Faculty in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development have attracted external funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the Collins Foundation and other sponsors for innovative research and training projects that will have a real-world impact on education locally and nationally.
The Simmons School's Institute for Reading Research (IRR) has received more than $9 million in grants and contracts since it was established in 2003. Current projects of the IRR include:
- Project Scale-Up, a five-year study funded by a $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Patricia Mathes, Texas Instruments Endowed Professor of Reading and IRR director, is principal investigator for the project, which is a collaboration with UT-Austin's Center for Reading and Language Arts, focusing on research-validated first-grade reading interventions in multiple schools.
- Project Maximize, directed by Dr. Mathes and co-directed by Dr. Jill Allor, associate professor in education, and Ian Harris, associate professor of statistical science, was funded by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. It is a five-year project to develop a reading curriculum for children with mild to moderate retardation.
- Project ELLA (English Language Acquisition Evaluation Research), directed by Dr. Mathes in collaboration with Texas A&M Research Foundation, is a five-year study funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Science to evaluate alternative instructional models for primary grade students whose first language is Spanish.
- Project CMERS (Continuous Progress Monitoring of Early Reading Skills), directed by Dr. Mathes, is a two-year project to develop and evaluate the technical adequacy of an early reading assessment system.
- Project CMARS (Continuous Monitoring of Advanced Reading Skills for Grades 4 -8), directed by Dr. Mathes and co-directed by Dr. Gale Roid, professor in education, assesses student performance in key areas of reading. The grant is funded by the Collins Foundation.
Other examples of the Simmons School's current sponsored projects include:
- LASER II (Learn and Achieve in Science Education and Research), directed by Associate Dean Kathy Hargrove, is a project funded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to provide middle school science teachers from high poverty districts with increased knowledge and skills to ensure student successes.
- A grant from Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) to Dr. Hector Rivera, assistant professor of education, to address needs of at-risk newcomer adolescents with limited English proficiency through programs in professional development and certification in English as a Second Language for math and science teachers in middle and high schools.
- A grant from OELA to Dr. Paige Ware, assistant professor of education, for Project Connect, a collaborative effort with the Irving and Grand Prairie Independent School Districts to create a professional development model for training teachers to improve the quality of education for students with limited English proficiency. Dr. Ware also has been awarded the prestigious National Academy of Education’s Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship.
- Two grants from the U.S. Department of Education totaling $643,405 to Ne’Shaun Jones, director of Upward Bound, to prepare 130 secondary students for college.
- Project Read Aloud, directed by Dean David Chard, in collaboration with Pacific Institutes for Research in Eugene, Oregon, is funded by a four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to study the efficacy of a program designed to enhance reading comprehension for first graders.
- Early Learning in Mathematics, also directed by Dean Chard, in collaboration with the University of Oregon, is funded by a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to develop a kindergarten curriculum designed to prevent early mathematics difficulties.
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