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TRI News

Filling the Gap in Community Health and Child Care Services in Rural Oregon

Jun 24, 2015

child playing in ball pit

Two new facilities to support families in Polk and Marion counties are preparing to open. The Central Health and Wellness Center, and the Central Child Development Center will provide comprehensive, wrap-around services addressing health, mental health, disabilities, nutrition, and infant/toddler development within the rural Oregon communities of Monmouth and Independence.

A dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony took place on Thursday, June 25, on the property of the Central School District – 1601 Monmouth Street in Independence.

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TRI Contributes to the National Conversation about Early Childhood Education

Jun 30, 2015

watercolor of man playing sazophoneWhen you think of New Orleans in June, you might imagine jazz saxophones being played on the street corners and great seafood soaked in butter. In early June, 2015, another kind of rich experience filled the air of The Big Easy – the voices and experiences of early childhood education professionals from across the country.

The NAEYC* 2015 National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development gathered together the most cutting-edge, creative thinkers in the field of early childhood education, and TRI was proud to have provided seven of those voices.

(*National Association for the Education of Young Children)

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Robyn Lopez Melton Honored as 2015 Emerging Leader in Early Childhood Education

Jun 11, 2015

Robyn Lopez-MeltonTRI’s Robyn Lopez Melton received another national honor, and we at TRI couldn’t be prouder.

Last year, Robyn was appointed to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Nominating Panel, to help this nationally recognized organization choose its leadership for the next three years. Now, Robyn has been recognized by Exchange Press as an Exceptional Emerging Leader in the field of early childhood education.

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Marie LeJeune wins T.H. Gentle Endowment

May 19, 2015

Marie LeJeune

Marie LeJeune, associate professor of teacher education, with whom TRI works on the HighFive grant, has been awarded the very first T.H. Gentle Endowment.

“It’s important in my work to continually be connected to what teachers are doing in K-12 schools,” she said.

According to the May 6, 2015 article in the Polk County Itemizer-Observer, "Thomas Gentle, for whom the endowment is named, came to Western’s campus more than 100 years ago to revitalize the teacher preparation program, and built programs and a faculty committed to excellence in this area."

We at TRI are very excited for Marie, and congratulate her on the well deserved honor.

You can read the Polk County Itemizer-Observer article here.

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21st Century Community Learning Centers Spring Conference

May 31, 2015

21st CCLC logo

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE), in partnership with TRI, brought together representatives from 22 school districts across Oregon who are participating in the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) project. This conference, held May 28 and 29 at the Lane Community College Center for Meeting and Learning, focused on providing vision and support for participating programs.

The goal of this federally funded project is to improve the outcomes of students in before and after-school programs by providing academic enrichment in core academic areas such as reading, science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, in addition to services such as counseling, parent education, recreation, and drug and violence prevention. TRI has partnered with ODE to provide technical assistance, training, and web-based support for 21st CCLC programs throughout the state.

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Helping Children to Learn, Grow, and Thrive

May 30, 2015

The Learn - Grow - Thrive Conference

Children playing with bubblesTRI is a proud co-sponsor of the Learn - Grow - Thrive Conference, May 30, 2015, on the campus of Western Oregon University. This free event is for parents, caregivers, and early childhood professionals. Free child care will be provided.

Morning Session: 9am to 12:30pm - Parenting skills and early learning workshops for parents, caregivers, and child care providers in both English and Spanish with FREE Child Care (8am to 12:30pm)

FREE Lunch

Afternoon Session: 1pm to 3pm - Enjoy fun activities with your family while connecting with various resources throughout Marion and Polk counties at the Build Family Fun Activity & Resource Fair.

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Focused Family Child Care Network Highlighted

May 3, 2015

Three girls playing at a tableWhen TRI hired Hannah Anonson to be part of the Center on Early Learning, we knew she brought with her a wealth of firsthand experiences working with Child Care providers. Hannah's time coordinating the Focus Family Child Care Network in Yamhill County allowed her the opportunity to understand the day-to-day challenges and successes of providing care and nurturing to Oregon's youngest residents. Her experience and knowledge now benefits Child Care providers across the state through Oregon's QRIS and Central Coordination of the CCR&R - run through the Center on Early Learning at TRI.

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Ford Family Foundation Grant to Support Teen Parents

Apr 28, 2015

Central Child Development and Health and Wellness Center

TRI Child Development Center (TRI-CDC) was awarded a $50,000 grant by the Ford Family Foundation to assist in creating an infant/toddler child development center in collaboration with the Central School District (CSD), Polk County Family & Community Outreach, and Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency Early Head Start (EHS). The grant award will support the renovation of a building owned by the Central School District to create a model early learning center primarily for teen parents and their children ages 6 weeks to three years. TRI-CDC will provide expert early childhood professionals to ensure the development of an inclusive, high quality, nurturing environment for young children.

