In FY 2022, IES established the Improving Pandemic Recovery Efforts in Education Agencies (Improving Pandemic Recovery) grant program to support research to counteract academic losses encountered by many learners during the COVID-19 pandemic and to conduct research in partnership with state and local education agencies to improve learner engagement, reengagement, and achievement with a focus on underrepresented student subgroups that were disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
The Prekindergarten Through Grade 12 Recovery Research Network of the Improving Pandemic Recovery competition includes a network lead grant and multiple research teams. Together, they comprise the PreK–12 RESTART Network (Research on Education Strategies to Advance Recovery and Turnaround). The PreK–12 RESTART Network includes a network lead grant, which conducts research and leadership activities, and multiple independent research projects that were funded through the Improving Pandemic Recovery competition or through other competitions and then adopted into the network. The specific research questions addressed by each research team are determined by the education agencies taking part in the project.
Descriptions of each of the projects are as follows:
PreK–12 RESTART Network Lead (Research on Education Strategies to Advance Recovery and Turnaround)
Principal Investigator: Susan Therriault, American Institutes for Research (AIR)
This grant serves as the network lead and will facilitate the convenings and cooperation of participating research teams in the PreK–12 RESTART Network. In addition, the lead team will conduct a scan and synthesis of recovery strategies and support the training of early career researchers across the network. As part of its leadership and dissemination efforts, they will convene a national forum of varied stakeholders that will provide input and feedback to the network and enact a multifaceted dissemination strategy to convey the network's findings to researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and the public.
Evaluation of the Learning Renewal-Social Emotional Learning Programs (LR-SEL) for Supporting Pandemic Recovery with Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)
Principal Investigator: Kimberly Kendziora, American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Education Agency: Illinois State Board of Education
This research team will (1) generate evidence about the effects of the Learning Renewal-Social Emotional Learning Programs (LR-SEL), as part of Illinois's efforts to support recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) generate useful feedback about effective strategies for implementing and scaling social and emotion-focused COVID-19 recovery programs for schools with high proportions of students experiencing economic disadvantage.
A Researcher-Practitioner Partnership to Improve Pandemic Recovery Efforts in California
Principal Investigator: Niu Gao, Public Policy Institute of California
Education Agency: California Department of Education
This research team will examine the Expanded Learning Opportunity (ELO) grant program for California's more than 1000 school districts from academic year 2021–22 through 2024–25 and explore how the ELO grants are implemented across districts, the types of recovery activities that have been funded, and the association between ELO recovery activities and equitable student outcomes.
Mitigating the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic Through Curriculum-Based Approaches to Learning Acceleration in Grades K–2 in Chicago
Principal Investigator: Elaine Allensworth, University of Chicago
Education Agency: Chicago Public Schools
This research team will examine the ongoing implementation of Skyline+PL, a post-pandemic K–2 comprehensive literacy curriculum system with aligned professional learning (PL) and gather information regarding improvements in the quality of instruction, student engagement, and student literacy achievement outcomes.
Assessing the Long-Term Impacts of School Extension Programs on Student Re-Engagement and Learning Recovery
Principal Investigator/Education Agency: Michael Maher, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI)
Research Partner: University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill
The NCDPI's Office of Learning Recovery and Acceleration will partner with UNC Chapel Hill researchers to examine the effects of the pandemic on educational outcomes in North Carolina and the impact of school extension programs on school re-engagement and academic recovery.
Lessons from the Pandemic: The Effects of Remote Instructional Delivery and Recovery Strategies on Student Outcomes
Principal Investigator: Tim Sass, Georgia State University
Education Agencies: Clayton County Public Schools, DeKalb County School District, and Fulton County Schools
This research team will examine both the factors associated with higher achievement growth during remote instruction and the relationship between specific recovery efforts and multiple student outcomes in three tlanta metro-area school districts.