blog posts and news stories

EIR 2023 Proposals Have Been Reviewed and Awards Granted

While children everywhere are excited about winter break and presents in their stockings, some of us in the education space look forward to December for other reasons. That’s right, the Department of Education just announced the EIR grant winners from the summer 2023 proposal submissions. We want to congratulation all our friends who were amongst that winning list.

One of those winning teams was made up of The MLK Sr Community Resources Center, Connect with Kids Network, Morehouseand Spelman Colleges, New York City Public Schools, The Urban Assembly, Atlanta Public Schools, and Empirical Education. We will evaluate the Sankofa Chronicles: SEL Curriculum from American Diasporas with the early-phase EIR development grant funding.

The word sankofa comes from the Twi language spoken by the Akan people of Ghana. The word is often associated with an Akan proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi.” Translated into English this proverb reminds us, “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” Guided by the philosophy of sankofa, this five year grant will support the creation of a culturally-responsive, multimedia, social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum for high school students.

Participating students will be introduced to SEL concepts through short films that tell emotional and compelling stories of diverse diaspora within students’ local communities. These stories will be paired with an SEL curriculum that seeks to foster not only SEL skills (e.g., self-awareness, responsible decision making) but also empathy, cultural appreciation, and critical thinking.

Our part in the project will begin with a randomized control trial (RCT) of the curriculum in the 2025–2026 school year and culminate in an impact report following the RCT. We will continue to support the program through the remainder of the five-year grant with an implementation study and a focus on scaling up the program.

Check back for updates on this exciting project!


Rock Island-Milan School District, Connect with Kids, and Empirical Education Win an EIR Grant

The Rock Island-Milan School District #41 (RIMSD) in partnership with CWK Network, Inc. (Connect with Kids) and Empirical Education just announced that they were awarded an EIR grant to develop and evaluate a program called How Are The Children? (HATC). This project-based social emotional curriculum intends to foster students’ social emotional competence, increase student engagement, and ameliorate the long-term social emotional impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will be conducting an independent evaluation of the effectiveness of HATC through a randomized control trial and formative evaluation. Our findings will inform the improvement of the program, as well as to foster the expansion of the curriculum into other schools and districts.

For more details on this grant and the project, see the press announcement and our EIR grant proposal.


SREE 2020 Goes Virtual

We, like many of you, were excited to travel to Washington DC in March 2020 to present at the annual conference of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE). This would have been our 15th year attending or presenting at the SREE conference! We had been looking forward to learning from a variety of sessions and to sharing our own work with the SREE community, so imagine our disappointment when the conference was cancelled (rightfully) in response to the pandemic. Thankfully, SREE offered presenters the option to share their work virtually, and we are excited to have taken part in this opportunity!

Among the several accepted conference proposals, we decided to host the symposium on Social and Emotional Learning in Educational Settings & Academic Learning because it incorporated several of our major projects—three evaluations funded by the Department of Education’s i3/EIR program—two of which focus on teacher professional development and one that focuses on content enhancement routines and student content knowledge. We were joined by Katie Lass who presented on another i3/EIR evaluation conducted by the Policy & Research Group and by Anne Wolf, from Abt Associates, who served as the discussant. The presentations focused on unpacking the logic model for each of the respective programs and collectively, we tried to uncover common threads and lessons learned across the four i3/EIR evaluations.

We were happy to have a turnout that was more than we had hoped for and a rich discussion about the topic. The recording of our virtual symposium is now available here. Below are materials from each presentation.

We look forward to next year!

9A. Unpacking the Logic Model: A Discussion of Mediators and Antecedents of Educational Outcomes from the Investing in Innovation (i3) Program

Symposium: September 9, 1:00-2:00 PM EDT

Section: Social and Emotional Learning in Educational Settings & Academic Learning in Education Settings



Organizer: Katie Lass, Policy & Research Group

Impact on Antecedents of Student Dropout in a Cross-Age Peer Mentoring Program


Katie Lass, Policy & Research Group*; Sarah Walsh, Policy & Research Group; Eric Jenner, Policy & Research Group; and Sherry Barr, Center for Supportive Schools

Supporting Content-Area Learning in Biology and U.S. History: A Randomized Control Trial of Enhanced Units in California and Virginia


Hannah D’Apice, Empirical Education*; Adam Schellinger, Empirical Education; Jenna Zacamy, Empirical Education; Xin Wei, SRI International; and Andrew P. Jaciw, Empirical Education

The Role of Socioemotional Learning in Teacher Induction: A Longitudinal Study of the CREATE Teacher Residency Program


Audra Wingard, Empirical Education*; Andrew P. Jaciw, Empirical Education; Jenna Zacamy, Empirical Education

Uncovering the Black Box: Exploratory Mediation Analysis for a Science Teacher Professional Development Program


Thanh Nguyen, Empirical Education*; Andrew P. Jaciw, Empirical Education; and Jenna Zacamy, Empirical Education

Discussant: Anne Wolf, Abt Associates