School of Education & Human Development Uses Resources to Support Communities

April 27, 2020

The School of Education & Human Development faculty is responding to the disruption created by COVID-19 by finding creative ways to help students continue their educational journey online and continue to contribute to K-12 schools in their communities.

School of Education & Human Development Dean Rebecca Kantor

“It’s tempting to focus on what we are missing and what we’ve lost for now, but we can also focus on some of the critical shifts we need to make to prepare the next generation of leaders to be ready for all that is ahead of us. This is a time when our graduates will be very much needed,” said Dean Rebecca Kantor.

From providing free counseling sessions to early childhood teachers to helping faculty of CU Denver’s schools and colleges improve online teaching, the School of Education & Human Development is using its resources to make a difference at the university and beyond.

Read on to learn more about how the School of Education & Human Development is creatively responding to COVID-19.

Counseling Center Promotes Positive Content and Conducts Meaningful Research

One of the projects that’s kept the Counseling Center staff busy is producing a video of how they’re coping with social distancing and stay-at-home mandates. From pets to sports to crafts—and even napping—the video is sure to make you smile.

CU Denver Counseling faculty members are also sharing the following external links to help counselors support their communities and parent groups.

  1. Coping with COVID-19: Resources to help you help your clients during these challenging times
  2. Caroline Conquers her Corona Fears: A Kids Coping & Coloring Book

On the research side of things, CU Denver’s Lisa Forbes and Courtney Donovan are collecting mental health data on mothers and fathers across the U.S. to examine parenting attitudes, supports, and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. This project will include a pre-post examination of mothers’ mental health before (using data from last spring) and during the initial virus spread in the U.S.  

Early Childhood Education Creates Free Resources for the Public

CU Denver faculty have co-designed innovative online resources, free to the public, for playing at home with young children. These resources are being utilized tremendously during this time. Learn more at the links below.

National P-3 Center Guides School Districts

CU Denver’s National P-3 Center has been sharing resources for teaching and learning in pre-k through third grade The resources provide specific guidance to school districts’ and elementary schools’ supports for at-home learning focusing on two fundamentals of effective teaching and learning in the early grades: child development and equity. Click here for more information.

Professor Promotes Educational Collaboration

Scott McLeod, associate professor in CU Denver’s Leadership for Educational Organizations program, started two initiatives to serve schools and school leaders in Colorado and around the world: 

Coronavirus Chronicles are 10-minute check-ins with schools in Colorado and around the globe during the 2020 global pandemic to help them maintain quality of instruction and to use technology as a meaningful tool. 

Silver Lining for Learning are online conversations held every Saturday about the future of education. The group, comprised of educators from across the nation, is considering the opportunity for lasting changes the shelter-in-place experience will create. 

Learning Design and Technology Supports Move to Online Curriculum

CU Denver’s Learning Design & Technology (LDT) Student Agency—a hub for our students to hone their knowledge, skills, and abilities on real-world projects with real-world clients—currently hosts more than a dozen LDT student professionals with a broad spectrum of talent, and a deep desire to assist during the COVID-19 crisis. 

The program began in 2016 as a technical-teaching-assistant (TechTA) initiative in which LDT students partnered with faculty in the design of online courses. The initiative has evolved into a project marketplace in which students may flexibly accept, partner, and produce projects as needed. Students receive hands-on experience, build professional portfolios, and receive moderate fiscal rewards. Faculty receive skilled partnership at their side.

In light of the coronavirus, the agency is ramping up student staffing and cutting project costs, allowing schools and colleges to readily embed learning designer to their programs. Student agents are fluent with modern praxis and theory from the field, provisioning faculty with course building, webinar hosting, learning design, and creative services.

The agency has largely served faculty and programs on the CU Denver campus with occasional external clients such as the Colorado Department of Higher Education, CU Boulder, CU System, Denver Public Schools and ThinqStudio

Marginal Syllabus Project Informs Educators on Educational Equity

The Marginal Syllabus Project—a research-practice partnership among the National Writing Project, the National Council of Teachers of English, and Hypothesis—supports K-12 educators’ professional learning about educational equity. They are offering a series of public “social reading” sessions.

Faculty Teams Coach Current Learning Design and Technology Students on Zoom  

The majority of CU Denver’s Learning Design and Technology students work on the frontlines of dealing with the urgent shift in their schools, districts and organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CU Denver faculty members have been coaching the master’s and doctoral students as they provide technology leadership to their own colleagues in schools and universities. The faculty facilitation project is scaling up to a more public effort for school and business technology leaders.

Learn and Grow Collaborative Matches Students with Families in Need

The Office of Partnerships at CU Denver’s School of Education & Human Development’s Learn and Grow Collaborative matches talented education students with families of children and young adults in this time of need, when each can be of service to the other.

Child on an iPad

The university students are vetted through background checks and have taken college courses on children’s development, planning and implementing engaging curriculum, and delivering equitable learning experiences for children and young adults. They provide support in a variety of ways across the week, such as helping with schoolwork or creating social/play experiences—all in a remote learning environment that is engaging and supportive.

Faculty Member Presents Digital Pedagogy Lab

SEHD’s Office of Partnerships is working together with Sean Michael Morris in SEHD’s Digital Pedagogy Lab to present webinars for all teacher candidates, mentor teachers, site coordinators, site professors and faculty on the pivot to PK-12 online teaching and learning in CU Denver’s partnership districts. These partnership districts include Denver Public Schools, Jefferson County Public Schools, Aurora Public Schools and Mapleton Public Schools. In addition to these webinars, the office continues to meet via Zoom with partner schools to support their work and ensure rapid cycles of learning and innovation.  

Webinars presented to-date: A Pivot to Remote PK-12 Teaching: Staying Committed to Equity, Care, & Learning. 

Faculty Members Make a Difference Through Volunteer Work

Courtney Donovan is supporting the Denver Conflict Center and the Children’s Literacy Center regarding research and evaluation project pivots in schools.   

Lisa Forbes is collaborating with Mile High Early Learning to support their parents. She is providing parenting support videos that relate to mothers’ mental health. In addition, she is meeting virtually with a mom’s groups to support them.

Remi Kalir, CU Denver faculty member in Learning Design & Technology, is volunteering for Make4Covid. In this role, he is advising on K-12 school partnerships, public relations, digital strategy, and social media.  

Lucinda Soltero-Gonzalez, CU Denver faculty member in Literacy Education, and her family are volunteering for Operation: We can Sew It. They are sewing homemade face masks that can provide some respiratory protection for health professionals. The goal for the group is to make 15,000 masks. Anyone who wants to get involved should visit this website.