Participating Faculty Members
Updated for 2016
My research interests are in the areas of gifted education and elementary mathematics education, primarily related to pedagogy, curriculum, and mathematical writing. In addition, I am interested in investigating how teachers’ expectations effect their instructional decisions and the mathematics learning opportunities they provide for their students and the integration of technology in mathematics instruction to enhance teaching and learning at the elementary level.
Dr. Stacy Olitsky
The retention of science and math teachers in high-need urban schools is essential to reducing educational inequalities, yet teacher turnover is a persistent problem. I am working on a qualitative study that explores how teachers develop a sense of identity and commitment as STEM teachers in high-need schools. The study draws on interviews, surveys, observations and journal entries in order to investigate the following questions: How do teachers’ identities develop within high-need schools? What structural conditions and experiences support the development of strong teacher identities? What is the relationship between identity and decision-making regarding retention?
Students from diverse family backgrounds and communities are overrepresented in the dropout numbers, students who are in conflict with school policy and practice and in the juvenile justice system. There is an urgent need to prepare teachers with the knowledge and skills to work with students who are diverse. With this in mind, my research focuses on the education of at-risk youth, youth in the school and juvenile justice system, and how to prepare teachers with multicultural competencies for working with students from diverse family backgrounds and communities.
Dr. Deborah Valentine
I would be glad to work with students who would be interested in doing historical research, archival and/or oral histories, on childhoods, play advocacy and playground development in the early twentieth century. I focus especially on the role of African American children and female early childhood educators in Philadelphia's play movement, so we could focus a project in those directions. Or we could focus more on ideas about play on the national scene using national publications as primary sources. A final option would be a focus on conducting oral history interviews with people who played at Smith Playground, Soupy Island or Starr Garden playgrounds and doing an analysis of those.