Funded Projects

Principal Investigator: Eli Tucker-Raymond, Research Associate Professor

Collaborative Research: Integrating Computational Making Practices in STEM Teaching

Funded by: NSF
Dates: 2017-2020

Principal Investigator: Eli Tucker-Raymond, Research Associate Professor

Collaborative Research: Using Culturally Sustaining STEM+C Learning Environments to Explore Computation Learning

Funded by: NSF
Amount: $967,620
Dates: 1/1/19-12/31/21
Summary: This three-year research and design project will examine the intersectionality between computational thinking practices, interdisciplinary STEM learning, and culturally expressive practices on youths’ learning and identity development. The model will test the feasibility of culturally sustaining learning environments and the foundational principles of hip hop as a model to engage and encourage middle school youth from predominately underrepresented groups to learn, connect to, and consider computing in their everyday lives.

Over a three-year period, an estimated 400 middle school-aged youth will participate in the project and research. The youth will meet online and afterschool at community-based sites (i.e., makerspace, arts-based space, community center) in Gary, Indiana; Philadelphia, PA; and Cambridge, MA. Youth will work collaboratively to develop and design their own interdisciplinary STEM-based computing projects, using hip hop as a basis. With regards to the research, several salient questions will be explored: (1) How do middle school youth appropriate, resist, and/or transform ecologically situated resources and practices as they learn computational making practices? (2) How do variations in different culturally sustaining spaces affect the development of learning in interdisciplinary computational making practices? (3) How do middle school youth appropriate, resist, and/or transform ecologically situated resources as they construct pluralistic computational making identities and within different learning environments? and (4) What are the design principles of culturally sustaining computational making environments that contribute to learning and identity development? Data will be collected from surveys, field observations, computational making & design skills assessments, and multimodal design narratives. The results of the research and an external evaluation will be analyzed and disseminated via academic and practitioner targeted journals, conferences, project participant community events, online communities, and social media.

Principal Investigator: Eli Tucker-Raymond, Research Associate Professor

PIs: Dr. Eli Tucker-Raymond, Dr. Maria Olivares, and Dr. Kate Frankel.

STEM Literacies, Identities, and Learning through Cascading Models of Near-Peer Mentoring

Funded by: NSF
Amount: $1.15M
Dates: (5/1/20-4/30/23)
Summary: In partnership with Boston Public Schools, The Young People’s Project, and The South End Technology Center. STEM Cascades takes seriously the idea that young people can be effective leaders in both formal and informal learning contexts and that such mentorship and pedagogy leads to STEM learning and positive identity development with implications for broadening participation among youth of color. As such, STEM Cascades investigates the ways in which young people (high school aged) construct and develop affiliations with STEM in their capacity as mentors, facilitators, and curators of STEM ideas and practices among younger youth. Additionally, we seek to understand the design of formal and informal learning environments that support STEM identity development for predominantly African Diaspora and Latinx youth by orienting to youth as knowledgeable experts and focusing on youth’s ongoing pedagogical development as mentors in STEM. By following youth mentors over two years, we will understand how STEM learning, identity building, and pedagogy are developed when youth participate as mentors in sustained ways over longer stretches of time. Understanding how youth mentors teach, where they are successful and where they need improvement, we will be able to develop principles for professional learning opportunities for schools and out of school organizations. Part of the purpose of the project is to connect teaching as part of a community-oriented STEM trajectory that may provide more inclusive pathways for youth of color in STEM.   

Principal Investigator: Maria C. Olivares, Research Assistant Professor

Coordinating Research for Critical Making Cultures and Practices

Funded by: NSF
Amount: $499,499
Dates: 9/1/2020-8/31/2024
Summary: Coordinating Research for Critical Making Cultures and Practices is a four-year Advancing Informal Science Learning project lead by Maria Olivares (PI, BU Wheelock), Eli Tucker-Raymond (co-PI, BU Wheelock), Jill Castek (co-PI, University of Arizona), Edna Tan (co-PI, Univ. of North Carolina Greensboro), and Cynthia Graville (co-PI, Saint Louis University) that will bring together a nation-wide network of scholars, practitioners, and formal and informal education partners in urban and rural sites serving people from groups underrepresented in STEM. Working at the intersection of equity and interdisciplinary making in STEM education, the project will pursue equitable processes rooted in a commitment to understand and build on the skills, practices, values, and brilliance of communities marginalized in STEM; providing opportunities for high quality life-long learning across multiple spaces; and actively working to position learners as knowledgeable and creative individuals already situated in intellectually and culturally rich communities. 

Principal Investigator: Detris Adelabu, Clinical Professor

The Emerging Scholars Program

Funded by: Hearst Foundation
Amount: $56,559
Dates: 6/1/18-5/30/19
Summary: Funding to create a deliberate pathway to undergraduate research opportunities and graduate school admission for underrepresented students (African Americans, Latinos, American Indians, and natives of the US Pacific Islands) and first generation college students.

Principal Investigator: Devin Atallah, Clinical Assistant Professor

Evaluation of Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative’s (TLPI’s) Inquiry Based Process

Co-PI: Michelle Porche (Clinical Associate Professor, Wheelock)
Funded by: Massachusetts Advocates for Children
Amount: $42,582
Dates: 09/01/18-06/30/19
Summary: This evaluation project will focus on analysis of Year 3 data documenting the impact of participation of several schools in an inquiry based whole school process to create trauma-sensitive school environments as defined in TLPI’s book, Helping Traumatized Children Learn, Volume 2, Chapter 2.

Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Bettini, Assistant Professor

Special Educators’ Working Conditions in Self-Contained Settings for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Funded by:  The Spencer Foundation
Amount: $50,000
Dates: 9/1/17–8/31/18
Summary:  Improving the special education teacher workforce is especially important for students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD), as these students are at high risk for poor long-term outcomes. Schools have great difficulty retaining skilled personnel to serve students with EBD; educators in these settings are more susceptible to stress and burnout, conditions that predict teachers’ plans to leave teaching and problems with their instruction. Analysis of surveys administered to special educators in a random sample of districts will inform administrators on ways to improve the working conditions of special educators as a way to improve retention and best practices.

Evaluation of Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative’s (TLPI’s) Inquiry Based Process 

Funded by: Boston Public Schools
Amount: $17,915
Dates: 9/1/18-6/30/19
Summary:  In this project, professional development (PD) is proposed that will provide McKinley Middle and High School (Boston Public Schools) teachers with expert-led training and opportunities for coaching, and feedback to integrate rigorous academic strategies and behavioral data collection and support into instruction.

Exploring How Special Educators’ Working Conditions Contribute to their Engagement of Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders in Effective Reading Instruction

Funded by: U.S. Department of Education
Amount: $400,000
Dates: 8/1/17-7/31/21
Summary: This project will explore how Special Education Teachers’ (SET) working conditions contribute to the quality and effectiveness of their reading instruction in self-contained classes for students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). A secondary purpose is to explore how administrators conceptualize their responsibility to provide SETs with supportive working conditions.

JCPS Disproportionality and School Assessment Project

Funded by: Jefferson County Public Schools via subcontract w/ the University of Louisville
Amount: $23,575
Dates: 10/17/18-2/1/19
Summary: The purpose of the present technical assistance project is to support Jefferson County Schools in understanding and addressing high rates of racial/ethnic disciplinary disproportionality within 18 schools that have been identified, by the state, as having excessively high rates of disproportionality. Dr. Bettini will be assisting with this effort by developing, administering, and analyzing teacher survey data, to provide the district with technical assistance on how to target their improvement efforts.

Principal Investigator: Andrea Bien, Clinical Assistant Professor

BU/Trotter BPS Pipeline Project

Co-PI: Jennifer Bryson (Clinical Instructor, Wheelock)
Funded by: 
Massachusetts Department of Education
Amount: $45,377
Dates: 1/1/17–6/30/18
Summary: The goal of the project is to expand the existing partnership between BU and the Trotter, a Boston Public Schools (BPS) K-8, in order to foster a match between BPS need and the BU-BPS teacher pipeline. Importantly, this match also contributes to the systematic support of BPS students.  The vision is to provide BPS a pool of highly-qualified teachers and increase employment opportunities for BU graduates by developing a strategic and data-driven student teaching placement network in collaboration with BPS that includes a supported cohort of supervising practitioners and onsite field experiences, professional development, and coursework.

Principal Investigator: Naomi Caselli, Assistant Professor

Collaborative Research: Multimethod Investigation of Articulatory and Perceptual Constraints on Natural Language Evolution

Funded by: National Science Foundation
Amount: $67, 554
Dates: 5/15/18–10/31/21
Summary: The research proposed here will focus upon one particular type of human linguistic system – signed languages – and on one aspect of human organisms – their visual perception abilities. Using ASL-LEX, a lexical database that was developed by Boston University, Tufts University, and San Diego State University the BU team will focus on an investigation of the degree to which the American Sign Language lexicon has been shaped by perceptual factors.

American Sign Language Vocabulary Acquisition

Funded by: National Institutes of Health
Amount: $503,829
Dates: 2/1/17–1/31/20
Summary: The goal of this project, which is a collaboration with Wellesley College, is to understand the factors that predict sign vocabulary acquisition in children who have been exposed to a sign language from birth, in order to establish a benchmark from which to begin to understand the far more typical case of non-native sign language acquisition in language-delayed deaf children. These data, including age-of-acquisition norms, will also be made publicly available to researchers, teachers, and students interested in sign language vocabulary development.

Collaborative Research: The structure of the ASL lexicon: Experimental and statistical evidence from a large lexical database (ASL-LEX)

Funded by: National Science Foundation
Amount: $191,563
Dates: 9/1/16–2/29/20
Summary: In collaboration with colleagues from San Diego State University and Tufts University, this project proposes the first quantitative analysis of the lexicon of American Sign Language (ASL) in order to investigate both universal and modality-specific properties of the mental lexicon.

Principal Investigator: Suzanne Chapin, Professor

The Elementary Mathematics Project

Co-PIs: Ziv Feldman (Clinical Associate Professor, Wheelock), Lynsey Gibbons (Assistant Professor, Wheelock)
Funded by: National Science Foundation
Amount: $2,000,000
Dates: 9/1/16–8/31/21
Summary: Project aims to: 1) develop and test nationally four instructional units on whole number concepts, whole number operations, geometry and decimals; 2) develop and test interactive, web-based PD materials for instructors focused on instructional practices; 3) increase students’ mathematical knowledge for teaching whole number, decimal and geometry content; and 4) increase instructors’ knowledge and enactment of instructional practices as a result of using the EMP units and PD supports.

Bringing Engineers into STEM Teaching (BEST Project)

Co-PI: Leslie Dietiker (Assistant Professor, Wheelock), Funded by: National Science Foundation
Amount: $1,200,000
Dates: 9/1/13–8/31/19
Summary: This project focuses on bringing the mathematical, technological, and design expertise of engineers into mathematics secondary classrooms by providing a model for recruiting, training, and retaining highly qualified engineers in teaching. Funding additionally supports scholarships for students enrolled in a one-year program that leads to a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree and initial licensure to teach secondary mathematics.

