Virtual School Meanderings

January 18, 2014

REL Research Update Newsletter Winter 2013-2014

From Wednesday’s inbox…

To view this email as a web page, go here.

Midwest Regional Educational Laboratory at American Institutes for Research

Research Update
Newsletter

Winter 2013-2014
Vol. 2, No. 7

Preschooler helping friendWelcome

REL Midwest is one of 10 regional educational laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and is administered by American Institutes for Research (AIR). Each edition of REL Midwest’s Research Update brings you news of how our scope of work is unfolding in your state and across the region, offers information about resources available from the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Program and other research and technical assistance providers, and highlights important topics within education research. In this issue, we announce our latest resource and invite you to join us in taking a look back at 2013.

IN THIS ISSUE

Our Work
New Online Resource Helps Users Analyze Data

2013: A Year in Review

News, Events, and Activities
Learn about people, organizations, and issues in the region.

Resources to Explore

Contact Us
REL Midwest
1120 East Diehl Road
Suite 200
Naperville, IL 60563-1486
866-730-6735
www.relmidwest.org
Follow REL Midwest on Twitter.

Our Work

New Online Resource Helps Users Analyze Data

REL Midwest announces EdMaps, a new Web-mapping application that displays educational data geographically as “story maps.” EdMaps helps users analyze publicly available school- and district-level data, observe trends over time, and frame conversations on practice and policy. EdMaps debuted with initial story maps on graduation rates and poverty levels, addressing two priority areas in the Midwest—college and career readiness and low-performing schools and school improvement. In development are story maps related to early childhood education and educator effectiveness. How has poverty changed in the Midwest region since 2000? Visit EdMaps to learn more.

2013: A Year in Review

REL Midwest had an exciting year. Our work remained focused on the four regional priority areas identified in the first year of our five-year contract: (1) college and career success, (2) early childhood education, (3) educator effectiveness, and (4) low-performing schools and school improvement. The research alliances, also formed last year around these four priority areas, continued to refine and prioritize their research agendas. The result has been a portfolio of projects offering analytic technical assistance and research, as well as targeted dissemination activities focused on making connections between research and policy/practice for education stakeholders.

During the past two years, REL Midwest proposed more than 30 analytic technical assistance and research and evaluation projects across nine research alliances. In Indiana, for instance, REL Midwest researchers and members of the Rural Research Alliance are using geographic information system mapping and statistical analysis to examine the differences in college enrollment between rural and nonrural students in the state. The project aims to assist the efforts of the Rural Research Alliance and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education in improving access to postsecondary education by exploring the patterns of college enrollment and completion for rural students, whose potential paths and barriers to college are not adequately understood.

Other research projects under way include the following:

  • A study of Michigan’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for early childhood education that will help stakeholders understand how changes to the calculation system in a QRIS may affect the number of programs rated at each quality level.
  • A study of online course use in Iowa and Wisconsin that will help virtual school leaders understand the landscape of virtual education in their states, particularly how schools are choosing to allocate resources for online learning.
  • An examination of a comprehensive college-readiness program and the extent to which schools are implementing this program with fidelity.
  • A study in a midsize urban district exploring whether adding student and teacher survey measures to an existing principal evaluation model increases the overall power of the model to predict schoolwide achievement gains in reading and mathematics.

At the same time, REL Midwest’s analytic technical assistance services helped to build constituents’ knowledge and capacity for using data and inform the development of future research projects such as those listed above. For example, REL staff developed a workshop for stakeholders in two states to better learn survey methodologies related to education research and research-informed decision making.

Dissemination and outreach activities complemented REL Midwest’s research and analytic technical assistance throughout 2013. Through in-person conferences, public television events, social networking, and online webinars, REL Midwest helps make important connections between research and practice.

Highlights from the year’s dissemination activities include the following:

REL Midwest’s outreach and needs assessment remain focused on using a variety of formal and informal needs-sensing activities to identify where REL Midwest staff can best support the seven Midwestern states in using data and research evidence to enhance education policies and practices. Our state liaisons listed below are available to provide stakeholders additional information about any of our projects and events or to discuss a state-specific issue.

It was a busy and productive year at REL Midwest. We appreciate the opportunity to be of service, and we offer special thanks to members of the REL Midwest Governing Board for their commitment and guidance.

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News, Events, and Activities

  • REL Midwest recently received approval from IES of its proposed 2014 scope of work with research, technical assistance, and dissemination projects and activities that build on the accomplishments of Years 1 and 2.
  • From program selection to strategic planning, states and school districts are using school climate data for a variety of purposes. REL Midwest presented a webinar on December 17, 2013, on the topic of using school climate data to improve student outcomes. Adam Voight, a researcher at WestEd and author of A Climate for Student Success, presented his work on how school climate distinguishes schools that “beat the odds.” Panelists discussed how they are collecting and using school climate data through their participation in the Safe and Supportive Schools grant program. The webinar will be available online in late January 2014.
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Resources to Explore

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Contact Us

For more information about any of the items in this newsletter or to speak with a member of our staff, please contact us by telephone (866-730-6735) or e-mail (relmidwest@air.org). We look forward to hearing from you.

