First, I wish to Congratulate all the ELSIT Graduates! You have all made such a tremendous accomplishment in completing your Masters’ Degree in Education. As leaders in education, you have accepted a huge responsibility to ensure that education is accessible and equitable for all learners. That, in and of is itself, is YOUR social justice act.
Second, I wish to welcome you to the inaugural edition of ReRighting Education Newsletter published by students in the Department of Equity, Leadership Studies and Instructional Technologies (ELSIT) under the leadership of faculty and mentor, Dr. Irina Okhremtchuk. This newsletter is designed to highlight the learning, teaching, research and curriculum developments of students, faculty and staff of ELSIT. It is meant to be a platform of scholarship that is inclusive and shares our (ELSIT) fundamental goals of equity and social justice.
I welcome you all to our community of diverse learners, educators and leaders. I look forward to engaging in critical dialogue, expanding our thinking in education and ReRighting Education.
Editor's Note: Why ReRighting Education?
Dear Colleagues & Readers,
I would like to welcome you to the first issue of ReRighting Education Newsletter! We are very excited about this launch and look forward to many more ahead.
The ReRighting Education Newsletter is a student-led effort that was conceived by San Francisco State University (SFSU) graduate students in the Equity, Leadership Studies, and Instructional Technologies Department with the overarching goal of enriching student life and learning on SFSU campus.
In this issue, you will find a number of highlights about many causes ELSIT students and alumni are engaged in both on campus and in their communities. As an executive editor, I am inspired and touched by our peers’ stories and I am sure you will be too.
As you read this issue, I would also like to extend an invitation to you to get involved in ReRighting Education efforts and become part of our team, cause, and movement.
Do you have information on a current or former ELSIT student (including yourself) who is doing incredible work that others should learn about? Do you want to join forces with us to amplify the voices of the incredible folks in our learning community? Let us know!
Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you!
Get Involved & Help Organize Building Common Ground!
Remember how nervous you were that first day on campus, unsure what to expect from your program or your peers? Remember how much better you felt after Building Common Ground, having made friends, met your professors, and begun your learning together? Now's your chance to give back! Join the Spring '18 Planning Meeting on Wednesday May 16 and/or Thursday May 17 at 7pm in Burk Hall 227.
ELSIT Alum Tina K. Lagdamen to Deliver Keynote
at GCOE Ceremony Saturday
Tina K. Lagdamen, who earned her Masters Degree in Adult Education from SFSU in 2004, will deliver the keynote address at the Graduate College of Education Recognition Ceremony this Saturday, May 12, from 9-1 in Annex 1.
Ms. Lagdamen is the principal of Bessie Carmichael PreK-8/Filipino Education Center, where her goals are to foster collaboration and empathy and transform lives. She is an Educational Consultant for World Bank, a recipient of the United Administrators of San Francisco's Outstanding New Principal of the Year award, and the Hayward Education Fund Hero award.
A Phoenix Rises, Hoping to Bring Others Along With Him
By Jenny Levine-Smith,
ReRighting Education Executive Editor
“Am I just an outlier? Or could I recreate this for others?”
These are the questions that Manny Flores is grappling with as he works through his culminating project for the Master’s Program in the Graduate College of Education’s Equity Leadership Studies and Instructional Technologies (ELSIT) Department at San Francisco State University (SFSU) this spring.
If he can discover the answers, he may be able to make a huge difference in the lives of young men with stories like his: Undocumented, formerly incarcerated, gang-adjacent, and without hope.
That is, after all, what he wants to do. And that is why, in March of 2018, he published his first book, “The Concrete Muse,” a memoir about the first 24 years of his life.
“I want someone who is lost to pick up my book and have it be the key for them,” Manny says, while sitting in a classroom in Burke Hall on the SFSU campus, a place where he seems at home, but one that was never supposed to be his.
“I knew what my future was supposed to look like. Nobody believed in me. My teachers didn’t believe in me. That’s why people are surprised, because everybody expected me to be dead.”
It isn’t hyperbole to say that the fact that he is even here at all, with a book in print, on the verge of a Master’s Degree, applying to PhD programs, is no minor miracle.
Manny was born in Acapulco, Mexico, on October 13, 1993. Throughout Manny’s young life, his father was in prison, but his absence didn’t affect Manny then as much as it would later on. He was surrounded by loving family: Uncles, aunts, cousins, his three siblings, his mom, and his grandparents.
As time passed, instances of violence and corruption pushed Manny’s mother to leave for the United States to seek better opportunities. Manny was just four when his mother left on her own, intending to send for him as soon as possible. Over a year later, six-year-old Manny and his 12-year-old sister crossed the border, pretending to be asleep in the back of a relative’s car.