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How Massage Can Help Children with Autism

Apr 24, 2015

How Massage Can Help Children with Autism

Photo by Tyra Murray of Grace PortraitsChances are, you know someone who has a child with Autism. In fact, the number of new cases has almost doubled in the past 20 years, from 1 in 150 children born in 1992 to 1 in 68 children born in 2002.

Many parents fear they might never get to hug their child again. They fear that their child will live a lonely life, and may have to suffer from the negative side effects of necessary medications.

For many families, message therapy can bring surprising results – and a new sense of hope.

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Robyn Lopez Melton Delivers Keynote Speech at OAEYC Conference

Apr 21, 2015

Robyn Lopez Melton

The Oregon Association for the Education of Young Children (OAEYC) honored TRI's Robyn Lopez Melton with an invitation to deliver the keynote speech at their Spring Conference on April 18th. Robyn serves as the director of Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS).

Her speech, "Eyes on the I - Exploring the role of Improvement in QRIS" stressed the focus on continuous improvement that belongs to both the child care programs participating in the QRIS process as well as the project itself. Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System is continually working on its own Quality Improvement Plan, with the help of feedback from partners and participants.

Robyn Lopez Melton also facilitated an interactive discussion with a panel of three child care program directors who had successfully gone through the QRIS process. The panel described their experiences, including both the challenges and the rewards of becoming QRIS programs.

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TRI Welcomes Jennie Smith

Apr 16, 2015

Jennie Smith

TRI welcomes Jennie Smith, who will work part-time in the Grants Management Office. Jennie previously worked in the WOU business office and payroll office.  She comes to TRI with 16 years of accounting experience, including three years of grant management.

Jennie has been involved in community volunteer work for 20 years and is currently working in the morning at Monmouth Elementary School as a classroom aide. 

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TRI's Robyn Lopez Melton to Deliver Keynote at OAEYC Spring Conference

Apr 18, 2015

Robyn Lopez MeltonOregon Association for the Education of Young Children (OAEYC) has honored TRI's Robyn Lopez Melton with an invitation to deliver the Saturday Keynote at their Spring Conference (April 17 and 18) at Lane Community College in Eugene. The keynote is titled, "Eyes on the I - Exploring the role of Improvement in QRIS." According to the OAEYC website: The I in QRIS isn’t just for programs, Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System is continually working on its own Quality Improvement Plan, written by you. Join Robyn Lopez Melton, Coordinator for Oregon’s QRIS at The Research Institute at Western Oregon University in exploring how program participation has influenced the QRIS and how continued engagement in the improvement process is essential to the future success of our QRIS. Ms. Lopez Melton will facilitate an interactive discussion with a panel of QRIS programs focused on the most essential component of the QRIS, Improvement.

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Meet the New Director of the Center on Deaf-Blindness - Dr. Linda McDowell

Apr 14, 2015

Dr. Linda McDowellOn February 16, 2015, just two weeks after her arrival at TRI, I sat down with Dr. Linda McDowell to learn about the woman who now serves as the Director of TRI's Center on Deaf-Blindness (CDB). Housed within the Center on Deaf-Blindness are the Oregon Deaf-Blind Project and the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB). Included in her position as Director of TRI's CDB is the responsibility of serving as Executive Director of NCDB - which coordinates and serves deaf-blind projects in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Island nations.It was fascinating to learn how she found her passion in the field of Deaf-Blindness.

It was fascinating to learn how she found her passion in the field of Deaf-Blindness.

Here is the 16-minute video interview with Dr. McDowell. Below the video, you will find a full transcript of the interview, for those who prefer to read the content, and the video is Closed Captioned. Please help us welcome Dr. McDowell. Enjoy!

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Award-Winning Children's Author Visits Western Oregon University

Apr 3, 2015

Monica BrownWestern Oregon University's Division of Teacher Education (in coordination with Teaching Research Institute and the Project High Five Grant) is pleased to welcome award-winning children's author, Monica Brown, for an evening workshop on April 9, 2015 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Monica will speak about her writing and work, through the lens of examining social justice issues in children's literature.  Workshop attendees will also have opportunities to examine multiple international and multicultural children's literature titles and consider ways for integrating such literature in the classroom and at home. Classroom teachers, librarians, parents, and readers are all welcome to attend.  

Gabriela Book Cover

Spanish translation services will be provided.  A select number of Monica's books will be available for purchase at the event.  An author signing will follow the evening's events. Please see the attached flyer for further details.

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TRI Welcomes New Staff

Mar 26, 2015

Hannah Anonson

Hannah Anonson has joined the Center on Early Learning at TRI as an Early Childhood Project Specialist.  She will be providing technical service and support to Oregon’s Quality Rating & Improvement System as well as the Central Coordination of the Child Care Resource & Referral System. 

Hannah joins us from the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency where she served as a Focused Family Child Care Network Coordinator.  

