Faculty in the Texas A&M School of Education and Human Development (SEHD) are getting a boost in their efforts to help turn around high-needs schools and better prepare principals in Texas and beyond. The U.S. Department of Education’s Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program awarded a $15 million Expansion Research grant towards Project Research-based Strategies and Artificial Intelligence for School Enhancement: Turning Around Schools (RAISE).
The grant will help SEHD’s Education Leadership Research Center (ELRC) and Center for Research & Development in Dual Language & Literacy Acquisition (CRDLLA) scale up their research toward professional development opportunities for current and aspiring school leaders. This includes expanding a unique urban principal residency program and delivering a virtual professional development program through SEHD. The project also looks to offer school leaders professional development opportunities on how to turn around schools, as well as artificial intelligence tools that help predict student learning by analyzing student data within seconds instead of weeks.
Project RAISE will work with 19,200 participants working in grades Pre-K to 5 over five years and hope to positively impact the current attrition of teachers and principals leaving the profession.
Dr. Beverly Irby, Regents Professor and Principal Investigator, says the pandemic accelerated these numbers and hopes Project RAISE can help. “Schools are facing teacher and principal burnout and vacancies, plus diminished student achievement, especially among students who are economically challenged or emergent bilinguals,” she said. “We advocate that working with school leaders, both teacher and administrative leaders, to turn around this situation is critically important for the education of students, particularly those most impacted by learning losses. That’s what RAISE is all about.”
Dr. Rafael Lara-Alecio, Regents Professor and Co-Principal Investigator in the project, says it is important to be part of the dynamic environment and challenges that public schools face today. “Through this research opportunity, we are committed to implementing the most effective ways to prepare our educators, and as a result, our students will be more prepared to face the multiple challenges presented today so that they can succeed in schools and beyond,” he said.
Dr. Michael A. de Miranda, Dean of SEHD, is optimistic about the project’s future impact, saying, “we look forward to Project RAISE becoming a difference maker in Texas and the nation with the ELRC and CRDLLA’s applied research strategies and innovations for teachers and leaders as they work to change, enhance, and improve their schools.”
SEHD faculty involved in Project RAISE include Dr. Irby serving as Principal Investigator, Drs. Lara-Alecio, Fuhui Tong and Fredrick Nafukho serving as Co-Principal Investigators, Drs. Joyce Alexander, Gwendolyn Webb, Carl Fahrenwald and Susan Holley serving as Co-Investigators and Drs. Cindy Guerrero and Matthew Etchells coordinating the implementation of the project.