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News Release

Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
3003 N. Charles Street, Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-3843
Phone: (410) 516-7160 | Fax (410) 516-5251

July 26, 2002
CONTACT: Amy Cowles
(410) 516-7800

Back to School Experts at Johns Hopkins

Throughout The Johns Hopkins University are researchers working to improve K-12 education. To arrange interviews with any of these researchers, contact Amy Cowles in the Office of News and Information at (410) 516-7160, or at amycowles@jhu.edu.

Early learning:

Barbara Wasik is a principal research scientist at the Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk (CRESPAR). She is a leading researcher on early childhood language and literacy and early academic interventions, such as tutoring. She has developed a preschool program that focuses on the development of early literacy skills in a developmentally appropriate setting. She is the co-author of Kindergarten, Fours and Fives Go To School, which offers practical applications that kindergarten teachers can use in their classrooms. The book also aims to help teachers understand the developmental differences between children ages 4 and 5. Wasik is familiar with the ramifications of Maryland's proposal to change the eligibility age for kindergarten.

Whole school reform: How should we reorganize failing schools?

Elementary: Robert Slavin is the creator of Success For All and Roots & Wings, research-based elementary school reform programs implemented in more than 1,800 schools nationwide. He is also the co-director of CRESPAR at Johns Hopkins and Howard universities. Success for All Foundation has introduced Curiosity Corner, a pre-school program designed to foster language, social, physical, and emotional development in 3- and 4-year-olds. The Wall Street Journal said Slavin "may well become the most influential figure in reading since William McGuffey, whose eponymous Reader was the standard primer in the 19th century."

Middle school: Douglas MacIver, director of the middle school program at the Center for the Social Organization of Schools (CSOS) and CRESPAR, is creator of the Talent Development Middle Schools, a reform that is being implemented in schools in low-income urban areas, particularly in Philadelphia. The whole-school reform model includes a safe, nurturing atmosphere in which to teach and learn; a demanding, research-based curriculum for all students; new approaches to providing extra help for students who need it; monthly professional development; and the creation of school-community partnerships.

High school: James McPartland, director of CSOS, and his team of researchers have restructured several large, urban high schools in Baltimore and Philadelphia and are working in schools throughout the United States. The Talent Development High Schools program includes restructuring the physical make-up of a school to house several small, self-contained academies, instituting a challenging curriculum for all students and stressing professional development. Hallmarks of these schools are block scheduling, a separate ninth-grade academy, and a twilight school for students with serious academic and personal problems. This reform model is the focus of a new book by Hopkins researchers, Comprehensive Reform for Urban High Schools, which details the successful model's beginnings in two Baltimore high schools. Principal author Nettie Legters is available for interviews.

When and why do school reforms work? CSOS principal researcher and program director Sam Stringfield has tracked the progress and failure of many of the most prominent school reform programs. He recently co-edited Educating At-Risk Students, published this year by the National Society for the Study of Education. As a co-author of World Class Schools, International Perspectives on School Effectiveness (Taylor & Francis Group, 2002), he has also looked at how successful schools vary in seven countries. Stringfield also puts his theories into practice in Baltimore, where he is serving his second term on the city school board.

Title 1: Many of the whole-school reforms are implemented across the country with money provided through Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary School Act. The largest single educational entitlement program in the country, Title 1 is funded at more than $10 billion for poor schools and districts in fiscal 2002. CRESPAR researchers Robert Slavin and Sam Stringfield have written extensively on the role of Title 1 in improving the education of at-risk students. They are the co-editors of a new volume on Title 1.

Lessons of History

Middle-school curriculum writers at CSOS design lessons to accompany The History of US, a 10-book non-traditional series on American history by Joy Hakim. The curriculum specialists have linked literacy to the study of history by building in strategic reading techniques and strategies to help middle-school students who have difficulty with reading comprehension. The curriculum also links literature and history. Contact Susan Dangel at CSOS.

A new role for vocational education?

Researcher Stephen Plank looked at the mix of academic and career and technical education (CTE) courses in comprehensive high schools and found that the risk of dropping out (among students already at relatively high risk of leaving school) is lowest at the point when students have completed an average of three CTE courses for every four courses in core academic subjects. The research suggests that there may be a mix of CTE and academic courses that has the potential to reduce a school's dropout rate.

Technology in schools:

John Castellani is an assistant professor in the Teacher Development and Leadership Department in the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education. He has worked in the area of educational technology for eight years. He teaches courses in instructional design and development, assistive technology, and telecommunications in the schools. He currently advises and teaches courses in the Technology for Educators and Special Education Technology programs. He is secretary for the Technology and Media Division of the Council for Exceptional Children. His current research interests are in the areas of universal design for learning and universal, accessibility, data mining and neural networks, assistive technology, multimedia development, and the use of emerging technologies for teaching, learning, and school leadership.

Girls and Math:

Carol Mills, assistant director for research at the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) can speak about girls and math.

Mexican immigrant and non-immigrant children: Why are they trailing academically?

Sociologist Lingxin Hao explains.

Should we do away with bilingual education?

Toks Fashola, a CSOS research scientist, says no. Also, two new CRESPAR reports look at how a child's ability to read, write and speak his native language affects how well he learns English. "Transitional Programs for English Language Learners, Contextual Factors and Effective Programming" is available online at www.csos.jhu.edu (CRESPAR report No. 58). "English as a Second Language Instruction: Best Practices to Support the Development of Literacy for English Language Learners" will be published later this fall. Both are by CRESPAR consultant Diane August of August and Associates.

Do after-school programs help at-risk kids?