She is a WOU alumni having graduated with a BA in geography with a minor in communication.  Hannah has experience as a classroom assistant and substitute teacher at the Corvallis Montessori School.  

Nate Winegardner

Nate Winegardner
will be working with the Center on Early Learning as a Bilingual Early Learning Specialist.  He is joining us from the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency where he served as a Program Manager with the Head Start program. 

Nate has certifications in a variety of early childhood assessments including the the ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences), CLASS (Classroom Assessment measure), Circle of Security and Positive Behavioral Supports.  He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Spanish Literature from the University of Oregon.

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TRI’s EEC completes the 2015 Revised Manual: Special Education Assessment Process for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students

Mar 12, 2015

Thanks to the support and guidance of the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), TRI’s Education Evaluation Center (EEC) has, for more than 50 years, conducted comprehensive assessments of Oregon students referred to the EEC because of concerns that they may have a learning disorder. The EEC's approach to these assessments includes viewing the student within her or his context, both at school and at home. For culturally and linguistically diverse students in particular, it is critical that their diverse contexts be considered when determining if they have a learning disorder.

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ERGo Becomes CREA

Mar 12, 2015

CREA LogoTRI proudly announces the Center on Research, Evaluation & Analysis (CREA), formerly the Evaluation Research Group office (ERGo). The new name reflects a more defined and robust mission to conduct research and evaluation studies that are rigorous and successful, and provide useful, timely, and accurate results, reports, and materials.

“We are very excited about this change and feel it better reflects the work and services we offer,” said Dr. Sybille Guy, CREA’s director.

The 11 CREA team members represent a wide range of educational backgrounds and research experience, as well as a large and growing number of publications. The team brings experience and expertise to a variety of content areas, supporting work within TRI and with outside clients and projects. Learn more about what CREA has to offer.

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TRI Awarded 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant

Mar 10, 2015

21st Century Community Learning Centers (CLCs) give students in high-poverty and low-performing schools the support they need to be successful in school and life. The before and after school programs help students by providing one-on-one adult support as well as a wide range of group activities in areas such as reading, math, and science. In addition, the programs offer literacy and other educational services to families.

Children doing homework

Teaching Research Institute (TRI) was given a grant to assist Oregon's CLCs by providing training, support, and resources to improve their ability to meet the needs of students and families. According to project director, Candice Scott, “We are working with the Oregon Department of Education to develop a project plan which will include finding out what the CLCs need and developing processes to provide the support, materials, and training resources to meet those needs."  TRI will also work with CLC programs to update their resources, organize two statewide conferences bringing CLC staff together, provide regional training visits, support English Language Learning efforts, and enhance summer learning programming.

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TRI's Work with Oregon's QRIS Featured in News

Mar 4, 2015

TRI's Robyn Lopez Melton (QRIS Coordinator) and the work being done through TRI's Center on Early Learning, are featured in an Oregonlive article that reflects on the first full year of Oregon's Quality Rating and Improvement System.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

"Oregon has devoted just two full-time employees to the system and is keeping other administrative costs down by having providers submit portfolios, instead of sending observers to each site. Teaching Research Institute staff say this approach has earned them national recognition.

"'We have a small amount of money to spend on this," said Robyn Lopez Melton, QRIS coordinator at Western Oregon. "We want to make sure that most of that money goes to the programs that are serving children.'"

To read the Oregonlive article online, click here.

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TRI Now Recruiting for Study of Executive Function in Babies Born Low Birth Weight

Jun 1, 2015

Baby in NICUThe Research Institute at Western Oregon University, in partnership with the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), has begun recruiting babies, age 6-8 months, born low birth weight and those born full term. These babies and their families will participate in a study on Executive Function in infants and toddlers born Low Birth Weight (LBW). Here's the recruitment information.

"It is so exciting to have cutting-edge research happening at TRI," says Dr. Ella Taylor, Director of TRI. "Since it was founded, more than 50 years ago, TRI has conducted research studies that have dramatically changed the face of education in America." For example, Dr. Edward Palmer's research on what holds the attention of pre-school children to television, that took place at TRI back in the 1960s and 70s, became the foundation for the Children's Television Workshop that created Sesame Street. “This new study on Executive Function in babies born Low Birth Weight has the potential to transform the field as Dr. Palmer's research did in education,” Dr. Taylor stated.

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TRI-CDC Receives WOU University Diversity Grant

Feb 15, 2015

The Teaching Research Child Development Center (CDC) was awarded $250 to continue providing an inclusive and culturally and linguistically responsive environment for all children, families, CDC staff, University faculty, staff, students, and volunteers.  

children reading a book

The award money will be used to purchase new materials such as children's books in the four different languages spoken by children in the program.  In addition, the program will replace outdated materials such as dolls and play kitchen items to reflect authentic, non-stereotypical roles.