Principal Investigator: Hardin Coleman, Professor

Kern Family Foundation Network for Character and Educational Leadership

Funded by: Kern Family Foundation
Amount: $472,540
Dates: 2/12/19-8/31/20
Summary: The BU Wheelock Center for Character and Social Responsibility (CCSR) with the Montrose School LifeCompass Institute (LCI) seek to collaborate with the Kern Family Foundation to a) build systemic capacity within educational leadership programs to integrate and assess character education and b) to graduate educational leaders who can effectively shape and improve school culture and student outcomes by making character education a purposeful part of their leadership and theory of change. The objectives of this project are to use improvement science to systematically build educational leadership programs that effectively 1) integrate robust theories of character into their academic programs, 2) assess character and leadership practices that support positive character development, and 3) track the impact of their graduates’ work in practice.

Principal Investigator: Kathleen Corriveau, Associate Professor

CAREER: Developing Critical STEM Thinkers: Optimizing Explanations in Inquiry-based Learning

Funded by: National Science Foundation
Amount: $1,109,984
Dates: 6/1/17–5/31/22
Summary: This early CAREER proposal includes integrated research and education objectives to develop a detailed understanding of how preschoolers critically evaluate explanations from adults in STEM learning situations.  Specifically the PI will conduct (1) observations of questions and explanations in an inquiry-based preschool; (2) systematic experiments in laboratory and museum settings to explore how various aspects of an explanation impact children’s STEM learning; and (3) an intervention designed to promote scientific thinking in parent-child dyads in a museum setting. Supplemental funding will allow the PI’s doctoral student, Ellie Castine, to explore three dimensions of an explanation – delivery, content, and learning partner – as a non-academic research intern at the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) and b) will support research training for two in-service teachers engaged in project activities at BU.

The Role of Religious Exposure in Children’s Conceptualization of the Invisible and the Impossible

Funded by: Templeton Foundation
Amount: $1,039,609
Dates: 7/1/16-6/30/19
Summary: Study of children’s thinking about what phenomena exist and what outcomes are possible across two different domains: religion and science by comparing children growing up in the U.S. with children growing up in two contrasting countries – Iran and China.

It’s only weird if it doesn’t work: The role of intentions and emotions in magical thinking 

Funded by: Templeton Foundation via subcontract w/Arizona State University
Amount: $11,425
Dates: 10/1/17-2/28/19
Summary:  This project focuses on parent-child dyads to investigate the relative contributions of emotions and intentions in the perceived efficacy of magical thinking, both cross-culturally  and in a secular context.

Planning Phase for the Developing Belief Network: The Ontogeny and Diversity of Religious Cognition and Behavior

Funded by: Templeton Foundation via subcontract w/Regents of the University of California at Riverside
Amount: $50,000
Dates: 2/15/18-8/15/19
Summary:  In collaboration with Dr. Rebekah Richert (UC Riverside) and Dr. Cristine Legare (UT Austin), Kathleen Corriveau will draft a full grant proposal during the duration of the planning grant. She will assist in planning two workshops (one with advisory board members and one with potential future collaborators). She will also co-author a review paper of relevant literature.

Guiding guided learning: Developmental, educational and computational perspectives

Funded by: National Science Foundation via subcontract w/ Rutgers University
Amount: $115,000
Dates: 9/1/16-8/31/19
Summary: Faculty members from Rutgers University (lead), University of Delaware, Temple University, University of California-Berkeley and Boston University will form a collaborative network to bring together leaders in the fields of psychology, education, and computer science who have been driving the integration of direct instruction and exploratory learning under the umbrella of “Guided Learning”.  Toward the goal of generating integrative perspectives on the roles of instruction and exploration, collaborative activities that build on pre-existing connections and collaborations will be developed and implemented.

Do You Believe in Magical Objects?

Funded by: Templeton Foundation via subcontract w/The University of Maine
Amount: $8,250
Dates: 10/1/17-2/28/19
Summary: This project will explore developmental differences in children’s evaluation of the efficacy of a magical ritual in the presence or absence of a ritual object, as well as exploring the transmission process of children’s understanding of rituals by determining whether children’s evaluations match those of their parents.

Principal Investigator: Stephanie Curenton, Associate Professor

Expanding Ethically-Diverse Urban Preschooler Oral Language Skills: The Conversation Compass Project

Funded by: The Kellogg Foundation via subcontract w/Rutgers University
Amount: $207,446
Dates: 7/1/16–11/30/18
Summary: Funding supports a project to enhance minority children’s language skills and improve preschool teachers’ ability to facilitate culturally responsive instructional conversations by developing and implementing a professional development intervention. Funding also supports a project to work on refining the professional development approach by creating a supplement that focuses on infants and toddlers and sociocultural equity in the classroom.

Nurtury Contract with Ecology of School Readiness Lab for “Thought-Leadership”

Funded by: Nurtury
Amount: $136,355
Dates: 6/1/17–5/31/18
Summary: BU will provide thought leadership in the areas of evidenced-based program evaluation and strategic partnership designed to build program quality and capacity as well as promote well-being for children, families, and communities. The ultimate long term goal of this partnership is to solidify the status of Nurtury as an exemplar leader in the early childhood field.

Refinement of the Assessing Classroom Sociocultural Equity Scale (ACSES) for Early Childhood Classrooms (P-3rd grade)

Funded by: Foundation for Child Development
Amount: $30,000
Dates: 3/1/19-12/31/19
Summary: The goal of this project is refine and validate, the ACES domains, dimensions, and indicators, and then develop an online course to train and certify users to reliably use the measure. Program leaders, schools, and teachers are calling for actionable tools that would support equitable learning in the classroom especially for historically underserved children of color. The scores from ACSES will provide information regarding whether children of color are treated equitably in the classroom and whether their cultural knowledge and social background are being leveraged and incorporated in classroom instruction.

