USDOE grant on principal preparation

The College of Education received one of only 20 School Leadership Program (SLP) grants awarded nationally by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University will partner with Bloomington School District 87, and districts in Aurora and Quincy, on this five-year, $4.64 million grant to support the preparation of future principals.

Erika Hunt, Center for the Study of Education Policy

Erika Hunt, Center for the Study of Education Policy

“This will allow us to build on work that we have done in the Center around designing new state policies for preparing highly effective principals,” said Erika Hunt, senior policy analyst in the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University and project director for the grant. “Those preparing to be principals will work a full semester in a high-needs school with our district partners and this grant will fund that position. They’ll have a pipeline of support and this will prepare a pool of potential candidates for the region.”

NSF grant on GIS use

Investigators May Jadallah, School of Teaching and Learning; Jonathan Thayn, Department of Geography; and Alycia Hund, Department of Psychology, were awarded a three-year exploratory research grant from the National Science Foundation to study the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in upper elementary social science curriculum.  The “Promoting Students’ Spatial Thinking in Upper Elementary Grades Using GIS” study will be conducted in partnership with Springfield Public Schools.

May Jadallah

May Jadallah, School of Teaching and Learning

The researchers will examine the impact of instructional practices on students’—especially girls’—reasoning, spatial skills, and systems thinking. Previous studies suggest a gap between boys’ and girls’ mental rotation skills since infancy, which continues to widen throughout middle and high school.

“We’re interested in working with the upper elementary grades because that’s a great time,” said Jadallah. “The children have a pronounced increase in their brain’s executive functions, which means that they can process information faster and more efficiently than what they used to in earlier grades.”

More information about other research initiatives is available on the College of Education website or by contacting Patricia Klass, associate dean of the college.