Least Restrictive Environments and Achievement for Students with Disabilities in a Large, Urban School District
Principal Investigator: Elizabeth D. Cramer (Florida International University)
Educational Entity: Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Federal laws mandate that students with disabilities have access to the same curriculum and standards-based instruction as their nondisabled peers, but inclusion rates in urban districts lag behind national averages. Research suggests that access to the general education curriculum through inclusive programs has several potential educational and social benefits, yet lower academic achievement among students with disabilities and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds persists. Miami-Dade County Public Schools used an evaluation tool to target 56 schools and provide recommendations for administrators on best practices to increase inclusion and achievement for students with disabilities. However, there has been no systematic follow up to determine if the practices have been implemented and what further supports are necessary. This project will examine the inclusion and achievement rates of these schools in the years following and conduct a needs assessment of what types of supports and trainings are necessary to support teachers and administrators to provide the least restrictive environment. Through surveys, the researchers will identify the needs of teachers and administrators and work with the district to design necessary professional developments and supports. The results will also be used to help shape educator and administrator preparation at the university level.
A Bilingual Kids’ Café: Addressing Nutrition Education, Food Insecurity, and Food Literacies in a North Georgia Community
Principal Investigators: Denise Dávila (The University of Nevada Las Vegas) and Stephanie Jones (The University of Georgia)
Educational Entity: Food Bank of Northeast Georgia
This project supports the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia’s “Kids' Cafe program.” The primary objectives are to understand how to engage youth in productive nutrition and health education learning experiences and to document the impact that food-inclusive programs have on children in a low-income African American and Hispanic/Latino neighborhood. This project will occur at an informal, community-based learning center that Dr. Stephanie Jones, whose academic career has focused on improving the experiences of working-class and poor children, has directed since 2013. It will be facilitated by Dr. Denise Dávila who has been studying the introduction of fruits and vegetables at the center via relevant children’s literature and cooking activities. She will implement an intensive summer bilingual Kids' Cafe program and will collaborate with a research assistant to continue with weekly after-school classes once school resumes. In addition to selecting and preparing foods, children will document their daily eating experiences. Data collection will begin in the summer and continue throughout the year. The anticipated outcomes will have an immediate impact on the local community and will directly inform the outreach efforts of the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia and other food banks across the state and nation.
Austin Early Childhood Collaborative
Principal Investigator: Samina Hadi-Tabassum (Northern Illinois University)
Educational Entity: Austin Coming Together
The Austin Early Childhood Collaborative (AECC) is located in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, a lower-income Black community with increasing rates of poverty and crime. The AECC sits under the umbrella of ACT (Austin Coming Together)—a community organization that seeks to build a stronger P-3 pipeline so children in Austin are on grade level by the 3rd grade. This project seeks to answer the following research questions: (1) What needs must be met by preschool children before they enter Kindergarten? (2) How can systems be created to measure that degree of kindergarten readiness across all early childhood centers in Austin.? (3) What do children in Austin need to meet CPS benchmarks in ELA and Math by the third grade? The project will include interviews with instructional leaders in 22 local public and private elementary schools, focus groups and the analysis of official documents in order to answer the research questions. The results of the research will be presented to the Austin community through a town hall meeting in Fall 2017 and at the 2017 AECC Early Childhood Symposium, in which hundreds of educators in Austin convene for professional development.
Creative Corridor Center for Equity’s Focus Project
Principal Investigators: Deanna Hill and Kristine Lewis Grant (Drexel University)
Educational Entities: Creative Corridor Center for Equity (C3E), Iowa City Community School District, Cedar Rapids Community School District, Linn-Mar Community School District, and Waterloo Community School District
This project will support research for the Creative Corridor Center for Equity and four school districts that are partnering on their Focus project. Focus is designed to support the recruitment and retention of teachers of color. The purpose of this study is to better understand how teachers of color in the four districts experience their schools, districts, and communities and how those experiences influence their retention, migration, and attrition. The findings will immediately inform the districts’ strategies for recruiting and retaining teachers of color. While the study is not intended to be generalizable, it will add to a small but growing body of literature on the retention of teachers of color in non-urban contexts.
Identifying the Professional Development Needs of Rural Educators to Enhance School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports
Principal Investigator: Brittany L. Hott (Texas A&M-Commerce)
Educational Entity: Lamar County Shared Service Arrangement
School-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) refer to a set of strategies that assist students with meeting social and behavioral expectations. The purpose of this project is to assist Lamar County Shared Service Arrangement (LCSSA) with completing a needs assessment and subsequent recommendations for developing a comprehensive professional development plan at the district and school levels. Quantitative results from the Effective Behavior Support (EBS) will provide an overview of the research problem and qualitative results from open-ended questions and follow-up focus groups will assist with explaining PBIS needs. Data will be collected in two phases: (1) an electronic survey of educators involved with PBIS initiatives, and (2) focus groups including a sample of educators to expand on findings from the survey and to contextualize participants’ responses. Qualitative and quantitative data will be triangulated to reinforce the validity of the constructs. After reviewing the needs assessment results, the research team will create a comprehensive professional development plan and locate or develop tools for measuring the success of the professional development program. This work has the potential to better articulate the needs of rural school divisions’ PBIS design, implementation, and data collection procedures.