Refinement of the Assessing Classroom Sociocultural Equity Scale for Individual Children (ACSES-Snapshot) for Montessori Classrooms

Funded by: Brady Education Foundation
Amount: $26,044
Dates: 2/1/19-5/31/20
Summary: The goal of this project is to refine and validate a time sampling measure called the ACES-Snapshot  that can be used by Montessori programs to measure individual children’s experience in the classroom.  The scores from ACSES-Snapshot will provide information regarding whether children of color are treated equitably and whether their cultural knowledge and social background are being leveraged and incorporated in classroom instruction.

Principal Investigator: Nermeen Dashoush, Clinical Assistant Professor


Funded by: AmeriCorps via subcontract w/Jumpstart for Young Children, Inc./Corporation for National and Community Service
Amount: $55,000–$82,000 annually
Dates: 9/1/07–8/31/19
Summary: Annual funding supports the recruitment, ongoing training, and direct service of college students to work one-to-one with preschool children from low-income backgrounds in early childhood classrooms in Greater Boston.

MathScapes: Activating Public Spaces for Early Math Learning

Co-PI: Catherine O’Connor (Professor & Associate Dean for Doctoral Studies, Wheelock)
Funded by: National Science Foundation via subcontract w/The Young People’s Project, Inc.
Amount: $119,463
Dates: 9/1/18-2/29/20
Summary:  BU project staff will collaborate with colleagues from the partnering institutions on the design, integration and research activities.  Additionally, CoPI O’Connor will lead the discourse analysis and provide feedback on the collection and analysis of data related to situated family conversations.

Principal Investigator: Michael Dennehy, Executive Director

Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS) Program

Co-PI: Donald DeRosa (Clinical Associate Professor, Wheelock)
Funded by: 
U.S. Department of Defense via subcontract w/National Science Teachers Association
Amount: $16,000-$18,000 annually
Dates: 9/1/15–6/30/19
Summary: Funding supports costs associated with planning and delivery of a regional one-day STEM symposia each March for high school students from across New England.

Upward Bound

Funded by: U.S. Department of Education
Amount: $2,022,333
Dates: 9/1/17–8/31/22
Summary: Continued funding supports after-school academic classes and tutoring, and a summer residential program for low-income, first-generation, college-bound Boston Public Schools high school students.

Upward Bound Math and Science

Co-PIs: Aaron Beeler (Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Sciences) and Jean Van Seventer (Clinical Associate Professor, School of Public Health)
Funded by: U.S. Department of Education
Amount: $1,370,907
Dates: 9/1/17–8/31/22
Summary: Continued funding supports after-school academic classes and tutoring, Saturday morning science activities, and a summer residential program to low-income, first-generation college-bound students from Boston and Chelsea with academic potential to enable them to successfully pursue post-secondary education and careers in mathematics, science, and engineering.

Principal Investigator: Leslie Dietiker, Assistant Professor

CAREER: Designing and Enacting Mathematically Captivating Learning Experiences for High School Mathematics

Funded by: National Science Foundation
Amount: $898,673
Dates: 2/15/17–1/31/22
Summary: This design research project explores how secondary mathematics teachers can plan and enact learning experiences that spur student curiosity, captivate students with complex mathematical content, and compel students to engage and persevere (referred to as “mathematically captivating learning experiences” or “MCLEs”).

Principal Investigator: Ziv Feldman, Clinical Associate Professor

The Enacting Curriculum Through Engaging Discourse (EnaCTED) Math Project

 Co-PI: Aaron Brakoniecki (Lecturer, Wheelock), Suzanne Chapin (Professor, Wheelock), Steven Rosenberg (Professor, College of Arts and Sciences), and Alejandra Salinas (Clinical Associate Professor, Wheelock)
Funded by: National Science Foundation
Amount: $1,200,000
Dates: 7/1/18-6/30/23
Summary: Building on the successes and infrastructure of our previous Noyce programs, scholarships will be provided to 33 prospective secondary teachers including undergraduate STEM majors, recent STEM graduates, and STEM professionals who wish to enter the teaching profession. Scholars will enroll in a one-year program that leads to a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree and initial licensure to teach secondary mathematics and will be mentored during their initial years in the classroom.

Principal Investigator: Peter Garik, Clinical Associate Professor

Preparing Post-Baccalaureate and Undergraduate STEM Majors in the Physical Sciences to be Teachers in High-Need School Districts

Co-PIs: Donald DeRosa (Clinical Associate Professor, Wheelock), Mark Greenman (Research Scientist, College of Arts and Sciences), Dan Dill (Professor, College of Arts and Sciences), Andrew Duffy (Lecturer, College of Arts and Sciences)
Funded by: National Science Foundation
Amount: $1,199,999
Dates: 3/15/17-2/28/22
Summary: The goals of the project are to design and implement a plan to recruit 29 highly qualified physical science teachers (chemistry, physics, and middle school) from post-baccalaureate STEM graduates and career changers, prepare them to teach in high need school districts and sustain them through their induction years, to address the need for highly qualified science teachers to teach in under-served schools.

Mission Earth: Fusing GLOBE with NASA Assets to Build Systemic Innovation in STEM Education

Co-PIs: Donald DeRosa (Clinical Associate Professor, Wheelock)
Funded by: National Aeronautics and Space Administration via subcontract w/University of Toledo
Amount: $1,801,738
Dates: 1/4/16–1/3/21
Summary: BU will collaborate on the design and implementation of systemic curricular materials that will inform and inspire students, educators, and the public about the invaluable role NASA continues to play in improving the understanding of environment and environmental changes by working in the Providence RI public schools to extend current NASA teaching modules and GLOBE protocols.

