throughout the day. She is also part of the Early School Success Team, a group of teachers working in collaboration the the Children’s Institute to address challenges within their school and district. Sumsion focuses on students’ social-emotional learning and works on finding ways to ensure every student is successful and feels great about coming to school.

Guest

Rosalie Sumsion works half-time as a Title 1 Reading teacher and half-time as a RTI (Response to Intervention) Coach. As a Title 1 teacher, Sumsion works with small groups of students to advance their reading skills. As McBride’s RTI coach, she works alongside teachers to model good instruction, provides training on the delivery of interventions, and leads staff in the growth of effective instructional practices. She is instrumental in the organization of McBride’s school-wide assessment by training assessors, preparing materials, providing data to teachers and assisting with data analysis. In addition to her teaching duties, Sumsion gives presentations at staff meetings, facilitates MD-PLT (Principles of Learning and Teaching) meetings, and guides discussions on academic interventions and growth factors.

Summary

Rosalie Sumsion kicks off the podcast with a story about how she got into teaching and discusses the McBride school community. She also shares inspiration about the children she works with and talks about her work as a reading specialist, and her involvement working with Children’s Institute’s Early School Success initiative. Rafael asks why she became a teacher, the state of the McBride school community, and an inspirational story about the kids she has worked with. She also discusses the important of social-emotional learning in the classroom.

Transcript

[00:00:00] Rafael Otto: This is the Early Link Podcast. I’m Rafael Otto. Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Rosalie Sumsion,a teacher at McBride Elementary in the St. Helens school district. She is a reading specialist working with small groups of readers throughout her day, and she is also part of the early school success team. This is a team of teachers working in collaboration with staff at Children’s Institute to wrestle with big problems or big challenges within their school and within their districts. Some of those are focused on social-emotional learning and working on ways to make sure that every student feels great when they come to school, and is successful. Rosalie, welcome to the podcast.

[00:00:41] Rosalie Sumsion: Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure to be here.

[00:00:43] Rafael Otto: Yeah. It’s great to have you here. I love talking with teachers and I wonder if you could just start by telling me the story of why you became a teacher.

[00:00:51] Rosalie Sumsion: Okay. So honestly, I didn’t. That was not my plan. I did not want to become a teacher.

[00:00:56] Rafael Otto: That… that happens, sometimes…

[00:00:59] Rosalie Sumsion: So, my mother was a teacher and she taught second grade. She was a lovely, amazing teacher. She’d come home every day around 4:30 or 5, and she would just lie on the couch. She’d watch M*A*S*H-

[00:01:13] Rafael Otto: She was like, I’m done. I’m done, I need a break.

[00:01:15] Rosalie Sumsion: She’s done. But then she’d kind of get her second wind and, you know, do her
thing and… she loved her job. She just was always doing fun things with her kids. So, she was totally into it. But I was a musician, and I played the piano and I wanted to become a piano teacher. And I actually did two or three years in piano pedagogy.

But then I just had a big change of focus or whatever. I realized that my heart was in school. I love school. I love what it stands for, and I still have a few piano students on the side. I love that too. But I just love the idea of, school is community and it’s an amazing place for kids to grow and learn and I’m really happy to be a part of that.

 

Please download the full transcript below.

Infant Mental Health & Children’s Rights with Dr. Sherri Alderman

Infant Mental Health & Children’s Rights with Dr. Sherri Alderman

On the latest Early Link Podcast, host Rafael Otto speaks with Dr. Sherri Alderman, a developmental behavioral pediatrician. Dr. Alderman is faculty at Portland State University with decades of experience advocating for child rights, working clinically and on policy in infant mental health.

Guest:

Dr. Alderman attended the University of Wisconsin medical school, and completed her pediatric residency and Master of Public Health at the University of New Mexico. She is Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Early Childhood, the AAP Early Childhood Champion in Oregon, CDC Act Early Ambassador to Oregon. She also serves on the Oregon state government advisory council to the Oregon Health Authority Behavioral Health Division and is the former President of the Oregon Infant Mental Health Association.
 

