News from December 2021

MCPER Senior Associate Director Greg Roberts guest edits special section in top research journal
December 14, 2021

MCPER Senior Associate Director Greg Roberts has guest edited a special section in a recently published edition of Exceptional Children, a top research journal in the field.

The special section—devoted to adaptive intervention (AI) and sequential multiassignment randomized trials (SMART) designs—appeared in the October 2021 issue of the journal. In addition to editing the section, Roberts was the lead author in an article that provided an overview of AI and SMART, described Project BASIC (MCPER's own AI/SMART project), and introduced the two other research articles in the section. MCPER's Nathan Clemens, Christian Doabler, and Executive Director Sharon Vaughn are among the article's co-authors. The other articles in the special section are "Getting SMART About Social Skills Interventions for Students With ASD in Inclusive Classrooms" and "Early Lessons Learned in Designing an Adaptive Shared Reading Intervention for Preschoolers With Autism."

The impact factor for Exceptional Children is in the top 10 among developmental and educational psychology journals and in the top 20 of all education-focused journals. It is number 3 among journals that address special populations.

Sarah Powell named associate director of MCPER
December 7, 2021

Sarah Powell—a member of the MCPER Board of Directors, principal investigator of multiple MCPER projects, and associate professor with the UT Austin Department of Special Education—has been named the associate director of MCPER.

“Sarah is a tremendous addition to the MCPER leadership team,” said Greg Roberts, who will be continuing with MCPER as its new senior associate director. “She is an accomplished scholar, a skilled professional development provider, and a terrific colleague. She brings energy, ideas, and enthusiasm to her role as associate director, and I look forward to continuing our collaboration.”

Powell began her work with MCPER in 2013. In her new role, she will work with the MCPER leadership team and coordinate efforts related to outreach. Powell has big plans to expand MCPER’s expertise and reach, and she is eager to get to work.

“I want to develop meaningful avenues for sharing research with educators and caregivers,” she said. “I also want to develop ways for MCPER to be a go-to resource for evidence-based practices for educators across the world.”

Powell is the daughter of two teachers, and two of her grandparents were teachers. “I couldn’t have avoided this if I tried!” she said.

Powell graduated from Centre College and then went to Vanderbilt University for a degree in school administration. Along the way, she taught kindergarten and spent several years working on research projects focused on students who experience difficulty with mathematics. She earned her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University with a focus on special education. Among her many awards, Powell received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2019.

At MCPER, Powell is principal investigator of the Developing Connections Between Word Problems and Mathematical Equations, Interactive Read-Alouds for Prekindergarten and Kindergarten to Improve Literacy and Numeracy Skills, Promoting Scientific Explorers Among Students With Learning Disabilities, and Tiered Interventions Using Evidence-Based Research projects.

Plus join us in congratulating Dr. Powell!

MCPER partner featured in struggling readers webcast, article on science of teaching reading
December 2, 2021

The executive director of curriculum and instruction for Midlothian Integrated School District, a partner of MCPER, served as an expert in two major newspapers' features on reading instruction, and both are now available online.

Becki Krsnak was a panelist for a webcast about science- and data-based practices to improve flagging reading rates on Nov. 16 as part of The Seattle Times's Ed Lab Solutions project. View the webcast online.

Krsnak, along with MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn, also was featured in a story by The Dallas Morning News about the science of teaching reading. That story is available on the newspaper's website.