News from March 2010

Four MCPER projects present at Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness conference
March 7, 2010

Several MCPER researchers presented at the third annual conference of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, which was held March 4 to 6 in Washington, DC. MCPER presentations included Diane Bryant, Brian R. Bryant, Greg Roberts, Sharon Vaughn, Kathleen Hughes, and Jennifer Porterfield (The Validation of Early Mathematics Interventions); Sharon Vaughn, Letty Martinez, and Colleen Reutebuch (Center for Research and Educational Achievement and Teaching of English Language Learners); Jade Wexler and Sharon Vaughn (Texas Center for Learning Disabilities); and Saro Mohammed, Elizabeth Swanson, Greg Roberts, and Sharon Vaughn (Collaborative Strategic Reading). The presentations and posters from the conference are posted in our Library.

MCPER Director of Assessment Stephanie Stillman attends DESERTech Conference
March 6, 2010

Dr. Stephanie Stillman, MCPER’s director of assessment, attended the 23rd annual Management Information Systems (MIS) Conference, titled “Data and Education Systems Enabled by Reliable Technologies (DESERTech),” from March 3 to 5 in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference explored “information about best practices, innovative ideas, current issues, and practical how-to advice about management information systems for K–12 education,” according to the conference Web site. The conference brought together “the people who work with information collection, management, transmittal, and reporting in school districts and state education agencies … More than 80 presentations, demonstrations, and workshops [were] conducted by practitioners from K–12 information systems.” The National Center for Education Statistics and the Arizona Department of Education sponsored the conference.

News from February 2010

Texas Youth Commission Project training continues
February 10, 2010

MCPER recently hosted the second installment of reading intervention training for Texas Youth Commission (TYC) reading teachers. MCPER once again was privileged to have nationally known presenter, educational consultant, and author Dr. Anita Archer provide the training for the reading intervention being used in this project. Dr. Jade Wexler, Shannon Hewgley, Michael Solis, Leah Sayre, and Jacob Williams of MCPER presented the remaining components of the intervention. MCPER continues to work collaboratively with TYC to develop and implement an adolescent reading intervention that is in accordance with Texas Senate Bill 1362, which requires TYC to provide at least 60 minutes per school day of individualized reading instruction to each student in a TYC educational program who exhibits deficits in reading.

Deborah Reed earns doctorate
February 9, 2010

Deborah Reed, principal investigator for MCPER’s Texas Adolescent Literacy Academies project during its development and early implementation, successfully defended her dissertation entitled The Contribution of Retell to the Identification of Struggling Adolescent Readers on February 17. Dr. Reed is a graduate of the Department of Special Education in The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education. Dr. Reed, who has been with MCPER since its inception, wasted no time getting back to work after her defense! Please join us in congratulating her.

Autism Institute publication highlights the critical role of family involvement
February 8, 2010

Nina Zuna, a fellow in the Autism Spectrum Disorders Institute, has co-authored an article with researchers from the Beach Center on Disability at the University of Kansas that explores how to help families join professionals in the educational decision-making process. The article, Knowledge-to-Action Guides: Preparing Families to be Partners in Making Educational Decisions, appears in the January/February 2010 issue of Teaching Exceptional Children, a journal published by the Council for Exceptional Children. More information about the paper and the ways in which institute faculty members are working in the autism spectrum disorders community can be found on the institute’s webpage.

Webinar to explore the identification of specific learning disabilities in a response to intervention framework
February 7, 2010

A Texas Center for Learning Disabilities webinar on February 17 examined the identification of specific learning disabilities (SLDs) in the context of a response to intervention (RTI) model of service delivery. Presented by Dr. Jack M. Fletcher of the University of Houston, the webinar contrasted models of SLD identification and provided methods for operationalizing a proposed model in the context of an RTI framework. A live question-and-answer session with Dr. Fletcher followed the formal presentation. The webinar is open to anyone interested in the topic. An archive of the webinar is posted on the TCLD website.

MCPER associate director to deliver keynote address at Idaho response to intervention conference
February 6, 2010

Dr. Greg Roberts, MCPER’s associate director, will deliver the lunch keynote address at the Idaho State Department of Education’s RTI Conference 2010. The conference will be held April 13 and 14 in Boise. National, regional, and state researchers and practitioners in the field of education will join Idaho teachers, principals, support personnel, and district administrators to learn about implementing the response to intervention (RTI) framework for academics and behavior.

MCPER joins forces with Sigma Lambda Beta, Manor ISD to provide mentors for at-risk students
February 5, 2010

MCPER’s Preventing School Dropout With Secondary Students project is working collaboratively with the UT Austin chapter of the Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity and Manor ISD’s Project Mentor to provide mentors for at-risk students enrolled in Project GOAL at Decker Middle School. Sigma Lambda Beta mentors will participate in “lunch bunch” groups and other mentoring sessions with their mentees, with discussions focusing on engagement in school activities, important life choices, and future opportunities. The goal is to provide at-risk eighth-graders with a role model with whom they can relate. Mentors also will participate in a community service project with their mentee as well as attend Project GOAL’s Explore UT field trip on March 6.

News from January 2010

Reading Institute paper published in Reading and Writing Quarterly
January 10, 2010

Reading and Writing Quarterly recently published a manuscript from the Preventing Reading Difficulties: A Three-Tiered Intervention Model (3-Tier Research) project within MCPER’s Reading Institute. In the paper, First-Grade Student Retention Within a 3-Tier Reading Framework, authors used a response to intervention (RTI) framework to examine the grade-level retention of students in first grade (students who did not advance to second grade). Data suggest that student behavior, oral reading rates, and other individual school variables (as identified by principals) are possible factors contributing to the retention of students.

MCPER to provide teacher training on End-of-Course Success assessment
January 9, 2010

MCPER is partnering with the College of Education’s Institute for Public School Initiatives (IPSI) and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to develop and provide professional development for Texas high school teachers on the upcoming English I, II, and III End-of-Course Success (EOCS) assessment. Required by Senate Bill 1301, the EOCS will measure students’ academic performance in core high school courses and will become part of the graduation requirements, beginning with the freshman class of 2011–2012.