Exploring Individual Impacts and Documenting Collective Voice at the Youth Bike Summit
Principal Investigator: Allison H. Mattheis (California State University, Los Angeles)
Educational Entity: Recycle-A-Bicycle
Recycle-A-Bicycle (RAB) seeks to develop young people’s leadership capacities and creative energies to advocate for themselves and their communities in policy conversations about transportation access, street safety for pedestrians and cyclists, and city planning. RAB sponsors the Youth Bike Summit, an annual three‐day national conference that brings together stakeholders – including educators, students, and policymakers – to engage around youth, bicycles, education, and advocacy. Attendees are involved in activities in their local communities year‐round that promote equitable transit options, encourage youth academic success and teach bicycle construction and repair. This project will explore the impact of participation in the Youth Bike Summit and related local activities through an ethnographic research project led by youth and informed by transformative critical approaches. A team of youth researchers from ten organizations around the country will be identified and trained in ethnographic research methods. They will collect data locally in their communities and collaborate at the national meeting of the Youth Bike Summit to conduct additional observations and focus groups. Findings from this study will be published by youth in an online blog, in a formal report to the organization’s steering committee, and in an outreach brief for transportation advocacy organizations.
An Analysis of Teachers' Career Paths in Arizona: Retention, Mobility and Attrition
Principal Investigators: Jeanne M. Powers and Margarita Pivovarova (Arizona State University)
Educational Entity: Arizona Department of Education
To address increasing public concern about the high turnover rate of teachers in Arizona schools and districts and the challenges this lack of stability creates for schools, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) created the Educator Recruitment and Retention Task Force. In its initial report, the task force identified a need for additional, high-quality research on this issue. This project will help ADE better understand teachers’ career paths and the factors affecting teachers’ decision to continue teaching or leave the profession. The research team will conduct a systematic analysis of teacher retention and attrition patterns using longitudinal data collected by ADE over the last five years, build a model of teacher retention based on that analysis, and provide policy-relevant recommendations. The research team will also create a usable database that can be updated annually to allow ADE, the research team, and partner researchers to track changes in patterns of teacher retention and attrition over time and to evaluate programs aimed at increasing teacher retention. Overall, this project will build the capacity of the ADE to monitor and react to changes in the teacher labor force, and implement strategies aimed at reducing the current low retention rates in Arizona’s public schools.
Effective Screening in Kindergarten: Partnering to Assess Behavioral and Academic Readiness to Learn
Principal Investigators: Maria Rogers (University of Ottawa) and Robert Volpe (Northeastern University)
Educational Entity: Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
Class-wide screening of academic and behavioral readiness in kindergarten is a critical first step in planning effective early intervention and prevention efforts in schools. The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) is dedicated to the early identification of at-risk learners to avoid the “wait-to-fail” approach that is all too common. In an attempt to employ evidence-based kindergarten screening practices that are both rigorous and acceptable by those stakeholders involved, the OCDSB is partnering with Dr. Maria Rogers and Dr. Robert Volpe in a two part screening project. Part I involves the use of advanced statistical techniques (longitudinal path analyses) to assess if current OCDSB practices are effective in identifying learning practices are effective in identifying learning problems from school entry to the end of Senior Kindergarten. This will involve the analysis of existing data on over 500 children from 17 elementary schools. Part II involves taking the findings from these analyses, together with a critical and current review of the literature, and providing evidence-based and sustainable recommendations for the OCDSB Early Learning Team. The goal of this partnership is to facilitate targeted prevention and intervention programs by effectively identifying students at risk for learning and behavioral problems.
A S.E.L.F. Evaluation
Principal Investigators: Anita M. Wells and Amber B. Hodges (Morgan State University)
Educational Entity: Sisters Empowered to be Leaders for the Future (S.E.L.F.) Program
The purpose of this ERSP is to evaluate the efficacy and delivery of the Sisters Empowered to be Leaders for the Future (S.E.L.F.) Program, which serves predominantly African American and Latina fifth to eight grade girls of low SES in Anne Arundel County Maryland. The aims of the project are to increase awareness of S.E.L.F. and the need for this type of programming for girls among educators in the county public schools and the state Title I office, collect data for use in expanding the program, and enhance the standardization of the program for replication in other schools and counties. The collaborative research team will develop measures to collect pre-, mid-way, and post-data from 20 girls participating in the program during the academic year, their teachers and their parents; will conduct focus groups with up to 10 and collect follow-up survey data from up to 40 graduates of the program; and the university researchers will conduct formative and summative assessments of the program practices. Data will be disseminated through reports and presentations to administrators and service providers in the target schools, Title I administrators, parents and the larger education and social science community.
Professional Development Needs of Black, Christian Teachers in the Service of LGBTQIA Youth
Principal Investigator: Ashley N. Woodson (University of Pittsburgh)
Educational Entity: Saginaw MAX Systems of Care
Saginaw MAX Systems of Care (MAX), a community-based mental health initiative for high school aged youth, is seeking to increase services and supports provided to LGBTQIA students. The staff are currently assessing community needs in relation to LGBTQIA students and recommending evidence-based practices for serving this population. While these efforts have been broadly successful, MAX staff hope to enhance their work with local Black, Christian teachers. The proposed partnership will assess how teachers’ social identities influence responsiveness to LGBTQIA-specific content and draw on these data to produce an evidence-based practice guide for teaching LGBTQIA youth. These aims will be pursued through a district wide survey; focus groups and individual interviews with Black, Christian teachers; and a review of existing literature on school-based supports for LGBTQIA youth. Data and the guide will be used to directly inform MAX services and interventions, and will be made accessible through various platforms to other community and research agencies.