The children, families, and staff of the CDC wish to thank the University Diversity Committee at WOU for allocating grant funds toward achieving our goals of an inclusive and welcoming environment.

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2015 Pacific Northwest Driver & Traffic Safety Conference

Feb 16, 2015

Traffic Safety Education

Over 250 driver education instructors from throughout the Pacific Northwest will be attending the 2015 PacNW Driver & Traffic Safety Conference in Portland on February 27-28 and March 1. TRI’s Traffic Safety Education program organizes the conference and co-hosts it with the Transportation Safety Division of the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The conference features keynote sessions by nationally acclaimed speakers and numerous workshops and presentations by regional experts in driver and traffic safety education. Attendees will gain new information and insights on topics pertinent to the field, interact and exchange ideas with fellow driver education professionals, and earn continuing education credits toward renewing their certification. The 3-day conference offers opportunities for professional growth as well as time for networking with colleagues throughout the region. More.

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Working Together for Oregon's Children

Feb 4, 2015

chidlren posing by bike rack on WOU campus

On January 15-16, 2015, the Center on Early Learning at Teaching Research hosted over 20 agencies from across the state to support efforts to improve the care and education of children in Oregon. Staff from three states funded projects at TRI, along with professionals from 12 Child Care Resource & Referral agency and partners from the Oregon Early Learning Division, the Oregon Center for Career Development (OCCD), the Inclusive Child Care Program (ICCP), Oregon Ask, and Teen Parent Programs, among others.

Participants, who are all involved with implementing the field test of Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), spent the day reviewing the QRIS process and providing feedback on making the system work more efficiently and effectively for early childhood programs seeking QRIS designation.

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EEC Receives Skunkworks Award

Jan 22, 2015

Dr. Robert Ayres

Congratulations to Dr. Robert Ayres from the Education Evaluation Center (EEC) at TRI for receiving a WOU Skunkworks award in collaboration with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) here at Western. What is skunkworks? A skunkworks (also known as Skunk Works) is a small group of people who work on a project in an unconventional way. The group's purpose is to develop something quickly with minimal management constraints.

Funding from this award will enable the EEC and ODS to develop, field test, refine and implement a screening and referral protocol for WOU students who are struggling academically and are concerned they may have a learning disorder. The evaluation services which are currently provided on campus through the Education Evaluation Center help students with diagnosis and obtaining support services from the Office of Disability Services. The aim of this protocol is to impact student’s persisting in their efforts to complete their academic goals by supporting students before they fail academically.

For Additional information on the EEC see:

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TRI Receives $1 Million ODE Grant to Develop Elementary Math Instructional Leaders in Oregon

Feb 2, 2015

TRI Receives $1 Million ODE Grant to Develop Elementary Math Instructional Leaders in Oregon

The Research Institute (TRI) at Western Oregon University (WOU) has been awarded a $1 million grant by the Oregon Department of Education to recruit and educate 60 teachers in the mid-valley and mid-coastal areas to become Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leaders (EMILs).  Project DEMILO (Developing Elementary Mathematics Instructional Leaders in Oregon) is a collaboration between WOU, TRI, the Willamette Education Service District, and the Oregon Coast STEM Hub to address the need for increased math content knowledge for elementary school teachers. 

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NCDB to Host Deaf-Blind Summit in July 2015

Jan 5, 2015

The National Center on Deaf-Blindness will host a live Deaf-Blind Summit meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 21-22, 2015. The tentative meeting location is Salt Lake City, UT.

A planning committee, including representatives from several Deaf-Blind Projects, will assist in crafting an agenda that offers an opportunity for identification and implementation of concrete strategies for moving our National Deaf-Blind TA Network forward toward improved service for children and youth who are deaf-blind. Planning will begin early in 2015.

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TRI Staff Support Pink Walk

Jan 2, 2015

Pink Walk Participants

American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Salem and Abby’s House at WOU came together in a joint team to participate in the Discover Pink Walk. The Medical Foundation of Marion and Polk counties organized this year’s event, raising funds for breast cancer screenings and sup-port for women going through breast cancer treatment. Team members included TRI staff members Mary Ellen Dello Stritto and her daughter Elena, Cori Brownell, and Amber Ryerson.

Congratulations to the team for raising $115 in sponsorships!

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NCDB Publications in Visual Impairment & Deafblind Education Quarterly

Dec 16, 2014

NCDB logo

Congratulations to NCDB staff on their recent article publications and to Amy Parker for being selected as guest editor of the Visual Impairment & Deafblind Education Quarterly!  The articles can be found at the publications page of the Council for Exceptional Children,  Division on Visual Impairments and Deafblindness.

Amy Parker, the Coordinator of Professional Development and Products for NCDB served as guest editor for this issue of the publication. Her piece, There’s no place like home: Growing a professional home for the field of deafblindness in DVIDB, addresses changes in the field of deafblindness.

