Beyond sponsoring research studies, MEP also serves as a channel for researchers and practitioners at MMSD and UW to address problems of practice related to equity and other fundamentally important education issues.
Memos grounded in the research literature are written by collaborating staff and researchers within MMSD and UW in response to MEP-Directed work and published research briefs. MEP Memos must address a problem of practice related to equity and topics raised by the partnership. The purpose of such Memos is to inform conversations within the district and research community.
Elementary-to-Middle School Engagement Indicators
Authors: Jaymes Pyne and Bo McCready
Expected release: Fall 2019
Researchers: Stephen M Quintana and Stephanie M Campbell
Empowering Educators to Combat Bias through Dialogue: Researchers, Quintana and Campbell, aim to increase students’ belonging in school and reduce race- and weight-bias bullying through dialogue-based training for teachers. The training will (a) help teachers’ understand their self, privileges and biases that impact students and (b) train teachers to facilitate critically conscious and appropriate dialogue with their students about race and weight bias.
How effective are MMSD’s gender-expansive discrimination policies and training at the student and school-level? Using a mixed-method approach, Principal Investigator, McQuillan, along with Co-Investigators, Hohs and Herdina, will research the barriers school leaders face when implementing protective practices in an administrative environment. Additionally, they will investigate the extent of gender-expansive identities used by MMSD students, and the relationship between these identities and academic and social-emotional outcomes.
Researchers: David Plante and Elizabeth Blair
To what extent do sleep and circadian factors influence middle school students’ attendance? Through exploratory qualitative analysis of open-ended survey responses, Plante and Blaire are investigating why and how these factors affect students’ and families’ everyday activities and school attendance. They are also investigating whether sleep duration and circadian preference are significantly associated with the outcome of school attendance in MMSD, using a quantitative approach.
This research team is more deeply investigating the perceptions and decision-making of multilingual families in MMSD early care and education programs. They are (a) examining the reliability and validity of a survey designed for parents of young multilingual children and (b) using parent interviews to further explore parents’ perceptions about language learning and their decision-making about their children’s program attendance.
Family Decision Making about 4K Enrollment in MMSD (Executive Summary)
Researcher: Beth Graue
Graue analyzed MMSD administrative data, as well as surveyed and interviewed kindergarten families to more deeply understand how families make decisions about their child’s 4K experience. Integrating data sources, Graue explored factors that shape decision-making with a focus on program structures, family needs and resources, cultural norms, and personal preferences.
Researchers: Maribeth Gettinger and Kaitlyn Ostrander
Gettinger and Ostrander used a mixed methods approach to: 1) assess the overall quality of instruction in MMSD 4K classrooms and 2) descriptively summarize the beliefs and perspectives of 4K teachers regarding 4K programming. They also explored variance between sites, teacher characteristics, and student demographics.
Researcher: Alejandra Pilarz
With a goal of identifying the most promising strategies to increase family engagement in 4K and improve student readiness for the transition to Kindergarten, Pilarz documented 4K family engagement strategies and parents’ perceptions of those strategies. Employing surveys with 4K principals/directors and teachers, and focus groups with parents, Pilarz explored the relationship between engagement strategies and 4K students’ attendance and school readiness.
Researcher: Travis Wright
Aiming to identify the best strategies to improve supports for students experiencing homelessness during the first critical years of school, Wright conducted classroom observations, interviews, and focus groups with 4K staff and families—to expand understanding of the experiences of homeless families in 4K.
The goal of Shutts’ and Kalish’s research was to develop high-quality measurement instruments to help teachers effectively assess students' interpersonal skills. They conducted interviews with 4K administrators and teachers to identify priorities and interests for assessing students' interpersonal skills; they also pilot tested assessments with students in 4K programs.