Toks Fashola studied the effects on academic achievement of 34 after-school programs in the country and published her findings in "Building Effective After-school Programs." She continues to test Success For All strategies in after-school programs in Baltimore schools.

Family involvement and homework: How can schools organize more effective programs for involving families and communities in children's education and improving the way parents and students interact about homework?

Joyce Epstein, director of the Center for School, Family and Community Partnerships and principal research scientist at CSOS, studies how such partnerships influence student success. She also studies homework questions, such as when homework is and isn't effective. She created the National Network of Partnership Schools, which guides more than 1,500 schools, 150 school districts and many states in planning and implementing programs that link family and community involvement to student success. Included are new ways for teachers to design and assign homework to get more parents involved positively in their children's academic achievement. For more information on this work, visit the partnership Web site at www.partnershipschools.org.

Summer slide: Would year-round school be better?

In one of the longest-running education studies in the country, sociologist Karl Alexander has tracked the achievement of 790 Baltimore City students. Collected over the course of 17 years, his data confirms what he calls the "summer slide" or the rate at which during the summer months urban poor kids fall behind academically while more affluent kids make academic gains. His studies have often been cited by policy makers who make a case for year-round schooling, summer school and quality summer camp programs for low-income kids beginning as early as first grade.

School Violence: What can teachers and school counselors do to prevent tragedies like Columbine High?

Counselor and researcher Fred Hanna has developed a list of characteristics of a teen who may represent a danger to others. Another list looks at warning signs of a youth likely to become involved in a crime. Hanna has published several articles that offer strategies for counselors to reach these troubled teens. Special education researcher Michael Rosenberg is the director of "Prevent, Act, Resolve," or PAR a highly successful behavioral management program designed to reduce violence and discipline issues in schools. Currently, there are PAR schools in Washington, D.C., and throughout Maryland.

The Effects of School Boards:

Deborah Land, a Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow at CSOS, has written an extensive review of the effects school boards have on student outcomes. Sam Stringfield has studied educational organization effectiveness longitudinally. Land's report is available online at www.csos.jhu.edu. Click on CRESPAR. Click on CR technical report No. 56.

Academically gifted children: How do we help the smart kids?

Carol Mills and her colleagues at CTY study how to identify gifted kids and keep them academically engaged.

Ability grouping:

Carol Mills and her colleagues at CTY research the effects of different grouping models on high-ability students. Her research study, "Recommendations for Gifted and Talented Education in Maryland," is available online at www.jhu.edu/gifted/research/research.html.


Mary Ellen Lewis is the director of the Center for Reading Excellence and assistant professor in the Teacher Development and Leadership Program at the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education. Her areas of special interest include the acquisition of reading skills and the classroom applications of reading research. Her current projects include working with the Middle School Reading Assistance Program; early intervention with a phonologically based reading curriculum; teacher education for comprehensive reading instruction; and thematic curriculum and reading instruction.

Special Education:

Gloria Lane is the chair of the Special Education Department at the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education. She specializes in helping teachers work with students who have multiple disabilities, including mental retardation, behavior disorders, cerebral palsy, and autism, as well as visual and hearing impairments. Lane's interests also include transition planning for students with disabilities; research in the area of effective instructional practices for students with special learning needs; and securing federal grants to train special education teachers. She also coordinates statewide workshops for parents in the development of an Individual Education Plan for their children.

Janeen Taylor is an assistant professor at the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education. She specializes in early intervention and preschool special education for young children with disabilities. Taylor is the chair of the Howard County [Md.] Infants and Toddlers Program Interagency Coordinating Council and is a principal investigator for the Department of Special Education's State Improvement Grant partnership with the Division of Special Education/Early Intervention. Her research interests include the families of young children with disabilities and the evaluation and assessment of young children with disabilities.

Teaching children with disabilities: Is there a crisis in special education?

With a nationwide shortage of trained special education teachers, urban poor kids with learning problems are getting the short end of the stick. Michael Rosenberg can field questions about children with mild to moderate disabilities. Larry Larsen can field questions about children with severe disabilities.

Teacher Education Reform: Are America's teachers adequately trained? Should there be national standards for teaching degrees?

Ralph Fessler, dean of the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education, believes reforms are needed in teacher education. Fessler led the 1993-1994 redesign of teacher education in Maryland and remains involved in its implementation. His areas of special interest include alternative approaches to teacher education and integrating K-12 and teacher education curricula. Fessler is currently involved in Professional Development School partnerships in Howard County, Baltimore City, and Baltimore County schools. His research pursuits include teacher career stages, assessing the impact of professional development schools on both aspiring and experienced teachers, problem-based learning in teacher education curriculum, the Aspiring Leaders program in Baltimore City Public Schools, and integrating problem-based learning into teacher education curriculum.

Teacher shortage:

Rochelle Ingram is an associate professor, an associate dean and director of the Graduate Division of Education in the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education. Her specialities include innovative teacher preparation, continuing teacher education, cultural diversity and mentorship. Ingram's current projects include a summer institute for principals; the Aspiring Leaders Partnership Programs with the local school systems in the city of Baltimore as well as Anne Arundel and Montgomery counties; and developing alternative programs for preparing teachers. She also mentors novice teachers and principals.

Teacher certification:

Rochelle Ingram is an associate professor, an associate dean and director of the Graduate Division of Education for the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education. Her specialities include innovative teacher preparation, continuing teacher education, cultural diversity and mentorship. She also mentors novice teachers and principals.

Professional Development Schools:

Lenore Cohen is the coordinator of the Teacher Preparation Department in the School of Professional Studies in Business and Education. Her research studies the impact of professional development schools on school reform and teacher education restructuring.

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