The Institute for Innovation in Education (IIE) takes an interdisciplinary approach in its pursuit of conducting educational and translational research and administering research-informed professional development initiatives with the goal of improving teaching and learning in Washington, DC, and beyond. Projects support and engage educators as they affirm, benefit, respect, and value traditionally underrepresented student groups (including students who experience racialized marginalization and students with disabilities). Researchers partner with practitioners to study educational policies and interventions using a wide-ranging set of methodological and analytical approaches. It is our belief that the complex contexts of learners, schools, and communities call for cross-disciplinary research by investigators from varied backgrounds with a scientific understanding of the processes, policies, and practices in education. Current initiatives include partnerships in early literacy intervention, teacher profesional learning, STEM teacher preparation and retention, teacher wellness, and inclusive education.
Early Literacy Intervention Leaders Program
The Early Literacy Intervention Leaders Program (ELI Leads) program provides funding for eight doctoral candidates in the School of Education's EdD in Education Policy and Leadership. In partnership with DC Public Schools, the project team will support ELI Leads scholars as they work to improve early reading outcomes for DC students. The scholars will gain the practical skills and leadership competencies necessary to prevent and remediate reading difficulties. Beyond coursework, the program includes three residencies, an internship in DC Public Schools, and a problem of practice dissertation focused on a real-world challenge in early literacy and special education. For more information, please visit the ELI Leads webpage.
The IIE’s work in special education teaching and learning focuses on the study of teachers’ interaction with learners and how they integrate evidence-based practices into the classroom. For the past three years, the IIE faculty and staff have partnered with the D.C. Office of the Superintendent of Education to implement the Leadership Institute in Secondary Special Education (LISSE). This intensive professional development program provides DC teachers with the resources and supports to develop leadership skills aimed at supporting the use of evidence-based practices to integrate college and career readiness, common core, and Individualized Education Program goals within the curriculum for secondary students with disabilities.
In 2019, Sarah Irvine Belson, Executive Director of the IIE, was awarded a grant from the US Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs to support the Early Literacy Intervention Leads Program (ELI Leads). This project will provide funding for eight doctoral candidates in the School of Education's EdD in Education Policy and Leadership. In partnership with DC Public Schools, the project team will support ELI Leads scholars as they work to improve early reading outcomes for DC students. Please visit the ELI Leads webpage for more information. Applications are due on May 10, 2020.
Healthy Schoolhouse 2.0
In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute for Food and Agriculture, and Agriculture and Food Research Inititative, the project evaluates teachers' personal health beahviors, beliefs, and self-efficacy, as well as students' levels of health literacy and nutrition knowledge, consumption of fruits and vegetables, and participation on school breakfast programs. Read more about program findings in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.
Aimed toward increasing the number of highly qualified math and science teachers in high-need D.C. schools, this program focuses on quality instruction, student achievement, inquiry, and assessments for instructional decision-making. Read more about the Lab2Class grant through the National Science Foundation's Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program.
Program directors and administrators of community-based heritage language schools, members of language communities involved in these schools, and directors and leaders from public/private/charter schools gather for an annual conference hosted by the Institute for Innovation in Education at American University to learn about heritage language work from national and international practitioners. To learn more, visit the Coalition of Community-Based Heritage Language Schools, as well as National Heritage Language Resource Center.
Heritage Language Schools Conference
Join us this October for the 10th Annual Community-Based Heritage Language Schools Conference! This year's theme is Reflecting on the Past and Moving into the Future. This two-day hybrid conference brings together administrators, teachers, and students of heritage language schoolsto explore the latest ideas and best practices in teaching and preserving Heritage languages.
Whether you're looking to enhance your teaching skills, explore new approaches to language instruction, or deepen your understanding of the importance of heritage language education, this conference has something for you.
Introducing the 2020 Early Literacy Intervention Leaders Program (ELI Leads) Scholarship Recipients
- Shareen Cruz, Manager of Elementary ELA, Curriculum and Professional Development, DC Public Schools
- Kenneth Jebra' Neat, Jr., Early Childhood Teacher / Teacher Leader DC Public Schools
- Rebecca 'Becky' Nolin, Teacher Leadership Innovation (TLI) Teacher Leader, DC Public Schools
- Jasmine Rogers, Special Education Teacher-Resource Inclusion Teacher (K-5, DC Public Schools
Dr. Sarah Irvine Belson Contributes to Family, School, and Community Partnerships for Students with Disabilities
- Dr. Sarah Irvine Belson is a contributing author with Anastasia Snelling and Jessica Young in Family, School, and Community Partnerships for Students with Disabilities (2019). Their chapter, "A Community-Based Approach to to Providing Health and Education Supports for Students with Disabilities in Affordable Housing," explores the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) framework as a model for improving health and education outcomes for students with disabilities (SWD).