Category Archives: Events

Special screening of Beyond Measure for Sacramento educators April 20

The makers of Beyond Measure believe children’s health and success hinges on changing school culture from the ground up – 
ensuring that it’s centered around student wellness at every turn.

That’s why you are invited to a special screening of Beyond Measure from 7-9 pm April 20 at Sierra 2 Theater, 2791 24th Street, Sacramento. We need leaders in every community who can engage diverse stakeholders, assess individual school needs, and create space for localized conversation and action about childhood health and learning.

Since 2009, more than 8000 schools have shown either Race to Nowhere or Beyond Measure to facilitate meaningful conversations about creating healthy learning environments for our children.

The Sacramento screening on April 20 is sponsored by the School Psychology Program and the Doctorate in Educational Leadership in the College of Education at Sacramento State. Tickets are $10 in advance, or $15 at the door. Proceeds of the event go to support doctoral students. Purchase advance tickets at



Outstanding dissertations showcased April 7

Honoring the authors of three outstanding dissertations completed as part of the requirements for the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) degree, the College of Education and the College of Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies will host the Fourth Annual Outstanding Dissertation Showcase Panel from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, April 7, in the Foothill Suite of the University Union. The event showcases the critical research being done by doctoral candidates and graduates, and is open to the public.

The 2016 awardees are: Rachelle Cypher, Ed.D.; Jeffrey Mrizek, Ed.D.; and Joseph Williams, Ed.D. Dissertations were chosen based on the quality of the research design, the written analysis and summary, and the potential of the dissertation results to transform schools or colleges.

RachelleFoxDr. Cypher’s dissertation, “An Analysis of How Teacher Education Programs Prepare Teachers to Meet the Instructional Needs of English Learners,” which found that more is needed than just “good teaching” preparation if teachers are to enter the classroom able to understand how to instruct English learners.

Dr. Rachelle Cypher worked at the Center for Teacher Quality for ten years analyzing survey data regarding teacher preparation at the university level. After completing her dissertation, she wanted to learn more about the K-12 system and accepted a position as Coordinator of Research and Data at Natomas Unified School District. Still in her first year at NUSD, she is excited to continue sharing her dissertation findings with site and district leaders to help close the achievement gap.

JeffreyMrizekIn the research for his dissertation, “Assessing Collective Impact for the Emergence of Competency Based Statewide ‘Public to Public’ Civil Service Career Pathways,” Dr. Mrizek found that a shared meaning of “career readiness” through policy and curriculum alignment is still needed to form competency-based career pathways as a strategy to overcome the growing skills gap due to the rising tide of retiring Baby Boomers.

Dr. Jeffrey Mrizek is a passionate educational leader focused on developing all student’s competency to both teach and learn for social mobility and success in the 21st Century workforce. His unique experiences as a civil service manager, professor, and entrepreneur supports his leadership calling to act as a systems integrator. As Dean of Career Technical Education for the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, where he leads the internal operations, a team of grant monitors, develops educational policy, and ensures prudent fiscal management of the Workforce Economic Development Division’s $900 million budget of State and Federal funds.

Joseph Williams

Joseph Williams, Ed.D., in “California Superintendents: Leading District-Wide Change to Advance Student Success,” examined the leadership training gaps of California Superintendents and recommended policy changes that must be made to better prepare California school leaders to engage the change process and advance student success.

Dr. Joseph Williams is the Founding Principal of Benjamin Holt Middle School in Stockton, CA. As founding principal, his school will continue to experience growth, which includes two sections of students for the next two years. With this growth also comes leading a growing staff and an expanding campus that is still undergoing construction. Joseph is currently working on writing a book review for the Teacher’s College Record at Columbia University and hopes to expand upon his dissertation when things gradual slow down with the number of challenges that accompany leading a new school.

Read more about the outstanding dissertations and RSVP.

