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NIFDI Research Department Releases White Paper on What Works Clearinghouse

The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) was established by IES to summarize the research evidence on curricular programs. Yet, as many of you know, WWC conclusions often differ dramatically from those found in reviews and meta-analyses in the scholarly literature. As part of our attempt to understand why these differences appeared NIFDI requested, through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), information on concerns others had raised through a "quality review process" regarding WWC procedures and conclusions.

Staff researcher Tim Wood has recently released a NIFDI White Paper that summarizes the concerns expressed in 69 quality reviews. For instance, more than four-fifths of the people and organizations requesting reviews were concerned about misinterpretation of study findings. Over a third were concerned with both the exclusion and inclusion of relevant research. In addition to summarizing these concerns the white paper discusses general issues with accountability with the WWC and the FOIA process and presents a number of important policy recommendations. The full text of the white paper can be found pdf here

Video of ELL Pre-K Pilot Program Released

Last spring NIFDI and partner IDEA Public Charter Schools presented a session titled, ELL Education: Keys to Ensuring Early Literacy at the National Charter School Conference. The presentation was very well received and led us to create a condensed, video version of the presentation. This video highlights an academic preschool pilot project begun in Fall of 2014 at Pharr IDEA Academy in Pharr, Texas. In this pilot, students in this predominately ELL school were taught using Espanol to English and/or DISTAR Language prior to entering kindergarten.

It is a great demonstration of what can be done to help students gain the English Language skills they will need for future success. To see the video, click here

Principal Position Open in Baltimore DI Charter School

The Baltimore Curriculum Project (BCP), operator of five conversion public charter schools in Baltimore, Maryland, is looking for a principal for their newest school, Frederick Elementary. The school will serve approximately 500 students, grades Pre-K-5 and is housed in a state-of-the-art new building and will utilize DI curriculum.

Frederick Elementary serves its neighborhood zone and receives support from BCP in program design, staffing, professional development, budget support, business management, partnership development and fundraising. BCP states, "The Principal we seek will be committed to and experienced in serving a diverse community with both strengths and challenges. This is a significant opportunity for a talented educator to make a significant contribution to the city and its students."

For full job details, visit this page.

DI Author Karen Davis Passes

KarenWe are sorry to report that Karen Davis passed away on Monday, November 7. Karen was a DI co-author, trainer and coach. She was a co-author on the Horizons Reading program, Reasoning and Writing, Reading Mastery Signature Edition, and Your World of Facts. She and her husband, Gary Davis, longtime National Coordinator for NIFDI, were Project Managers of the Providence, Rhode Island DI site during Project Follow Through. Karen retired from teaching elementary school several years ago and enjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren.

Senior DI author Siegfried Engelmann comments. "I remember Karen as a star teacher, trainer, and co-author of four instructional programs. Most important she was a wonderful friend who exuded vitality and concern with saving kids from failure and bleak futures."

Karen will be missed greatly by those whose lives she touched, and we send our heartfelt condolences to her family. To read the Karen's obituary, click here.

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