Resource Development Strategies
Over the next three years, the Center will collaborate with a variety of stakeholders and partners to sustain and launch three Research-Based Innovation Partnerships (RBIPs). Using the CEW Framework for Action, these partnerships will strengthen the continuing investments in Wisconsin Careers, the Careers Conference, Summer Institutes and CDF Training, while expanding and improving these resources by aligning them strategically with other innovation-and-research priorities.
The Center’s initial and planned RBIPs will address two recurring, significant challenges in the new education-economy dynamics:
- Individual Learning Plan Innovation-and-Research Partnership. With support from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Institute for Educational Leadership, this three-year partnership of 14 high schools from four states is evaluating whether quality ILPs improve the readiness of all students, including youth with disabilities, for post-school outcomes.
- The Midwest STEM Education Benchmarking Network. To extend the Center’s work in evaluating the engineering education initiatives, this network of high schools and postsecondary education partners will use data from multiple sources to continuously improve instruction, career and college counseling, and students’ post-school success in STEM clusters and pathways. Leadership teams from local partnerships will benchmark their practices, policies and outcomes with other network and non-network organizations. Funding proposals to support this Network are being submitted to the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Institute for Educational Sciences.
In creating and advancing the RBIPs, we will build on the CEW assets and other SoE, UW-Madison, or Midwest resources. As one of the nation’s leading research universities, we are uniquely positioned to move leading education reform ideas quickly into local schools and communities. The following is an incomplete list of potential points of departure in considering additional RBIPs or strategies and topics that could be added to the Center’s current RBIP portfolio.
As the emphasis on career and college readiness expands nationally, the Wisconsin Careers portals, products, and resources (including the WC Connection) are key components of middle and high school instruction, and school-wide innovation strategies. CEW will bring these resources to the design table and use our programming talent to create and test applications that address systemic challenges such as:
- Creating and sustaining a college-going culture in urban or rural middle schools.
- Integrating career assessment, exploration, and planning activities with school-wide intervention plans for students requiring positive behavioral supports.
- Linking counselors and other student services personnel in high schools and two-year colleges directly with community services and workforce development centers.
- Creating new tools and resources to be integrated with student information systems, e.g., course planners, cluster or career pathway program-of-study portfolios.
Additionally, the tools, data sets, and findings generated from recent Center conducted evaluation studies sponsored by state agencies, CESAs, and foundations are a vital resource for advancing several innovations. For the upcoming federal research and innovation grant competitions, we will convene teams from several Midwest schools and colleges to identify RBIP priorities and strategies to address the following deeply embedded problems of practice:
- Documenting the efficacy of problem- or project-based approaches to teaching math, science, engineering, and technology (or conversely strengthening math and science learning through teaching in context approaches).
- Creating formative and summative assessment tools for measuring critical thinking, teamwork, and other soft skills required in the STEM sector.
- Helping to turn around under-performing schools with contextually-driven instruction.
- Developing effective practices in dropout prevention and raising high school graduation rates. Conducting research to document the efficacy of interventions for increasing the number of individuals transitioning from high school to STEM related study and careers.
- Evaluating K-12 public school personnel development practices for increasing the academic outcomes of all students in STEM related studies.