Up and Coming – Spring 2015

College of Education & Human Development faculty receive grant funding throughout the year to conduct groundbreaking research that contributes to the field of education. Highlighted are some of their most recent projects.

Exploring teacher effectiveness and increasing access to effective teachers for all students

Circular illustrated icon with pencil and rulerAssistant Professor Stephanie Behm Cross will work with faculty, staff and administrators at Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the School Reform Initiative and Atlanta Public Schools on a grant project exploring teacher effectiveness and increasing equitable access to effective teachers for low-income and high-need students.

Cross will be the principal investigator for the College of Education & Human Development’s portion of the Collaboration and Reflection to Enhance Atlanta Teacher Effectiveness (CREATE) project, which will focus on implementing a teacher residency program and giving teachers increased opportunities for collaboration and reflection.

The project, funded by a $3 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the U.S. Department of Education, will study how teacher residency programs can curb new teacher attrition rates and the impact high-quality teachers can have on high needs students.

By the end of the project, Cross and her colleagues hope to have trained 46 new teachers, supported more collaboration among an additional 230 teachers and impacted 2,330 kindergarten through 8th grade students in high needs schools in Atlanta.

Elementary school literacy coaches, special education teachers learning new instruction format

Circular illustration with a book in the centerThe Reading Recovery program housed in the College of Education & Human Development is working with The Ohio State University, Clemson University and Emporia State University to provide training and support to elementary school literacy coaches and special education teachers as part of a three-year, $2.9 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant.

This grant will allow researchers to design an instructional format that helps students with disabilities improve their literacy skills. Reading Recovery and the other partner universities will provide training on the new instructional format to school literacy coaches, who will then show special education teachers how to implement it.

By the end of the three-year grant period, the partner universities will have prepared a total of 136 special education teachers to use the newly-designed instructional format.

Evaluating how schools address needs of students exhibiting mental health, behavior problems

Circular illustration of a person's head with two gears inside it representing the brainProfessors Joel Meyers, Ken Rice and Kris Varjas received a five-year, $826,000 grant from the Georgia Department of Education to evaluate its Georgia Project AWARE, which is designed to identify and support students experiencing or at risk for emotional and behavioral problems.

In this project, the Georgia Department of Education will work with several partner agencies to implement School-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (SWPBS) – a prevention-oriented method teachers and administrators can use to address the needs of students exhibiting a range of mental health and behavioral problems – at Griffin-Spalding Schools, Muscogee County Schools and Newton County Schools.

For their part, Meyers, Rice and Varjas will annually collect data from statewide assessments and interview community members and state and local project leaders to determine the effectiveness of these interventions.