Developing Professional Development for K-12 Teachers and School Leaders in Response to the Growing Suburban Diversity
Principal Investigator: Judy W. Yu (REACH)
Educational Entity: ERASE Racism
Today, minority students make up 51% of the student enrollment in America’s K-12 public schools. Yet, there has been a dearth of educational research that has examined the increase of the racial and ethnic diversity in America’s K-12 suburban schools and its impact on students’ academic and social future. Teacher education research illustrates that the outcome of student success is dependent on the quality of teachers and its response to minority students’ need for culturally relevant curriculum and pedagogy. The purpose of this study is to assess two Long Island school districts’ current professional development for their K-12 teachers and administrators to examine student diversity and to explore ways that school districts can develop culturally responsive curriculum and pedagogy for their student population. The goals of this research are as follows: 1) Assess the strengths and the challenges of professional development in student diversity for K-12 teachers and administrators in Long Island public schools, 2) Provide key recommendations on the best practices of professional development for teachers and administrators to develop culturally responsive curriculum and pedagogy for all K-12 students.
Professional Development Needs of Special Educators to Fully Implement the Mathematics and Language Arts Florida Standards for Students with Disabilities
Principal Investigator: Elizabeth D. Cramer (Florida International University)
Educational Entity: Miami-Dade County Public Schools
School districts around the nation are currently engaging in planning and implementing the new Common Core State Standards. In Florida, districts were required to begin implementation of the new Mathematics Florida Standards and Language Arts Florida Standards in August 2014; however, preparing teachers for this implementation did not necessarily occur. Currently, there is a lack of information and research on effective implementation of these standards, particularly for students with disabilities. The results of a recent survey in the largest school district in Florida show that special educators have not received adequate training to implement these standards, nor do they feel that their students will be able to effectively meet the new standards. This project will support that large, diverse urban school district in conducting a needs assessment of what types of supports and trainings are necessary to effectively prepare teachers to implement the Florida Standards for students with disabilities. Through the use of focus groups throughout the county, the researchers will identify the needs of teachers and then work with the district to design necessary professional developments and supports. The results will also be used to help shape educator preparation at the university level to prepare teachers for standards-based instruction.
Most research on refugee teens emphasizes their struggles and needs, particularly regarding their marginalization in school and society. In turn, after-school programs designed to support refugee teens have focused on supporting students emotionally through storytelling from their home countries and community building within the programs. Two gaps remain in the research: (1) how recently resettled refugee teens navigate their first years in the U.S. to achieve academically, and (2) how after-school programs can support students academically, not just emotionally. Through interviews and observations of refugee teens, this project will highlight refugee teens’ agentive practices for success in their first years in the United States. Data analysis will be used to responsively design game-like activities that will engage students in practicing academic skills during their time in Journey, an after-school refugee youth services program. Design of academically supportive activities will be co-constructed with Journey leaders over the summer, and these new activities will be implemented in fall. Further data collection and analysis will identify areas for refinement, and Journey coordinators will implement with less researcher support in spring. Identifying refugee teens’ promising practices and dispositions is a first step in developing academic support activities that leverage their strengths and interests.
Each year, nearly 2.5 million U.S. children have a parent imprisoned, for a total of 10 million youth who have experienced parental incarceration at some point during their childhood. Few initiatives exist to support these children and their families, and little is known about if and how programs can be designed to improve educational outcomes for such youth. Foreverfamily, Inc. (Ff) supports children of incarcerated parents through family prison visitation, youth leadership programs, and after-school tutoring, with the aim of improving personal and educational outcomes, but has had limited opportunity to gather and utilize data about their impact on current youth and alumni. The research team will work with Ff staff to collect, analyze, and make use of youth’s stories. This project will: (1) use portraiture methodology to collect portraits of Ff alumni and current participants to document Foreverfamily’s impact on youth’s educational outcomes and sense of empowerment; (2) compare this qualitative data to existing quantitative data to create improved evaluation measures and programming for Foreverfamily; and (3) support development of a digital portrait archive that combines narrative and visual portraits, peer-reviewed manuscripts, and applications for larger grants to fund long-term organizational objectives.
An often-overlooked approach to increasing the pool of quality teachers is creating professional pipelines for people of color with deeply rooted investments in school communities to enter the teaching profession. Grow Your Own (GYO) Illinois is a nonprofit organization that focuses on the recruitment of teachers of color from these types of communities. One challenge for the program is conveying the value this subset of teachers adds to schools and local communities beyond student achievement gains. This study will address this problem by establishing the GYO Community Voices Project, which will collect a series of written testimonial portraits from GYO teachers serving in communities to develop qualitative maps of unseen resources and strengths being invested in schools and local communities. The research project is centered on lifting the voices of teachers of color to speak the truth about the ways in which they work to be change agents in their communities. Commonly utilized metrics for assessing teacher quality frequently shut out their voices and ignore their contributions to schools and local communities. This research study challenges this silencing by collecting their testimonies to combat deficit perspectives on the value community-based teachers of color add to the teaching profession.
