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2008 Javits Grantees

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Grants Awarded under the Javits Gifted & Talented Students Education Act 

2008 Grants

In 2008, the U.S. Department of Education received 65 grant applications; 7 demonstration grants were awarded. 

University of Virginia—Curry School of Education Leadership, Foundations, and Policy
Charlottesville, VA
Contact:  Tonya R. Moon
Target Grade Level: Elementary school

The overarching goals of Project Parallax are to provide innovative, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-focused services to, and to increase the identification of, gifted elementary students from under-represented groups using challenging Problem-Based Learning (PBL) units differentiated and infused with technology to meet the needs of the learners. To accomplish this, five objectives are identified: 1) increase teachers’ STEM content knowledge; 2) develop teachers’ capacity to provide appropriately challenging STEM curriculum and instruction effectively differentiated to meet the unique needs of gifted and talented students in mixed-ability classroom settings; 3) increase students’ engagement and achievement in STEM content activities; 4) increase teachers’ ability to recognize a variety of talent indicators in their students; and 5) develop a teacher leadership cadre to serve as a mechanism for training other teachers in the district.  Project activities will include the review and revision of model STEM-focused PBL units; intensive professional development for teachers; and the implementation of these programs to seek talent in students. The evaluation will focus on determining the extent to which project goals are met using a longitudinal experimental design where five schools will be randomly assigned to receive the treatment components and give schools will serve as the control, or “business as usual” schools.

University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Little Rock, AR
Contact:  Ann Robinson
Target Grade Level: 2-5

Project STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Starters Project STEM Starters includes four (4) major components: 1) Professional Development (STEM Starters Summits and STEM Starters Institutes); 2) Inquiry-Based Science Curriculum Implementation; 3) Supplemental Materials Development; and 4) Technical Assistance (Peer Coaching and Evaluation Teams). STEM Starters is a “scale up” project based on two gifted education models that produced learning gains in students (William and Mary science curriculum) and in educators (Arkansas Evaluation Initiative in Gifted Education, AEI) in scientifically based research studies.

The four components of the program are outlined below:

• The Professional Development component includes two (2) types of activities: (1) an innovative STEM Starters Summit designed to bring educators, science experts, and state policy makers together for discussion, collaboration, and institutionalization of innovative science curriculum, and (2) STEM Starters Institutes, designed to provide sustained professional development on the identification of gifted students from underrepresented groups and on the implementation of inquiry-based science curriculum for gifted learners.
• The Inquiry-Based Science Curriculum Implementation includes problem-based units with an emphasis on chemistry and physics for grades 2 through 5.
• The Supplemental Materials Development portion provides unique teacher guides for biographies of scientists, mathematicians, and engineers whose inventions and innovations are keyed to the science topics in the inquiry-based units.
• The Technical Assistance component includes two (2) types of support: (1) one-to-one Peer Coaching for classroom teachers and gifted facilitators, and (2) Evaluation Teams for each experimental school.

The five goals of Project STEM Starters are:

1. To increase knowledge and skills in gifted education and in the STEM disciplines among school personnel in low-income classrooms;
2. To improve student-learning gains in science among gifted and talented learners, including underrepresented groups;
3. To increase identification and participation of underrepresented groups in gifted program services.
4. To develop, expand, and refine supplemental materials for inquiry-based science curriculum units in grades 2 through 5;and
5. To conduct research on short-term and longitudinal student and educator learning gains.

The project impact on student and educator learning will be evaluated through a quasi-experimental design with delayed treatment to comparison classrooms. Sixty (60) collaborating classrooms in six (6) schools in the metropolitan North Little Rock School District will serve approximately 1,320 students in grades 2 through 5, including gifted and talented students from underrepresented groups. In addition, in the 5th year of the project, 50 gifted coordinators statewide receive professional development and science curriculum materials to ensure a multiplier effect for an additional 1,750 students. The inclusion of science experts, business leaders, and policy makers from the Arkansas STEM Coalition at the outset of Project STEM Starters enhances its opportunities for statewide institutionalization.

