Pictured above: Dr. Annie White, Assistant Professor of Education – Early Childhood Studies (top left), Dr. Mari Riojas-Cortez, Professor & Chair of Education – Early Childhood Studies (top middle), Lauren Chase, Lecturer – Early Childhood Studies (top right), Estefany Tovar, Student – Early Childhood Studies (bottom left), and Valeria Toscano, Student – Early Childhood Studies (bottom right).

April 12, 2021 - The CSUCI School of Education is proud to have multiple faculty and students accepted as Learning Stories Conference presenters in 2021.

Dr. Mari Riojas-Cortez (Early Childhood Studies “ECS” Professor & Chair of Education), Lauren Chase (ECS Lecturer), Estefany Tovar (ECS Student), Valeria Toscano (ECS Student), Cristina Heredia (Community Partner from Cabrillo Economic Development), and Antonio Juarez (Community Partner from Cabrillo Economic Development) will present on Monday, April 19th from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm PST. Their presentation and workshop titled El aprendizaje auténtico y la evaluación: una alianza con niños y familias de trabajadores agrícolas en un mundo virtual (Authentic Learning and Assessment: Partnering with Farm Worker Children and Families in a Virtual World) will be conducted in Spanish.

Presentation/workshop Synopsis: This workshop will focus on an innovative university service-learning project designed to engage young children in online early learning activities. The virtual learning program Los Pequeños Delfines focuses on using culturally responsive children’s literature to engage young children in early learning experiences including reading, writing, math, science, music, physical movement, and language interactions. Children ages 3-8 and their families who live in a local farm working housing community participated in the project. The university students who are in their last semester of student teaching, engaged in collaboration with peer groups to plan and implement the virtual activities. Learning Stories were written to assess the virtual learning experience. In this session, participants will become familiar with how Learning Stories can be used as an assessment tool in higher education. In addition, participants will learn how Learning Stories are used in college courses to document service-learning with a local farm worker community as well as participate in analysis and reflection of sample Learning Stories. University professor and student perspectives will be presented. This presentation shows the power of a narrative storytelling approach and how it promotes deeper teacher self-reflection and makes visible diverse children from a local farm working housing community.

Dr. Annie White, ECS Assistant Professor of Education, will present Re-imaging Assessment in the USA: A Call to Action on Thursday, June 24th from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm.

Presentation/workshop Synopsis: This presentation will examine child assessment practices of USA early educators who often encounter challenges with increased pressure on school readiness, use of standardized, deficit-oriented, checklist models, and time-consuming tools, that lack teachers' joy in the assessment process. Many current USA assessment methods do not include the perspective of marginalized children and parents, and family voices are often silenced. This presentation will focus on research to help understand how New Zealand educators moved from traditional methods of assessment to Learning Stories, a narrative, formative, strength-based approach towards assessment (Carr 2001; Carr & Lee 2012). Research findings will offer a new pathway toward Learning Stories as an authentic assessment though (a) mobilizing change, (b) cultivating collaborative cultures (c) deepening learning that leads to transformational learning and, (d) accountability through creating systems of change. A call to action will be sounded with concrete steps on how to change policy and practices based on lessons learned from New Zealand. Following the words and actions of the pioneering and seminal work of Dr. Margaret Carr, it is time for USA educators, "to seize the notion of assessment, shake it around a bit, turn it upside down, and find something that is a part of enjoying the company of young children” (Carr, 2001). The call to action began in New Zealand, from their sacred mountains, rivers and seas, and made its way to the heart of educators in the USA and beyond. From their shores to ours, it is time for us to heed the call and take action to honor and elevate the voices of diverse children, families, educators from our communities.

The third annual Learning Stories Conference is hosted by Hilltop Children’s Center and Educator Institute in Seattle, WA (Duwamish Territory) and draws over 400 attendees each year.

The multi-day conference includes several days of workshops and keynote addresses with the goal to “generate a more unified community – grounded in commitment, action, and accountability – to build resilience in our future generations, inspire curiosity and reflection for educators, and embed responsiveness and restorative justice into our practices, programs, and society.”

The 2021 Learning Conference will be hosted virtually from April through June. To learn more please visit https://hilltopcc.com/institute/lsc21/.

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