The Navajo Nation has a very large population of young people, yet the cultural knowledge and wealth of the Nation is held with the elderly Navajo, many of whom only speak Navajo and maintain traditional Navajo lifestyles. The Navajo Studies Conference, Inc (NSCI) is a non-profit organization, which coordinates symposiums and conferences to share research, knowledge, traditional skills, and perspectives of Navajo people and their allies in an effort to inspire the critical consciousness and awareness of Navajo people toward positive transformative change. Through a phenomenological methodology, this project will 1) collect the stories, research, and perspectives of the lived experiences of Navajo people shared at the 20th Navajo Studies Conference, 2) analyze the material with the NSCI Board to identify themes of knowledge shared, and 3) translate the material thematically organized into a curriculum package of print and digital material for schools and communities across the Navajo Nation. Assessment of the impact of the material will follow. The package provides an original source of Navajo-centered curriculum and material for educators and communities, which is grounded in the current knowledge-base, perspectives, and experiences of Navajo people.
In 2010, the New York City Department of Education introduced a set of measures directly targeted at the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education environments. While some schools are achieving recognition for their successful approaches to inclusion, others are only weakly meeting the fundamental goal of enabling students with disabilities to become integral members of their school communities. Given this disparity, the experience of students with disabilities and their families remains hugely unpredictable, leaving them with very few options to influence their school communities. Parents for Inclusive Education (PIE) works to ensure that all students with disabilities in New York City public schools have access to meaningful inclusive educational opportunities. For this project, PIE and the researcher will jointly conduct interviews with school leaders, families and teachers from 5-7 schools selected on the basis of collaboratively determined criteria. The aim of this project is to gather and disseminate information about school-wide procedures and practices that are currently being implemented in different schools to promote inclusion. PIE expects that such information will equip and empower families to negotiate with school leaders to ensure that their children with disabilities have access to inclusive educational opportunities.
In the St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS), only 52.6% of students graduated from high school in 2011, compared to the national average of above 80%. To improve high school graduation and increase college and career readiness, an increasing number of districts and states around the country have begun adopting the early warning indicators system. This tool identifies students in 9th grade or earlier who are at high risk of dropping out of high school in later years and allows schools and districts to offer early targeted interventions. SLPS is now considering implementing an early warning indicators system. The goal of this project is to assist the district to develop the early warning indicators system and effectively implement the tool by providing research expertise. The Saint Louis University faculty will work with the district through partnership with the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation. The foundation focuses on educational success of SLPS students and works closely with the district in strategic areas (e.g., college readiness) identified by the district superintendent. The university partnership with the Foundation will facilitate the implementation of research-based programs in the district.
This project will examine Do the Write Thing, a school-based program that provides opportunities for students to discuss and write about their experiences with violence, with the goal of making a personal commitment to help reduce violence in their schools and communities. The head of the Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee of Do the Write Thing in El Paso, TX, has requested a partnership with research faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) to conduct the study. Mixed methods will be used to collect and analyze data via surveys and interviews with students and teachers participating in Do the Write Thing in El Paso, which borders Cd. Juarez, Mexico. The goals are to (a) provide the local program with much-needed data by examining the impact of the program on students and teachers and identifying program elements, such as classroom discussions and essay writing, that are most effective, (b) provide results and a research protocol that can be used to inform and evaluate programs in 26 other cities in the U.S. participating in the National Do the Write Thing Program, and (c) provide data that will leverage support for additional funding.
AIYD examines the role networks of student interactions with educators and community members play in generating academic results for high school students taking part in History Fair competitions. Previous analyses have shown that History Fair helps develop capable students and citizens, but these studies have not investigated the types of interactions, resources, and supports that contribute to positive outcomes. AIYD takes a mixed‐methods approach analyzing the dynamic social interactions occurring through History Fair both in and out of school. To capture the complexity of these student experiences, we match social network analysis with case studies, questionnaires, and semi-structured interviews. The results will be used to directly inform CMHEC’s work as well as History Fair competitions across the country through research reports focused on: social interactions that support success in History Fair; student utilization of outside-of-school resources to support success in History Fair, and; a comparative examination of how demographically different students utilize social interactions and outside-of-school resources.
This project is an evaluation of the SOAR (Student Opportunities for After-School Resources) Program, which serves emergent bilingual elementary students in grades 2-5. The program focuses on developing the reading and literacy skills of program participants and provides assistance with homework completion. While the program is highly regarded by several stakeholders, there has been no formal evaluation of the program to date. Therefore, administrators from the school have requested an evaluation in order to improve the program. In particular, they want to find out if the program model that is currently being implemented is aligned with research and best practices. The evaluation team will employ multiple methods to obtain information related to the SOAR program including: surveys, collecting student achievement data, observations, focus groups, interviews, and document review. The evaluation findings will help administrators and program staff address areas that can be improved and establish an annual evaluation of the program. Moreover, the evaluation team will present the findings to all identified stakeholders through reports, public presentations, and through academic journals and conferences. The findings will also help education professionals nationwide who work with emerging bilingual students understand the benefits and challenges associated with establishing a literacy-based after-school program.
