MEP both engages in and supports research

MEP-Supported research

MEP-Supported research is thematically aligned with MEP-Directed research, serving to provide a broader scope of resources and knowledge to the District. In 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 MEP-Supported work is topically focused on MMSD’s 4K program. In 2018-2019, MEP opened its supported work topic to attendance with no age focus. Topics for MEP research grants can change from year-to-year, dependent on MEP Directed research topics. Three cycles of research grants have been awarded to date—Fall 2016, Spring 2017, and Fall 2018. A fourth grants cycle will take place in the Spring 2019. Details of the research questions and designs from each previous grant cohorts are below. A full RFP will be posted here and announced on our social media.

MEP supports independent UW researchers to engage in research in MMSD through research grants, awarded through a competitive grant process. Calls for proposals are issued annually in Spring semester. All University faculty, research faculty, and graduate students supported by a PI are invited to submit a proposal for funding. Grant awards are up to $50,00 and researchers are further supported through MEP with expedited access to MMSD data, schools and additional administrative support. Applications are reviewed by the MEP Directors and Steering Committee.

MEP Memos

The Madison Education Partnership (MEP) serves as an avenue for researchers and practitioners at Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) and the University of Wisconsin (UW) to engage in work to address problems of practice focused on equity in MMSD and problems of fundamental importance to educational research. In an effort to broaden participation in these activities, MEP encourages members of both MMSD and UW to collaborate on short responses to MEP directed work, original empirical research briefs, or reviews of extant literature. MEP Memos must address a problem of practice related to equity that is or has been a topic raised by the partnership.

MEP Memos - Purpose and Process

Current Memos

Elementary-to-Middle School Engagement Indicators
Authors: Jaymes Pyne, Bo McCready
Expected release: Spring 2019

Fall 2018 Awarded Researchers – Attendance

David Plante and Elizabeth Blair will evaluate whether sleep and circadian factors are associated with school attendance for middle school students. Their project will evaluate whether sleep duration and circadian preference are significantly associated with the outcome of school attendance in MMSD using a quantitative approach. They will conduct an exploratory qualitative analysis of open-ended survey responses to inform future investigations of why and how these factors affect the everyday activities of students and families to influence school attendance.
Lorena Mancilla and Sarah Ryan with Delis Cuéllar will examine and understand the perceptions and decision-making of multilingual families in MMSD early care and education programs. They will (a) examine the reliability and validity of a survey designed for parents of young multilingual children and (b) use parent interviews to further explore parents’ perceptions about language learning and their decision-making about their children’s program attendance.

Spring 2017 Awarded Researchers - Focus on MMSD 4K

Beth Graue analyzed MMSD administrative data, as well as surveyed and interviewed kindergarten famlies, in an effort to understand how families make decisions about their child’s 4K experience.  Across these retrospective data sources Graue explored factors that shape decision making with a focus on program structures, family needs and resources, cultural norms, and personal preference.

Executive Summary: Family Decision Making about 4K Enrollment in MMSD

Maribeth Gettinger and Kaitlyn Ostrander used a mixed methods approach to: 1) assessed the overall quality of instruction in MMSD 4K classrooms and 2) descriptively summarized the beliefs and perspectives of 4K teachers regarding 4K programming. They also explored any variance between sites, teacher characteristics, and student demographics.    

Executive Summary: Teacher-Child Interactions, Teacher Beliefs, and Student Outcomes in MMSD 4K Classrooms

Fall 2016 Grant Recipients - Focus on MMSD 4K

Alejandra Pilarz documented 4K family engagement strategies and parents’ perceptions of those strategies, through the administration of surveys to 4K principals/directors and teachers, and focus groups with parents. She explored the relationship between engagement strategies and 4K students’ attendance and school readiness. The goal of her research was to identify the most promising strategies to increase family engagement in 4K and improve student readiness for the transition to Kindergarten.

Executive Summary: Family Engagement in MMSD’s 4K Program: Implications for Children’s School Readiness

Travis Wright conducted classroom observations, interviews, and focus groups with 4K staff and families in order to expand our understanding of the experiences of homeless families in 4K. Through his research he aimed to identify the best strategies to improve support for students experiencing homelessness during the first critical years of school.

Executive Summary: MMSD 4K: Pathways to Resilience for Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness

Kristin Shutts and Charles Kalish 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. Utilizing the experiences and expertise of 4K staff, their goal was to develop high-quality measurement instruments which will help teachers effectively assess students' interpersonal skills.

Executive Summary: Understanding, Measuring, & Assessing the Development of Interpersonal Skills in 4K