The small family moved to the Bay Area, where Manny’s mom couldn’t afford childcare and so had to leave Manny and his sister in her car while she worked, until they were old enough to stay home alone every day after school.
Manny was in middle school when he started to idolize the kids in his neighborhood who were stealing cars, doing drugs, and had been to juvenile hall. After all, there was no one else in his life to guide him. Manny’s father was in a Mexican prison. His mom was working all the time. And, his teachers didn’t care to get to know him. “People are getting gunned down outside and we’re learning about Shakespeare, MacBeth. They [were] trying to teach us all this irrelevant material.” Without others to look up to, the gang members filled the vacuum in Manny’s life.
“I swear I thought I was going to sell drugs for the rest of my life. There’s no techs walking around. There are no engineers. I didn’t have a social. I didn’t have an ID. I knew if I got a job, it would be an under-the-table job. I didn’t have any options.”
The first time Manny was sent to juvenile hall, he was 15 years old. It would not be the last. “The first time I was in Juvy, I was starstruck. Now I’d have stories to bring back to my friends.”
The next few years were a haze of drug deals, high-speed car chases, and robberies. Each time Manny got locked up, he would pray and promise to change his ways. But each time, upon release, he would find himself falling back into old patterns.
Until, finally, he didn’t.
The last time Manny Flores was incarcerated was two weeks before the end of his senior year in high school. He begged the judge to try him as a juvenile, and she did, releasing him on house arrest and 18 months probation. This was rock bottom, a place Manny believes he needed to end up before rising from the ashes. “I needed to go through what I needed to go through in order to get to where I am.”
Upon release, Manny’s mom took him to a continuation school, which he completed, and then he enrolled in community college the following fall. On house arrest, and subject to constant drug tests, school was a much-needed reprieve. Manny even found himself attending office hours and visiting the writing and math centers. “That’s how bad I didn’t want to be home.”
After completing community college, Manny was accepted to six four-year colleges, and settled on UC Santa Barbara, earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. Now, he’s at SFSU, less than a semester away from earning his Master’s Degree.
Looking back, Manny wishes his mother had had more support, and that his teachers had cared about him and taught him in ways that were relevant to his life. “Give your students a hug and let them know that you care about them, that they are special, that they have a place in this world. Let them know that they don’t have to repeat the same patterns... If you don’t care about your students, retire.”
Publishing the book, for Manny, was a big deal, and he knows that putting his undocumented status in print is no small act of courage in a post-DACA world. “I’m tired of hiding. My mom lived her life in the shadows. I talk to other undocumented students who don’t want to travel. I travel everywhere. I’m the oppressed... You can call this resistance literature… I’m a warrior ready to fight.”
So what’s next for this young man, who beat incredible odds to get to where he is today? Possibly, a PhD. Possibly, a job as an education director for juvenile hall. “Ain’t no telling. I don’t want to cap it at something. I’m not going to put a limit on where I can take it. Wherever I end up, that’s where I need to be.” I want to discover myself and explore the world. I want to keep learning, and keep teaching, and I want to do some tight shit.”
Claiming A Room of Their Own
By Jenny Levine-Smith
ReRighting Education Executive Editor
The first thing that Quinn Solis (pronouns they/them) did when they learned they were accepted into San Francisco State University’s Equity, Leadership, and Instructional Technologies (ELSIT) department to pursue their Master’s Degree was try to find the Pride Center at SFSU.
"San Francisco is the queer mecca of the United States, if not the world. I cam to San Francisco
wanting to be a part of the queer movement through my academic career as well as my personal life and activism,” Quinn explains.
So when no pride center popped up, they kept digging, and stumbled upon the Associated Students Queer and Trans Resource Center (ASQTRC).
“At the time,” Quinn says, “I didn’t know it was student run. I thought it was institutionalized.” Either way, however, they knew they needed to be a part of it. Quinn got in touch with the assistant executive director of programs and signed on to become the office assistant, working 20 hours a week at the center.
The ASQTRC is a space for students who identify as queer or trans, and in particular people of color within the community (QTPoC) to meet, find community, and to access resources. “Queer and trans folks of color often have to choose between being brown or being queer,” says Quinn. “That can cause a lot of anxiety and alienate students. We’ve been collaborating with the Associated Students Richard Oakes Multicultural Center to be able to bring workshops and events that give visibility and voice to those who have been most marginalized in the LGBTQQIA community.”
The ASQTRC offers a number of services, including:
A weekly People of Color-affirming peer-to-peer support group called Gender Spectrum (Mondays from 1:30-2:30)
A database of resources on and off campus, for gender affirmation therapy and surgery, STI diagnosis and treatment, etc.
