News from February 2020

MCPER selected as authorized provider for implementation of House Bill 3 Texas Reading Academies
February 5, 2020

The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk has been approved as an authorized provider of the upcoming Reading Academies for K–3 teachers statewide.

Mandated by House Bill 3, passed by the 86th Texas Legislature, K–3 teachers must attend the professional development academies by the 2021–2022 school year.

As an authorized provider, MCPER will partner with local education agencies across the state to conduct registration, logistics, technical assistance, implementation of the professional development, and program evaluation. Local education agencies interested in partnering with us can contact MCPER by email.

For more information, visit the Texas Education Agency website.  

News from January 2020

MCPER project on anxiety and struggling readers to be featured at Dyslexia Foundation conference
January 9, 2020

MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn and Boston University's Amie Grills will present next month at a national conference of The Dyslexia Foundation at UCLA.

Their presentation, "Classroom Strategies to Address Anxiety in Children Who Struggle With Reading," will explore the MCPER project Improving Reading and Reducing Reading Anxiety Among Students With Reading Difficulties. Along with MCPER Associate Director Greg Roberts, Vaughn and Grills are co-principal investigators of the project, the first and only initiative with 2 years of data on anxiety and struggling readers. 

The theme of this year's conference, to be held on February 14, is "Dyslexia and Literacy: Understanding Anxiety and the Struggling Reader." According to The Dyslexia Foundation, the conference is designed to help "teachers, practitioners, and parents ... learn to identify, understand, and provide evidence-based instruction for struggling readers who have anxiety. The focus of these discussions will be for school-age students." For more information and to register, visit the website of The Dyslexia Foundation.

News from December 2019

Sharon Vaughn to present at international conference in Paris
December 11, 2019

MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn will be featured at the third International Conference of the French National Education Scientific Council next month in Paris, France.

Vaughn will present "Promoting Access to Learning for Children With Disabilities" at the event, held on January 9 at the Collège de France. For more information, read the conference program, which is provided in both French and English.

News from November 2019

New funding extends National Center for Leadership in Intensive Intervention for another 5 years
November 6, 2019

A $6.4 million, 5-year grant will support the training of a new cohort of 28 doctoral students as part of the National Center for Leadership in Intensive Intervention (NCLII).

MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn and Principal Investigator Sarah Powell will serve on the Leadership Committee as representatives of The University of Texas at Austin, one of seven partner universities. The other universities taking part are Vanderbilt University, University of Connecticut, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Minnesota, University of Georgia, and Michigan State University.

The goal of the project is to "produce a cohort of scholars capable of preparing generations of special education personnel to meet the needs of students with comorbid and complex learning and behavior difficulties and to conduct the highest level of research on this topic," according to an NCLII announcement. Also, the project will "host summer workshops to provide additional, focused training in key topics related to leadership development in intensive intervention. The consortium also provides interested scholars with connections to internships with national centers supported by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs."

Vaughn to chair expert panel developing practice guide targeting grades 4–9 struggling readers
November 6, 2019

MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn will lead the expert panel developing a new installment of the popular and influential Institute of Education Sciences What Works Clearinghouse practice guide series.

Vaughn and other nationally renowned experts will pool their knowledge to create a new guide on evidence-based practices for assisting struggling readers in grades 4–9. The panel will include practice, content, and methodological experts who evaluate research and develop specific recommendations. According to the Institute of Education Sciences, the practice guides present "practical, evidence-based recommendations to teachers and administrators about how to address current challenges in education ... For each recommendation, information is provided about how to carry out the recommendation, possible implementation roadblocks, and the strength of the research evidence that supports the recommendation."

The current initiative to revise existing practice guides and develop new guides is led by Principal Investigator Russell Gersten and Project Director Madhavi Jayanthi of Instructional Research Group.

For more information and to download existing practice guides, visit the What Works Clearinghouse website.