Examining the Effectiveness of a Parent Leadership Support Training (PLST) in Special Education
Principal Investigator: Meghan M. Burke (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Educational Entity: Family Resource Center on Disabilities (FRCD)
Many parents of children with disabilities want to partner with the school in order for their children to receive appropriate educational services. However, these parents face logistical and attitudinal barriers making it difficult to forge strong family-school partnerships. Such obstacles are exacerbated among minority and urban families. Nationally, agencies are developing training programs so individuals can learn about special education and positive parent-school communication. The Family Resource Center on Disabilities (FRCD) developed the Parent Leadership Support Training (PLST) so graduates from the training (i.e., Parent Leaders) can support families in navigating the school system. This project seeks to understand how Parent Leaders support marginalized families and whether, as a result of working with Parent Leaders, parents are more empowered, knowledgeable, and satisfied with special education services. To identify strategies used by Parent Leaders, 30 interviews will be conducted with the recent graduates of the PLST. Pre/post surveys will be distributed to 120 parents served by Parent Leaders to determine the effectiveness of those Parent Leaders. Formal measures will be used to determine whether Parent Leaders increase parental knowledge, empowerment, and satisfaction with educational services.
Building Data Driven Capacity in OST Programs: NYU and CHCF Research Partnership
Principal Investigators: Edward Fergus and Mellie Torres (New York University)
Educational Entity: Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Inc.
The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Inc. (CHCF) is dedicated to combining education and advocacy to expand opportunities for children and families and strengthen the voice of the Latino community. Though CHCF maintains a long history of providing Out-of-School Time (OST) services, CHCF has not been able to ascertain research expertise to assist in building the capacity of monitoring OST impact. CHCF, in partnership with Dr. Edward Fergus, will seek to meet two goals: 1) implement new social and emotional survey measures into OST programs and conduct correlations with school outcomes (i.e., achievement and attendance); and 2) build capacity of OST staff and CHCF senior leadership in understanding relationship between social and emotional, and academic outcomes in order to improve programming and seek further funding opportunities. Fergus maintains a database of school based social and emotional survey measures such as academic engagement (i.e., relational, cognitive and behavioral engagement) and sense of safety (i.e., safety and safety avoidance), which will be incorporated into the practice of CHCF OST programs. The research team will support CHCF implementation of these measures and build their capacity to outline the impact model of their OST programs at an elementary school and a middle school in Bronx, NY.
Immigrant Families and Educational Access in a Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Faith Community
Principal Investigators: María Paula Ghiso (Teachers College, Columbia University) and Gerald Campano (University of Pennsylvania)
Educational Entity: Aquinas Center
In circumstances of social and economic precarity, faith-based organizations and community centers play an anchoring role for many (im)migrant populations, especially those with undocumented status, and provide a space where diverse cultural groups come together. This collaborative research explores how Indonesian and Latino immigrant families, affiliated with a community center in a diverse faith context (Aquinas Center), work across cultural and linguistic boundaries to understand and address educational issues that impact all their children. The project has two broad goals: (1) to assist the Aquinas Center in better understanding the factors that inhibit or support Indonesian and Latino families’ efforts to navigate their children’s education; and (2) to provide opportunities for participatory research that can help families at the Aquinas Center co-inquire into issues affecting each community as well as identify shared experiences, concerns, and possible networks of support. This project will draw on practitioner research and participatory action research methodologies that foreground shared decision making and the perspectives, experiences, and goals of community members themselves. The intercultural inquiry group will design and conduct workshops to disseminate the insights of the collaborative research and facilitate educational access for neighborhood families.
Supporting Community Integration in a New Immigrant Destination: A Research and Service Partnership between the Pennsylvania State University and the Hazleton Integration Project
Principal Investigator: Megan Hopkins (The Pennsylvania State University)
Educational Entity: The Hazleton Integration Project
Demographic shifts across the U.S. have meant that communities with little history of cultural and linguistic diversity are, for the first time, experiencing dramatic increases in their immigrant populations. In one such new immigrant destination in Pennsylvania, the Hazleton One Community Center, operated by the Hazleton Integration Project, works to integrate and build positive relationships between Hazleton’s newcomer population and its long-standing white residents. The center’s afterschool program provides tutoring to children and youth, many of whom are English language learners, while affording opportunities for integration among diverse groups. The goals of this research and service partnership are fourfold: (1) to describe program demographics, (2) to assess how the program benefits participants academically and socially, (3) to examine the degree to which the program is working to achieve the center’s goal of integration, and (4) to use data to inform the development of the afterschool program and the design of collaborative programs that include the local schools, the community center, and the university. Members of the partnership will engage with program participants through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and program observations to understand how the program supports their academic and social needs and affords reciprocal linguistic and cultural learning experiences.
The Role of Mexican Culture and Spanish Language Maintenance in the Educational Needs and Advancement of Mexican 1.5 and Second Generation Youth in the Netherlands
Principal Investigator: Martha Montero-Sieburth (University of Amsterdam)
Educational Entity: Association of Mexicans and Friends of Mexico in the Netherlands
This project seeks to study and understand the role that Mexican culture and Spanish language maintenance plays in the educational needs and advancement of Mexican 1.5 and 2nd generation youth who have either arrived as children and have been schooled in the Netherlands or were born in the Netherlands. It is not known whether these youth maintain strong ties to their culture or language and whether that helps or hinders their integration and adaption into Dutch society. The proposed one year mixed methods study will: 1) identify who such youth are and what they identify with, 2) what their educational needs are, 3) how they are experiencing being tracked into university, general, or vocational education, 4) what their social and linguistic integration into Dutch society is like, and 5) what the role of Mexican culture and use of Spanish is in their lives. Data would be gathered through an on-line questionnaire and focus groups with Mexican youth. The findings will reflect the types of educational opportunities, obstacles, and challenges faced by these youth will inform the development of Mexican cultural and linguistic maintenance programs and activities.