Efforts to adopt California Indian Vetted Curriculum gaining support statewide

Pictured (l-r) are: Juliana Liebke, K-12 History-Social Science Curriculum Specialist, San Diego Unified School District; Rose Borunda, Professor, Sacramento State; Cathleen Chilcote Wallace, storytelling and California Indian education program author, Luiseno/San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians; Maureen Lorimer, Professor, Cal Lutheran; Michelle Lorimer, Lecturer, CSU San Bernardino; Matt Hayes, History-Social Science Coordinator, San Diego County Office of Education.

Progress toward adopting California Indian vetted curriculum for California students is gaining momentum, thanks to the collaborative efforts of California Indian cultural experts across the state.

With the engaged support and collaboration of Sacramento State’s Native American Faculty/Staff Advisory Council, including Professor Brian Baker of Ethnic Studies, David Ortega of Educational Opportunity Program, and Cecilia Chavez of ENIT (Ensuring Native Indian Traditions), Dr. Rose Borunda and Dr. Mimi Coughlin hosted California Indian experts and public school educators on September 26 for the purpose of introducing California Indian vetted curriculum. Opening the event was Thomas Lozano of the Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe of Enterprise Rancheria followed by the originator of this effort, Gregg Castro, t’rowt’raahl Salinan/ rumsien Ohlone. Other key presenters included Dr. Dale Allender and Dr. Margarita Berta-Avila; Dr. Maureen Lorimer of Cal Lutheran; Dr. Michelle Lorimer of CSU San Bernardino; Richard Johnson, Tribal Council Chairman of Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe; Dr. Beverly R. Ortiz, Cultural Services Coordinator, East Bay Regional Park District; Chelsea Gaynor, Individuals & Societies teacher, Student Council Advisor, Mitchell Middle; and concluded with a presentation by Connie Reitman-Solas, Executive Director of the Inter-tribal Council of California.

Another Curriculum Summit was held under the umbrella of the statewide California Indian Conference (CIC) at San Diego State on October 21. Dr. Borunda said the keynote speaker Merri Lopez-Keifer, a Gov. Brown appointee, as Commissioner to the Native American Heritage Commission, brought tears to her eyes when she noted that the California Indian Summits denote progress and speak to the resilience of California Indians who continue to make change in today’s world. For the first time, the Summits are being conducted in a groundswell of local support, where California Indians are providing school districts with curriculum and having an exchange with curriculum experts and teachers.

“It’s changing the way people talk about California Indians,” said Dr. Borunda, “infusing California Indian perspectives and curriculum so that all children can benefit from the depth of knowledge and wisdom of California Indians.”

Sacramento State Ed.D. Candidate Susan Olsen was one of the presenters at the San Diego summit, which also included local California Indian experts Michael Connolly Miskwish of the Kumeyaay Nation, Cathleen Chilcote Wallace of the Luiseño/San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians, and author Gary Robinson, who introduced his new historical novel, “Lands of our Ancestors.” Dr. Borunda’s new Research Assistant, Saima Nazir, promoted the San Diego CIC Summit and was successful in getting many educators to the event.

By request, Dr. Borunda and Dr. Coughlin previously presented at the invitation of Adam Jacobs, Student Coordinator of Diversity for Rudolph Steiner College (a Waldorf School). There were over 50 attendees at the April Curriculum Summit representing Waldorf teachers from Arizona, California, and Oregon. “We hope to do more regionalized trainings, given availability of funds, to connect educators with regional California Indian cultural experts,” said Dr. Borunda.

The proposed curriculum framework was prepared by Drs. Borunda and Coughlin from Sacramento State; Gregg Castro, Co-Coordinator of the Curriculum Summit; Michelle Lorimer of California State University, San Bernardino; Crystal Martinez-Alire, Elk Grove USD trustee; and author Beverly Ortiz.

“This collaboration is so important,” said Dr. Coughlin. “K-12 teachers are often eager to teach more accurate and complete information about California Indians but may not know how.  Building teacher capacity through dialogue with Native Elders and content experts is a powerful reform strategy.”

