The model will be developed over two years in collaboration with educators at all three middle schools in San Angelo Independent School District (ISD). Following development, a pilot study will be conducted to test the model’s potential effectiveness on students’ reading performance.
“We are honored to receive this funding from the Institute of Education Sciences,” said Christy Murray, principal investigator of the project. “Our goal is to develop a set of materials and professional development resources that help middle school educators implement powerful, research-based practices and, concurrently, build the capacity of on-campus leaders to sustain those practices over time.”
The grant will extend the work of MCPER’s Middle School Matters project, which was initially funded through The Meadows Foundation, Sid W. Richardson Foundation, The Brown Foundation, and others.
“Thanks to the amazing support of our initial funders, Middle School Matters has developed many wonderful resources, and we’re looking forward to enhancing those resources with the help of some talented educators in San Angelo ISD,” Murray said.
During the 2017–2018 and 2018–2019 school years, San Angelo ISD educators will serve as the experts by partnering with researchers to improve middle school instructional materials and professional development efforts.
Sharon Vaughn, executive director of The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, highlighted the importance of this collaboration. “The teacher perspective is very important in the development of instructional materials so that we can ensure they are usable and feasible in the classroom,” she said. “Incorporating their ideas will truly connect research to practice.”
Farrah Gomez, San Angelo ISD executive director of schools and school improvement, agrees. “The partnership with Middle School Matters has been invaluable,” Gomez said. “We are excited to continue our work together where the research can be put to practice in our classrooms. The communication and feedback loop between teachers and researchers is a vital part of the process.”
Middle School Matters was founded in 2010 by the George W. Bush Institute, which partnered with MCPER in 2012. Since that time, Middle School Matters has supported more than 100 schools, hosted four conferences, and developed dozens of resources and instructional toolkits.