Day of Common Learning

By: | Posted: August 29, 2013

October 16th is this years Day of Common Learning, a campus in-service day during which faculty, staff and students have the opportunity to participate in a learning community outside the regular classrooms. Because of the day’s events, all seminars, classes, and labs held before 3 p.m. are suspended. All classes and labs after 3 p.m. are held as usual. All events are free and open to the public.

To listen to or view past Day of Common Learning lectures, please visit Digital Commons @ SPU

Helping youth flourish: Partnering with families, public institutions and private organizations to develop the talents, strengths, and potential of youth

Dr. Thomas Maridada, II

Wednesday, October 16, 2013, 10 a.m.
Royal Brougham Pavilion

The day will begin on Wednesday, October 16, with a public keynote address, “Transforming Our Youth – Transforming Our Nation: Partnering in Service to Invest in the Lives of Our Nation’s Youth,” by Dr. Thomas Maridada, II, Director of National Education Policy, Practice and Strategic Initiatives Children’s Defense Fund.


Dr. Thomas Maridada, II is the Children’s Defense Fund’s Director of National Education Policy, Practice and Strategic Initiatives. Prior to joining CDF, Dr. Maridada served as superintendent of several urban school districts in Michigan, where he was named “Michigan Superintendent of the Year” by the National Association of School Administrators. He has acted as a “school turn-around specialist” for some of the most challenging schools and districts in the country.

Dr. Maridada has served as a leader of two national exemplary schools. In 1998, he, along with the administrative staff of his school, were invited to have dinner at the White House to laud the incredible accomplishment of creating a professional learning community that had achieved sustainable, high academic performance in a school that been previously plagued by persistently low student achievement. On the heels of his success as a principal, Tom was asked to co-create and develop a plan at the county level that would raise student achievement in 24 urban schools that were in “corrective action” as defined by No Child Left Behind. The schools that implemented the plan in their first year raised student achievement between 15-35 percent in both reading and/or math. In the second year, many schools experienced between a 20-40 percent increase, meeting AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) and consecutively outperforming schools that had not previously been challenged with raising student achievement. One the schools that used his reform model was featured on Good Morning America and the following year another school was given a commendation for being one of the most improved schools in the state of Michigan.

Dr. Maridada was given the Innovator Award by CBS Broadcasting for his tireless efforts to raise over 25 million dollars. These monies funded scholarships, extended learning opportunities and the implementation of an Early College Program which allowed students from vulnerable communities to earn an Associates of Arts degree along with their high school diploma. Having been hailed by his students as a giant among men and inducted into Who’s Who in American Teachers numerous times, Dr. Maridada is humbled by the countless accolades he has received for his commitment to excellence. He was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 1993 and 1997. During the administration of the Honorable Coleman Young, Dr. Maridada was given the Spirit of Detroit Award a Key to the City for his renegade spirit and outstanding contribution to the field of education. He has also been honored by several organizations including: the Metropolitan Detroit Youth Foundation, the National Urban League, and the NAACP for his dedication and work with young people.

In addition to his work in schools, he is a member of the American delegation of the International Invitational Seminar on Schooling, which includes senior-level policy makers, academics and educational leaders that study educational equity and access in schools around the world which have included: Switzerland, France, Germany, Portugal and Northern Africa. Tom holds a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

Click here for Dr. Maridada’s full CV.

Afternoon Showcases and Special Film Screening

In the afternoon, the Center for Scholarship and Faculty Development will hold two concurrent one-hour showcases, led by faculty and staff, with community leaders. Showcases will be offered twice, from 1 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. and repeated again from 2 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.

As a special event, SPU will be partnering with Global Washington, World Vision, and Seattle’s First Free Methodist Church to screen Girl Rising. This 2013 documentary, directed by Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins, tells the stories of nine extraordinary girls from nine countries who have fought for their right to education.

Want to get more involved in girls’ literacy programs? Linger after the film for a Q & A session with the session’s sponsors. If you are planning on attending the showing, Global Washington would like interested community members and students to REGISTER HERE so that they can follow up for feedback on the film and provide ideas for further engagement with these issues.

First Free Methodist Church 1:00 – 3:00 PM

Educate Girls, Change the World: SPECIAL SCREENING of Girl Rising

Mona Foundation

Rita Egrari, Board Member and Director of the Northwest Office

Rwanda Girls Initiative

Suzanne Singeal McGill, Co-Founder

World Vision

Brenda Shaw, World Vision Advocacy

Seattle First Free Methodist Church

Bonnie Brann, Senior Associate Pastor

Seattle Pacific University

Jennifer McKinney, Professor of Sociology

Day of Common Learning Showcases 1:00 – 1:50; Repeated 2:00 – 2:50

SPU Academic Showcases

Helping All Youth to Flourish: Student Achievement, “Special” Education, Belonging, and Love

Science Building 112

Educators, theologians, and parents discuss the ideal of finding “belonging” in schools for all students, regardless of ability.  Central to this panel discussion will be the insights offered by disability theology into the kind of “welcome” and “inclusion” we should aim for among Christians and throughout society with a particular focus on schools and colleges.  This academic showcase will wrestle with the challenges people with intellectual disabilities present to our Protestant sense of “faith,” which oftentimes is narrowly perceived in terms of “thinking the right kinds of thoughts.”

