Research-based program development
Use research tools to determine points of leverage for the development of successful programs and to identify the key components of programs that successfully serve academic, social, affective, & cognitive development needs. The Center will pursue funding for the development, sustainability, and growth of programs particularly those that are developed in collaboration with other non-profit and for-profit organizations.
Research for community building or capacity building
Collaborate and partner with other non-profit or for-profit community organizations to develop programs that address the social needs of ethnically diverse communities. Such programs might include health literacy programs, school-parental involvement programs, educational pipeline programs to guide minority students into a science path, English as a Second Language (ESL) programs for adult learners.
Mutidisciplinary effort that places the child in a multilevel system of influence
Effect the improved academic achievement of children in underserved populations through support efforts in associated social settings. For example, community-building programs that help parents learn technology or English might help them obtain better jobs, which might in turn benefit their children. In this context, "child development" comprises not only what the child experiences in the school setting but what the child directly and indirectly experiences across social systems (ref.: Bronfenbrenners developmental/ecological model).
The development of the whole child
One of the goals of the Center is to foster language and cultural diversity. Children gather cues from the social environment that help them define who they are (e.g., identity formation & self-esteem). However, this definition process could be positive or negative depending on what they gather from the environment. For Hispanic, Native American, and Hawaiian children, academic programs that foster their language and culture are critical not only for their individual academic development but for the development of the communities to which they belong.
Assistance to other non-profits in the development of community building programs
Many non-profit and for-profit organizations are already providing services to ethnically diverse communities. Their programming efforts would benefit, however, from the research-based knowledge on "best practices" that the Center can share. The need for a research-based center to assist and guide these institutions is present and growing.
Assisting U.S. and International communities in guiding the development of their children
Many of the community-based service programs for children in the U.S. concern school-reform or language-revitalization programs in Native American Communities. Internationally, this type of assistance would extend to ethnic communities, such as the Inuit in Greenland, that struggle with school reform in a post-colonial era. In the case of the Greenland Inuit, the legacy of colonization has been social problems including suicide, alcoholism, depression, and poverty. Were the Center to assist the Inuit, it would apply an interdisciplinary multi-level approach to assistance. The needs of "communities of practice," such as school districts, are also addressed.
The Center also serves to assist SMUs undergraduate and graduate population become leaders as teachers, researchers, and/or future directors of non-profits and for-profit organizations.
In an effort to address the needs of SMU students, a Minor in Community Development that will attract students from a diverse fields will be developed. The minor will include courses that address topics such as the mechanics of starting non-profit or for-profit organizations and the process of building programs on the foundational theories of Community Psychology and Education. Such efforts will involve students in research practicum in diverse communities and in opportunities that maximize their learning experiences at SMU. These activities represent the starting point of a focused effort by the Center to better prepare our students (graduates and undergraduates) to become productive adults who are able to effect positive changes across diverse communities.
current efforts to meet identified needs
Teacher Professional Development at SMU addresses identified needs. This involves the certification of teachers (K-6) in Bilingual Education. For the past five years the directors of bilingual/ESL programs from the following districts have met twice yearly with SMU faculty and staff: Carrollton/Farmers Branch ISD, Garland ISD, Grand Prairie ISD, Irving ISD, Plano ISD, and Richardson ISD for the purpose of planning and coordinating current and future activities.
The Center also provides ESL Supplemental Certification of math and science teachers who serve adolescent newcomers in middle schools and high schools.
Upcoming research efforts
The Center will formally study the resilience of "newcomers" in a school context; results will inform future programmatic efforts across school districts and provide support for further funding from federal sources.
The Center will formally study the bilingual education of Native American children, which is an area of genuine need and one for which funding can be secured through partnership with Native American communities. Two collaborative projects are being pursued one with the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma that involves the development of a bilingual/language revitalization program, the other with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in New Mexico that concerns school-reform issues in the Pueblo Indian community.
collaboration within smu and with other non-profit and for-profit organizations
Current efforts and activities
The Meadows School of Arts will provide funding and funding sources for the development of Centers for Child and Community Development in North Texas.
The Center will collaborate with SMU's TRIO program in order to enhance its impact and expand its services.
Collaborating with the Dallas Independent School District Intake Center to provide more and better services to students newly arrived from other countries. For example, data from the Intake center indicate that 30% of their students (Newcomers) are homeless. The Center hopes to fine-tune the system that serves to connect these students with shelter and housing-assistance organizations.
Assistance to communities through a research-based approach
The Center will collaborate with the Institute for Artic Education in Greenland in the design of classroom and community studies that address school reform .
The Center will continue to administer the Dual Language Program in Guatemala. This international research-based project represents a joint effort between Guatemalan educators and SMU faculty members to develop curricula and conduct a research and efficacy study.
The Center is partnering with Region 10 (Texas) to secure funding for research whose results will ultimately inform professional-development programs for middle-school teachers who work with English Language Learners (ELL). Region 10 serves more than 80 districts in north central Texas.
The Center will collaborate with the Mexican Institute of Greater Houston to enhance Houston's Community Learning Centers that provide technology training to low-income Hispanic parents.
The Center will collaborate with the Dallas Independent School District on the professional development of their current and future teachers. Such will involve a contract agreement with DISD that allows SMU to provide certification in bilingual education and ESL to their teaching force.