Child Well-Being and Education Research

Project Theme(s): Community Engaged Research & Evaluation, Systems Change, Vulnerable Populations & Community

Area Description: Our work in the Child Well-Being and Education Research area focuses on how the interaction of social contexts and individual factors influence the behavioral functioning, development, and academic outcomes of children and youth. This program of research has two main strands. One strand focuses on how children’s experiences in home, school, and community settings are related to their academic performance and behavioral health through their influence on children’s social-emotional skills and self-concept. Within this research, we aim to understand how the experience of economic class and race/ethnicity interact with social-psychological processes to contribute to group disparities in children’s well-being and academic outcomes.

A second strand of our work focuses on the application of school-based program evaluation approaches that are rigorous, practical, and useful for practitioners who serve children and youth. Most of this work occurs within the context of collaborative education-related partnerships between researchers and practitioners. The main aim is to ensure that evaluations produce high quality evidence that addresses key questions around program effectiveness as well as how data can be used to continuously improve upon practices and policies that impact children and youth.

Both strands of work involve the use of methodological and data analytic approaches suited for detecting program effects and examining social-psychological processes across time and different social contexts. Related to this interest, Dr. Strambler co-teaches the seminar on Data Analytic Methods in Prevention and Community Research with Dr. Christian Connell for the Division of Prevention and Community Research Postdoctoral Training Program.

Projects

Evaluation of Bridgeport social emotional learning initiative: As a member of the partnership between Bridgeport Public Schools, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, and The Consultation Center, Dr. Strambler and his project team are responsible for the evaluation of RULER in Bridgeport, CT. RULER is an evidence-based approach designed to support the development of social emotional learning and Bridgeport is engaged in a district-wide implementation across K-8 grade levels. In addition to understanding the effects of RULER on social-emotional skills, school climate, and academic performance, a key aim is to understand how data can be used by school staff to continuously improve upon practices that support the wellbeing of students.

Partnership for Early Education Research (PEER): Dr. Strambler directs PEER, a research-practice partnership focused on improving early child education practices across three regions in southern Connecticut. PEER was created in 2014 with funding from Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to build capacity in Connecticut for conducting high-quality, policy-relevant research that can inform early childhood education policy and practice. One of the key goals of this grant was create a collaborative agenda with practitioners, which PEER has completed and is now in the process of pursuing. The PEER research agenda focuses on four areas: (1) Program Quality (including Pedagogy & Curriculum and Teacher Training & Professional Development), (2) Preparing for the Kindergarten Transition, (3) Dual Language Learners, and (4) Family & Community Services.  To learn more about PEER, please visit http://peer.yale.edu/.

Evaluation of college readiness program: As the senior evaluator, Dr. Strambler leads a team in the evaluation of Yale-Bridgeport GEAR UP Partnership, a researcher-practitioner collaborative between Yale University, Bridgeport Public Schools, and numerous community-based organizations and institutions designed to support college readiness. Dr. Nadia Ward directs the GEAR UP Partnership, which consists of delivering social, academic, and life skills to a cohort of students from 7th grade through high school graduation. Part of this evaluation aims to understand the effects of programming on students’ mental health, self-concept, and academic engagement and performance.