The Collecting Asian American Refugee Stories (CARS) Project
Principal Investigator: Samuel D. Museus (University of Denver)
Educational Entity: Asian Pacific Development Center
Refugee youth exhibit relatively low levels of success in education compared to their peers. While refugees from the Asian nations of Burma and Bhutan are among the most rapidly growing refugee communities in the United States, they are virtually invisible and voiceless in education research and discourse. The Collecting Asian American Refugee Stories (CARS) Project is designed to provide research-based support for the Asian Pacific Development Center (APDC) by generating increased understandings of these Asian American refugee communities in the United States and utilizing that knowledge to improve APDC programs and services that are designed to support the youth and families within these communities. This project will incorporate qualitative narrative inquiry research methods and digital media to excavate the voices of 24 Asian American refugee youth and parents from Bhutan and Burma residing in the Denver area, co-construct stories that shed light on their lives, document and disseminate those stories, and utilize those narratives to inform the development of APDC programs and services aimed at supporting these refugee populations. Outcomes include a policy brief on refugees from Burma and Bhutan and a digital library that will house the stories of youth and parents from these communities.
Journey Home: The Influence of an Oral History and Community Assessment Project on the Lived Experience of Vietnamese Youth as Political Actors
Principal Investigator: Rand Quinn (University of Pennsylvania)
Educational Entity: Boat People SOS, Delaware Valley Regional Branch
“Journey Home” is BPSOS-Delaware Valley’s bilingual and bicultural youth leadership development and organizing training program for high school students. Among the goals of the program is the development of politically conscious Vietnamese youth and the engagement of youth in practices that build across community, race, language, and cultural lines. A research team from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education will partner with BPSOS-Delaware Valley to train Journey Home participants on youth participatory action research, provide ongoing support and technical assistance to the staff and youth participants in data collection and analysis, and assess how the Journey Home model, particularly its emphasis on oral history and community assessment, influences the lived experience of Vietnamese youth as political actors. Participating high school students will spend approximately 20 hours a week for 6 weeks (1) researching the recent history of migration and race relations in Philadelphia, (2) conducting oral histories with family members, and (3) designing and executing a comprehensive assessment of priorities and issues facing Philadelphia’s Vietnamese community. The project will help researchers develop a deeper understanding of the impact bilingual and bicultural youth leadership development and organizing programs have on youth civic and political engagement and efficacy.
Ensuring Early Literacy Opportunities for At-Risk Preschoolers: Evaluating Multiple Pathways of the Impact in Salt Lake City Public Library’s Outreach Storytime
Principal Investigator: Claire Seung-Hee Son (University of Utah)
Educational Entity: Salt Lake City Public Library (SLCPL)
This research project will investigate how the Salt Lake City Public Library (SLCPL)’s outreach program of Ensuring Early Literacy in low-income preschools supports literacy development of at-risk preschoolers in Title I schools and Head Start classrooms. Since 2010, SLCPL’s Ensuring Early Literacy program has provided a monthly story time, books, and a parenting workshop, targeting at-risk children’s early literacy skills in an attempt to improve their love of reading, school readiness and future achievement. SLCPL children’s librarians have convincing anecdotal evidence that their programs help young children, parents, and their teachers, but have not had the resources and methods to conduct a rigorous evaluation of their early literacy program. The research team will design an empirical study of Ensuring Early Literacy, collect and analyze data to assess the impact of the program on low-income preschoolers’ engagement and interest in reading, early literacy and language skills; on parenting practices, and on preschool teachers’ classroom practices. Finally, the research team will work with SLCPL in drafting a program evaluation report to SLCPL stakeholders and publishing a compilation of easily administered assessment tools for early literacy story time programs, thus developing SLCPL’s in-house capacity for ongoing data collection and analysis.
A Guiding Light for Students in the Shadows: A Qualitative Project for Providing College Counseling to Undocumented Students
Principal Investigator: Michael J. Trivette (University of Georgia)
Educational Entity: Freedom University
Recent estimates indicate that approximately 65,000 to 80,000 undocumented students graduate each year from U.S. high schools, but only an estimated five percent of these students enroll in postsecondary education. Freedom University is a non-profit organization in Athens, Georgia that provides college-level coursework to undocumented students while helping them enroll in accredited colleges and universities. Since college access policies for undocumented students vary widely from state to state, this project will assist Freedom University in helping undocumented students plan for and apply to postsecondary institutions. This project will equip Freedom University faculty with the expertise and tools to assist undocumented students as they apply to the appropriately selected colleges and universities. Interviews will be conducted with current students at Freedom University to understand what information undocumented students need in order to be able to successfully navigate the college search. Surveys of admissions deans and counselors will provide information about the admission and financial aid policies for undocumented students at selected postsecondary institutions. Finally, a website will be created to help current high school students and high school counselors find information related to specific colleges that offer friendly admission policies for undocumented students.
