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The Early Link Podcast

Education Podcasts


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Student Success Act: Scott Nine, Parasa Chanramy, Dana Hepper

In this week’s episode, host Rafael Otto talks with local education policy experts about the implementation of the Student Success Act. Guests Scott Nine is the Assistant Superintendent at Oregon Department of Education. He has spent almost two decades organizing, writing, speaking, and learning about what it takes to foster equity for students and remodel public education systems. Parasa Chanramy is the Policy and Implementation Director at Stand for Children. Parasa started her career as a...


Swati Adarkar Interviewed on 1190 KEX

Swati Adarkar discusses the role of Children's Institute in driving educational change in communities across Oregon. She also describes recent legislative wins through the Student Success Act, the power of partnerships that connect practice to policy, and the growing momentum to strengthen early care and education for young children and their families. Concordia University will honor Adarkar with their Governor Victor Atiyeh Leadership in Education Award on February 4, 2020. The award, named...


Soobin Oh Discusses Anti-Bias Education in Early Childhood

In this week’s episode, host Rafael Otto speaks with Soobin Oh about the importance of anti-bias education in early childhood. Soobin Oh is the senior education advisor at Children’s Institute. He is a committed social justice educator and is well-versed in anti-bias education, culturally sustaining pedagogy, and critical pedagogy. Soobin holds a master’s in early childhood inclusive curriculum and instruction from Portland State University (PSU) and is working towards his Ed.D. in...


Rob Grunewald on the Economic Impact of Early Childhood Investments

Rob Grunewald is an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Grunewald conducts research on community development and regional economic issues. He co-authored a report called “Early Childhood Development: Economic Development with a High Public Return” in 2003. Since then he has continued his work supporting and advocating for investments in early childhood programs and services.


2019 Year in Review

2019 has been an incredible year for early childhood. We recorded 13 episodes of The Early Link podcast this year. For this, our 14th show, we review some of the common themes shared by our many esteemed guests, and share what’s on our minds as we move into 2020. This is our final Early Link podcast of the year, a 2019 year in review and look ahead to 2020.


Dr. Anya Hurwitz on the SEAL Model

Dr. Anya Hurwitz is the executive director of SEAL, an organization based in Oakland, California that is at work improving the education experience for English learners. SEAL stands for Sobrato Early Academic Language, and is a model that includes curriculum, professional development and technical assistance so schools and teachers can better meet the needs of English learners. Dr. Hurwitz has been a teacher, school leader, and district administrator, and has a doctorate in educational...


Dr. John Kitzhaber on Health Care Transformation

Dr. John Kitzhaber is well known in Oregon and across the country for his expertise on health care and health policy. He has practiced as an emergency physician, served for fourteen years in the Oregon legislature and three terms as Governor of Oregon. Through his service, he authored the Oregon Health Plan and was the chief architect of the state’s Coordinated Care Organizations. Today, he continues to work on ways to improve the lives of children and families in the state with an eye on...


Tools of the Mind with Dr. Deborah Leong

Deborah Leong is professor emerita of psychology at Metropolitan State University of Denver where she taught for 37 years. She is co-founder and executive director of Tools of the Mind, a curriculum and professional development program that was developed more that 25 years ago for early childhood classrooms to improve how children learn and how teachers teach. Dr. Leong also has extensive experience working on and publishing about early childhood assessment and standards. In this episode, we...


Dr. Christina Weiland On Combating Inequality With Early Childhood Investments

Christina Weiland is an assistant professor at the School of Education at the University of Michigan. Dr. Weiland’s research focuses on the effects of early childhood interventions and public policies on children’s development, especially on children from low-income families. She is particularly interested in the active ingredients that drive children’s gains in successful, at-scale public preschool programs. Her work is also characterized by strong, long-standing research collaborations...


Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson Discusses Preschool For All

Host of The Early Link Podcast, Rafael Otto, talks with Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson about her recently released Preschool For All report that explores how to provide preschool for all families in the county.