Summary:

In this episode, we hear Dr. Alderman’s perspective on her work in the field of infant mental health, and its implications for young children and their families, and she discusses what the system can do to create supportive policies. She also discusses her advocacy work for children’s rights. In particular, the background, framework, and core principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Since the CRC has not been ratified in the United States, Dr. Alderman notes the sources where some of the push-back on this policy may originate, and how the CRC has ultimately helped children in other countries (and could help in Oregon) after ratification. Dr. Alderman also tells story about how she helped young children get involved in an election while living in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Transcript

[00:00:00] Rafael Otto: This is the Early Link Podcast. I’m Rafael Otto. Thank you for listening. You can catch us on 99.1 FM in the Portland Metro on Sundays at 4:30 PM or tune in at your convenience wherever you find your podcasts. That includes iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, and on our website at childinst.org.

My guest today is Sherri Alderman. She is a developmental behavioral pediatrician, and is faculty at Portland State University with decades of experience advocating for child rights and deep experience working clinically and on policy in infant mental health. She is Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Early Childhood, the AAP Early Childhood Champion in Oregon, the CDC Act Early Ambassador to Oregon. Sherri serves on the Oregon State government advisory council to the Oregon Health Authority Behavioral Health Division, and is Past President of the Oregon Infant Mental Health Association.

That’s a lot. You must be very busy Sherri, and it’s great to have you on the podcast today.

How are you?

[00:01:06] Sherri Alderman: I’m fine thanks. Thank you so much for having me. I should say that I’m not speaking, as a representative of the AAP. I am actually speaking as, as an individual. So I do have a private life as well.

[00:01:21] Rafael Otto: Absolutely. Great. Thank you for that clarification. I wanted to talk about the field of infant mental health a little bit you know, from your perspective as a physician, as a pediatrician, what does that field look like? What does it entail and what does that mean for your work with young children and their families?

[00:01:41] Sherri Alderman: Well, that’s a great question and my work has very much focused on infant mental health, both in the clinical practice of framework and also in advocacy. It really stems from two basic things I would say. One is that we all are really beginning to so appreciate the research that informs us how critically important those first few years are for healthy brain development.

It’s a fabulous opportunity to set into motion an infant, a baby, or a young child on a path toward being academically successful, being a contributor to society and living a life of fulfillment. Yet at the same time, our system often forgets the babies. And so in infant mental health, we talk about keeping the baby in mind.

Please download the full transcript below.

Race and Racism in Education with Dr. Marvin Lynn

Race and Racism in Education with Dr. Marvin Lynn

Join us Sundays at 4:30pm for new episodes of The Early Link Podcast. Listen live at 99.1 FM in the heart of Portland – or online anywhere at PRP.fm

This is a special segment, because it marks the 75th episode of The Early Link Podcast!

Here, host Rafael Otto speaks with Dr. Marvin Lynn who most recently served as the dean at Portland State University’s Graduate School of Education. He has served as dean and professor at universities across the country, and started his career as an elementary and middle school teacher. Also, he has conducted research that explores the work and lives of Black male teachers and the impact of teacher beliefs on Black students. He is an internationally recognized expert on race and education, serves on the board for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and an elected member and vice chair of the Tigard-Tualatin school board. Additionally, he is an editor for the recently updated Handbook of Critical Race Theory in Education.

 

Guest:

For nearly three decades, Dr. Marvin Lynn has worked as an elementary and middle school teacher and has served as a professor and administrator in institutions of higher education for the last twenty years. He is a nationally recognized expert on race and the education of BIPOC learners. He has published dozens of research articles, book chapters, opinion pieces, and an edited book on these topics. He serves on several state and national boards including the Carnegie Project for the Education Doctorate, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Providence Hospitals’ Oregon Community Ministry Board, the Oregon Educator Advancement Council, and the Oregon Educator Equity Advisory Group. Dr. Lynn resides in the Bull Mountain area and is married to Adwoa Lynn who is a Registered Nurse at Providence St. Vincent. They are parents to three academically successful and athletically involved boys: Kwabena, Naasei, and Sidney.

 

Summary:

In this segment, Dr. Lynn gives us an update on his sabbatical and his further work on Critical Race Theory (CRT), and discusses the concept of creating an anti-racist lens in the education world. He also covers some of the data on the achievement gap that affects not only students of color, but educators of color in the current system; and how this can be addressed in the early childhood sphere. Additionally, Dr. Lynn speaks to why diversity in this particular workforce is necessary for all, and the current direction of the education profession on that front, and gives his thoughts on what he believes is going on in a national context around CRT. He also talks about his contribution to the the handbook of critical race theory and education (that has recently been updated), and his hopes for the future of education and for our kids in this country.