Online parent training: The role of interveners in educational settings, written by Patti McGowan and Peggy Malloy,  describes an online training effort for parents and families. The training, co-sponsored by the National Family Association for Deaf-Blind and the National Center on Deaf-blindness, is on the role of interveners in educational settings. 

Using evidence-based strategies and technical assistance to improve identification of infants and toddlers with combined vision and hearing loss was written by Barbara Purvis and Mark Schalock. This article describes the work of the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) to increase the numbers of children birth through two years old identified as having both vision and hearing loss, improve understanding about how such a loss impacts early learning and ensure that children are referred for appropriate early intervention and family support services as soon as possible. Read more...

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Center on Early Learning Fall Conference: Stronger Together

Dec 9, 2014

The theme for the 2014 Center on Early Learning Fall Conference was "Early Learning System: Stronger Together." The event, which was held in October at the Western Oregon University campus, focused on the partnerships in early learning and child care across Oregon, from the state level all the way to individual child care programs. Attendees included 121 early learning professionals, 26 early learning agencies/organizations, and 45 presenters and session leaders.

The opening key note speech was delivered by Megan Irwin, acting director of the Early Learning Division of the Oregon Department of Education. During the two day event, participants attended a number of sessions conducted by presenters from multiple state, local and private agencies that all aim to improve the care and education of young children in Oregon.

Watch videos from the conference here...

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TRI Staff Present at NAEYC

Dec 3, 2014

TRI's Center on Early Learning staff, Tom Udell, Robyn Lopez-Melton, Dana Bleakney-Huebsch, and Pat Aldrich presented at the2014  National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas during November. 

Tom Udell, Robyn Lopez-Melton, Dana Bleakney-Huebsch and Pat Aldrich

The presentations highlighted accomplishments by the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) project. QRIS is a program that strives to support and increase the quality of child care and early learning programs. The system recognizes and rewards quality programs while supporting ongoing improvement by providing tools, financial incentives and technical assistance. The first presentation focused on the use of a portfolio system to document quality standards for child care and early learning programs in Oregon. A second presentation described efforts to improve the portfolio process for programs that are already nationally accredited by an organization such as NAEYC.  In addition, Robyn Lopez-Melton was asked to present on a panel addressing the XYZ generation working in the early childhood field with regards to their mobility, purchasing power and educational level.

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TRI Staff Present on Early Motor Development

Nov 19, 2014

Drs. Carol Leitschuh and Patti Blasco presented on Early Motor Development at Chemeteka Community College on November 5, 2014, to an Early Childhood class. . . .

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Dr. Patricia Ketcham Joins ERGo at Teaching Research Institute

Nov 19, 2014

Dr. Patricia Ketcham

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Patricia Ketcham to TRI!

Dr. Ketcham is joining the Evaluation & Research Group (ERGo) working on projects that intersect higher education and K-12 education. She has authored and co-authored numerous publications including “Development and Psychometric Properties of a Theory-Guided Prescription Stimulant Misuse Questionnaire for College Students” in Drug & Alcohol Dependence (2014), “Illicit use of prescription stimulants in a college sample” in Drug & Alcohol Dependence (2013) and “Assessing the Climate for Overweight/Obese Students in a Student Health Setting” in American Journal of College Health (2009). Pat currently serves as the chair of the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment Advisory Committee and is the past-President of the American College Health Association.

Pat received her Ph.D. in Public Health from Oregon State University. She comes to TRI from OSU’s Student Health Services where she served as the Associate Director of Health Promotion.

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The National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) at TRI Announces a New Director

Feb 20, 2015

Dr. Linda McDowell

The National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Linda McDowell as the new Executive Director.  Dr. McDowell's expertise in deaf-blindness includes serving as the Administrative Director of the Mississippi Deaf-Blind Project since 1999, authoring numerous publications, presentations at the international, national and state level, and extensive service on national and statewide committees representing deaf-blindness as well as other low incidence disabilities.

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TRI's CREA to Begin Recruitment for Study of Executive Function in Low Birth Weight Babies

Jan 13, 2015

Dr. Patricia Blasco

Patricia Blasco, Ph.D., will serve as the Principal Investigator in a collaboration between TRI and the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) to study the effects of low birth weight on the development of executive function in the first three years of life.

Executive Function (EF) is the collection of mental processes in the brain that allows for self-regulation, working memory, attention, and organization and planning, all necessary skills for school-readiness.

“To date, there is no single comprehensive measure of executive functioning for children ages 6 months to three years,” says Dr. Blasco. “In fact, many studies of EF in the Low Birth Weight (LBW) population have been retrospective once the child is school-age and already experiences learning difficulties. If EF deficits are identified earlier in life, interventions can be put in place earlier to bolster skills and buffer deficits, leading to better success in school and day-to-day activities.”

