Madison Education Partnership (MEP)

Our mission is to collaboratively engage in supporting high-quality, problem-based research, contribute to policy discussions based on MEP generated research, and regularly disseminate findings to the research community, MMSD, and the public in order to improve the experiences and individual outcomes for all MMSD students.

The MEP partnership engages UW Madison researchers and faculty; MMSD administration, teachers and staff; as well as stakeholders from the broader Madison community to support the development and use of high-quality, relevant, and timely research. Since 2016, MEP has funded 15 projects from UW faculty and research staff for award amounts between 10,000 to 50,000.


MEP has two ongoing grant funded projects.

IES - Enhancing the Quality of Instruction of Four-Year-Old Kindergarten

This study will serve as the basis for developing new professional development in collaboration with teachers in MMSD, community sites, Headstart, and researchers at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research.

Over the course of the study, the partners will:

1) assess the quality of instruction and instructional environments in 20 4K classrooms serving children in MMSD using classroom observations;

2) gain an understanding of teachers' professional development experiences and perceived needs through focus groups;

3) outline the opportunities for instructional improvement in MMSD 4K classrooms by producing a report that combines data from the first two study components;

4) design a program of professional development to address the needs that emerge through collaboration with teachers; and

5) pilot the professional development program in the district.

PI: Eric Grodsky

Co-PIs: Beth Vaade (MMSD), Culleen Witthuhn (MMSD), Katie Eklund, Katherine Magnusson, Beth Graue

Staffers: Amanda Kruger, Rosie Miesner


What makes a Classroom a Community?

Research Team: Eric Grodsky, Patti Schaefer (MMSD), Jake Wertz, Beth Vaade, and Katie Eklund

MEP was awarded a $200,000 grant from the Student Experience Research Network (SERN) will use survey data from students and teachers, classroom observations, and interviews to determine what teacher mindsets, behaviors, and instructional environments are associated with a stronger sense of belonging and mathematics identity, particularly for black and Latinx students. Grodsky introduced the project at the MSN Fall 2019 Convening in October. The project runs from September 1, 2019 to September 15, 2021.


IES, Student Experience Research Network

Project Website


Completed on March 31, 2021

Contact Information

Amanda Kruger
Phone: (608) 265-5366