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.


Currently, MEP has two grant funded projects with more in the works.

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 2 years 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, Julianne Snyder, Jill Hoiting, and Kathryn Boonstra

Spencer Foundation - MEP Collaborating around the Transition to Kindergarten

The Madison Education Partnership seeks to support teachers, children and families in the transition to kindergarten through two related research projects. In the first, we are examining school practices to plan for the 4K-5K transition. Through document review and interviews, we will better understand how school staff design structures to facilitate smooth transitions, and identify areas where schools can build on current success and address gaps. In the second study, we are implementing teacher home visits in the summer before children enter elementary school. Working with a team of experienced 4K and 5K teachers, we will co-design two home visits intended to help teachers learn about the strengths children and families bring to 5K. We hope that these visits will help teachers appreciate the experiences, interests and strengths children bring to kindergarten and help families feel more comfortable collaborating with teachers to help children enjoy a happy, engaged and successful first year of school.

PI: Eric Grodsky

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

Staffers: Amanda Kruger, Lauren Lauter, and Moonjoo Woo

Find us also on Facebook and Twitter at


IES, Spencer Foundation

Project Website


Active through March 31, 2020

Contact Information

Amanda Kruger
Phone: (608) 265-5366