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TRI Welcomes New Staff

Nov 3, 2014

TRI is excited to welcome new staff members.

 Dr. Hadiye “Serra” Acar

Dr. Serra Acar has joined the Evaluation & Research Group (ERGo) working on projects with an early childhood/early learning focus. She has been the Principal Investigator on several studies at the University of Oregon including  “A State Analysis of Early Interventiona/Early Childhood Special Education Programs in Oregon” and “Prediction of the Ages and Stages Questionnaire”. Serra has presented at numerous national and state conferences and is very involved with the Division of Early Childhood within the Council on Exceptional Children (CEC) and served on the planning committee for this Summer’s Early Childhood Inclusion Institute. Serra received her doctorate from the University of Oregon in Early Intervention.

Lacey Davis

Lacey Davis has joined TRI's Center on Early Learning as an Early Childhood Project Specialist. Lacey is a 2013 graduate of WOU in Community Health Education with a Human Biology minor.  She was involved with the Student Enrichment Program, Sigma Alpha Pi (National Society of Leadership and Success), and volunteered for WOU's Food Bank.  Most recently, Lacey has been working as a laboratory assistant with Salem Hospital.  While a student at WOU, she worked as an inventory specialist and computer lab attendant with University Computing Services.


Dr. Carol Leitschuh has joined us as a visiting Fellow and will be exploring grants and contracts related to early childhood, assessment and evaluation, especially relating to infant/toddler movement.  She has recently moved to Oregon from Minnesota.   Carol is a Fulbright Scholar specializing in early childhood movement for children with atypical and typical movement patterns. Her international expertise is brought to focus in both theory and practice to readily be used across cultures and family contexts. For very young children, movement experiences are seen as critical in addressing positive developmental trajectories and avoiding cumulative risk. Dr Leitschuh’s expertise is in assessment and evaluation.

Kathleen McDonnell

Kathleen McDonnell has joined TRI's Center on Early Learning as an Early Childhood Specialist.  Kathleen comes to TRI from the OSU Child Development Center where she was Acting Director during the summer months. She earned a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Oregon State University and an Oregon Initial Teaching License with an ESOL endorsement in Early Childhood/Elementary. Kathleen has both U.S. and international teaching experience focusing on special needs and disadvantaged students. Her academic interests include mathematics, science, English, geography, and reading. She has been a teacher and a guest lecturer in early childhood development and education courses at Oregon State University.

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TRI Receives $415,000 to Improve Traffic Safety Education (TSE) in Oregon

Oct 16, 2014

traffic safety education

The Center on Educator Preparation and Effectiveness (CEPE) was recently awarded two Oregon Department of Transportation grants totaling $415,000 to increase the number of qualified driver education instructors in Oregon. The grants will focus on coordinating traffic safety education classes, certifying over 300 driver education instructors, and providing support for curriculum, policy and a web presence.

In addition, the $415,000 will be used to plan and host the annual Pacific Northwest Driver & Traffic Safety regional conference and revise the curriculum which is used to teach teens in driver education classes, candidate instructors in TSE classes and online continuing education courses offered by Chemeketa Community College. 

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The 2013 National Child Count of Children and Youth who are Deaf-Blind

Oct 15, 2014

The 2013 National Child Count of Children and Youth who are Deaf-Blind, published by the National Center on Deaf-Blindness in September 2014.

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Gary Glasenapp Presents on QRIS in Columbia County

Oct 7, 2014

Gary Glasenapp Presents on QRIS in Columbia County

Child care providers, Head Start staff, and early intervention and early childhood special education providers attended an Oct. 4 training to learn more about Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) and supporting children with disabilities. Gary Glasenapp, from Western Oregon University’s Teaching Research Institute, presented QRIS and how it addresses supporting children with disabilities (and their families) in family- and center-based care and education programs. See local coverage.

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Teaching Research Institute among Top Workplaces in Oregon

Oct 6, 2014

Top Workplace 2014 Oregonian Logo

Teaching Research Institute among Top Workplaces in Oregon

Based on the largest-ever survey of U.S. companies, Workplace Dynamics, LLP has named Teaching Research Institute (TRI) as one of the top workplaces in Oregon for 2014. In the category of not-for-profit organizations with fewer than 150 employees, TRI made the list of the top 45 (ranking at 33).

TRI, a division within Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon, met or exceeded a series of benchmarks established for non-profit, research organizations. “Culled from our database of 5,000 organizations that have surveyed with us over the last year, this national benchmark includes the most current data of peer organizations available,” according to the Workplace Dynamics evaluation.

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Child Development Center at Teaching Research Institute Receives 5-Star Quality Rating

Sep 26, 2014

Children playing at TRI-CDC

The Child Development Center at Teaching Research Institute (TRI-CDC) has earned the highest quality rating for child care programs in the state through Oregon’s Quality Rating & Improvement System (QRIS). Housed on the campus of Western Oregon University, theTRI-CDC is the first 5-Star rated child care program in Polk County, and is now one of only 26 of the highest rated programs in the state.