Events and workshops about LGBTQQIA issues
Lavender graduation – celebrating members of the community a week before they graduate
Queer Yo Mind conference – which brings LGBTQ discourse to higher education
Legal name and gender change workshop with a pro bono lawyer
A lending library – Including textbooks for SFSU classes, movies, books, as well as children’s books
“All of our events are free,” Quinn points out. “And we always provide food. Food insecurity is really big on campus.”
Quinn refers to the ASQTRC as “my baby,” and, while listening to them talk about it, it is clear that the center holds a special place in their heart.
“Growing up, trying to find my own identity, I really lacked the space to be able to do that. I don’t talk with my family because of my identity. I came to San Francisco to find a community that accepted my identities. I think of (the center) as a mecca for students to come and feel comfortable in their own skin.”
While Quinn’s personal identification with the experiences of the students who come into the center can be a real source of connection, they also acknowledge that such resonance can make it really hard. “It’s so personal, I take it home with me. [I need to work on] self-care and all. That’s what happens with a lot of folks who have a social justice mindset.”
Quinn is deeply committed to the mission of the ASQTRC. But the center’s ability to carry out that mission is hampered by its status as an auxiliary program to SFSU, rather than being integrated into the institution itself. This can seem like a technicality, but it has very real consequences. If you’ve ever noticed the $54 fee on your tuition statement labeled “Student Association Fee,” that’s the small amount of money that funds ALL student-run programs that fall under the umbrella of Associated Students, including the Environmental Resource Center and the Women’s Center.
This makes it hard to buy the books that the ASQTRC wants to provide students in its lending library, but even more importantly, it makes it impossible to have any full-time staff who would help to maintain consistency from one year to the next. This means that in years when the director (who must be a student for the entire school year) moves on, as Mr. Godinez will be doing this year, there is the potential to lose continuity. “We do a lot of momentum, and we build community. If no one’s there to pick up the baton, it falls apart. And all that visibility fades away. We move 10 steps forward, and then we move three steps back.”
So it is a good sign that the university is taking the concept of institutionalization seriously. The ASQTRC will be involved in conversations with the Division of Equity and Community Inclusion as they talk about opening up an official SFSU Pride Center in the fall of 2019. As those talks proceed, the resource center will have to decide whether to fold into the Pride Center or to offer a student-led space that is separate and complementary. “It’s important to have both,” says Quinn, who will be staying on with the center next year, because “the institutionalized space feels different from a student-run center.”
Beyond the walls of this center and even beyond this intersection of student life and identity, Quinn hopes that SFSU graduate students get more involved in on-campus activism, especially in the ELSIT department. “We preach equity and social justice in education, so why aren’t we doing it here? Mentees are out there, and they are desperately seeking to connect with grad students who look like them and identify with them. I hope that someone reads this who is interested in higher ed, and thinks that if Quinn can do it, then I can do it too.”
ELSIT Alum Addressing Food Dessert Conditions
Photo credit: Mira Laing/Special to S.F. Examiner
The students of the Black Student Union, under the mentorship of ELSIT Alum (and newly-elected Associated Students Representative for the Graduate School of Education) Tachelle Herron-Lane and fellow staff members, sought to address the conditions that lead to unhealthy eating choices made by students every day at Willie Brown Middle School.
Their culminating report, "Good Eats Unwrapped," earned a first prize in the California "Black Minds Matter" competition in January and resulted in healthier options in their cafeteria. They are also pushing a local store owner to improve the options sold at the store.
Jenee Palmer, who is graduating this month with an MA in Equity & Social Justice, will be the new Director of TRiO Student Support programs at California's St. Mary's College. Jenee has worked for almost a decade at Breakthrough San Francisco, promoting college access with First Generation students of color. Jenee also received the Graduate Distinguished Student Achievement award for her work at SFSU.
Aurelia Schwarzmann, an alum of the MA Equity and Social Justice program, presented her Master’s Thesis at the European Association for Language Testing and Assessment (EALTA) Conference over the summer of 2017 in Sevres, France. Her research investigated the impact of the US citizenship test on social values perceptions and language learning of new immigrants.
Marisol Quevado, an MA Equity and Social Justice alum, was hired at Cañada College as a Program Supervisor, focusing on student success and retention. She leads a team that provides support to students who are placed on Academic/Progress probation or dismissal status by providing them with services and helping them develop coping strategies through group and individual counseling.
Diana Chandara, an MA Equity & Social Justice alum, was admitted into the doctoral program at the University of Minnesota starting Fall 2017-18. She will also present her MA thesis at two national conferences: The Southeast Asia Graduate Conference at the University of Michigan and the Critical Ethnic Studies Association at the University of British Columbia. Her research investigated the impacts of community-based after school and mentorship programs on the academic and political identities of Southeast Asian American students in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Jimmy Merino-Cruz, an MA Candidate in Equity & Social Justice, has accepted a position as an academic advisor for the University of Washington's SSS TRiO program.