Ball State University—Center for Gifted and Talented Students, Teachers College
Muncie, IN
Contact:  Cheryll M. Adams
Target Grade Level:  3-5

Under a previous Javits grant, this grantee found that the Clustering Learners Unlocks Equity (CLUE) model effectively increased the number of students from underrepresented groups who were identified and served through gifted education programs and increased mathematics achievement for these students in a large urban school.  For Project CLUE-Plus, the grantee will evaluate the effectiveness of the CLUE model at scale, when implemented in 45 schools in Indiana, with 135 teachers and 10,000 students.  The sample of schools will include public and private schools of varying sizes in urban and rural settings.   Participating schools will have high incidences of students who are economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient, and/or who may not be identified and served by traditional assessment methods.  Schools will be randomly assigned to one of three conditions: schools receiving professional development only; schools receiving professional development and the mathematics curriculum; and control schools, which receive neither professional development nor the mathematics curriculum.

Four findings from CLUE, the previous Javits grant, indicate the viability of the program:  (1) the pool of identified gifted students closely matched the demographics of the school corporation; (2) identified gifted students performed at higher levels than their counterparts, validating the process used to identify the gifted group; (3) students in the classrooms that had access to the target curriculum, as well as a cluster setting, showed the most regular gains over time (regardless of gifted status); and (4) for the gifted students, those individuals in the curriculum classrooms showed strong positive growth over time, while those in the classes without CLUE curriculum showed downward trends in performance (Pierce, et al., 2007; Pierce et al., 2008 a, b).

The goals of the Project CLUE-Plus project are to:  1) ensure the number of participants in gifted services from underserved populations adequately reflects the percentage of such students in the total school population; 2) provide a model program for gifted students using cluster grouping as the organizational model by training teachers using web-based professional development; 3) determine if the research-based math curriculum raises the level of math achievement of CLUE –Plus students who receive the intervention to a level higher than those without the intervention; 4) provide opportunities for increased parent involvement; and 5) disseminate information about effective programming for underserved students. CLUE-Plus will build upon the previous success of CLUE using a combination of identification instruments that have shown previous success with underserved populations through their use in CLUE, other Javits grants and/or school districts.  The service delivery model will be cluster grouping.  Evidence of closing the achievement gap between underserved populations and other students will be measured by pre-and post-test scores on the Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress Level Tests or similar testing instruments. 

Project outcomes will incorporate new information that improves the capability of these schools, as well as other schools, to plan, conduct, and improve programs to identify and serve underrepresented gifted and talented students.  The grantee will disseminate the project’s findings through the internet to other school districts across the nation, and at local, state, national and international conferences that focus on gifted education, content and general education.  The goal of Project CLUE-Plus is to produce an effective, sustainable model that will continue to be used by schools after this five-year grant has ended.

University of St. Thomas School of Education
St. Paul, MN
Contact:  Karen Rogers
Target Grade Level:   3-8

The absolute priority for the FY 2008 competition is to “scale up” and evaluate curricular and instructional models to increase the number of gifted and talented students from underrepresented groups through gifted and talented programs that enable high levels of academic achievement. Twice exceptional students (2X learners) - historically underrepresented in gifted and talented programs - are the focus of this broad-based curriculum up-scaling effort in numeracy and literacy, with special attention paid to gifted learners with an additional diagnosis of learning disabilities, attention disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and/or emotional/ behavioral disorders.

The objectives of Project 2 ExceL Objectives and Activities are to:
1. Scale up the gifted mathematics and language arts curriculum provided for twice-exceptional (2X) learners, grades 3-8, in school districts with differing demographics;
2. Establish a valid identification protocol for finding 2X learners in grades 3-8 generalizable across 4 districts that indicates the true prevalence of these underserved populations;
3. Implement a professional development program and certification for grades 3-8 educators of 2X learners;
4. Establish a training program for parents of 2X learners, grades 3-8.

Over the course of the five years of the project, the following activities are planned:

• Identification (and validation of identification protocol) of 2X learners in grades 3-8 via school records in 4 treatment and 4 control schools (Years 1, 2, 3, 4)
• Development, implementation, and evaluation of up-scaled math and language arts gifted curriculum across four different curricula, respectively, for 2X learners (Years 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
• Development, implementation, evaluation of professional development certification program for 2X educators at elementary (Year 1, 2, 3) and middle school (Year 3, 4, 5) levels
• Implementation and evaluation of training program for parents of 2X learners (Year 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

The project will serve approximately 128 students across four Minnesota districts in which already exist formal self-contained gifted programs, as well as a control school of equivalent demographics.  Each district also includes one urban, one first-ring suburban, and two second-ring suburban districts with varying SES and diversity demographics.

