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Selected Funded Projects

Project TOP-SET *ALP: Transition of Paraprofessionals to Special Education Teachers through Alternative Licensure Program (2007–2013)
Teacher PREP: Teacher Preparation, Retention and Empowerment Project (2009–2015)
Ritu Chopra, PI

Funding: U.S. Department of Education, Transition to Teaching Program
$4,086,660 combined for two projects

Project TOP-SET *ALP and Teacher PREP are statewide initiatives led by the Paraprofessional Resource and Research Center (PAR2A) in partnership with the Colorado Department of Education, state-designated alternative licensure agencies and high-poverty school districts. These projects provide a seamless transition for paraprofessionals, recent college graduates, midcareer professionals and unlicensed teachers to teaching positions in high-need schools through alternative licensure programs. Approximately 300 participants from many diverse backgrounds receive benefits from these grants each year, including much needed advising, tuition assistance, mentoring and successful induction into the teaching profession.

ECTA Center: Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (2013–2017)
Barbara Smith, Co-PI; Phil Strain, Technical Assistance Team

Funding: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (subcontract from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
$1,675,767 over five years

Our Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI) is collaborating with UNC at Chapel Hill and other technical assistance teams throughout the nation on the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center initiative. This project aims to improve states’ early intervention and early childhood special education service systems, increase the implementation of effective practices, and enhance the outcomes of these programs for young children and their families, including children who need support with social emotional competence.

ITEST Scale-Up: CompuGirls Scale-Up (2012–2017)
Girls’ Cultural-Gendered Identities and Perceptions as Future Technologists: A Mixed-Method Research Project (2012–2013)
Shelley Zion, Co-PI

Funding: National Science Foundation, Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers Program
$737,602 combined for two projects

CompuGirls is a culturally relevant technology program for adolescent girls from under-resourced school districts in Colorado and the greater Phoenix area. CU Denver partners with Arizona State University to provide fun summer, after-school and yearlong programs in which participants learn to solve social problems using the latest technologies in digital media, game development and virtual worlds. So far, about half of the girls served are Latina and the other half are black. The peer mentoring approach of CompuGirls creates connections that support lifelong skill development in an empowering and creative environment. Program objectives include using multimedia activities as a means of encouraging computational thinking, enhancing girls’ techno-social analytical skills using culturally relevant practices, and providing girls with a dynamic, enjoyable learning environment that nurtures the development of a positive self-concept.

Pyramid Plus (2012–2015)
Barbara Smith and Phil Strain, co-PIs

Funding: The Colorado Health Foundation

Pyramid Plus, the Colorado Center for Social Emotional Competence and Inclusion at the University of Colorado Denver, expanded its statewide reach thanks to an $811,810 grant from The Colorado Health Foundation. The foundation provided funding to increase the number of children served as well as support early childhood education training efforts. Pyramid Plus promotes positive social-emotional development of all children from infancy to age five. The program supports and recommends inclusion of children with disabilities in all early childhood settings.

eCALLMS (e-Learning Communities for Academic Language Learning in Math and Science) (2011–2016)
Kara Mitchell Viesca, PI

Funding: U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition National Professional Development program
$1.9 million

Thanks to a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition and its National Professional Development program, the School of Education & Human Development’s Urban Community Teacher Education program will improve the way it prepares teachers to work effectively with multilingual learners through innovative uses of collaborative learning and online professional development modules. The goal is to improve academic achievement for multilingual learners in urban K–12 schools, especially in the areas of math and science.

The program will assist pre-service teachers (teachers in training) and experienced teachers working in CU Denver’s professional development schools network. Pre-service initiatives focus on collaborative action research aiming to solve local issues around the effective instruction of multilingual learners. The project also strives to align curricula across licensure programs and internships. Initiatives for experienced teachers will focus on creating online communities for professional development where participants will receive instructional support.

Teacher PREP: Teacher Preparation, Retention and Empowerment Project (2009–2014)
Ritu Chopra, PI

Funding: U.S. Department of Education, Transition to Teaching Program
$2,531,262 over five years

This statewide initiative is led by the Paraprofessional Resource and Research Center (PAR2A) at CU Denver in partnership with the Colorado Department of Education, several high-need schools and local educational agencies and the Teacher Institute at La Academia. It prepares a total of 150 teachers over five years. Overall goals of the project are (1) to transition paraprofessionals, recent college graduates and midcareer professionals to teaching positions in high-need schools and high-need subjects through an alternative licensure program; (2) to provide support and services that empower the candidates to remain in teaching positions and effectively address the academic and social needs of K–12 students in high-need schools.

Developing and Evaluating Measures of Formative Assessment Practices (2010–2014)
Maria Araceli Ruiz-Primo, PI; Deanna J. Sands, Co-PI

Funding: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences
$1,438,082 over four years

This project investigates formative assessment practices that occur in elementary and middle-level science classrooms. Specifically, it focuses on the development and technical evaluation of instruments to measure the quality of formative assessment practices in situ. The project is guided by the following measurement questions: (1) What critical attributes define high-quality teachers’ formative assessment practices within middle-level science classrooms?; (2) What measures can provide valid and reliable information about high-quality teachers’ formative assessment practices?; (3) Which of these measures are more cost effective and user friendly for different users? The project team will develop benchmark instruments and surrogate instruments, which will be important to both researchers and practitioners.

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