Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Grant

Title: BELLA Online: ESL and Classroom Teachers Working Together With Children and Families
Center: NCER Year: 2022
Principal Investigator: Babinski, Leslie Awardee: Duke University
Program: Policies, Practices, and Programs to Support English Learners      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (07/01/2022 – 06/30/2026) Award Amount: $1,998,890
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A220311

Co-Principal Investigators: Amendum, Steve; Knotek, Steven

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to design, develop, and test an online professional development (PD) program called Bridging English Language Learning and Academics (BELLA) for improving teacher and student outcomes for working with English Learners (ELs). Teacher outcomes include: 1) increased collaboration between English as a Second Language (ESL) and classroom teachers; 2) implementation of high-impact instructional strategies; and 3) incorporation of students' cultural wealth into the classroom. Student outcomes are language and literacy growth in the areas of phonics, word recognition, writing, comprehension, and vocabulary.

Project Activities: Through an iterative process of development following a Design Based Implementation Research (DBIR) strategy, the research team will develop and test an online teacher professional development program for ESL and classroom teachers to work together to support English Learners. The development process will involve teachers, administrators, parents as well as expert advisors in a design process to develop a PD program that is feasible, engaging, and impactful.

Products: The final product will be an online teacher professional development program for ESL and classroom teachers to engage in a collaborative process to co-plan and align their instruction for English Learners. The final BELLA (originally developed under the intervention name Developing Consultation and Collaboration Skills; DCCS)  Online PD program will include learning modules, video segments, micro-credential frameworks, rubrics and inter-rater reliability scoring, and the structure and guidelines for the communities of practice. The BELLA Online PD will be fully functional and available to other researchers for more rigorous evaluation and adaptation including efficacy testing and future dissemination.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study will take place in public elementary schools in North Carolina.

Sample: This study will include ESL teachers, kindergarten and first grade classroom teachers, and ELs in their classrooms. The pilot study in the third year will include 130 teachers and 416 students from 26 schools.

Intervention: The intervention is a year-long teacher professional development program that will include one day of face-to-face PD and six additional online modules; virtual implementation coaching; and weekly peer collaboration between ESL and classroom teachers. Micro-credentials will be used to support teachers' application of the strategies and provide opportunities for feedback.

Research Design and Methods: During the first two years of the study, researchers will use a DBIR iterative process to create, review, and revise the curriculum materials with the support of teachers, administrators, parents and our expert consultants. The team will use a randomized controlled trial with 26 schools with randomization at the school level to carry out the pilot study to test the promise of the intervention.

Control Condition: For the pilot study, schools will be randomly assigned to the BELLA Online PD group or the control group. ESL and classroom teachers assigned to the control group will be provided with access to the BELLA Online PD modules at the end of the school year.

Key Measures: For the pilot study, teacher measures include an online survey with measures for collaboration and cultural wealth in the classroom. Teachers will also be observed three times during the school year with the BELLA Observation Tool, The BELLA Cultural Wealth Tool, and the ELLCO-DLL. Measures of implementation fidelity and coaching support will be used to collect additional information from the intervention group. The key student outcomes are students' language and literacy skills measured with the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Growth K-2 reading assessment.

Data Analytic Strategy: The team will estimate the impact of BELLA Online PD on ELs' language and literacy outcomes via three-level hierarchical linear model with MAP reading Rasch Interval Unit (RITscores as autoregressive repeated measures within students, nested within classroom teachers, nested within schools, with district fixed effects.

Cost Analytic Strategy: Using the ingredients approach, the team will identify the costs of the key ingredients of each component of the BELLA Online program and its implementation. The costs will be calculated for actual cost as well as opportunity costs. These key ingredients will include personnel costs for teacher time and facilitator time; implementation coaching time; facilities fees; travel costs; materials and supplies; and other costs.

Related IES Projects: Developing Consultation and Collaboration Skills: ESL and Classroom Teachers Working Together with Students and Families (R305A120290), Efficacy of the BELLA Program: ESL and Classroom Teachers Working Together with Students and Families (R305A180336).