Grants Office Update: April 2019

Congratulations to the all the School of Education faculty members who have recently been awarded grants. 

Principal Investigator:  Laura Roop
Department:  Instruction and Learning
Project Title:  National Writing Project
Agency Name:  National Writing Project Corporation
Award Dates:  4/16/19 - 5/31/20
Amount: $20,000

Historically, some of the most inspirational work within the National Writing Project has emanated from Project Outreach, the Urban Sites Network, and the English Learners Network, which seeded innovative work across the 180+ sites through small grants and a rotating regional conference.  As a result, for many, the National Writing Project became an enactment of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s vision of "Beloved Community"--a place where educators of color and others working with minoritized and marginalized youth--could reconcile differences and imagine new possibilities. However, as the National Writing Project has faced new federal policies and disappearing funding streams, these networks could not be sustained and some of the diversity we value has been lost.  We propose that the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project, in concert with diverse seasoned and emerging leaders across the National Writing Project, rethink how to develop and sustain an innovative network of support for diverse educators, both in and out of school.  What emerges might be new partnerships, a rotating conference, and online methods or opportunities.

Principal Investigator:  Cassie Quigley
Department:  Instruction and Learning
Project Title:  STEAM Studio Model for Innovation: Building Robust Learning Ecologies and Pathways in Computer Science
Agency Name:  Pennsylvania Department of Education
Award Dates:  1/15/19 - 8/1/20
Amount: $21,707

The STEAM Studio Model for Innovation: Building Robust Learning Ecologies and Pathways in Computer Science proposal, submitted under the 2018-2019 Governor’s PAsmart Expanding K-12 computer science and STEM Education Initiative, is designed to expand access to high-quality computing education for seven high-need Pennsylvania school districts. The STEAM Studio Model proposal has three key components:  

First, the program will develop a PA statewide online education platform for teaching introductory CS/STEM education across grades K-8.  These grades are particularly pivotal as research (Margolis, Goode, & Ryoo, 2015).

Second, the program will partner with 7  PA School districts as “pilot partners” to develop introductory CS/STEM curricula, assessments, and teacher professional development modules. This proposal entails broadening the reach of South Fayette’s existing model to the high-need districts, while also furthering developing South Fayette’s current offering on the K-8 levels.

Third, the program will develop a cyclical feedback loop among participating pilot districts to support the quality implementation of CS/STEM content and using submitted student projects and teacher/ student survey responses to improve CS instructional strategies standards-based STEAM and vertically aligned computer science units focused on computational thinking and CPS.

Principal Investigator:  Elon Dancy
Department:  Dean’s Office
Project Title:  Pittsburgh Regional Innovation Addressing Opportunity Gaps in Education: A Scalable Data-Driven Infrastructure for Personalized Learning
Agency Name:  Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Award Dates:  1/1/19 - 6/30/20
Amount: $268,917

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative grant works with Personalized Learning² (PL²) in an ambitious effort to address the opportunity gap that results in inequitable outcomes for students of color and other marginalized students by combining personal mentoring and tutoring with artificial intelligence learning software. Four pilot projects are being co-designed and implemented in deep collaboration with four school districts/networks in the Pittsburgh region. Each is tailored to the circumstances of its district and explores a potential implementation of the PL² approach:

At Pittsburgh Public Schools, PL² is embedded into an existing culturally responsive tutoring and mentorship program to supplement math instruction after school through the Center for Urban Education’s Ready to Learn program.

Principal Investigator:  Christopher Kline
Department:  Health and Physical Activity
Project Title:  Reducing sedentary behavior to improve sleep: an ancillary study to the RESET BP clinical trial
Agency Name:  National Institutes of Health
Award Dates:  4/1/19 - 2/28/23
Amount: $1,528,148

Disturbed sleep, especially insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea, is highly prevalent and associated with elevated blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, yet effective and feasible treatments that can address multiple dimensions of sleep are lacking. Reducing sedentary behavior, or the time spent sitting, may represent a novel approach to reducing sleep disturbance, but no research has examined whether long-term reduction of sedentary behavior impacts sleep in a rigorous manner. Our ancillary study will add comprehensive sleep assessment to an ongoing randomized clinical trial led by Dr. Bethany Barone Gibbs that is evaluating the effect of a 3-month sedentary behavior reduction intervention on blood pressure. We will evaluate the association between sedentary behavior and sleep in a bidirectional manner by examining the impact of sedentary behavior reduction on multiple dimensions of sleep and also investigating the influence of poor sleep on adherence to the sedentary behavior reduction intervention and changes in blood pressure. This research has the potential to impact behavioral sleep medicine treatment recommendations, sedentary behavior guidelines, and sedentary behavior reduction interventions.