Boston University Noyce Urban Science Scholarships (BoNUSS)

Co-PIs: Donald DeRosa (Clinical Associate Professor, Wheelock), Dan Dill (Professor, College of Arts and Sciences), Andrew Duffy (Lecturer, College of Arts and Sciences), and Bennett Goldberg (Professor Emeritus, College of Arts and Sciences)
Funded by: National Science Foundation
Amount: $1,199,999
Dates: 9/15/12–8/31/19
Summary: A collaborative effort between science departments in the College of Arts & Science, the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, and local high-need school districts will attract science majors into a teaching licensure program by offering one-year tuition scholarships in return for a commitment to teach in a high-needs district for two years.

Principal Investigator: Lynsey Gibbons, Assistant Professor

Understanding How Elementary Teachers Take up Discussion Practices to Promote Disciplinary Learning and Equity

Co-PIs: Andrea Bien (Clinical Associate Professor, Wheelock), Eve Manz (Assistant Professor, Wheelock), Catherine O’Connor (Professor & Associate Dean for Doctoral Studies, Wheelock), Beth Warren (Associate Professor & Associate Dean for Research, Wheelock)
Funded by: The James S. McDonnell Foundation
Amount: $2,500,000
Dates: 1/1/18–12/31/22
Summary: In collaboration with researchers from Technical Education Research Centers (TERC) and Southern Methodist University, this project seeks to understand how teachers learn to use classroom discourse in service of two goals that may be mutually supportive or in conflict: (i) engaging students in deep discipline based learning, and (ii) disrupting transmissionist views of knowledge that assign capability to students based on how they demonstrate privileged ways of speaking, reasoning, and knowing.

Principal Investigator: Jennifer Green, Associate Professor

Mechanisms Underlying Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Mental Disorders

Funded by: National Institutes of Health via subcontract w/Massachusetts General Hospital
Amount: $84,739
Dates: 2/4/16–11/30/19
Summary: Researchers from MGH, BU and Harvard University will analyze, discuss, interpret and write up data associated with disparities in treatment use.

Identifying individual and contextual factors that contribute to disparities in mental health services access

Funded by: Deborah Munroe Noonan Memorial Fund
Amount: $80,000
Dates: 9/1/18-8/31/19
Summary: This project aims to identify specific school resources that contribute to reducing disparities in access to adolescent mental health services. Multi-level data analysis will identify individual- and school-level factors associated with mental health service use.

Improving Preservice Teacher Preparation to Address Student Mental Health

Funded by: Spencer Foundation
Amount: $50,000
Dates: 1/1/19-12/31/19
Summary: Teachers report limited training in how to address student mental health and therefore many feel unprepared to support their students’ emotional and behavioral needs. This project will address whether a brief (1-hour) online interactive training provided to preservice teachers can improve their Mental Health Literacy (i.e., their knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs related to supporting student mental health).

Developing a Brief Assessment of Mental Health Service Use for Adolescents

Funded by: MetroWest Health Care
Amount: $20,000
Dates: 1/1/18–12/31/18
Summary: This project involves developing a new brief measure of mental health service use that will be administered as part of the MetroWest Adolescent surveys.

Principal Investigator: Amie Grills, Associate Professor & Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs 

Evidence-based Interventions to Enhance Outcomes among Struggling Readers

Funded by: National Institutes of Health
Amount: $2,954,629
Dates: 5/10/17-3/31/22
Summary: The purpose of this proposal is to critically evaluate an integrated program comprised of evidence-based practices for the treatment of anxiety and reading difficulties. The proposed multi-site, randomized clinical trial will extend the pilot study by comparing the combined reading and anxiety intervention with a reading-only condition and a control condition.  A multi-informant (student, parent, teacher), multi-method (e.g., survey, standardized test, experiential sampling) assessment will be used.  The critical relevance of this project lies in the determination of whether the inclusion of anxiety management skills significantly enhances existing intervention outcomes for struggling readers in the upper elementary grades.

Principal Investigator: Lowry Hemphill, Clinical Associate Professor

Building Capacity to Support Struggling Adolescent Readers

Funded by: U.S. Department of Education via subcontract w/Strategic Education Research Partnership (SERP) Institute
Amount: $281,191
Dates: 6/1/18-9/30/21
Summary: The 24% of U.S. 8th graders who score below basic in reading are unprepared to meet college- and career-ready standards, and are at high risk of dropping out of school. Funding will address the needs of these students through the implementation of the Strategic Adolescent Reading Intervention (STARI), a program developed by researchers from Wheelock College and Harvard University to support students in grades 6-8 who read 2-4 years below grade level as well as training coaches to support teachers

Principal Investigator: Robert Hoffmeister, Associate Professor Emeritus

American Sign Language Vocabulary Resource and Visual Library

Funded by: U.S. Department of Education via subcontract w/Commonwealth of MA Department of Education
Amount: $544,161
Dates: 11/9/15–6/30/18
Summary: Funding supports the continued development of the ASL STEM Concept Learning Resource (ASL-CLeaR). The ASL-CLeaR is the web based computer application that serves as the delivery mechanism for the ASL Vocabulary Resource and Visual Library. The ASL-CLeaR is a bilingual (ASL & English print) educational resource designed to enhance ASL STEM instruction and learning for deaf and hard of hearing students, teachers and educational interpreters.