University of Connecticut, Educational Psychology Gifted Education
Storrs, CT
Contact:   Sally M. Reis
Target Grade Level:   5-8

This proposal describes the application at the middle school level of the Schoolwide Enrichment Reading Model (SEM-R), an enriched and accelerated approach to reading that has been shown to be effective at raising reading comprehension, fluency, and attitude scores for elementary school economically disadvantaged students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.  SEM-R allows teachers to identify academically gifted and talented students, who might not otherwise be identified through traditional evaluation methods, by introducing students to increasingly challenging reading texts.  In this project, SEM-R will be extended to 10 middle schools (grades 5-8 or 6-8, depending on local school organization), focusing on urban districts serving large populations of economically disadvantaged students. 

Previously, the SEM-R has been successfully implemented in 15 elementary schools and one pilot middle school, and resulted in increased reading fluency, comprehension, and attitudes.  Accordingly, we propose this as a scale-up project responding to the absolute priority. The SEM-R has three distinct goals:  1) to increase enjoyment in reading, 2) to encourage students to pursue independent reading and develop self-regulation, and 3) to improve reading comprehension and fluency in three phases of reading instruction. Phase One employs strategies designed to engage students in literature, including use of high-interest read-alouds, accompanied by high level questioning. Phase Two includes opportunities for structured independent reading and teacher-guided instruction with self-selected high interest reading materials that are above the students’ current reading level.  Phase Three provides opportunities for independent work in a variety of reading enrichment opportunities. Previously, the SEM-R has been successfully implemented in elementary schools and one pilot middle school.

This is a critical priority for academically able and gifted students, as recent data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) revealed an appallingly low percentage of African American students scoring at the advanced level in 8th grade on the NAEP: 0% in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Cleveland, District of Columbia, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Diego (NCES, 2007).  To address this priority, the project will serve 7,000-10,000 middle school students, using local liaisons that have been trained by our research team to serve as coaches to the 90-120 participating educators.  An experimental design will be used, with cluster-randomized assignment to groups.  Advanced statistical procedures, including multilevel modeling methods, will also be used, as well as follow-up procedures to explore specific group and individual differences.  Schools will be selected based on: location, specifically targeting the urban areas mentioned above that meet the requirements of the Javits program; the ability and willingness of school personnel to meet the methodological research requirements (e.g., random assignment to treatment or control, implementation of treatment materials and assessment instruments in a timely fashion); and the presence of a population of gifted and talented and high potential students.  The use of liaisons will facilitate and expand the process, and allow the grantee to target middle level talented readers at risk of underachieving in high-need urban schools.

University of Virginia—Curry School of Education Leadership, Foundations, and Policy
Charlottesville, VA
Contact:   Carolyn M. Callahan
Target Grade Level:   10-12

The proposed project responds to the priority under the grant announcement of implementing models with demonstrated effectiveness in identifying and serving gifted and talented students from typically underrepresented populations by seeking to increase the representation of students from minority and low-income backgrounds completing advanced level high school coursework.  The fact that minority students are underrepresented in the population of highest-achieving students at all levels of schooling, including in Advanced Placement (AP) courses and in college, is a chronic and long-standing problem.  Because the opportunity to experience college-level challenges while in high school confers many long-term benefits to students, ensuring successful participation of all ethnic and racial groups in AP courses is essential to achieving educational equality.

The project described in this proposal, the AP Challenge Program, is a two-pronged approach to increasing the participation and success of gifted and talented minority and low-income students in advanced courses, especially AP courses, and in college.  The proposed project is a scale-up of a program in one school in a large mid-Atlantic district that led to a 450% increase in minority student enrollment in AP courses, significant increases in college application and attendance, and increased numbers of minority students receiving a score of “3” or better on AP exams.

The first prong of the project involves a system of organized support structures for potential AP students from minority and low-income backgrounds, including a pre-AP, residential summer program at a university; structured peer study groups; academic advising and study, writing, and self-advocacy skills instruction; and on-line AP curriculum help.  The project’s second prong involves training AP teachers and school counselors to support and challenge the target students as they tackle AP courses.  Teachers and school counselors develop and teach the summer program curriculum.  During the school year, school counselors also run academic advising and skills instruction seminars, while teachers work with university faculty mentors to provide rich and challenging AP experiences to a diverse group of academically talented students.