News from October 2019

MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn appointed to statewide Reading Advisory Committee
October 18, 2019

MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn has been selected to serve on the newly formed statewide Reading Advisory Committee. 

The committee is one of five established through Texas House Bills 3 and 3906. The other commitees are Special Education, Compensatory Education, Financial Aid, and Assessment. The experts on the Reading Committee will advise the Texas Education Agency on its plans to support reading education. 

In addition to Vaughn, Jack Fletcher—director of the Texas Center for Learning Disabilities, which is jointly based at MCPER and the University of Houston—was selected to serve on the committee. For more information and a list of the other committee members, read the Texas Education Agency announcement

New project will target improvements in kindergartners’ math, music, and computational thinking
October 3, 2019

MCPER's Sarah Powell will join a team of partners to help lead a new project that will combine math, music, and computational thinking instruction for kindergarten students. 

Powell will serve as co-principal investigator on the project, titled Young Academic Music and Computational Thinking for Kindergarten. In Texas, the project will partner with rural school districts to pilot the program in kindergarten classrooms and to learn what works and what is challenging for teachers with little training in music and technology. The 5-year, $1.5 million grant is funded by the Office of Innovation and Improvement in the U.S. Department of Education.

Sue Courey of the Touro College Graduate School of Education will lead the project. Partners include Daniel's Music Foundation, the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, and WestEd.

News from September 2019

Seats still available for second round of reading instruction workshops
September 27, 2019

MCPER and Humanities Texas are set to begin the second round of their popular workshops on best practices in reading instruction for fourth- through sixth-grade educators.

Each workshop will include three 1-day sessions; teachers are expected to attend all three sessions. The Austin workshop series will be held on October 23, December 4, and January 29 at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. In San Antonio, the workshops will be held on October 24, December 5, and January 30 at Trinity University. The workshops will feature interactive sessions on word study and recognition, vocabulary, and reading comprehension with an emphasis on social studies texts. Each workshop will build on the previous session and align with the reading and comprehension Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. Presenters will include MCPER Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Schnakenberg and longtime MCPER collaborators Diane Haager and Alejandra Rodriguez Mielke. 

Humanities Texas will provide funds to cover substitute teachers and the cost of travel, in accordance with Texas reimbursement rates. Participating teachers also will receive CPE credit and curricular materials.

For more information, including how to register, visit the Humanities Texas website

Christine Espin to be featured in College of Education’s EdTalks series
September 24, 2019

October's installment of the College of Education's EdTalks series will feature an assessment expert from the Netherlands.

Christine Espin of Leiden University will present "Use of Curriculum-Based Measurement Data for Educational Decision Making" from 10 to 11 a.m. on October 31 in Room 352 of the Sanchez Building. In the abstract for the presentation, Espin writes that she will explore "a data-based system designed to closely monitor the progress of students with learning difficulties: curriculum-based measurement (CBM). In the presentation, research focused on teachers’ ability to understand and interpret CBM progress monitoring data will be described, and potential factors contributing to teachers’ ability to understand and interpret the data will be discussed. In addition, methods for improving teachers’ ability to understand, interpret, and use CBM data for decision making will be discussed."

Espin is a professor of learning problems and specialized interventions in education. She has published more than 60 articles and 17 book chapters related to CBM and teachers’ use of student assessment data.

MCPER's Jessica Toste applied for and received funding from the UT Austin Academic Enrichment Fund to bring Espin to campus for the guest lecture.

Dr. Vaughn to give Norman Geschwind Memorial Lecture
September 24, 2019

MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn is scheduled to give the Norman Geschwind Memorial Lecture at the annual International Dyslexia Association conference in November.

The conference will take place November 7–10 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. Dr. Vaughn’s lecture, titled “Teaching Literacy Effectively is Life Changing,” is scheduled for Saturday at 8 a.m.

In her lecture, Dr. Vaughn will identify essential features of instruction and go over ways to integrate those features into interventions and general education instruction.

The conference is open for registration.

Learn more about the program.