Principal Investigator: Melissa Holt, Associate Professor

Evaluation of an Innovative Approach to Sexual Violence Bystander Training for Student-Athletes: Leveraging Coaches as Key Influencers

Funded by: National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
Amount: $25,000
Dates: 3/1/18–1/31/19
Summary: In the NCAA’s recently released Sexual violence prevention: An athletics tool kit for a healthy and safe culture (2017), they recommend that “All athletics administrators, coaches and other paid or unpaid staff in athletics are provided sufficient resources and training to prevent and appropriately respond to sexual violence” (p. 4). In response to this call, Boston College Athletics in partnership with the Boston College Women’s Center has created a training model to engage coaches and student-athletes. Coaches will undergo bystander training led by the Women’s Center and then will co-facilitate the training of their student-athletes. Coaches are significant influences in their student-athletes’ lives and trained coaches can reinforce the messages of sexual assault prevention efforts throughout the year. This study, led by student researcher Chelsey Bowman, will evaluate this new training model to determine whether it was effective in changing student-athletes’ attitudes and behaviors toward sexual violence.

Bystanders Behaviors Related to Potential Sexual Assault:  Individual and Contextual Predictors among Student-athletes

Funded by: National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
Amount: $7,230
Dates: 1/1/17–9/30/18
Summary: Student researcher, Chelsey Bowman, will investigate individual and contextual predictors of student-athletes’ willingness to intervene in situations that could lead to sexual violence, which will inform bystander training programs geared toward student-athletes.

Principal Investigator: Nathan Jones, Associate Professor

Improving the Teacher Hiring and Match Process: A Research Partnership with Boston Public Schools

Funded by: Smith Richardson Foundation via subcontract w/Brown University
Amount: $10,843
Dates: 1/1/17–7/1/20
Summary: In collaboration with researchers from Brown University Dr. Jones will examine the effects of Boston Public School’s autonomous hiring policy reform on student, teacher, and school outcomes, with the broader goal of examining the nature and challenges of the teacher hiring and match process in large urban school districts.

The Day Reconstruction Method: A New Tool for Measuring Teachers’ Work and Work Contexts

Funded by: U.S. Department of Education via subcontract w/University of Wisconsin System
Amount: $256,169
Dates: 8/1/16–7/31/20
Summary: In collaboration with colleagues from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, BU project staff will contribute to a study to adapt the Day Reconstruction Method (DRM) for use with teachers and provide an initial assessment of the instrument’s validity.

Validating an Observation Protocol for the Evaluation of Special Educators

Funded by: U.S. Department of Education-IES
Amount: $1,600,000
Dates: 7/1/15–6/30/19
Summary: Danielson’s Framework for Teaching (EFT) will be studied, focusing on: 1) examining the reliability and independence of the dimensions of FFT, as well as whether the dimensions of FFT—when applied to special educators—conform to theory; 2) investigating sources of variance in FFT scores; and 3) examining the extent to which FFT scores converge with other sources of evidence of special education teaching quality.

Principal Investigator: Yasuko Kanno, Associate Professor

Massachusetts’s High School English Learners’ Access to College-Preparatory Courses: EL Status as a Double-Edged Sword

Co-PI: Marcus Winters (Associate Professor, Wheelock)
Funded by: The Spencer Foundation
Amount: $50,000
Dates: 1/1/18-12/31/18
Summary: EL status can be a double-edged sword: While it qualifies students with emerging English proficiency with much needed support services, it may also lead to lower teacher expectations and limited opportunity to learn (OTL). This study will investigate the causal effect of EL status on high school students’ academic coursework by analyzing extant Massachusetts state data by examining whether English-learner (EL) classification limits students’ access to college-preparatory courses in high school.

Principal Investigator: Amy Lieberman, Assistant Professor

International Consortium for Multilingual Excellence in Education (ICMEE)

Funded by: U.S. Department of Education via subcontract w/University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Amount: $152,727
Dates: 12/16/16-8/31/21
Summary: Over the last five years, the eCALLMS grant ( (NPD grant PR/Award # T365Z110177) has designed e-workshops (by grant completion in August 2016, there will be over 30 available) to support the professional development of K-12 teachers of multilingual learners. As interest and use of these e-workshops has spread to additional countries (specifically Finland and Germany), a large collaboration has formed with the potential to grow substantially. This project, therefore, has been designed to build on and expand these collaborations with three goals grounded in the e-workshops developed with NPD funding through the eCALLMS grant: research, design and use. The requested funding will support the research and design in the United States.

Development of Gaze Control for Integration of Language and Visual Information in Deaf Children

Funded by: National Institutes of Health–National Institute on Deafness and Communication Disorders
Amount: $1,738,455
Dates: 3/4/16-5/31/21
Summary: Deaf children frequently receive impoverished language input in their early years, putting them at-risk for delays in development of language, literacy and academic skills.  The proposed work will examine how young deaf children learn to integrate visual linguistic and non-linguistic input during interaction, a critical skill for language development.  By identifying factors contributing to deaf children’s ability to control gaze and visual attention, this work will yield important insights regarding the design of effective intervention, instruction, and classroom environments for deaf children.

Preparation of Personnel Trained in Education of the Deaf: MADESE Low Incidence Program: Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing

Funded by: U.S. Department of Education via subcontract w/Commonwealth of MA Department of Education
Amount: $82,348
Dates: 10/28/16-6/30/19
Summary: To help ensure that Massachusetts has an adequate number of teachers with the necessary tools to properly instruct and accommodate students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and who communicate in their classrooms using American Sign Language, funds will be used to support access to pre-requisite and required coursework for students enrolled at Boston University’s Deaf Education program in order to pursue a career in teaching of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children who use American Sign Language (ASL).

