Boston College

Step UP schools:
William E. Russell Elementary School in Dorchester
John Wintrop Elementary School in Dorchester

Under the direction of Catherine Wong, Director of Urban Outreach Initiatives, Step UP at the Lynch School continues to work closely with its partner schools ­ Winthrop Elementary and Russell Elementary in Dorchester. Major areas that have been identified by the Step UP schools, and where Boston College has been offering its resources, include professional development and instructional support in English language learning, pre-practicum and practicum experiences, early college exploration, family engagement, executive leadership coaching, and training principals and teacher leaders on the use of data and its implications for evaluation and assessment.

Step UP Evaluation Subcommittee

Henry Braun, Boisi Professor of Education and Public Policy, chairs the Evaluation Subcommittee of Step UP (see above). The Subcommittee has developed a structured approach for collecting relevant data on all projects, as well as a template for recording and reporting the information. There will be a strong effort to initiate purposeful data collection throughout the 2008-2009 academic year and to provide periodic reports to the Step Up Steering Committee.

Collaborative Fellows Grants

The Lynch School of Education has awarded three Collaborative Fellows grants to support faculty working in concert with teachers and students at the Russell and Winthrop Elementary Schools. In all, the grants amount to $450,000 in funding.

The Collaborative Fellows Program provides time, incentives, and resources to K-12 school and Lynch School faculty and staff to forge collaborative teams and build trusting, working relationships to reinforce each others' common professional interests. Teams of collaborative scholars, learning from each other as they work through mutual problems, improve teaching in both school and University courses, and ground research projects in school-based experience.

The Collaborative Fellows Program manifests the spirit of the Lynch School mission, "Through research we seek to advance knowledge in our respective fields, to inform policy and improve practice."

The three Collaborative Fellows projects are:

  • Genres of Writing : A Team-Based Intervention
    Co-Principal Investigators: Professor María Brisk and Catherine Wong
    This project focuses on developing and implementing a curriculum for the teaching of writing and researching the impact of using a genre-based approach on students’ writing. Specifically, teachers collaborated with the BC team on assessing the skills students need to successfully complete MCAS examinations that require writing. Teachers then worked to develop a writing curriculum for Grades 4 and 5 that help students analyze and execute the genres demanded by each writing prompt within different subject areas. In addition, teachers and faculty began to identify the genres of the writing for grades K-3 that support the preparation of students in fourth and fifth grade.
  • Mindful Teacher Leadership
    Co-Principal Investigators: Professor Dennis Shirley & Elizabeth MacDonald, BPS teacher
    This project seeks to create new forms of lateral support for BPS teachers to inquire into issues that emerge as part of daily instruction, to develop common strategies for improving pupil achievement, and to conduct jointly authored scholarship about teachers’ collaborative learning in monthly “Mindful Teacher Leaders” seminars.
  • Networking Step UP Schools and Community Based Programs: Strengthening Ties and Exchanging Best Practices
    Principal Investigator: Hon. David S. Nelson Professor of Education Anderson J. Franklin
    After-school community-based programs and local schools are working with the same student populations but aid students, their families and communities in different ways. Professor Franklin's project will work to build connections between Winthrop Elementary School and the Nelson Chair Roundtable on Networking Community-Based Programs. The Roundtable membership of community-based organizations will serve the shared student population and researchers will measure the effectiveness of this intervention project using a mixed conventional and participatory action research model.

    Goals of the Project include:
    1) Help the Winthrop School and local Community-Based Programs’ achieve their educational and youth development initiatives.
    2) Develop an intervention with Winthrop School and partnering Community-Based Programs using expertise of Roundtable participants in order to create a School-CBP Exchange Partnership model that works collaboratively with students and families.
    3) Develop a mixed conventional and Participatory Action Research (PAR) model in evaluating the effectiveness of collaboration between Winthrop and its community based programs.

    By meeting these goals, the project intends to improve teaching and learning practices, management of student behavior, well being, performance, and parent involvement in both the elementary school and the after-school programs.

BC Step UP Team

Maureen Kenny
Interim Dean, Lynch School of Education

Catherine Wong,
Director, Urban Outreach Initiatives

Tamara Blake
Principal, William E. Russell Elementary

Associate Prof. Michael Barnett
Science Education

Professor Irwin Blumer
Leadership Coaching

Professor Henry Braun
Assessment and Evaluation

Professor Maria Brisk
Genres in Writing

Laurie Carr
Principal, Winthrop School

Patrice DiNatale
Research Associate, Center for Optimized Student Support

Ed Hayward
Associate Director, Office of Public Affairs

Jeanne Levesque
Director, Government Relations, Office of Governmental & Community Affairs

Frances Loftus
Director, Practicum Experience & Teacher Induction, Practicum Office

Assistant Prof. Patrick Proctor
Literacy Training and Professional Development

Steve Prudent
Administrative Assistant, Urban Outreach Initiatives