Seattle Pacific University

Andrew Ryder, Associate Professor of Theatre

Rick Steele, Professor of Moral & Historical Theology

Sarah Steele, 2007 SPU Alumna

Sharon Ryder, SPU School of Theology Seminary Student

Mike Langford, Assistant Professor of Christian Ministry

Angela Tucker, Coordinator, Disability Support Services

Beth Miller, Assistant Professor, Family & Consumer Science

Debby Hudson, Assistant Professor, Special Education

The Threat of “Stereotype Threat” and the Antidotes to Forge Both Strong Personal Identities and High Performance in Students

Demaray 356

Across America, classrooms from kindergarten through college are increasingly diverse in terms of ethnicities, races, genders, and religious affiliations. But this richness in student composition has not eliminated group disparities in academic performance, career opportunities, and levels of advancement. Stereotype threat explains much of this underachievement as students are more likely to underperform when reminded, either intentionally or unintentionally, that they belong to a group which has negative stereotypes regarding their abilities in that activity. This academic showcase will describe the insidious nature and toxic outcomes associated with stereotype threat and how educators and fellow classmates can empower students from diverse backgrounds.

Seattle Pacific University

Max Hunter, Perkins Center Teaching Fellow

Jorge Preciado, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education

Meeting Them Where They’re At: Intervention in Schools for Youth in Trouble with Substance Use

Otto Miller 118

This showcase will provide perspectives on working with adolescents in Project READY (Reducing the Effects of Alcohol and Drugs on Youth), a school-based intervention to help fight substance abuse.  Participants will learn about a model of collaborating with schools that provides research and clinical training opportunities for SPU students and vital services to local school districts. Using their actual case examples, SPU Clinical Psychology doctoral students will provide information on 1) partnering with school counselors and administrators to identify and intervene with students, 2) unique challenges and opportunities of intervening in the school setting, 3) integration of evidence-based practices and 4) outcomes from the program.

Seattle Pacific University

David Stewart, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology

Doctoral Students in SPU’s Clinical Psychology Program

Meredith Chapman, M.A.

Virginia Arlt, M.S.

Wayne Mason

Emily Hu

SPU Partnership Showcases:

The following sessions highlight SPU’s partnerships with local organizations to transform the lives of youth. Come and find out how you can get involved.


We Rise Together: Redefining what it means to serve youth as a volunteer member of SPU’s John Perkins Center’s Urban Involvement program, partnering with Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, Urban Impact & Neighborhood House

Location: Library Seminar Room

What are the academic and social conditions young people in urban Seattle experience today?  What academic and social conditions are necessary for them to flourish?  What are appropriate and effective roles for community members and volunteers to support youth flourishing?  A panel of youth development leaders who partner with the John Perkins Center’s Urban Involvement program will share their perspectives alongside student volunteers currently engaged in Urban Involvement programs. 

Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission

Katie Russell, Coordinator Youth Services

Urban Impact

Laura Wright, Coordinator, Leadership and Mentorship Project (LAMP)

Neighborhood House

Leah Montange, Coordinator, Youth Tutoring and Resource Center

John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training, and Community Development

Owen Sallee, Coordinator for Global and Urban Involvement

Perkins Center Student Leaders


Engage the Culture, Cross the Street: SPU—Associates in Cultural Exchange Student Partners Program

Demaray 358

Associates in Cultural Exchange (A.C.E.) is a non-profit organization which was founded in Seattle 40 years ago and whose mission is Making the World Your Community.  A.C.E. has an intensive English language institute on the SPU campus which helps international students from all over the world improve their English language skills and broaden their cultural understanding. The A.C.E. Culture Partners Program is designed to bring together local and international students for friendship and cultural exchange. Come hear more about the program and how you can get involved.

Associates in Cultural Exchange

Michelle Soule, Assistant Program Director

Rebecca Perez, Program Assistant

A.C.E. and SPU Students

Reaching Back and Helping Others Get to College: University Tutors for Seattle Schools

Otto Miller 119

University Tutors for Seattle Schools (UTSS) is a Washington State Non-Profit Corporation that provides paid undergraduate and graduate tutors to elementary, middle, and high schools in the Seattle School District. Created in 2012, UTSS has partnered with twelve schools, eleven in Seattle’s south end, on city and state grants aimed primarily at assisting students from backgrounds historically under-represented in higher education to thrive at the K-12 level in preparation for college enrollment and subsequent success.