A Qualitative Project Investigating Teaching, Learning and Teacher Development for an eLearning Education Program in Rural Zambia
Primary Investigator: Heather Curl (Bryn Mawr/Haverford College)
Educational Entity: Impact Network
Over 400,000 children in Zambia are not enrolled in school and another 500,000 children are enrolled in community schools with uncertified teachers and inadequate resources, limiting their opportunity to a quality education. Impact Network strives to provide high quality education for vulnerable children without access to government schools. The program’s new e-learning initiative uses a hybridized, interactive curriculum that runs on a laptop and projector powered by a solar energy system, providing low-cost, quality instruction that is sustainable and culturally appropriate. The curriculum provides guidance and support to teachers with interactive activities for them to implement in the classroom, but much work still must be done to effectively train teachers to use the technology and engage in pedagogy that is often outside their own experience. Impact Network has conducted teacher training sessions and has employed teacher supervisors who provide support to teachers each week, but more guidance and support is needed to ensure that Impact Network is achieving the goals of the program. This project will qualitatively examine the teacher training involved in this innovative low-cost e-learning education system in rural Zambia through in-depth interview and classroom observation in order to improve the teacher training and development currently conducted.
Understanding the Decline of the Hiring of Black and Latina/o Teachers in New York City: Recommendations for Reversing the Trend
Primary Investigators: Michael Dumas (New York University), Natalie Havlin (La Guardia Community College), Lois Weiner (New Jersey City University)
Educational Entity: Teachers Unite
While there is research on issues associated with the recruitment and retention of teachers of color nationally, as well as research on the ways students benefit from having teachers of color, local factors in New York City leading to a decline in the hiring of teachers of color have not been seriously studied. Teachers Unite (TU), a teacher-led activist organization in New York City, is undertaking a collaborative research project that includes three TU members as research assistants and three area faculty who have recently formed the New York Metropolitan Academics for Democracy and Justice in Education (MADJE) to support the work of Teachers Unite. The group will conduct collaborative research, produce a report, and design an empirical study of the decline in the hiring of Black and Latino/a Teachers in New York City. Faculty will provide pro bono research expertise in reviewing and coding multi-vocal sources and documents. The resulting scholarship will result in a preliminary report on the teacher pipeline and obstacles to the hiring of Black and Latino teachers, as well as a research design for gathering further empirical data.
RU Connected? A Collaborative Project between University Literacy Researchers and an Urban Afterschool Program (Racquet Up Detroit) to Investigate the Effects of a Summer Technology Camp for Middle School Youth
Primary Investigators: Susan Florio-Ruane, Paul Morsink, Maryl Randel (Michigan State University)
Educational Entity: Racquet Up Detroit
This collaborative project partners Michigan State University literacy researchers with an established afterschool program, Racquet Up Detroit (RUD), to investigate the effects of a summer technology camp (“RU Connected”) for middle school students enrolled in RUD. Its purpose is to inform RUD’s future integration of its technology and new literacies curriculum into its year-round programming, which weaves together sports, literacy, mentoring, and community service. RU Connected, piloted in July 2012, uses free web-based tools and resources to develop online research skills, and encourages students to think creatively and use higher-order thinking. RUD is planning to repeat and expand the summer camp in July 2013, this year documenting and evaluating it with an eye toward infusing new literacies activities into its regular afterschool programming. Through this project, RUD will develop a plan for quantitative and qualitative assessment of the impact of the 2013 summer camp on students’ literacy skills and their general motivation to read and write, work with staff to implement this plan, draft a report for RUD stakeholders, and develop RUD’s in-house capacity for ongoing data collection and analysis as it moves new literacies into the school-year literacy component of its afterschool program.
Engaging Urban Youth to Catalyze Cultural Change in Their Communities: Evaluative Inquiry into Creative Possibilities and Pathways to STEM in Boston’s Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn
Primary Investigator: Jae-Eun Joo (University of Connecticut)
Educational Entity: Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn
This project will design and conduct a participatory evaluation inquiry to systemically document and analyze the unique STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education contributions of the Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn (L2TT2L) program to Boston’s urban youth and their communities. L2TT2L program leaders have convincing anecdotal evidence that their model works over the last decade, but have not had the resources to conduct a rigorous evaluation of the unique aspects of L2TT2L’s innovative approach that goes beyond STEM content mastery. An evaluation research team will collect and analyze data on the critical factors that seem essential to support the particular needs of urban youth in developing and sustaining a pathway to STEM studies and careers. More specifically, this research aims to investigate ways in which L2TT2L promotes urban youth’s self-efficacy, productive relationship to frustration and failure in the STEM learning process, and the impact of using STEM to make positive contributions to their communities to catalyze cultural change. Research findings and insights will be shared publicly through an online wiki and e-portfolio.
Strengthening Supplemental Literacy Supports for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse English Language Learners
Primary Investigator: Michelle Knight (Teachers College, Columbia University)
Educational Entity: Sauti Yetu Girls Educational and Leadership Initiative
This research study will address how the Sauti Yetu’s Girl’s Educational and Leadership Initiative (GELI) supports the literacy development of African immigrant girls who are identified as English Language Learners (ELLs) in New York City Schools, and a subpopulation of ELLs identified as having interrupted formal education (SIFE). Through written documentation, individual and group interviews, and program observation, as well as the literature on literacy and culturally relevant pedagogy, members of the research partnership will examine three approaches that GELI has implemented to address academic and social supports for the literacy development of African immigrant girls. The overarching goals are to identify the best supplemental literacy practices for African immigrant girls identified as ELLs and/or SIFE and to strengthen the capacity of small culturally and linguistically specific community-based organizations to support the literacy development of English Language Learners and SIFE in schools. The findings will be disseminated within Sauti Yetu and to existing coalitions of community-based organizations and their school partners. Ensuing reports and workshops may also draw greater attention to the literacy needs of smaller but growing culturally and linguistically diverse language communities which speak languages that do not meet demographic thresholds for bilingual services in schools.
