Our current projects address a range of pressing questions in education.

Child Mental Health and Well-Being

How can we promote positive school climate to improve academic and disciplinary outcomes for children in Pennsylvania? In partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, we are conducting an analysis of school climate in schools throughout the state. Subsequently, we will evaluate how school climate predicts academic and disciplinary outcomes for students and schools, and we will examine issues of equity in school climate, academic performance, and discipline across race and gender. We plan to use the results to identify important areas for intervention.

How can we promote healthy child development in low- and middle-income countries? In partnership with the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and in collaboration with numerous institutions worldwide, we are looking to understand the factors biological, psychological, social, and economic factors that promote healthy child development among more than 2,000 children at sites in eight low- and middle-income countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, South Africa, and Tanzania). Results will be used to identify important areas for future study and intervention.


Community Health and Well Being

What are the patterns of disparity impacting Black Communities? Communities with largely Black residents face particular challenges, as well as rich opportunities, in the United States. In partnership with the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE), this research project examines data focused on how outcome disparities in Black communities intersect with policy development and implementation in the following areas: education, housing, health/healthcare, labor, criminal justice, and higher education. Our ultimate goal is to map, on a large scale, what specific political and policy changes are needed to help Black communities thrive.


Early Childhood Education

What do young children in the Oxford Circle neighborhood need to get ready to read?  In partnership with the Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association, we have conducted an evaluation of the early outcomes of children ages birth through 3 in the Oxford Circle neighborhood of Philadelphia, as well as conducted a “literacy walk” gauging children’s access to printed materials in a variety of languages. This project was completed in 2018, with findings showing that, in this ethnically and linguistically diverse neighborhood, printed materials — especially in language other than English — were not widely available for young children. Results highlighted specific gaps in resources that future projects might address.

How can Temple support undergraduate students with young children?  Our Center was recently awarded a grant from the Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS) program. Funded by the Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education, this project supports Temple undergraduate students in finding and funding daycare for their young children. An independent evaluation will gauge whether CCAMPIS supports are linked to college persistence and achievement. This project will run from 2018-2019, with the potential for renewal through 2022.

How can we better prepare new teachers to work in the School District of Philadelphia? Under the auspices of the William Penn Foundation, a new, three-year project, Bringing Evidence-based Practices to Urban Teacher Preparation, will allow Temple’s early and elementary teacher preparation team to collaborate closely with the School District of Philadelphia on the integration of cutting-edge, evidence-based techniques into our pre-service teacher training. Strategies include flipped classrooms, video-based case studies, and a year-long residency program. A rigorous evaluation will examine how these approaches enhance beginning teachers’ practices. This project will run from 2018-2021.

How can we help current teachers in the School District of Philadelphia hone their skills? Funded by the William Penn Foundation, this teacher support project supports early childhood and elementary teachers in the School District of Philadelphia as they pursue National Board certification. By offering weekly guidance, a series of workshops, and individualized mentoring, the project helps practicing teachers complete the required components for National Board certification so that they can better serve the students and families with whom they work. Considerable focus is dedicated to early language and literacy knowledge and instruction. This project runs from 2017-2021.


Equity and Opportunity in American School Districts 

How does a school district community develop a socioeconomic integration plan?  Many school districts are faced with the challenge of finding ways to integrate children from higher and lower socioeconomic households in their schools. In partnership with the South Orange-Maplewood School District in New Jersey, this applied research project focuses on three strands of support for this complicated but important process: 1) providing research to district and school staff on socioeconomic integration strategies; 2) conducting focus groups with school staff and community members to understand concepts and expectations of socioeconomic integration; and 3) providing guidance on development and implementation of integration plans.

How does a school district help school leaders improve ? In partnership with the New York City Department of Education’s (NYCDOE) Office of Equity and Access, this applied research project focuses on three strands of support in 14 districts within the NYCDOE: First, we will conduct disparity data analyses to understand why children of color comprise such a high percentage of those receiving special education services. Second, we will explore the root causes of why children of color might be over-identified as having special needs, including behavioral support systems, academic referral and special education process, and enrollment process for gifted/AP/Honors. Third, we will develop leadership capacity to utilize the strategies explored in Solving Disproportionality and Achieving Equity (Fergus, 2016).