Principal Investigator: Rebekah Louis, Lecturer

EPIC Supervisor Certification Pilot

Funded by: Massachusetts Department of Education
Amount: $15,000
Dates: 9/1/17-6/30/18
Summary: BU is hosting a cohort of program supervisors and supervising practitioners participating in the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Supervisor Certification pilot.

Principal Investigator: Eve Manz, Assistant Professor

CAREER: Building Productive Uncertainty into Elementary Science Investigations 

Funded by: National Science Foundation
Amount: $984,646
Dates: 6/1/18-5/31/23
Summary: Funding supports work with elementary teachers to incorporate “productive uncertainty” into elementary school science investigations.

Principal Investigator: Jacob Murray, Faculty Director

Ed-Vance: A Pathway of Excellence for Teachers of Color (Planning Phase)

Co-PI: Stephanie Curenton (Associate Professor, Wheelock)
Funded by:
 The Kellogg Foundation
Amount: $350,000
Dates: 11/1/16-6/30/18
Summary: Funding supports the planning phase of a project to strengthen the teachers of color pipeline in Boston schools through partnering with minority serving institutions in the development of an alternative teacher education program.

Principal Investigator: Catherine O’Connor, Professor  & Associate Dean for Doctoral Studies

SERP Word Generation

Funded by: U.S. Department of Education via subcontract w/ Strategic Education Research Partnership Institute (SERP)
Amount: $26,859
Dates: 6/1/17-6/30/18
Summary: In collaboration with SERP personnel and Dr. Catherine Snow (Harvard Graduate School of Education), Dr. O’Connor will design and deliver six professional development modules as webinars. The work includes creation of materials to support teachers attending the webinar, and soliciting responses from teachers as to usability of webinar materials.

Examining the effects of a mindfulness-based biofeedback intervention on self-regulation and sport performance in soccer athletes

Funded by: Foundation for Education and Research in Biofeedback and Related Sciences (FERB)
Amount: $1,500
Dates: 10/1/17-9/30/19
Summary: Student researcher Frank Perry will investigate the impact, if any, of a mindfulness-based biofeedback intervention on 3 different types of measures in a small sample of soccer athletes.

Principal Investigator: Jeanne Paratore, Professor Emerita

A Transmedia Approach to Science and Literacy Learning in Early Childhood Classrooms

Funded by: U.S. Department of Education via subcontract w/Public Broadcasting Systems
Amount: $785,588
Dates: 10/1/15–9/30/20
Summary: BU staff will develop new science and literacy professional development materials to enhance kindergarten or Grade 1 educators’ integration of technology and RTL transmedia suite content in classrooms, with a particular focus on developing young children’s understanding of what it means to think, act, read, and write “like a scientist”  and will also consult with CPB/PBS to plan and implement a partnership with NAEYC for both the development and dissemination of the professional development resources.

Principal Investigator: Michelle Porche, Clinical Associate Professor

Evaluation of Hingham Middle School Special Education Program

Co-PIs: Jennifer Green (Associate Professor, Wheelock), Zachary Rossetti (Associate Professor, Wheelock)
Funded by: Hingham Public Schools
Dates: 2/1/18-10/31/18
Summary: Using a combination of existing data from district records and online surveys with key stakeholders an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Middle School Special Education department in regard to resource allocation, role of paraeducators, collaboration between Special and General Education teachers, and specialized programs will be conducted.

Evaluation of School-Based Trauma-Informed Sports Intervention in Central Massachusetts

Funded by: Sudbury Foundation via subcontract w/Doc Wayne Youth Services, Inc.
Amount: $20,000
Dates: 8/1/18-7/31/19
Summary: Funding will support continued investigation and evaluation of educational supports and barriers for a vulnerable population of students who have experienced adversity and maltreatment, and who are receiving treatment in a sports-based group therapy program that uses a strength-based approach to clinical care.

KIDS FACE FEARS (KIDS Face-to-face And Computer-Enhanced Formats Effectiveness study for Anxiety and Related Symptoms)

Funded by: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute via subcontract w/ Boston medical Center Corporation
Amount: $223,643
Dates: 12/1/18-11/30/23
Summary: KIDS FACE FEARS will test the comparable effectiveness of the well-established Cool Kids suite of face-to-face delivery and internet-based delivery of anxiety CBT protocols within pediatric primary care networks serving primarily racial-ethnic minority children in both urban (Boston, Miami, and Baltimore) and rural (Pacific Northwest) settings. The study will assess heterogeneity of response to the two types of intervention delivery, and will conduct qualitative interviews with patients and stakeholders (patient families, clinic administrators, staff, providers) to understand perspectives, preferences, and organizational factors that serve as barriers or facilitators to implementing the comparators in the real world context of pediatric primary care.

Principal Investigator: Zachary Rossetti, Associate Professor 

Paraprofessional Certification as a Pathway to Recruiting Culturally Diverse Pre-Service Teachers

Funded by: Massachusetts Department of Education
Amount: $48,470
Dates: 1/1/17–6/30/18
Summary: Educators from Boston Public Schools (BPS) and Boston University (BU) will develop and implement an innovative, research driven pathway for paraprofessionals from traditionally underrepresented groups (e.g., people of color) currently employed by BPS to receive professional development (for which they will receive graduate level course credits) and ongoing mentoring toward a BU post-baccalaureate program, which would result in initial licensure in Massachusetts (MA) as a Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities.

Examining Latino Families’ Language Access and Participation in their Children’s IEP Meetings

Funded by: American Educational Research Association
Amount: $4,400
Dates: 4/1/17–8/31/18
Summary: In collaboration with the Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN), this project seeks to document and examine the experiences of Latino families in their children’s IEP meetings. Locally as nationally, Spanish is culturally and linguistically diverse families’ most frequently spoken language in the home. Data will be collected through five semi-structured focus group interviews with 8-10 participants in each and a formal measure of family-professional partnerships.