(l-r): Gregg Castro, t’rowt’raah Salinan/ rumsien Ohlone, Co-Coordinator of Curriculum Summit; Elonda Castro, supporter and wife of Gregg; Beverly Neddeau, sister of  Dr. Browning Neddeau; Cathleen Chilcote Wallace, Luiseno/San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians & presenter; Dr. Browning Neddeau, Assistant Professor at CSU Monterey Bay;  Dr. Rose Borunda, Professor at Sacramento State and Co-Coordinator of Curriculum Summit; Monica White, Patrick White’s daughter; Patrick White, Jefferson Elementary School.

Legislative acts: How will they impact ELLs?

The Sacramento State Doctorate in Educational Leadership Speaker Series kicks off for the 2016-2017 academic year with a discussion of public school funding at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 2 in the University Union Delta Room.

The speaker is Oscar Jiménez-Castellanos, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education Policy and Evaluation in Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. He has published extensively on K-12 education finance, policy, parent engagement and their impact on opportunity, equity and outcomes in ethnically and linguistically diverse low-income communities.

His talk, “Examining K-12 school funding Legislation for English Language Learners in California: From Bilingual Education Act to Local Control Funding Formula,” will provide a historical analysis of school funding legislation for English Language Learners in California.

This historical legislative analysis reveals that initially a strong link existed between funding for English Language Learners through bilingual education and a pervasive underfunding of ELLs. However, bilingual education was severely weakened by the sunsetting of the Chacon-Moscone Bilingual Bicultural Education Act in 1986, followed by Proposition 227 in 1998. At the federal level, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) further weakened support for ELLs.

California, however, has once again begun to promote biliteracy and a new wave of school funding through the federal Every Student Succeeds Act and the Local Control Funding Formula in California.

Dr. Jiménez-Castellanos will discuss these developments and ask: “How might these legislative acts impact ELLs and funding in the future? What are some lessons learned?”

Admission is free and open to the public. Directions to the University Union and a campus map are available at

Become a Doctor of Education in just 36 months! Find out how tonight!

Tonight, June 6, from 7:30-8:30 pm, the Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program will be hosting a prospective student information session in Eureka Hall, RM. 313E. The Program is designed for working professionals and produces exemplary educational leaders for schools, community colleges, general education environments and community organizations. The information session will be hosted by Program Associate Director, Dr. Charles Gossett who will discuss the details of the program in depth.

Anyone interested in learning about the program is welcome to attend.

2017 Prospective Recruitment Flyer_summer16

For more information please contact the Ed.D. Office at (916) 278-2282 or at

RSVP to attend this and subsequent sessions at

Did you know with a doctorate you’ll be a more effective, flexible leader and earn more? RSVP June 6 info session:

On Monday, June 6, from 7:30-8:30 pm, the Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program will be hosting a prospective student information session in Eureka Hall, RM. 313E. The Program is designed for working professionals and produces exemplary educational leaders for schools, community colleges, general education environments and community organizations. The information session will be hosted by Program Associate Director, Dr. Charles Gossett who will discuss the details of the program in depth.

Anyone interested in learning about the program is welcome to attend.

2017 Prospective Recruitment Flyer_summer16

Today is the day! Third Annual Outstanding Dissertation Showcase Panel 4-6p.m.

Celebrating the accomplishments of our students is one of the happiest parts of our job – please join us this afternoon, May 3, 2016 for refreshments and enjoyable fellowship with three outstanding doctoral panelists: Melissa Repa, Christopher Morris and Nathan Conkle.

If you can, please RSVP for our planning purposes:

Nathan Conkle: A new basic skills English pedagogy

Nathan ConkleIn his award-winning 2015 dissertation, “I-Search activism: an ethnographic case study of I-Search instruction in a basic skills English course,” Sierra College instructor Nathan Conkle, Ed.D., faced the problem of how to help more basic skills students pass a writing course so they would be prepared for transfer-level courses. He found simplified instruction to be a “false generosity,” however, in that it just perpetuates the student’s struggle with academic literacy.