Seattle Pacific University

Greg Fritzberg, Professor of Education

Graduate and Undergraduate Tutors and Student Support Specialists

Envisioning a World of Their Own: Student Empowerment through Science Education at Federal Way’s Technology Access Foundation (TAF) Academy

Otto Miller 128

TAF Academy is a 6th-12th grade public school of choice with a mission to prepare every student for college and for life through a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) focused curriculum. These STEM interests directly relate to the School of Education’s overarching interest in preparing highly effective, caring teachers to help students flourish as lifelong learners and have inspired a growing partnership between SPU and TAF in the preparation of teachers. This panel will provide insight into the kind of opportunities available for those interested in learning more about school partnerships that support student transformation.


Chris Alejano, TAF Education Director

TAF Academy Interns: Past and Present

Seattle Pacific University

Dan Bishop, Assistant Professor of Education


Kindergarten Goes to College — Kent School District

Otto Miller 127

From March through May, kindergarten students and their parents from 20 different Kent schools will visit local campuses, including SPU, as part of Kent School District’s annual Kinder to College program. The goal of the program, now in its fourth year, is to promote early college awareness and help parents become more involved in their child’s academic success.

Kent School District

Randy Nuñez, College and Career Family/Community Liaison

Seattle Pacific University

Bill Safstrom, Director of Field Placement, School of Education


Giving Children Back Their Childhood: ZOE Children’s Home, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Otto Miller Hall 109

ZOE Children’s Homes is an international organization that rescues and cares for children who are sold, or at risk of being sold, into prostitution slavery; orphaned, or victims of other heinous crimes and abuse-worldwide. The organization exists to combat the awful trafficking for children globally and provides shelters and loving homes to orphans and children who have been abused or who are at-risk of any crime against them. In the homes, children are raised to participate in the highest quality academics and are provided with excellent health care and nutrition. Most importantly, they are loved unconditionally by the highly trained staff and volunteers. Additionally, ZOE provides scholarships and housing for their children pursuing higher education.

Seattle Pacific University

Joyce Brooks, School of Education, CPE Operations Coordinator


Excellent Teachers, Equitable Classrooms, Empowered Students: The Martinez Foundation

Demaray 261

In 2008, Edgar and Holli launched The Martinez Foundation, which strives to strengthen our communities by providing underserved populations with educational opportunities. The Martinez Foundation helps students of color become the exceptional educators and role models our communities deserve. Martinez Fellows have the opportunity to create a more equitable learning environment in public classrooms, close the gap between disadvantage and achievement, and honor every student’s right to succeed in school—and life.

Martinez Foundation

Ian Adair, Executive Director

Karen Harris, Director of Education

Seattle Pacific University

Tracy Williams, Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction


Bringing the Word of God in Physical Form: The King County Youth Chaplaincy Program

Demaray 258

The public servants in the criminal justice system work tirelessly to serve our youth. But they are often overwhelmed and limited in their ability to holistically meet the need of the families they serve. Youth are looking for mentors. Families are looking for support. And there is a clear need for the faith community throughout King County to engage. Serving the King County Juvenile Detention Center, the King County Youth Chaplaincy Program exists to bring the Word of God in physical form. They unite churches and ministries to reach youth and families with the love of Christ, accomplishing this through building community partnerships and providing direct chaplaincy programming for youth within the Juvenile Detention Center.

King County Youth Chaplaincy

Jonathan Abe, Chaplain and Program Director

Urban Impact

Glenn McCray, Hub Director, Urban Impact at Emerald City Bible Fellowship

Seattle Pacific University

David Leong, Assistant Professor of Missional Theology


Working to Keep Families Safe and Whole: Safe Families for Children

Demaray 360

When crisis strikes, we may rely on our own extended family and friends for support. But what happens when that safety net does not exist? Or, what happens if the problem involves drug addiction, incarceration, illness or other trauma? Overburdened state run foster care can often only support children who have been identified as abused. Since 2005, Safe Families for Children has given hope to thousands of children and families facing crisis. Come explore how the Safe Families movement is working with faith communities to strengthen and support parents so that they can become Safe Families for their own children.

Safe Families

Karen Bergstrom,  Executive Director Safe Families for Children, Olive Crest Foster Care

Seattle Pacific University

Sharleen L. Kato, Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences

3:30 – 4:20: Talk back with Dr. Thomas Maridada

Demaray 150

What’s on your mind? Any questions you would like to ask Dr. Maridada? Join us for an informal time with Dr. Maridada as he closes our Day of Common Learning.


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