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Education Policy Fellowship Program

EPFP Learning Team Session -

Are we ready to engage all learners in the classroom? The Importance of Whole Child School Supports

March 26, 2018

12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Kellogg Center, MSU

In this session fellows will engage in discussion about whole child supports in the education sector. This session will begin with an overview of the non-academic indicators in ESSA that impact student classroom experiences. We will define the whole child as it relates to Michigan’s Top Ten in Ten as the driving force impacting student and classroom experiences. The presentation will be followed by a panel of local experts regarding whole child development, and close with discussing best practices and areas for improvement as this impacts student experiences across the state.

Team: Kimberly Mathiot, Caroline Liethen, Kaylee Moreno, Unaa Holiness, Tom Priest, Rachel Clark, and Fiona Hinds

Presenter Bios:


Sandra Gonzales, Ed.D - Research interests include the intersection of Bilingual/Bicultural and Family and Community Education with Indigenous and Latino Studies. Family and Community Education is utilized as a foundation through which to examine learning from the perspective of the learner as opposed to the institution. Such examination is critical to teacher education because it provides a useful lens through which one can examine the social, political and historical constructs that hinder educational collaborations between Latino students/families and the school, the community and society at large. Also of significance is "autohistoria-teoría," a term coined by Gloria Anzaldúa, a Chicana literary scholar, to describe how personal narratives can become critical pedagogies that inspire social justice, dialogue and cross-cultural understanding. Autohistoria-teoría and Indigenous pedagogies are infused with the contemporary and the urban, to establish a new discourse within Bilingual/Bicultural Education that counters the effects of "subtractive" schooling models by creating an "additive" environment that uses stories and storytelling as a pedagogical tool to promote cultural, linguistic and intellectual diversity in the classroom.

Sergio Keck - Director of Special Populations and Programs for the Lansing School District. His areas of supervision include: Bilingual Education, Preschool Services, Adult Education, Indian Education, Youth Center, and WIOA programs. He has served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and director of various educational programs throughout his career. Mr. Keck established a highly successfully Chinese-Immersion Program and a year later, created a Spanish-Immersion program for elementary school students. In addition, he implemented an alternative blended model of instruction designed to provide options for disengaged high school students seeking to graduate. He established a Bilingual Education department and Accountability and School Improvement office, and most recently opened a Welcome Center for the school district. He is committed to helping communities develop global citizens and to this end, has cultivated cross-national partnerships and programs with China, South Korea, Japan, Argentina, Lansing Regional Sister Cities, and Michigan State University’s Confucius Institute. Mr. Keck is originally from Argentina and obtained his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Eastern Michigan and Michigan State Universities.

Dr. Karlin James Tichenor - the Executive Director for School Culture for the Lansing School District where he is responsible for positively influencing the schooling experience for students and staff by creating positive cultures and predictable climates, improving social emotional development, and increasing behavioral and mental health supports for the whole child. He is a Fixed Term Assistant Professor at Michigan State University in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and an Adjunct Professor at Siena Heights University in the Mental Health Counseling Program. He is also a Board Member for the Black Male Educators Alliance of Michigan (BMEA). Dr. Tichenor is a clinical scholar. As a researcher, he has investigated the Promoting Academic Success Program (PAS) for minority males and the efficacy of this program on the matriculation of these students from high school and post-secondary education. He has also worked with the FirstSchools Intervention—a project focusing on diminishing the ethnic/racial achievement gap between majority and minority youth through the development of partnerships between program staff, families, and schools in the context of Michigan. As well, he is a two-term minority fellow through the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Minority Fellowship Program, where he completed two quantitative studies on how at-risk minority males talk about themselves, their lives, and the influence of contextual factors on relationship maintenance for African American couples. He is a KCP (King Chavez Parks) Future Faculty Fellow for the State of Michigan and Michigan State University.

Louretta Cunningham-Powell earned a Bachelor of Sciences (B.S.), and a Master of Art in Educational Leadership (M.A.) from Western Michigan University – both with honors. She also attended Roosevelt University’s, Mathematic program in Chicago, Illinois. After moving to Michigan, she attended the John Hopkins University’s Summer School Curriculum training during the 2006 and 2007 cohort for Model High Schools. Later, recruited to teach, in what was at that time, the second best high school in the country, Evanston Township High School, which is located six blocks from Northwestern University (NW). Louretta moved to Michigan in 1996, to be closer to aging parents, but continued to work with economically disadvantaged children of color, on the western and eastern sides of the state. Louretta joined the MDE in 2010 and was instrumental in turning around numerous schools across the state, including seven Jackson, Michigan elementary schools, four Hazel Park Public Schools, Webberville’s Middle School/High School within a one-year period. She facilitated, MDE’s Principals Academy for two years, created the Increasing Time on A Dime and developed the Redistribution of Instructional Time (RIT) initiatives, based on the MASS 20/20 research. Over 40 priority schools increased their instructional time by 15%-25% (or 180-224 hours), without increasing their budget – after training the school leaders in flex scheduling. Moreover, 38 of her assigned schools were removed from the Priority list using the RIT initiatives. Lastly, she constructed, the SRO’s Rapid Turnaround Triage System and the SRO Achievement Academy: Building Academic Muscle, while under Governor Snyder’s SRO purview.

Dr. LaWanna Shelton has worked in the field of education for over 30 years. She received her B.A. in Spanish from Michigan State University. She began her teaching career in Michigan as a part-time professor of Spanish literature and language and French at Olivet College and Jackson Community College. After receiving her first master’s degree in Spanish and Pedagogy from Eastern Michigan University, she relocated to Long Beach, California where she taught Spanish, Spanish language arts, English as a Second Language, and bilingual classes for several districts before hiring on with Long Beach Unified School district as a bilingual curriculum leader, LEP specialist, and Assistant Principal for 10 years. Career opportunities took her to Nashville, Tennessee where she became the first English Learner Executive Director for Nashville Public Schools for five years. She relocated to New York where she developed an English learner center at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City. After several years, Dr. Shelton returned home to Michigan to assist her parents. She is currently working for the Michigan Department of Education as the Special Assistant to the Deputy Superintendent for the Division of Educator, Student, and School Supports.