 

Additional Resources:

 

Critical Race Theory: A Brief History

Transcript

[00:00:00] Rafael Otto: Welcome to the Early Link Podcast on Rafael Otto. Thank you for listening. You can catch us on 99.1 FM in the Portland Metro on Sundays at 4:30 PM. Or Tune in at your convenience, wherever you find your podcasts, including iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon Music. This is a special segment because it marks the 75th episode of the Early Link.

And I want to thank all of our listeners here in Oregon, across the country and internationally for tuning in today. I’m speaking with Dr. Marvin Lynn, who most recently served as the Dean at Portland State University’s Graduate School of Education, has served as Dean and professor at universities across the country, and started his career as an elementary and middle school teacher.

He has also conducted research that explores the work in lives of Black male teachers and the impact of teacher beliefs on Black students. He is an internationally recognized expert on race and education, serves on the board for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and as an elected member and vice chair of the Tigard-Tualatin school board .

He is also an editor for the recently updated Handbook of Critical Race Theory in Education. 

Marvin, it’s great to have you on the podcast today. Welcome.

[00:01:19] Marvin Lynn: Thank you for having me.

[00:01:22] Rafael Otto: I know that currently you are on sabbatical and I just thought we could start there. Uh, what does that look like today? And I know that you’re spending your time focused on your scholarly work.

So give us an update.

[00:01:34] Marvin Lynn: Yes. So, you know, it couldn’t have come at a better time because just as I was going on sabbatical, the firestorm around critical race theory began nationally. Right. And I remember as, as I was talking about the transition out of the Dean role, I was starting to get some communication from the media about CRT and its existence in the schools.

And I was saying, no, no, no, it’s not really happening in schools, and not paying much attention. I mean, it was like clockwork. As soon as I became professor on sabbatical, I started to get all of this communication from all these major news entities: Fox News, the BBC and Christian Science Monitor. “Hey, what’s going on?”

Preschool for All Ensures High-Quality Early Learning for Children in Multnomah County

Preschool for All Ensures High-Quality Early Learning for Children in Multnomah County

Join us Sundays at 4:30pm for new episodes of The Early Link Podcast. Listen live at 99.1 FM in the heart of Portland – or online anywhere at PRP.fm

On this episode, host Rafael Otto speaks with Leslee Barnes, the director of the Preschool and Early Learning Division at Multnomah County. In that role, she is overseeing the Preschool for All initiative, a program approved by voters in November 2020 that will provide tuition-free, universal preschool for three- and four-year-olds in Multnomah County. The program is being funded by a personal income tax on high income earners and has received significant attention regionally and nationally as a progressive, upstream investment in children and families.

 

Guest:

A fourth-generation Oregonian who grew up in Northeast Portland, Leslee Barnes has deep roots. She attended Irvington Elementary, Harriet Tubman Middle School and then Grant High School. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from Warner Pacific University.

While Barnes would go on to build a career in early childhood education, her first job was as a nuclear chemical biological specialist for the United States Army. That was also when her first child was born, and her son was only 8 weeks old when she had to return to work.

In 1999, she founded Village Childcare LLC, a community-based organization that provides early learning and child care services in the Portland metro area. As a provider herself, she learned that child care is more than a service — it’s a business, and both parents and providers have unique needs.

Over the course of her 20-year career, she’s drawn on her experience as a provider to support other educators and entrepreneurs. Barnes’ leadership and work has also focused on racial justice and equity, including as the founding board chair of Black Child Development PDX.

Most recently, as a Spark improvement specialist for the State of Oregon, she helped early childhood programs launch a statewide program that raises the quality of child care. The program connects families to early learning and child care providers and offers coaching, professional development, and resources to providers.

As a participant in the Preschool for All Task Force process, she also shaped the initiative that residents approved in November 2020. The coalition of parents, education experts, nonprofit directors, elected officials, and business leaders met from September 2018 through July 2019. Under the leadership of Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, they created a vision for universal preschool in Multnomah County.

 

Summary:

Since Preschool for All passed last November, the podcast begins by discussing its history and Barnes’ connection to the initiative as a whole. The conversation then moves to what was learned throughout the legislation process, and the different degrees of involvement that helped ensure its passage. Following that, Barnes comments on how this initiative will impact future generations in a multitude of ways — from the children in the classrooms, to the communities themselves, and even educators in the workforce.