Oregon’s QRIS is an integral part of the Governor’s 40/40/20 plan that aims for a 100% high school graduation rate by the year 2025. Developing high quality early learning programs throughout the state is seen as an essential element to reaching that goal. Read More

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Qigong Massage for Children with Autism

Sep 25, 2014

Adult massaging feed of young child

Dr. Louisa Silva will present the most recent research information on massage therapy with children who have autism and sensitivity to touch. Parents and family, caregivers and other professionals who are with children six years of age or younger are invited to to attend the free presentation and learn about resources and how to give their children the massage.

When: Thursday, November 13, 2014, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Where: Community Health Education Center on the Salem Hospital Campus, building D, 939 Oak Street

To register: Call 503-814-2432 (CHEC) or register online.

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Patti Blasco, Ph.D., lead author of "The Little Brain That Could: Understanding Executive Function in Early Childhood"

Sep 10, 2014

"As in the story of the 'Little Engine That Could' (Piper, 1954), with scaffolding and resources, young children can attempt difficult tasks through planning and setting goals. Professionals and parents can be the team reminding the child 'I think I can, I think I can,' until he or she reaches 'I know I can!' This story parallels the important journey during the preschool years as the child develops and integrates [Executive Function] capacity."

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TRI-CDC to Offer Parenting Now Classes This Spring

Feb 5, 2015

Mother and young child

Mid-Valley Parenting, a hub for partners that support parenting in Polk county, has partnered with the TRI-CDC to offer two series of Parenting Now classes in Monmouth/Independence. The first one took place in Fall, 2014 and the second is coming up in Spring, 2015. Parenting Now is a series of 7 sessions which bring parents of young children together to:

  • share parenting experiences
  • increase their knowledge of early childhood development
  • learn about community resources
  • create support networks among themselves

 Check back soon for exact dates.

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The Role of Interveners in Educational Settings: Online Parent Training

Aug 13, 2014

Family group shot

Beginning in July, the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) and The National Family Association for Deaf-Blind (NFADB) began offering a free online training for parents with children who are deaf-blind. The training uses a module from the Open Hands Open Access (OHOA) Deaf-Blind Intervener Learning Modules developed by NCDB. Parents are learning about interveners, the professionals who facilitate learning and skill development by acting as a bridge between the child who is deaf-blind and the environment. The cohort of parents spend 1 to 2 hours per week for 5  weeks learning about the role of interveners, the principles of interventio,  and how interveners function as members of a student’s educational team.

Together, NFADB and NCDB feel that this endeavor will advance their shared goals of empowering parents and increasing recognition and acceptance of the use of intervener services for students with deaf-blindness.

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Abby's House and CASA: Working towards a safe campus

Aug 8, 2014

Abby's House

Providing a safe campus experience is the goal of the Campus Against Sexual Assault (CASA) project, a 3-year grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women.  This collaboration between TRI, WOU and community partners works to provide a safe, respectful campus environment for all students, staff and faculty; expand assistance for victims of sexual assault; and to increase campus and community awareness and understanding.

A major component of this endeavor is support for Abby’s House Center for Women and Families, a resource and referral service located on the Western campus. Abby’s House currently has 18 trained advocates and 3 interns. In addition to educational programs and outreach presentations, students receive referral services for everything from child care, substance abuse, and sexual assault.  Overall, Abby’s house reached a total of 2,298 people in our community with some type of service in the past year.

In order to improve and expand the support offered, Abby’s House is currently working on an app designed to refer people to local resources and information regarding sexual violence.  The app will contain informative articles, contact information for local agencies that can provide help or further information, a map of these agencies, and information about Abby's House services specifically.  

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QRIS Featured on OPB News

Jul 30, 2014

young girl cutting ribbon for art project

Earlier this week, Oregon's efforts to improve the quality of child care and education for young children was a feature of both a news article and a radio interview by OPB News. The centerpiece of this effort is the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), which is run by the Center on Early Learning at TRI. Staff members, Tom Udell, Robyn Melton Lopez, and Gary Glasenapp described the QRIS process and stressed that the system is intended to both rate and improve childcare.
OPB article - Oregon Daycare Providers Trying to Make the Grade

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TRI Steps onto the National Stage

Jul 22, 2014

It's a very busy week at TRI, with faculty and staff lending their professional expertise to the national education discussion.