Overall, 150 students (grades 10-12), 48 AP teachers, and six school counselors will be involved in the project.  Participants will come from six schools in one large mid-Atlantic school district with significant minority and low-income student populations.  Three of these schools will be randomly assigned to the “intervention group” and three to the control group in years one and two.  Potentially gifted and talented students will be identified by making any ninth grade student from a low-income or minority background who received no lower than a “C” grade in regular classes during the school year through the 3rd quarter eligible to participate in the program.  The intervention school students who enroll in the project will be matched with ninth grade students in the comparison schools.  Student enrollment in AP courses, AP exam scores, and college application and attendance rates of the two groups of students will be compared across all high school years in order to determine the benefits of the program to academically talented students from minority and low-income backgrounds.

In Years three and four of the project, the schools that served as control schools in Years one and two will join the other three schools as treatment schools.  AP enrollment data, scores on AP exams, and college application and attendance rates of students in both groups will be compared to students in the years prior to implementation of the project in their individual schools using a regression discontinuity design.  These two analyses will provide data on the generalizability of the results to other settings.  Finally, overall AP enrollment, test data and college application and enrollment rates in both intervention and comparison group schools will be examined to determine the potential effects on other AP classes taught by teachers not involved in the project.  Additional data will be collected to assess other goals and objectives of the project, including creation of curricular materials and lessons that provide scaffolding for diverse learners in AP environments; curricular and instructional modifications that closely reflect the content, depth, and complexity of college courses; and increase in college enrollment by participants.

Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY
Contact:   Dr. Julia L. Roberts
Target Grade Level:  Elementary

A clear need exists to develop talent among advanced learners at an early age (especially those from low income backgrounds and underrepresented minorities) and to provide opportunities to increase interest in science and math and in careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).  Therefore, the goal of Project GEMS is: To design and implement a model demonstration project that will increase the number of elementary children who are advanced in science and math and to foster their interest and achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This goal specifically targets children from low-income backgrounds and minorities who are underrepresented in STEM careers.

Project GEMS is a partnership between The Center for Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University (WKU) and the Warren County Schools in Bowling Green, KY.  Project GEMS will provide services that are not currently being offered for 240 elementary students who are advanced in science and math at four elementary schools in Warren County (North Warren and Bristow plus the two target schools) and the Science/Math Magnet Program will serve 120 students who are advanced in science and math from two target elementary schools (Cumberland Trace and Lost River).  Seventy teachers from the four schools will receive professional development in problem-based learning and gifted education.  Project GEMS will disseminate the results of the research and develop an identification and services protocol for children who are advanced in science and math.  This project can be replicated in the district, state, and beyond.

The table below briefly outlines the objectives, anticipated outcomes, and the activities of the project proposa.

Project GEMS Objectives                                  Project GEMS Outcomes                             
Project GEMS Activities 
1. Establish a protocol for recognizing and identifying advanced ability in science and math among elementary children
  • STEM interest inventory
  • Behavior instrument
  • Recommendation for identification
  • Create/pilot/implement/ disseminate STEM Checklist
  • Create/pilot/implement/ disseminate Early STEM Interest Inventory for Children
  • Create/pilot/implement/ disseminate identification protocol
2. Implement a problem-based curriculum in science and math
  • Application of problem-based curriculum in one-day-a-week magnet school
  • Increased capacity for teachers to use curriculum
  • Model for best practice
  • Provide professional development for teachers
  • Provide one-day-a-week magnet school instruction using problem-based learning
  • Establish model for best practice
3. Develop, implement, and assess problem-based science/math units
  • One problem-based unit per year
  • Implementation of problem-based units from previous Javits
  • Assessment of units
  • Create/pilot/implement/ disseminate one problem-based unit each year
4. Develop, implement, and assess business partnerships to foster understanding of technological and scientific application in the work place
  • Model of recommended practices that build partnerships
  • Establish business partnerships
  • Develop/disseminate model and handbook for business collaboration
5. Develop, implement, and assess a parent/community plan to build support and encouragement for high-level science and math instruction and opportunities to increase interest in STEM careers
  • Model plan of recommended practices to build parent/ community support
  • Develop/disseminate model plan and brochures to build parent/ community support
  • Conduct parent seminars
6. Collect data comparing achievement and interest in science and math among an experimental group who will go to a science and math magnet and students who remain in their home schools engaged in problem-based science and math, and students who are not involved
  • Research study comparing achievement and interest in science and math among three treatment groups
  • Recommendations for best practice in identifying and providing services for children advanced in science and math, including those from under-represented populations
  • Identify children
  • Establish baseline of achievement and interest for three treatment groups
  • Document growth
  • Analyze and disseminate data through reports, articles, and presentations