Barnes then notes the overall goals of Preschool for All and what is needed to realize the scope of the initiative, including developing the workforce and access to physical teaching facilities. Next, the conversation pivots to the Build Back Better plan, its anticipated passage, and its impact on the Oregon education system. Closing out, Barnes gives us a view of the future and how universal preschool will positively affect not only the state, but the country as well.

 

Additional Resources:

Multnomah County Preschool for All: Pathway to Success

Preschool for All Implementation Plan

Preschool for All Reports and Key Documents

Early Learning Multnomah (ELM)

Transcript

[00:00:00] Rafael Otto: This is the Early Link Podcast. I’m Rafael Otto. Thank you for listening. You can always catch us on 99.1 FM in the Portland Metro on Sundays at 4:30 PM, or tune in at your convenience, wherever you find your podcasts, including iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon Music. I’m speaking with Leslee Barnes today, the director of the Preschool and Early Learning Division at Multnomah County.

In that role, she is overseeing the Preschool for All Initiative, a program approved by voters in November of 2020. That will provide tuition free, universal preschool for three- and four- year-olds in Multnomah County. The program is being funded by a personal income tax on high income earners, and has received significant attention regionally and nationally as a progressive upstream investment in children and families.

Leslee, it’s great to have you here today.

[00:00:49] Leslee Barnes: Thanks for having me here this morning. I’m glad to be with you today.

[00:00:52] Rafael Otto: I know Preschool for All passed last November, you took on the leadership role for the county in April of this year. Talk about how you came to be connected to the effort to pass preschool for all. Let’s start there.

[00:01:06] Leslee Barnes: Sure. You know, my work in early learning spans almost 25 years and I was connected to the effort through my work at the CC & R’s. I was supporting family child care providers specifically around what was called Quality Rating and Improvement at the time. And I’ve done similar work in the community. And from the perspective of supporting providers, working at my own child care facility, working at other national chains and just a lot of the advocacy work I’d done on behalf of providers, they reached out to me and said, “Hey, would you like to be a part of one of our work groups to study, like, what are the things that we really need to think about when we’re thinking about high quality early learning for young children in Multnomah County?” So of course, you know, I raised my hand and jumped right in because it’s something that’s been lacking for a long time. And over the span of my career, I’ve really seen how our early learning system has really not supported families or providers.

So I knew I was the perfect person really to be there. Because I’ve got a lot of perspective on that -from a family- as a parent as well. So I brought all that to the table doing that work.

[00:02:11] Rafael Otto: Talk a little bit about the passage of Preschool For All. There was such a sort of ground swell of effort that went into the passage. Lots of parent and family engagement and voice as part of that process. Talk about what that was like.

[00:02:24] Leslee Barnes: I think that’s really groundbreaking, because a lot of times we see systems come in place and they don’t really ask the consumer, what do you really need? And what does this really look like? So to have families there to have the support of community, folks like myself, all the people that really work in the space from schools to private sector childcare, public sector, you know. All those partners had started to be at the table and really think about all the parts. And I feel like we have been siloed for a long time, and it gave us the opportunity to be in the room at the same time; to have a champion at the county in commissioner Vega Pederson. It really was this magical moment where we said, “You know, well, let’s do this right. And let’s not compromise. And let’s really think about equity at the heart of this.” I think that was also very unique in our efforts in really designing this to be successful.

Friendship on the Spectrum: A Conversation on Autism

Friendship on the Spectrum: A Conversation on Autism

Join us Sundays at 4:30pm for new episodes of The Early Link Podcast. Listen live at 99.1 FM in the heart of Portland – or online anywhere at PRP.fm.

This week, host Rafael Otto speaks with Jenna Deml, our producer at Portland Radio Project, and two of her lifelong friends, Kai Russell and Justin Semke. All three of them happen to be on the autism spectrum, and today we have a chance to hear their stories – about what it was like growing up on the spectrum, how they have remained friends for so many years, and their experience in the education system right here in Portland.