Friends Matter! Increasing and Improving Social Interaction Opportunities between Students with and without Intellectual Disabilities

Funded by: Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation
Amount: $142,522
Dates: 1/1/17–12/31/19
Summary: The project’s goal is to increase the quantity and improve the quality of social interaction opportunities between students with and without ID in Bourne PS. By experiencing more consistent social interaction opportunities based on shared interests and common experiences in inclusive settings, students with and without ID will be more likely to develop reciprocal and mutual friendships that extend beyond the school walls.

Enhancing Civic Engagement of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Parents of Children with Disabilities

Funded by: The Spencer Foundation
Amount: $50,000
Dates: 1/1/18–12/31/19
Summary: Drs. Rossetti and Burke (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) examine the effect of an innovative civic engagement program with parents of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) children with disabilities across four states using a randomized controlled trial. Data collection also includes focus groups inquiring about facilitators and barriers to civic engagement by CLD parents, as well as videotaped testimonials about what CLD parents want in the upcoming IDEA reauthorization. By examining the effectiveness of the parent civic engagement program, as well as CLD parent perspectives on civic engagement and IDEA reauthorization, this project will contribute to existing theory on civic engagement and cultural and social capital in the context of special education reform.

Principal Investigator: Scott Seider, Associate Professor

The Development of Critical Consciousness in Marginalized Adolescents Attending Progressive and No Excuse Charter High Schools

Funded by: Spencer Foundation
Amount: $350,000
Dates: 1/1/16–12/31/19
Summary: This project expands the present research study by adding an ethnographic investigation of learning processes at the most promising no excuses and progressive schools with the goal of amplifying the value and effects of scholarship and practice of civic education in urban secondary schools across the United States.

Critical Consciousness Combines Civic, Intellectual and Performance Character Virtues to Support Positive Youth Development

Funded by: Templeton Foundation
Amount: $421,590
Dates: 7/1/15–6/30/18
Summary: Through a mixed methods design, important insights about the ability of schooling models ranging from expeditionary learning to No Excuses to foster the particular character virtues associated with critical consciousness will be uncovered.

Principal Investigator: V. Scott Solberg, Professor

Vocational Rehabilitation Youth Technical Assistance Center (Y-TAC)

Funded by: U.S. Department of Education via subcontract w/Institute for Educational Leadership
Amount: $335,000
Summary: The Vocational Rehabilitation Youth-Technical Assistance Center will be working intensively with 10 states to increase their capacity to serve youth with disabilities and disconnected youth.  BUs role is to coordinate the evaluation of this effort using common measures collected at the state level on services provided as well as an evaluation of the professional development activities.

Technical Assistance and Demonstration Center on Preparing Youth with Disabilities for Employment

Funded by: U.S. Department of Labor via subcontract w/Institute for Educational Leadership
Amount: $360,119
Dates: 9/19/12–2/28/19
Summary: The research team at Boston University will support the career development/planning/management strand of work, specifically project staff will: 1)conduct web-based research; 2) review and analyze results from previously collected data using de-identified datasets; 3) write research and policy briefs, journal articles, and how-to-guides; and 4) provide technical assistance to states and districts.

Principal Investigator: Marcus Winters, Associate Professor

Examining the Effects of Adopting Move on When Reading in Arizona

Funded by: Helios Foundation
Amount: $65,506
Dates: 6/1/17–7/31/19
Summary: Expanding on Dr. Winters’ current work, the BU project team will evaluate the effect of Move on When Reading on student performance in the third grade.

Increasing Teacher Quality: Can We Learn from Successful Charter Schools?

Funded by: Smith Richardson Foundation
Amount: $200,610
Dates: 7/1/17–7/1/19
Summary: The proposed project will utilize longitudinal student- and teacher-level data to evaluate whether there are differences in the relationship between measured teacher quality and teacher attrition in the charter and traditional public school sectors.

The Effect of Requiring Structured English Immersion Training for General Education Teachers

Co-PIs: Nathan Jones (Associate Professor, Wheelock) and Yasuko Kanno (Associate Professor, Wheelock)

Funded by: The William T. Grant Foundation
Amount: $ 157,510.00
Dates: 4/1/19-3/31/21
Summary: This study examines the causal effect of recent state policies mandating general education teachers to receive training in working with English learners (ELs) on student academic achievement. Lack of access to effective instruction is one potential explanation for the persistent achievement gap between ELs and non- ELs. The proposed study would utilize a differences-in-differences strategy that exploits a unique opportunity resulting from the staggered rollout and universal nature of such a policy in Massachusetts in order to provide the first plausibly causal estimate of the effect of requiring general education teachers to undergo EL training on the measured outcomes of both EL and non-EL students.

Principal Investigator: Jonathan Zaff, Research Associate Professor

Center for Promise

Funded by: America’s Promise Alliance
Amount: $2,871,708
Dates: 6/1/15–6/30/20
Summary: Research and action projects constructed to understand the lived experience of young people to learn how to create the conditions so that all young people have the opportunity to thrive academically, socially, emotionally, vocationally, and civically are conducted by center staff.

Center for Promise Support of Boston Public Schools Office of Educational Options Programs 

Funded by: Boston Public Schools
Amount: $50,000
Dates: 9/1/17-6/30/18
Summary:  Funding will support professional development, technical support and assistance to BPS alternative education schools as well as five high schools and three middle schools leading to refinement of the district’s policies and practices in order to most effectively serve the districts’ students who are placed at the highest risk of not graduating.