November 8, 2018

Inside WCER

November 8, 2018


Panel discussion At its launch event last month, attendees learned that CRECE, short for the Center for Research on Early Childhood Education, is an acronym that gets to the heart the project’s mission. Crece means “it grows” in Spanish, and that is what the research-to-practice center is intent on discovering more about — the developmental growth of young children.

“The new center will increase equal educational opportunities for young children, their families and their teachers through high-quality research-to-practice in very particular ways,” explains Beth Graue, the founder and director of CRECE who is a prolific WCER researcher and a former acting director. “We want to speak WITH practice, rather than OVER practice.”

You can learn more about CRECE here. Get better acquainted with the project’s founder in the following staff spotlight and listen to her podcast about today’s pre-K programs here.


SXSW Logo Beth Graue says her hidden talent is baking ten kinds of cookies in one day before Christmas, then wrapping them up and giving them away. Similarly, throughout Beth’s education career as a teacher, professor and researcher, much of her satisfaction has come from wrapping up things she has learned and giving them away.

Though Beth’s decision to become a teacher was made in college, her love for working with children came much earlier. As the oldest of six, she spent most of her childhood surrounded by kids. After forays into other fields in college, she came to realize early childhood was what interested her most, and she taught several age levels after receiving her bachelor’s degree. “I still see myself as a kindergarten teacher, I think,” she says with a laugh.

And Beth’s new role as director of the Center for Research on Early Childhood Education (CRECE) may bring her back into elementary classrooms as the center ramps up. CRECE’s work is focused on closing opportunity gaps in education that limit children’s success. Much of CRECE’s first year has been about building capacity and engaging with Madison Education Partnership (MEP) on early childhood research projects. Part of this plan includes creating professional development projects for 4K teachers and – perhaps — Beth being able to “find a way to weasel my way into some classrooms,” she says.

Of her many responsibilities at CRECE and as the Sorenson Professor of Curriculum & Instruction, Beth says she is fondest of the time she spends with her graduate students. Many of them started as early childhood educators, as Beth did, and have returned to school to develop their research and theory knowledge. These students have great practice knowledge already, and “working with them to develop research knowledge is fabulous,” she says.

Even at home, Beth gives much of her time to her two dogs, who require lots of walking, and to her husband, a chemistry professor at UW–Madison. The couple have two sons: Sam, who is a translator in Tokyo, and Max, who works at the Willy Street Co-op.

Since arriving in Madison, Beth’s impressive career has evolved in many ways, but she has no regrets about her chosen path. Her yearly cooking/baking extravaganza always reminds her, she says, “why I need to stay in my academic job — I couldn’t do hard work like being a baker!”

— By WCER Student Communications Assistant Caroline Daniels


If you’d like a voice in developing a first-of-its-kind Values Statement for WCER, clear space on your calendar for a community workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, with a free lunch included.

Developing a values statement was a recommended action that came out of WCER’s “Building a Culture of Inclusion in the Workplace” workshop last spring, and it’s strongly endorsed by WCER Director Bob Mathieu. Darin Harris from UW-Madison’s Office of Strategic Consulting will run the workshop.

To get an accurate head count for ordering lunches, please complete this Qualtrics survey by Friday, Nov. 9:


WCER’s own Monster Mash drew a packed house to Room 259 for a two-hour Halloween gathering and potluck on Oct. 31 with tasty treats and seasonal games and decorations.

These employees won awards in the four costume categories:

Most Creative — Maria Huckleberry for “WCER Intra-net/MyWCER”

Funniest — Kathi Koppa for “A Salt w/a Deadly Weapon”

Scariest — Jim Lyne as “Creepy Office Guy”

Best Team — Carrie Castree and Angel Cartagena as “Lucy & Ricky.”


Working on the Achievement Gap,  Capital Times, Oct. 31, 2018

Finding a Job that Fits: Study Finds Mismatch between Education, Job Qualifications, Wisconsin Public Radio, Oct. 30, 2018

Wadewitz Students, Teacher Contribute to Wisconsin History Game, Journal Times, Oct. 30, 2018

AR Girls Present Results of Their Work on Interactive Digital Stories, Republican Journal, Oct. 27, 2018

Elmwood Elementary Students Help Develop Online Video Game, Pierce County Herald, Oct. 25, 2018

WPT Video Game Tested Locally, Shawano Leader, Oct. 20, 2018

Brillion Students Meet Jo Wilder and the Capitol Case, Brillion News, Oct. 18, 2018

The Capitol Case, Waukesha Freeman, Oct. 18, 2018

WPT Education’s Capitol Game Gets Top Score, Wisconsin Public Television, Oct. 17, 2018


PVL 96327 — Assistant Director of Professional Learning

PVL 96340 — Director of Business Services

PVL 96475 — Director of Research, Policy and Evaluation 

PVL 96391 — Financial Manager

PVL 96561 — Professional Learning Specialist

PVL 96248 —  Project Manager

PVL 96467 — Psychometrician

PVL 106369 —  WIDA Sr. Financial Specialist



Video: Jo Wilder and the Capitol Case

Jackson Helping Lead New Project via Wisconsin Partnership Program Award

Wisconsinites Agree on Broad Purposes of Higher Education Despite Divisive Political Climate



Nov. 13, 11:30 am-1 pm Wisconsin’s Demographic Changes: Impact on Rural Schools and Communities, Sarah Kemp, Room 259, Educational Sciences  Sponsor: RERIC

Nov. 14, 11 am-12 pm K12 Education in Wisconsin: An Overview, Thomas McCarthy and Emilie Amundson, Room 159, Education Building  Sponsor: LEAD Center/WEC

Nov. 14, 1-2 pm WIES Lecture: Exploring Immigrant-Origin Multilingual Students’ Languages and Literacies, Amanda Kibler, Room 159, Education Building

Dec. 5 Noon-2:00 pm WIES Lecture Featuring Benedikt Harrer, Room 159, Education Building


School of Education’s Bonnie Doren and Andrea Ruppar received a grant of $49,994 from the Spencer Foundation for “Rural Special Educators: Surveying the Landscape, Identifying Inroads” through Feb. 29, 2020.

Jennifer Asmus and WCER Professor Emeritus Thomas Kratochwill received a $1,399,428 grant from the Department of Education for “Response to Intervention and School Teams: Training Pre-service School Psychologists and Special Educators to be Team Problem Solvers” through Sept. 30, 2023.


“Examinations of Identification and Placement Decisions Made for K-12 English Learners,” Ahyoung Alicia Kim, Daniella Molle, Jason Kemp and H. Gary Cook, October 2018.

“Exploring the Situated and Cultural Aspects of Communication in the Professions: Implications for Teaching, Student Employability and Equity in Higher Education,” Matthew T. Hora, Bailey B. Smolarek, UW-Madison’s Lee Scrivener and Kelly Norris Martin, October 2018.

“Through the Labor Market Looking Glass: An Inquiry into Principal-Teacher Race Congruence,” School of Education’s Peter Goff and UW-Madison’s Yasmin Rodriguez-Escutia and Minseok Yang, October 2018.