The Arizona Minority Student Progress Report 2016: The Transformation Continues, written by Educational Policy Studies & Practice Professor Jeff Milem (now the College of Education dean at the University of California Santa Barbara) and graduate students W. Patrick Bryan and Karina G. Salazar, details trends in demographics and education in Arizona. Selected data from the P-12 and higher education sectors are highlighted to provide information about some of the significant educational challenges and opportunities our state faces.

Carrie Brennan, a member of our National Advisory Board and an educator in Tucson, co-authored a wonderful piece in the Huffington Post on raising special needs children:

As the call intensifies for stronger polices and practices to improve diversity and inclusion within the nation's higher-education sector, our Project SOAR program is responding.

Project SOAR (Student Outreach for Access & Resiliency), established 10 years ago, regularly involves more than 100 undergraduate students in the examination of college access and equity issues, training them to serve as mentors to middle school students.

In April, at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association held in Washington, D.C., the late Professor Richard Ruiz was the recipient of a posthumous AERA Lifetime Achievement Award. His wife, Marie Ruiz, attended the meeting to receive the award.

We recently were awarded a $1.35 million grant from the IES National Center for Special Education Research to develop a technology-based intervention to train students with visual impairments to locate key information on math word problems that involve graphics. The intervention will be developed and refined with students with visual impairments and teachers of students with visual impairments.

Last year, the nation's teacher-preparation programs produced more than 300,000 new professional educators. However, close to 50 percent leave the profession during their first five years of teaching. Some of the reasons teachers leave the profession include low pay and an ever-increasing emphasis on testing, leaving little time for instruction.

Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies Department Head Bruce Johnson adds, "Thirty percent of the new teachers in the state leave within the first two years. We can't have a profession where a third of the people are gone."

Friends, family, and former students both near and far came to honor Director of Field Experiences Shirley J. Fisher for all she has done for the college, the community, and the more than 3,300 UA student teachers she placed in nearly 250 schools — via some 165,000 emails and 4,000+ school visits/meetings! (It would be hard to even begin to estimate the number of lives she touched as both a principal and teacher in Flowing Wells School District. Let's just say the number is, well, overflowing.) 

The UA Alumni Association, in partnership with the UA Office of Government and Community Relations, hosted the 2016 Cats @ the Capitol in January in Phoenix. Six College of Education alumni and staff joined more than 60 members of AdvoCats to meet with state government officials to discuss issues affecting the UA and to advocate for the legislative agenda developed by the Arizona Board of Regents and the presidents of the three state universities. Attendees participated in a panel discussion with state legislators and a member of Governor Ducey's staff.

College of Education graduate student Jesus Jaime-Diaz taught Chicana/o History 101 to Mexicayotl Academy seventh-grade students from Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora. The class came to the UA to present their final-semester projects, which included models of murals, traditional dancing, and poster presentations. This was a great opportunity for these young students, some of whom had never been to the university campus before, to see what college life is about.

College of Education Director of Outreach Sara Chavarria, who also is the assistant director of the STEM Learning Center, was featured in this story about a new $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education ...