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News from February 2013

Reading Institute researchers publish two book chapters
February 28, 2013

Researchers with MCPER's Reading Institute recently published two book chapters on reading instruction for students with learning disabilities. Sharon Vaughn, Elizabeth Swanson, and Michael Solis authored "Reading Comprehension for Adolescents With Significant Reading Problems," which appeared in the second edition of Handbook of Learning Disabilities. Lisa McCulley, Sarah Katz, and Vaughn published "Reading Instruction and Students With Learning Disabilities," a chapter in Learning Disabilities: Practice Concerns and Students With LD.

Tags: Reading Institute 

Laura Bush focuses on MCPER’s Middle School Matters Institute at Building a Grad Nation Summit
February 27, 2013

Former First Lady Laura Bush's keynote address at the opening session of the 2013 Building a Grad Nation Summit on February 25 in Washington, DC, focused on the Middle School Matters Institute, a joint initiative of the George W. Bush Institute and MCPER.

Her full remarks can be found on the Bush Center website. The following is an excerpt from Bush's address:

"Through the Bush Institute’s Middle School Matters [initiative], we’re focusing on improving middle school education, so our middle school students become high school graduates. For many students, though, the middle school years are difficult. Academic struggles are compounded by self-consciousness and peer pressure. Despite the challenges of middle school, we know that middle school is the best place to prepare students for success in high school ... With focused interventions, students who enter middle school struggling in core subjects can enter high school working at grade level.

"The Bush Institute, with the support of the Meadows Foundation, enlisted many of the nation’s top education researchers and practitioners to develop Middle School Matters. Experts in reading intervention; cognitive science; writing; math; advanced reasoning; school, student, family, and community support; and school leadership identified principles and practices that are proven effective for middle school students. These research-based findings are the foundation for all aspects of our Middle School Matters initiative. The Bush Institute will host a Middle School Institute for middle school educators and administrators. The first session of the Middle School Matters Institute is this summer, in partnership with The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at The University of Texas, and thanks to the generous support of the Sid W. Richardson Foundation."

Available online is application information for the inaugural Middle School Matters Institute Summer Conference. Applications are due March 8, and all U.S. middle schools are invited to apply.

Tags: Middle School Matters Institute 

Middle School Matters Institute extends application deadline for Summer Conference
February 25, 2013

Due to high interest, the Middle School Matters Institute (MSMI) has extended the application deadline for its Tier II Summer Conference to March 8, 2013. Time is running out to join this initiative to support the middle grades. Visit the MSMI Tier II page to learn about how to get involved and the benefits of participation. Both parts of the online application are due March 8. Direct questions about this opportunity to Genise Henry.

Dropout Prevention Institute researchers to present at 25th annual At-Risk Youth National Forum
February 5, 2013

Jennifer Wick Schnakenberg and Meghan Coleman of MCPER's Dropout Prevention Institute will present two sessions at the 25th annual At-Risk Youth National Forum on February 19 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Coleman will be lead presenter of the session "Investing in Education for At-Risk Students: The Implementation of a Dropout Prevention Intervention," and Schnakenberg will lead the session "Responsive Reading Instruction in Secondary Interventions." The theme of this year's forum, sponsored by the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, is “Investing for a Lifetime: Education Is Economic Development." The event is designed to share the work of "innovative, skilled presenters who have excellent ideas, proven programs, and evidence-based research," according to the forum website.

Tags: Dropout Prevention Institute  Preventing School Dropout With Secondary Students: The Implementation of an Individualized Reading Intervention and Dropout Prevention Intervention 

MCPER gets $2.6 million to create Middle School Matters Institute
February 4, 2013

MCPER has begun a new partnership with the George W. Bush Institute, launching the Middle School Matters Institute (MSMI) with a 3-year, $2.6 million grant. MSMI will develop and disseminate resources and research on middle grades improvement and will provide direct support to select middle schools in Texas. Dr. Sarojani Mohammed will serve as the director. 

As one branch of the Middle School Matters program, MSMI will use a multitiered approach to support middle grades educators. MSMI will develop a website to disseminate evidence-based practices and resources, host annual conferences for select schools that wish to develop a Middle School Matters Implementation Plan, and provide targeted support to a small number of schools on applying their Implementation Plan.

MSMI will work in conjunction with the Middle School Matters Coalition, led by the Bush Institute. A seven-member advisory board—Robert Balfanz of Johns Hopkins University, Wanda Bamberg of Aldine Independent School District, David Chard of Southern Methodist University, Mark Dynarski of Chesapeake Consulting, Art Graesser of the University of Memphis, Steve Graham of Arizona State University, and Gina Rodriguez of the Bush Institute—also will support MSMI.

MCPER is thankful for the support of Manuel J. Justiz, dean of the College of Education; as well as those who contributed financial support, such as the Bass Foundation; Sid W. Richardson Foundation; Meadows Foundation; Brown Foundation; and Bank of America Charitable Foundation.

Tags: Middle School Matters Institute