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IES Grant

Title: MERC School-Based Action Research Team Professional Development Model to Support the Use of Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices that Impact Student Learning
Center: NCER Year: 2019
Principal Investigator: Senechal, Jesse Awardee: Virginia Commonwealth University
Program: Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Education Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (07/01/2019-06/30/2021) Award Amount: $395,253
Type: Researcher-Practitioner Partnership Award Number: R305H190053

Co-Principal Investigator: Grimes, Tameshia; Manns, Monica; Parkhouse, Hillary; Lozada, Fantasy

Partner Institutions: Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Education (SOE) and seven central Virginia school districts, a research alliance called the Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium (MERC).

Purpose:The goal of this project is to develop, in an iterative fashion, a teacher professional development model for culturally responsive teaching (CRT) —a networked School-Based Action Research Team (SBART) model. Partners will study the model's relation to teacher professional growth and change in CRT practice. Partners will also begin to examine the relation between teacher participation in this intervention and student learning outcomes.

Partnership Activities: The Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium (MERC) is a well-established partnership between the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Education and seven central Virginia member school districts. As the director of MERC, the PI will work with the other project leaders to provide quarterly and annual reports on project status and emerging findings at the MERC Policy and Planning Council, which will include district leaders from partnering districts and VCU leadership. The team will also consult with the MERC Steering Committee, the seven district research directors, when questions arise about the research logistics or study direction. In addition, updates will be shared at the bi-monthly study team meetings that include central office and building-level leaders from the districts.

Setting: The research will take place in two Virginia school districts, Chesterfield County Public Schools and Henrico County Public Schools. In each district, two secondary schools will participate.

Population/Sample: For each school site, eight teachers and one school administrator (or other non-teaching professional, such as a counselor) will participate in the SBART. In addition, 8 to 12 students per school will take part in a diversity- or inclusion-focused student group. The research team will also recruit parents to discuss teacher projects. A subset of 12 teachers (three from each school) will take part in the longitudinal interview study. Approximately 1600 students will participate for each of the two years.

Data Analytic Strategy: Using a networked improvement community design, the research team will analyze findings across the unique school contexts in regular all-network meetings to better understand the variation of PD model implementation across school sites.They will use Exploratory mixed-method case study research to identify model-based and school context factors leading to variation in model implementation across sites, and then examine relationships between model implementation and outcomes of interest (teacher disposition and knowledge of CRT, teacher CRT practice, and student outcomes).

Outcomes: The team will conduct the study to prepare for an IES Development and Innovation research grant application that will allow for further intervention development and testing.