Amy Parker, Ed.D., Jay Genze, Ed.S., Peggy Malloy, M.L.S., and Patricia Blasco, Ph.D., are presenting at the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Directors' Meeting in Washington, D.C. - 7/23 - 7/25

Amy Parker also presented at the National Deaf-Blind Summit in Washington, D.C. - 7/20

Tom Udell, Robyn Lopez Melton, and Pat Aldrich will be presenting at the QRIS National Meeting in Denver, CO - 7/23-25

Dr. Patricia Blasco                             Watch the TRI Blog pages for a debrief from these important conferences

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2014 Deaf-Blind Summit

Jul 20, 2014

DB Summit

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) welcome participants to the Deaf-Blind Summit in Washington, D.C. on July 20, 2014. This annual meeting of state deaf-blind projects provides an opportunity for key personnel and stakeholders from across our nation’s growing network, to convene in service of increased collaboration and productive practice partnerships. Breakout sessions will address early identification of children with deaf-blindness, literacy, transition, family engagement, among other topics.

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Dr. Patricia Blasco to Present at OSEP Project Directors Meeting

Jul 13, 2014

Dr. Patricia Blasco

Dr. Patricia Blasco and Dr. Cindy Ryan will present the Pearls and Pitfalls of a Blended Early Childhood/Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education (EC/EI/ECSE) program at the Project Director’s Meeting, Office of Special Education Programs in Washington, DC on July 23, 2014.

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Educator Receives National Honor

Jul 10, 2014

Betsy McGinnity, a senior advisor for the National Center for Deaf-Blindness at TRI was recently honored by the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) with the 2014 Virginia Sowell Award for advancement of knowledge and understanding of deafblindness and multiple disabilities. The annual award was presented to McGinnity last month by AER's Multiple Disabilities and Deafblind Division for her long career of exceptional leadership in education. More.

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Support for Families of Children with Autism

Jun 27, 2014

For the past decade, the Teaching Research Institute and the Qigong Sensory Training Institute have been researching the effectiveness of using a daily massage program with children ages 2-6 with autism. The program of massage given by trained parents has been shown in research studies to be effective in reversing sensory difficulties and improving behavior.

The program is now extending the research to older children. Enrollment is currently open for children with autism ages 6 to 11 to participate in a research study that will allow families to receive training and support in the intervention. Families enrolled in the study receive more than $1,500 worth of services for free, including training, treatment and assessments. See the Qigong Research Press Release for enrollment information and details.

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S.I.T.E Project to be Presented at the Sustaining the Blue Planet Global Water Education Conference

Jun 19, 2014

TRI received great news from Mary Beth Tilson, Biology teacher at Delta High School in Pasco, WA. She has been selected to present at the Sustaining the Blue Planet Global Water Education Conference, taking place June 24 – 27 in Big Sky Montana. Why is this important to TRI? Because the student program that will be the centerpiece of her presentation was funded through a sub-grant received from TRI as part of a larger U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant. The SITE projects had to meet standards for both effective environmental education and service learning.

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Join the online PSO Secondary Transition Group

Jun 19, 2014

To facilitate the sharing of information in the area of post-secondary outcomes, TIMS has created a collaborative work space for educators working with issues relating to successful transition from school to adult life for students. 

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TRI Staff Members to Present at the Quality Rating and Improvement Systems National Meeting

Jul 22, 2014

Robyn, Pat, Tom

After a successful presentation on Oregon’s QRIS at the 2014 National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development in Minneapolis, TRI staff members Robyn Lopez Melton, Pat Aldrich and Tom Udell have been invited to repeat the presentation at the Quality Rating and Improvement Systems National Meeting July 23-25, 2014 in Denver.

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TRI’s Robyn Lopez Melton appointed to the NAEYC Nominating Panel

Jun 5, 2014

Robyn Lopez Melton

TRI is excited to acknowledge the appointment of TRI staff member Robyn Lopez Melton to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Nominating Panel for a 3-year term effective immediately. Robyn will serve as one of four NAEYC members appointed at large to work with three board members on the critical task of identifying a slate of candidates for election to the NAEYC Governing Board. In addition, the Panel considers and makes recommendations to the Governing Board regarding issues related to the nominations and election process.

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Fiesta Time!

May 27, 2014

Learning and Celebrating Latino Culture

During May, children and staff from the TRI Child Development Center participated in WOU’s Multicultural Student Union's  Nuestra Fiesta Latina Event. This event strives to bring together individuals from our local community and our campus community to celebrate and experience the Latino culture.

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Study on the Benefits of Massage for Children with Autism

May 19, 2014

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TRI Child Development Center Expanding

May 6, 2014

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Oregon Department of Education Mentoring Program

May 6, 2014

Update and description of the Oregon Department of Education Mentoring Project.

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TRI and Partners Awarded $500,000 Grant

Apr 14, 2014

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Willamette Promise Grant Press Release

Apr 8, 2014

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TRI-CDC Children Visit the OHSU School of Nursing

Apr 4, 2014

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Oregon Deaf-blind Project Helps Families

Mar 28, 2014

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TRI Child Development Center Helping to End Hunger

Mar 26, 2014

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