He will be teaching a freshman seminar designed to help TRiO freshmen build the skills they need to navigate and succeed at University of Washington.
MA Special Interest alum, Laura Eastland was admitted into a doctoral program at the University of California Davis starting in the 2018-19 academic year. She was admitted due in part to her M.A research thesis, which examined homeschooling practices among Muslim parents in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Flowers, D.A., Sheared, V. & Johnson-Bailey, J. (Eds.). (2017). Proceedings from 25th Annual African Diaspora Adult Education Research Conference: Celebrating 25 Years: The Struggle Continues. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma.
Fraenkel, J., Wallen, N., & Hyun, H. (2019). How to design and evaluate research in education (10th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. [Dr. Hyun served as the lead author for this edition] Click here for direct link
Okhremtchouk, I.S., Levine-Smith, J.* & Clark, A. (2018). The web of re/classification criteria for English language learners (ELL) – a cyclical journey waiting to be interrupted: Discussion of realities, challenges and opportunities. Educational Leadership and Administration, 29(1), 1-13. Link: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1172216
Okhremtchouk, I.S.& Clark, A. (in-press/Spring’18). The politics of despair enabled by dysconscious xenophobiaism: A call to action on behalf of immigrants and their children. Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education.
Pogrow, S. (2017). Authentic quantitative analysis for education leadership decision-making and EdD dissertations: A practical, intuitive, and intelligible Approach (2nd ed.). ICPEL Publications.Click here for direct link
Pogrow, S. (2017). The failure of the U.S. education research establishment to identify effective practices: Beware effective practices policies. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 25(5).http://dx.doi.org/10.14507/epaa.25.2517
NSF CAREER: Next-Generation Neural-Machine Interfaces for CAREER: Next-Generation Neural-Machine Interfaces for Electromyography-Controlled Neurorehabilitation
Dr. Donohueis PI on a SFSU subaward for a UCSF School of Pharmacy grant to train nurses in online courses. This grant will place 4 ITEC students into a yearlong internship partnering with nurses if awarded.
Dr. Donohue is one of three Co-PIs on an NSF grant, partnering with Computer Science to fully embed Inclusive Learning Communities and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy into the teaching of computer science at High School and Undergraduate levels for the purpose of increasing participation of women and underrepresented minorities.
Duncan-Andrade, J.M.R.(2018). Fools, Foes, or Freedom: Which One Will We Feed? Paper presented at American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting in New York, NY.
Duncan-Andrade, J.M.R. (2018). Rethinking Academic Expectations: Doing Good for our Communities (and Selves) While Meeting Academic Expectations. Invited Speaker Division G, American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting in New York, NY.
Merchant, Z., Jiang, Z., & Maxwell, A. (2018). Teaching Engineering Dynamics and Vibrations Using Emerging Technologies in Undergraduate Engineering Course. Proceedings of 2018 Multidisciplinary Academic Conference on Education, Teaching and E-learning, Prague, Czech Republic.
Merchant, Z.(Accepted). Perception of Computer Science Teachers on Inclusion of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. Paper to be presented at the annual meeting of the Association of the Educational Technology and Communication, Kansas, MO.
Jiang, Z. Merchant, Z., Maxwell, A., Tsuchiya, N., Chen, C., Li, J., & Harvey, S. (2018), Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Using Mobile Learning in Engineering Dynamics and Vibrations Courses. Proceeding of 2018 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference & Exposition, June 24 - 27, 2018, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Jiang, Z. Maxwell, A., & Merchant, Z. (2018), Using Mobile Learning to Improve Low Success Rate in Engineering Courses. Proceeding of 2018 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference & Exposition, June 24 - 27, 2018, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Okhremtchouk, I.S. is incoming program chair for American Educational Research Association's (AERA) School Turnaround and Reform Special Interest Group (SIG) for a one year term 2018-19.
Okhremtchouk, I.S., Sharp, J.C.* & Merino-Cruz, J.A.*(2017) A Closer Look at the Largest California Districts: Governance, Superintendents, Students and Communities. California Association of Professors of Educational Administration (CAPEA), San Diego.
Pogrow, S. (Spring, 2018). Reforming the Teaching of Quantitative Methods Courses in Ed.D. & MA. California Association of Professors of Education Administration (CAPEA) Conference. San Jose, CA.
Robinson, Q. L., Lu, MY., Okhremtchouk, I., & Celoria, D.(Spring, 2018). Using Scenarios and Case Studies to Improve and Enrich Student Learning in Instructional Leadership. California Association of Professors of Education Administration (CAPEA) Conference. San Jose, CA.