Community Efforts Deliver New Health Clinic To North Douglas County

In the city of Drain, Oregon in Douglas County, a new health clinic has just opened, thanks to lots of community-based work involving schools, parents, and advocates in the region. The North County Health Clinic is operated by the Umpqua Community Health Center based in Roseburg. I visited the clinic during their recent open house. I wanted to find out what it took to open the clinic, and why the community was motivated to do so. I spoke with several people from the Umpqua Community Health...


2019 Legislative Recap

Dana Hepper from Children's Institute and James Barta from Children First for Oregon provide a legislative recap to close out the 2019 session. In this segment, they discuss the final days that resulted in passage of nearly 150 bills, including all remaining bills from the Early Childhood Coalition legislative agenda. Among the highlights are bills that fund universally available voluntary home visiting and create a task force on child care. Oregon also passed HB 2005 which creates a paid...


Dr. Ajay Chaudry on Combating Inequality Through Early Care and Education

Ajay Chaudry was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy in the US Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to that appointment in the Obama administration, Dr. Chaudry was a Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC. He has led public policy research focused on child poverty, child well-being and development, human service programs in the social safety net, and the early childhood care...


The Latest from Salem: May 10, 2019

Dana Hepper, director of policy and advocacy at Children's Institute, and James Barta, strategic director at Children First for Oregon, provide a timely policy update on the current legislative session.Key takeaways: -The Senate vote on HB 3427, which has passed the House and allocates $2 billion to education, continues to be delayed. -Approximately $400 million in this package is dedicated to early childhood. -Oregon Business and Industry is neutral on the bill. -Many Republican senators...


A Trip Down Memory Lane At Orchards Head Start

Bob Harding and Teri Seaton are two people who might not seem like they have much in common. Bob works as a bank executive and, with his wife Shannon, is raising three young kids on a 5-acre hobby farm in Stafford, Oregon just east of Tualatin. They have 30 chickens, 3 goats, a cat, and a dog. Teri Seaton lives in North Portland with her husband, Greg Stevens. Not a single chicken, goat, dog or cat can be found in her house. But though she has no children of her own, she does spend a lot of...


Policy Update with Dana Hepper and James Barta

Dana Hepper, director of policy and advocacy at Children's Institute, and James Barta, strategic director at Children First for Oregon, provide a timely policy update on the current legislative session. They discuss draft legislation that includes a $400 million investment in early childhood, the recent work of the Early Childhood Coalition, the power of voter voice, and more. Take your voice to Salem! The next public hearing in the Joint Committee on Student Success is Thursday, April 18,...


The True Cost of Early Childhood Programs with John Tapogna

John Tapogna, president of the Portland-based economic consulting firm, ECONorthwest, recently completed a cost analysis of early childhood programs in Oregon. His work reviewed enrollment numbers, program eligibility, and cost per child spending for a suite of early childhood programs for children birth to age 5. These include publicly funded preschool, child care subsidy programs, home visiting, parent support groups, and special education services, among others. Tapogna recommends...


Building a Culture of Care at John Wetten Elementary

We visited John Wetten Elementary in Gladstone, Oregon recently to learn about how the district and the school are working to address ACEs, or Adverse Childhood Experiences. Superintendent Bob Stewart and Principal Wendy Wilson have worked to establish a “Culture of Care” in the school that relies on building relationships with students and establishing an environment of predictability and safety. They’ve recently added a new classroom called the Skills Learning Center (SLC) that serves as a...


On Transforming Education with Dr. Pedro Noguera

Dr. Pedro Noguera is an acclaimed sociologist whose research and scholarship focuses on how schools are influenced by social and economic conditions, as well as by demographic trends in local, regional, and global contexts. He is the distinguished professor of education at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and faculty director for the Center for the Transformation of Schools at UCLA. In this interview, we discuss the lack of progress in closing achievement gaps in...


An Interview with Dr. Walter Gilliam

Dr. Walter Gilliam joins us in Portland for a discussion on preschool suspension, expulsion and implicit bias. He is professor of child psychiatry and psychology at the Yale University Child Study Center, and the director of The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy. He coauthored the book A Vision for Universal Preschool Education, and his groundbreaking study from 2005 called “Prekindergarteners Left Behind” examined expulsion rates, and reasons for expulsion, in...