Wisconsin sees 9,600-student increase in homeschooling

December 28, 2020   |   By Scott Girard, The Cap Times

The number of students homeschooling this year rose by more than 9,600 after two consecutive years of growth in the hundreds.

The uptick to 26,641 homeschooled students comes as no surprise amid the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has created for education, including some districts remaining entirely virtual while others are entirely in-person.

Madison School District and UW-Madison team up to tackle literacy inequality

December 15, 2020   |   By Elizabeth Beyer, Wisconsin State Journal

The Madison School District and the UW-Madison School of Education announced Monday the formation of a joint early literacy task force to analyze teaching methods for reading and make recommendations to the district to reduce achievement gaps. The goal of the task force is to use literacy as a strategy to make sure all district students receive quality grade-level instruction.

We are Listening! RERIC partners with rural Wisconsin

December 11, 2020   |   By Lynn Armitage, Wisconsin School News (Wisconsin Association of School Boards)

The Wisconsin Association of School Board’s magazine, Wisconsin School News, profiles UW-Madison’s Rural Education Research & Implementation Center, a first-of-its-kind center in Wisconsin dedicated to improving educational outcomes for rural students, families and schools through rigorous, partnership-based research. Based in the School of Education’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research, the center has identified five urgent research strands to ground its work: mental and behavioral health; teacher preparation, recruitment and retention; STEM education,; equity and diversity and research preparation and training.

WCER Improving Mentoring Relationships for Next Generation of Academic Science Leaders

December 7, 2020   |   By Karen Rivedal, WCER Communications

WCER experts Christine Pfund and Angela Byars-Winston are leading a $1.2 million program providing culturally aware mentorship education for dissertation advisers of leading PhD students in the sciences from diverse backgrounds throughout the country. Byars and Pfund also designed leadership training for the mentees, who were selected for research support as future academic science leaders by the renowned Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Maryland.

UW-Madison researcher’s instrument design fuels groundbreaking international study of teaching and learning

November 18, 2020   |   By Janet L. Kelly, WCER Communications

This week the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) announced the findings of the Global Teaching InSights: A Video Study of Teaching, which looked directly into the classrooms of 700 teachers across eight countries and economies to capture on video how each taught the same mathematics topic to their students.

Essential to the study’s success are observation systems designed by Courtney Bell, a principal investigator of the study and a UW–Madison learning sciences professor who directs the School of Education’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research. In building these systems collaboratively with global teaching experts, Bell’s team created the first standardized observational instruments used to measure the teaching and learning of the same unit of instruction across multiple countries.

Dual VETWAYS studies show social support is key to successful academic outcomes for student military

November 11, 2020   |   By Lynn Armitage

The transition from military to college life can be a socially difficult one for military service members and veterans (SSM/Vs). However, members of this unique and talented student population stand a better chance of success when they are supported by a strong network of fellow students, veteran coordinators, faculty or other higher education practitioners, according to two separate reports by the Veteran Education to Workforce Affinity and Success Study (VETWAYS).

VETWAYS is a three-year $556,000 project funded by the National Science Foundation, launched last year at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research in UW–Madison’s School of Education. The project is focused on the college-to-workforce pathways of SSM/Vs from five, four-year University of Wisconsin System institutions: Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh and Stout. In the last academic year, more than 3,000 veterans attended UW System universities.

The promise of quality digital learning for all students

October 30, 2020   |   By Lynn Armitage

When Annalee Good, an educational researcher and evaluator from UW-Madison, and her colleagues began studying the use of digital tools in classrooms a decade ago, they never imagined a global pandemic would drive the adoption of at-home online learning at warp speed.

COVID-19 has caused a dramatic, sweeping change to education. Whenever students and teachers fully return to in-person classrooms, school districts must take a critical look at the role of digital tools and decide how to move forward. Schools must be vigilant to ensure their online learning systems contribute to the equitable education and academic outcomes of all students, particularly the historically underserved.

Madison School District should improve communication between 4K, kindergarten teachers, report finds

October 29, 2020   |   By Scott Girard

Better communication between 4-year-old kindergarten teachers and their 5-year-old kindergarten counterparts in the Madison Metropolitan School District could improve student outcomes in transitioning to kindergarten, a new report found.
A Madison Education Partnership research brief released this month outlines some of the challenges facing teachers during student transitions from 4K to elementary school and offers a host of recommendations to improve.

Americans with lower education levels suffer more pain than people with more education

October 29, 2020   |   By JEFF RENAUD, Western News

Americans with university degrees or higher level of education endure substantially less pain than those who are less educated, according to an international study led by Western University. With more than half of U.S. adults reporting chronic pain, the study will help health-care professionals and policymakers better target relief, the researchers said.

“Pain affects quality of life of individuals and their families,” said Western sociology professor Anna Zajacova. “It is an incredibly important health condition that we must try to understand better. And like many other seemingly personal issues, there are powerful social forces driving pain in society. Education is one of those forces.”

Why online school works better for this Madison family

October 26, 2020   |   By Michelle Baik

The switch to virtual schooling has been a challenge for many families, but one Madison family has been doing it for years. They say virtual learning works better for them.

Ian Santin is a 12th grader at the Destinations Career Academy of Wisconsin, an online school. After attending middle school in the Madison Metropolitan School District, Ian made the switch five years ago. He said his ADHD made it hard to focus in the classroom.

Amy Santin says her son is a better student now, due to more flexibility in his five to six hours-long day. She said, “We can provide an environment that’s conducive to him. He can take movement breaks. He’s just a lot happier, and he’s actually started to enjoy learning.”

Wisconsin Partnership Program awards $6 million in community impact grants to health equity programs

October 16, 2020

The Wisconsin Partnership Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health has announced its 2020 Community Impact Grant awards for initiatives that aim to advance health equity and improve health and well-being throughout Wisconsin. Initiatives that address the health of Black men and women, prevent suicide among Wisconsin farmers and promote economic stability and restorative justice are among the six award recipients.

Cap Times Idea Fest: COVID-19 is a chance to reimagine education, panelists say

October 14, 2020   |   By Ben Farrell, Special to the Cap Times

Panelists Gloria Ladson-Billings, a retired University of Wisconsin-Madison education professor who taught for 26 years and is now the National Academy of Education president; Carlton Jenkins, the newly hired Madison Metropolitan School District superintendent, and Mary Lee McKenzie, an educator at Clark Community School in Middleton shared their insights on how the crisis can — and perhaps should — lead to a drastic reimagining of what education looks like.

AERA Virtual Awards Ceremony Saturday to Honor WCER’s Good, Cheng

September 29, 2020   |   By WCER Communications

Annalee Good and Emily Cheng will be honored in a virtual ceremony Saturday for a paper with Vanderbilt University colleagues that won one of AERA’s 2020 excellence in education research awards. The celebration is open to the public and will broadcast live on ZOOM.

Savvas Learning Company Launches Culturally Responsive Learning Initiative

September 24, 2020   |   By Savvas Learning Company

Savvas Learning Company, a next-generation learning solutions provider for K-12 education, is proud to announce the launch of its Culturally Responsive Learning (CRL) Initiative that will focus on supporting teachers in making real changes in their classroom practices to foster student voice and improve achievement as well as using curriculum that opens minds and allows students to see themselves reflected in what they learn.

Why Reading Is Fundamental to Racial Equity

September 15, 2020   |   By Stephanie J. Hull, T74

America is finally waking up to the full scope and severity of its oldest illness: racism. We cannot afford to hit snooze. And yet this awakening comes at a time when coronavirus-related school closures are exacerbating racial inequalities in our education system, even as the virus and the recession disproportionately hurt communities of color.