This research project will identify and address the barriers and supports related to the implementation of two new laws requiring reforms to curriculum and school policy in San Luis Obispo County schools. In 2011, the California legislature passed two laws, the FAIR Education Act (SB 48) and Seth’s Law (AB 9), which address important issues related to creating safe and inclusive school environments. The FAIR Education Act amends the state education code to require the inclusion of LGBT people, Pacific Islanders, and people with disabilities in the K‐12 social sciences curriculum. Seth’s Law requires that schools update their bullying policies to include explicit protections from bullying and harassment based on race, ethnicity, religion, ability, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression, as well as requiring reporting and swift responses to reported incidents. These related laws touch on emotional and controversial topics in many school communities. Since these are unfunded mandates, teachers and administrators need support to revise their policies and curricula to conform to the new state laws. This research project is designed to work with educators to identify and address the barriers and supports related to these new laws in order to provide better support for their implementation.
Science education reform documents have highlighted the need for more inquiry-based teaching for over 20 years, but little has changed in the majority of classrooms in the United States. This project will measure the effect of research experience-based professional development (PD) in Loudon County Public Schools and examine multiple measures across time of teacher efficacy, motivation, calibration of content knowledge, and perception of inquiry teaching. The multi-year PD program provided teachers research experience with the support of a scientist, aided teachers in an independent research project in their content area, and required teachers to develop curriculum related to their research experience for secondary students. The study will use a longitudinal, parallel mixed methods approach to examine efficacy, motivation, content knowledge calibration, perception of inquiry, and student achievement. Prior research indicated that teachers reported high motivation and task value and changed their cognitive strategies due to the PD. The current project has the potential to better articulate the effect of PD on critical components involved in teacher acquisition of science content and pedagogical content knowledge and to inform research experience-based PD programs in the future.
Evaluation and Assessment of the AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program
Primary Investigator: Rick Sperling (St. Mary’s University)
Educational Entity: AVANCE
AVANCE provides educational and health services to low-income and predominately racial/ethnic minority families nationwide. This research service project will focus on improving AVANCE’s internal assessment of its Parent-Child Education (PCEP) Program. Researchers will assist AVANCE staff in determining whether the theory guiding their services and the curricula used within the PCEP program are aligned with the instruments they use to assess its effectiveness. The research team will evaluate the instruments for technical limitations, flaws in the response option format, and other issues that obscure interpretations of their data. They will also develop new instruments to measure cognitive, attitudinal, and behavioral changes that have not been measured thus far. The final set of instruments will then be translated into Spanish to make them more accessible to a larger population. Program staff will be instructed on how to administer the instruments to improve the internal validity of their data. Once post-intervention data have been collected, a report will be prepared summarizing the changes that occurred within PCEP families as a result of their participation in the program. Researchers will also assess the psychometric properties of the instruments and make recommendations for future implementation so that the assessment plan can continue to evolve.
The Role of Mentoring in Broward County Public Schools Initiative to Foster Black Male Success
Primary Investigator: Gerene K. Starratt (Barry University)
Educational Entity: Broward County Public Schools
The academic challenges that minority students encounter have been well documented, attributed to various causes, and associated with academic, behavioral, social, and political obstacles to success. In support of the 2012 White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, Broward County Public Schools, a highly diverse urban district and the sixth largest in the U.S., implemented a comprehensive academic and support services initiative to facilitate systemic improvements in educational outcomes for Black males. Broward’s Initiative to Foster Black Male Success adopts a collaborative model that leverages the resources of community partners, including local education researchers, in support of student success. In this project, data related to adult and peer mentoring programs that are components of the overall initiative will be gathered and analyzed. The project will examine the scope of the adult and peer mentoring programs related to the Black Male Success Initiative, the fidelity of implementation of the adult and peer mentoring programs in the Black Male Success Initiative, and the relationship between mentoring interventions and Black male success. Deliverables include quantitative and qualitative data capture, analysis, interpretation, and reports to the district, as well as submission of findings for presentation and publication in peer-reviewed venues.
Power of Words: Exploring Storytelling Practices of Refugee Families
Primary Investigators: Ekaterina Strekalova-Hughes, X. Christine Wang (State University of New York at Buffalo)
Educational Entity: Journey’s End Refugee Services
My Brother My Sister: College Access and Retention through Peer Mentoring and Leadership Development
Primary Investigator: V. Thandi Sulé (Oakland University)
Educational Entity: My Brother My Sister
My Brother My Sister (MBMS) is a volunteer-based, after-school program founded by a concerned father and son who witnessed Black students at Copley High School (Copley, Ohio) floundering academically and socially. In 2008, Black students comprised 90% of the school suspensions (though only 17% of the student population), trailed behind their peers in college enrollment, and lacked a sense of belonging at school. The focus of MBMS is on facilitating college access and retention through leadership development and peer mentoring. The founders of MBMS have requested assistance with documenting the accomplishments of the program in order to (a) understand how the school climate has changed, (b) document changes in student academic performance, and (c) explore how participants incorporate the teachings of MBMS into their everyday lives. Using a case study approach, data from student journal entries and social media posts will be examined, and interviews will be conducted with 12-15 current and previous program participants. Disciplinary and achievement data from school records will also be collected and tabulated. The organization will use the findings from the research project to identify gaps in service, enhance intervention efforts, and support its capital campaign.