Accelerated School Leadership’s Elizabeth Pittman Receives Fulbright

E Pittman Head Shot cropped Elizabeth Pittman, a student in Simmons’ Accelerated School Leadership program, is one of 49 American citizens to receive a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching grant for 2015-16. She will conduct research in New Zealand.

The Fulbright program asks participants to “take courses, lead master classes and seminars, visit local schools, collaborate with each other online and in person, and complete an inquiry project of their own design.” Pittman teaches at H. Grady Spruce High School in Dallas. Read more about the program here.

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Annie Wright Contributes to Handbook of Social and Emotional Learning

8.27.14Portraits12578Annie Wright, director of evaluation for the Center on Research and Evaluation in Simmons, recently published an essay in the Handbook of Social and Emotional Learning: Research and Practice (Guilford Press, 2015).

Her essay, “Accountability and SEL Programs: The Getting To Outcomes® Approach,” was co-written with Andrea Lamont, Abraham Wandersman, David Osher,  and Eric S. Gordon. Read more about the book here.

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Simmons Volunteers with Reading Partners for Service Day

16816329180_2f8c51f518_zThanks to Reading Partners Dallas, Simmons faculty and staff spent a morning  tutoring students at J.W. Ray Elementary and Jack Lowe Elementary schools in  Dallas Independent School District.

Dean David Chard created the service day and Reading Partners took on the volunteers to help advance children’s reading skills. See photos here.

Reading Partners is a member of The School Zone, a collaborative partnership of nonprofits and schools in West Dallas. The service day was organized by the Budd Center in Simmons, which manages The School Zone.


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Graduate Student Receives National Bilingual Teacher of the Year Award


Irma De La Guardia

Irma De la Guardia has been named “Teacher of the Year” by the National Association of Bilingual Education.

A third-grade dual-language teacher at DISD’s Withers Elementary School, De La Guardia also pursues a graduate degree in Simmons’ Urban Education Leadership program. Congratulations to her for achieving the national distinction. To listen to a story about what she does in the classroom, click here.

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SMU’s Research Day Yields Prizes for Simmons Students


Jillian Conry, Paul Polanco, Vivianne Mogna, and Madhuri Bhupathi present work on Project ELVA (English Learner Vocabulary Acquisition), research funded by the Institute of Education Sciences and headed up by Dr. Doris Baker, principal investigator.


Mu Huang discusses research on thermoregulatory dysfunction in multiple sclerosis patients.

A group of Simmons graduate students presented their work during SMU’s Research Day 2015, with the following winning the Dean’s Award:

Dustin Allen in Aplied Physiology and Wellness for “The Effect of Multiple Sclerosis on Carotid Baroflex Control of the Heart Rate and Blood Pressure.”  Dr. Scott Davis is the advisor.

Mu Huang in Applied Physiology and Wellness for “Thermoregulatory Dysfunction in Multiple Sclerosis Patients during Moderate Exercise in a Thermoneutral Environment.” Dr. Scott Davis is the advisor.

Jillian Conry, Paul Polanco, Vivianne Mogna, and Madhuri Bhupathi in Teaching and Learning for “Project Elva,” English Language Vocabulary Acquisition. Dr. Doris Baker is the advisor and principal investigator.

Congratulations to them for recognition by the University.

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HPISD Superintendent Joins Education Policy and Leadership Faculty

Orr.Dawson.CURRENTThe Simmons School welcomes Highland Park Independent School District Superintendent Dawson Orr, Ph.D., to the Department of Education Policy and Leadership, where he will serve as clinical professor and chair beginning this fall. He retires from HPISD in August.

Orr brings 25 years of experience as a superintendent that includes oversight of Pampa and Wichita Falls school districts in Texas, and the American School of Laguna Verde in Veracruz, Mexico.

“Dawson Orr’s practical experience and outstanding professional credentials will be helpful to our department as we move forward with research and best practices to prepare future school leaders,” says Dean David J. Chard. “During a comprehensive search for a candidate with expertise in school district leadership and administration, we were pleased to learn of Dr. Orr’s interest, leading to our discussions and his appointment to this important position.”

Orr, who has served on the department’s advisory board, succeeds Lee Alvoid, Ph.D., current chair.

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Simmons Recognizes Three Education Advocates with 2015 Luminary Awards

IMG_1634The Simmons School is pleased to honor President Michael Sorrell, Paul Quinn College; The Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders at Scottish Rite Hospital for Children; and Big Brothers Big Sisters for their education advocacy impacting children and youth. They will be recognized with the 2015 Luminary Awards, January 22, on the SMU campus. Created to highlight extraordinary commitment to improving people’s lives through education, the Luminary Awards were launched in 2009.

Read more about this year’s recipients here.

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Director of Dispute Resolution Offers View of Solitary Confinement

26312D_140_GilmoreBetty Gilmore, lecturer and director of the dispute resolution program at SMU Simmons, writes about solitary confinement in U.S. prisons in this op-ed published in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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Simmons Students Reflect on Education Policy in Two Op-ed Pieces


Anna Norkett


Rahfin Faruk

Two SMU students, Anna Norkett and Rahfin Faruk, blogged for an education policy class in Simmons with Bill McKenzie, editorial director for the George W. Bush Institute. As a bonus, they published op-ed pieces in The Dallas Morning News. To read Norkett’s piece on the culture of expectations in classrooms, click here. And to read Faruk’s piece on communication and collaboration in school systems, click here.

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Supporting Strong Learning for Immigrant Children

Simmons Teaching and Learning Faculty Karla del Rosal Portrait

Karla del Rosal

Assistant Professor Karla del Rosal offers a personal perspective on educating immigrant children, her life’s work. Read more about her research and ideas about how teachers can be more effective in her Huffington Post piece here.

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