Guests:

Jenna Deml (she/her) is a podcast producer and radio DJ currently studying for her Master’s in Multimedia Journalism at the University of Oregon Portland campus. Her undergraduate degree was in both Psychology and Theatre Arts from the University of Puget Sound. So it is safe to say Jenna has always had a love for the arts and storytelling. In her free time, she likes to play Dungeons & Dragons, flex her trivia knowledge on a website called Sporcle, create Spotify playlists, watch the entire Studio Ghibli catalog on repeat, pet every cat or dog she sees, or read classic sci-fi/dystopian literature.

Kai Martina Russell (they/them) is native to Portland, Oregon. They hold a degree in English Fiction Writing from Pacific Lutheran University and are employed in the retail industry. Their dream is to write and illustrate (and possibly compose for) an original fantasy/science-fiction extended universe, drawing inspiration from the many roleplaying games they and their friends have acted out over the years. Kai draws meaning in their life from stories, nature, and their beloved friends and family.

Justin Semke (he/him) graduated from the Art Institute of Portland, and has been looking to become an 3D Environmental artist. He is also quite the fan of Kamen Rider, and loves creating stories with friends. He is a staunch optimist and tries to make the people in his life smile whenever possible.

 

Summary:

The three friends begin by recounting how they each met one another at different points throughout elementary school. They then disclose what lead to their diagnoses; what they remember about it, what changed for them, and any struggles they had at the time. The conversation shifts to their respective experiences in the education system here in Portland, and what the institution needs to improve on in order to better serve neurodivergent children. Since Kai identifies as genderfluid, they note and comment on the correlation between neurodivergence and gender-nonconformity, and how this ties in to their own personal journey. Closing out the conversation, the three each state what they would say to their younger selves, and comment on who and what makes them the most empowered to be their truest creative selves.

Additional Resources:

Identity First Language

Asperger, Nazism, and Reclaiming the Autism Spectrum (made by Jenna Deml)

Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network

Transcript

[00:00:00] Rafael Otto: Welcome to the Early Link Podcast. I’m Rafael Otto. Thank you for listening. You can always catch us on 99.1 FM in the Portland Metro on Sundays at 4:30pm or tune in at your convenience, wherever you find your podcasts. That includes iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon Music. Today, I am speaking with Jenna Deml, our fantastic producer at Portland Radio Project, and two of her lifelong friends, Kai Russell, and Justin Semke. All three of them happened to be on the autism spectrum. And today we have a chance to hear their stories about what it was like growing up on the spectrum, how they’ve remained friends for so many years, and their experience in the education system right here in Portland.

Jenna, Kai, and Justin, welcome to the podcast. Great to have you here today.

[00:00:48] Jenna Deml: Yeah. Thanks for having us.

[00:00:50] Kai Russell: Thank you for having us.

[00:00:52] Justin Semke: Thank you so much.

[00:00:53] Rafael Otto: Very much looking forward to the conversation. Jenna, you are all in your twenties now and you’ve known each other since elementary school. Tell me the story about how the three of you got to know each other.

[00:01:06] Jenna Deml: So, I was in second grade. I had just transferred to Edwards Elementary School. It was my first experience in public school. I was getting to know everybody, but I think I’d also just been diagnosed at that point. And I didn’t really, how do I put this? I hadn’t really seen other people like me who had also been diagnosed as on the spectrum. But in class, I remember this particular person who was labeled as a problem child, which was Kai. And in retrospect, I feel like, really bad for how myself and the other kids in the class treated them at that point. Our teacher in particular did not like Kai’s disruptions. Kai, you remember like you would do these like laser battles with your fingers. Was that right?

[00:02:00] Kai Russell: Oh, no, no. Uh, it was… I mean, sure lasers were involved, but it was more of an early form of live action role play, I guess, just using my fingers as puppets or like action figures, kind of. Like I would walk my pointer and middle finger along a table and have that stand in for like a human, I would use the other pointer to give that same, uh, finger person like a sword or something. I would use my arm as all my fingers kind of, coming together, like jaws as… a dinosaur and then maybe put my other arm across it to form wings and make it a dragon.

[00:02:40] Jenna Deml: But what literally everybody else in the class heard was like, *imitates exploding noises* and then our teacher, teacher Nancy, would like, grab Kai by the collar and be like, “Kai, you’re going out in the hall,” or “Kai, you’re going to the office.” And all of the kids in unison would be like, “Kaaaaaai, be quiet.” So that was how initially, like my relationship with Kai was, but…

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