To challenge the presumption that students must first learn lower-level skills before they can be prepared for college-level writing, Conkle introduced the “I-Search” assignment that encourages students to write about an issue they are personally experiencing and feel passionate about. Conkle found that the I-Search curriculum produced an increase in pass rates for the basic skills course; the students in the study were more confident in their ability to write research and be successful in transfer-level courses.

“I conclude this study feeling hopeful,” Conkle concludes his dissertation, which calls for a paradigm shift in how schools educate basic skills students. “While some faculty still remain entrenched in the safety of a traditional or ‘remedial’ pedagogy, I feel my study provided even stronger results than I had anticipated.  I hope that this study could provide other departments and practitioners an opportunity to reconsider their beliefs and values and only then choose an alternative curriculum.  Even if it is not an I-Search curriculum, I hope it is one that increases student success rates.”

Christopher Alan Morris: Parental enrollment choices

ChrisMorris2Christopher Alan Morris, Ed.D., is principal of Discovery High School in the Natomas Unified School District.  He defended his dissertation, “An assessment of the factors that drive parental choice regarding open enrollment and intradistrict transfers,” in 2013.

As more parents choose to enroll their children in schools outside of the urban core or high poverty areas, the result for students who remain at their home schools has been fewer educational opportunities.  Instead of focusing his research on the attracting schools, Morris studied the factors that led parents to choose one public school over another.  Programs available at the school, the school’s score on the state school ranking system, and the ethnic composition of the student body were found to be factors that drove parents to choose the open enrollment option. Morris studied the extent to which school policies influence parents’ decisions, ultimately making policy recommendations that could help schools retain their student base:  increasing desirable high school programs, improving parents’ knowledge of their options, adding transportation options, and tapping into the educational aspirations of the poor.

“If not done carefully, school choice programs can work to destabilize the very system that is the basis for our democracy,” Morris concludes. “Widespread, unrestricted open enrollment may also drain the financial resources of the most needy communities and lead to further racial, ethnic, and economic stratification. The ultimate challenge for school districts will be implementing a policy that minimizes the harm to some while improving the outcomes for all.”

Melissa Jayne Repa: Accessible technology policies

Melissa RepaGownMelissa Jayne Repa, Ed.D., is co-director of the Services to Students with Disabilities Department at Sacramento State and oversees the High Tech Center and TRIO Student Support Services Program. Her 2015 dissertation, “Leadership to support e-quality for all: A study of a systemwide accessible technology policy implementation,” explored the status of the CSU Accessible Technology Initiative, launched in 2006. Her work was supported by a Wayne K. Miyamoto Public Policy Dissertation Fellowship.

California’s workforce needs a diverse population of college-educated employees, including those with disabilities. However, as Repa found during her literature review, too few students with disabilities are completing postsecondary degrees in a timely manner.  Despite a systemwide policy in place to ensure higher education information resources are accessible, students are still experiencing challenges in obtaining content in accessible formats. Repa’s mixed methods research explored the experiences of leaders implementing accessible technology policies and tested significant relationships and barriers and factors that hinder or facilitate success of the policies.

“The CSU has done a noteworthy job of working toward technology accessibility and building a culture of access and inclusion,” Repa writes in her dissertation, but she notes that a lack of resources, faculty buy-in, accountability, motivation and training, among other issues, impede implementation of an effective technology policy. “Some of the emotion and passion involved in fighting for social justice and equity really came through from the voices of the participants,” Repa concludes. “It is for these students and employees with disabilities that the staff, faculty, students and administrators must work in partnership to make organizational changes needed to innovate and strive towards greater e-quality as use of technology and online learning continue to expand in the CSU system.”