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PEER Awarded Research-Practice Partnership Grant to Focus on Dual Language Learners

November 16, 2016
by Joanna Meyer

PEER is excited to announce that the Spencer Foundation has awarded a grant to Yale School of Medicine in collaboration with Cooperative Educational Services (C.E.S.) to fund PEER’s three-year project focused on partnering to support early childhood dual language learners (DLLs). PEER members identified this topic as a priority when they collaboratively developed the partnership’s long-term research agenda, and the management team is thrilled that PEER has received funding to support this work. Michael J. Strambler, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, will serve as the Principal Investigator on this grant and George A. Coleman, Educational Consultant, Cooperative Educational Services (C.E.S.) will serve as the Co-Principal Investigator. As co-director of of PEER, Clare W. Irwin, Ph.D., Research Associate, Education Development Center (EDC) will serve as a consultant on this project.

PEER’s proposal to the Spencer Foundation includes four focus areas:

  1. Producing readily-accessible practice and policy briefs that summarize research on promising practices for assessing and instructing DLLs, as well as engaging the families of DLLs;
  2. Building data capacity to improve understanding of the DLL population and existing DLL policy and supports within preschool and kindergarten settings in PEER communities;
  3. Studying the link between DLL preschool and kindergarten policies/supports and child/family outcomes (e.g. child attendance, parent satisfaction and family engagement); and
  4. Collaborating with practitioners to translate the findings from PEER’s research into meaningful professional development experiences for early childhood educators.

This project will begin in December, marking the start of PEER’s work on its long-term research agenda. As this project continues over the coming months and years, PEER will continue to seek funding to support the other research areas defined in the research agenda. Because of the collaborative nature of this work, PEER member organizations should expect to receive more specifics soon about the DLL research and plans for pursuing other research aims.

PEER was created in 2014 to develop the capacity and infrastructure for researchers and practitioners to work together toward improving practices and policy that impact early learning opportunities for Connecticut children, including its growing population of DLLs. Led by co-directors Michael J. Strambler, Ph.D. and Clare W. Irwin, Ph.D., PEER is a partnership between Yale School of Medicine, Cooperative Educational Services (C.E.S.) and Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), in collaboration with the Connecticut State Department of Education, Connecticut Office of Early Childhood, and the communities of Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford. Because PEER is guided by the belief that early childhood education research should be both rigorous and relevant to local communities, collaboration with community stakeholders is key to the partnership’s success. By engaging early childhood education administrators, classroom-based practitioners, policymakers, advocates and researchers, PEER aims to facilitate research that addresses the needs and interests of diverse stakeholders across Connecticut.

Submitted by Joanna Meyer on November 18, 2016