Madison Education Partnership Issues Call for Proposals

April 17, 2017

The Madison Education Partnership, a research-practice partnership between Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) and Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), requests proposals from University faculty, research staff and advanced graduate students to conduct research under this partnership on questions related to the MMSD Four-Year-Old Kindergarten (4K) program. Advanced graduate students may apply only with a faculty member as Principal Investigator. Below we describe the partnership, topic of focus for 2017-18, and details of proposal submission.

This call for proposals is intentionally, broadly focused on 4K problems of policy and practice. We are seeking rigorous and innovative proposals that build on or complement work MEP has already sponsored on this topic. Though this RFP does not limit proposals to specific research concepts, some areas of interest may be:

  • The transition from 4K to 5K - How do students’ experiences with this transition vary across and within schools, 4K sites, and families in MMSD? What variety of practices do early childhood education centers and/or schools engage in to improve the transition? What information, if any, do 5K teachers receive from 4K teachers and how might cross-level communication be improved between schools and early childhood education centers?
  • Family engagement - How effective is the current family outreach conducted by MMSD? How well does it align with the family engagement framework outlined by the district? How do parents experience this outreach and do experiences vary by parent race/ethnicity, income or education? Do family engagement practices contribute to enrollment or moderate the impact of program participation on school readiness? Are there avenues of communication the district could pursue to increase parent knowledge, participation and buy in?
  • 4K instruction - What does 4K instruction look like? How does instruction resemble or depart from what the literature suggests are effective practices? How does instruction vary across sites in MMSD schools and in early childhood education centers? In what ways, if any, are teachers experimenting with different approaches to instruction and how do those approaches impact children’s experiences and levels of school readiness?
  • Variation of programming across sites - How, if at all, do the above processes vary across sites? Is variation systematically related to characteristics of students, staff or organizations?

About the proposal

MEP will fund research projects up to $50,000 in direct costs over the period of one year. In addition to funding, MEP will provide awardees with expedited access to MMSD data, a letter of support for primary data collection and special assistance from the MMSD Research and Accountability office. Details of the grant and application process can be found here.

Deadline to apply is May 26th, 2017 - PIs will be notified of awards July 3rd.

Question and Answer Session for potential applicants will be held at Education Sciences in room 253 on April 24th at 1:00 pm.

About MEP

MEP is a partnership between WCER and the Madison Metropolitan School District that provides an organizational structure to institutionalize ongoing collaboration between our organizations across a range of substantive and mutually developed topics. The partnership provides a context for collaborative problem identification, jointly designed empirical research to address problems of practice, development of educational interventions, and the creation of mutually beneficial relationships across UW–Madison and MMSD. The partnership will serve as a conduit to establish new research within the district, enhance research use for the district, and create mechanisms for the dissemination of new knowledge in Madison and beyond. MEP is committed to supporting research that will improve the educational experiences and outcomes of the children the district serves. The MEP team generates research internally through MEP directed work and externally through MEP supported work. For more information about MEP please visit our website at