REL Midwest at American Institutes for Research
1120 East Diehl Road, Suite 200
Naperville, IL 60563-1486
866-730-6735
www.relmidwest.org

This material was prepared under Contract ED-IES-12-C-0004 by Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest, administered by American Institutes for Research. The content of the publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. This publication is in the public domain. Authorization to reproduce in whole or in part for educational purposes is granted.
This email was sent to: mkbarbour@gmail.com

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1000 Thomas Jefferson Street NW, Washington, DC 20007-3835 USA

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November 26, 2013

REL Midwest Webinar Reminder: “Training Preservice Teachers to Teach Online”

From yesterday’s inbox…

To view this email as a web page, go here.

Webinar Reminder: Don’t Forget to Complete the Feedback Survey

Thank you for attending “Making Connections: Training Preservice Teachers to Teach Online.”

Please remember to complete the event feedback survey at http://survey.airprojects.org/RELStakeholderFeedbackTrainingPreserviceTeachers.

An archive of the event, as well as resources and materials will be posted soon at http://www.relmidwest.org/events.

Please visit our events page for a list of our upcoming events and details on how to register.

If you have questions, please contact Bri Martin (312-283-2302 or bmartin@air.org).

 

This email was sent to: mkbarbour@gmail.com

This email was sent by: American Institutes for Research
1000 Thomas Jefferson Street NW, Washington, DC 20007-3835 USA

We respect your right to privacy – view our policy

November 20, 2013

REL Midwest Webinar TODAY: “Training Preservice Teachers to Teach Online”

A reminder of this event today…

To view this email as a web page, go here.

Webinar Reminder: TODAY

Making Connections: Training Preservice Teachers to Teach Online
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
1:30-3:00 p.m. (Central Time)

Thank you for registering for “Making Connections: Training Preservice Teachers to Teach Online.”

Please use the following link and conference line to access the webinar:
http://edc.adobeconnect.com/relmwbridge112013
1-888-803-6395

Please visit the event page for more details: http://www.relmidwest.org/events/teaching-preservice-teachers-teach-online-webinar

Access will be available starting 15 minutes prior to the event.

This webinar will be held in Adobe Connect Virtual Conference Center and requires:

  • A computer with an Internet connection (preferably through an ethernet cable), and
  • Computer headphones or speakers, OR
  • A telephone or speakerphone

Approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of the webinar, follow these steps:

1. Adobe Connect Set-Up:

  • Go to: http://edc.adobeconnect.com/relmwbridge112013

  • Select Enter as Guest, please type your full name in the text box, and click Enter Room. You may receive a dialogue box Adobe Connect Add-in asking you to install the Adobe Connect Add-In now. Click Yes.

This may take a moment or two. When completed, a new window will open.

  • Updates: Adobe Connect has recently updated its operating system. Please be sure you have Flash Player 11.2 or greater and a new add-in.

2. Audio Set-Up:

After you have logged in to the Adobe Connect platform, the audio for the session will stream through your computer speakers or headphones.

If you do not have speakers or headphones, or if you are participating through wireless Internet access, you may call the number shown on Adobe Connect to join the audio conference.

Having Trouble?

To optimize your viewing experience, test your connections before this webinar at https://admin.acrobat.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm.

If you experience difficulty logging in the day of the event, e-mail relneiinfo@edc.org with a brief description of the problem. Someone will get back to you.

We look forward to your participation!

NOTE: All webinars are recorded and capture audio, documents, chat comments, and other materials exchanged or viewed during the session. By joining this session, you automatically consent to such recordings. If you do not consent to the recording, please do not join the session.

If you have questions or if your attendance plans change, please contact Bri Martin (312- 283-2302 or bmartin@air.org) or Erin Stafford (estafford@edc.org or 312-888-3675).

This email was sent to: mkbarbour@gmail.com

This email was sent by: American Institutes for Research
1000 Thomas Jefferson Street NW, Washington, DC 20007-3835 USA

We respect your right to privacy – view our policy

November 18, 2013

REL Research Update Newsletter Fall 2013

From Friday’s inbox…

To view this email as a web page, go here.

Midwest Regional Educational Laboratory at American Institutes for Research

Research Update
Newsletter

Fall 2013
Vol. 2, No. 6

Preschooler helping friendWelcome

REL Midwest is one of 10 regional educational laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and is administered by American Institutes for Research (AIR). Each edition of REL Midwest’s Research Update brings you news of how our scope of work is unfolding in your state and across the region, offers information about resources available from the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Program and other research and technical assistance providers, and highlights important topics within education research. In this issue, we feature the topic of early childhood education and an overview of our public television event in Indiana that focused on early childhood mathematics.

IN THIS ISSUE

Featured Topic
Early Childhood Education

News, Events, and Activities
Learn about people, organizations, and issues in the region.

Resources to Explore

Contact Us
REL Midwest
1120 East Diehl Road
Suite 200
Naperville, IL 60563-1486
866-730-6735
www.relmidwest.org
Follow REL Midwest on Twitter.

Featured Topic

Early Childhood Education

Early childhood—the time between birth and age 8—is a critical period for child development and learning. According to numerous studies, children who participate in high-quality education programs, such as preschool, during this time benefit from a richer vocabulary and better success in kindergarten, are more likely to graduate from high school on time, and are less likely to be affected by mental or physical illness during their lifetime ( Andrews, Jargowsky, & Kuhne, 2012; Camilli, Vargas, Ryan, & Barnett, 2010; Gorey, 2001; Nelson, Westhues, & MacLeod, 2003; Siegler et al., 2012; Friedman-Krauss & Barnett, 2013 ). The benefits of early education or prekindergarten programs are particularly important for children of low socioeconomic backgrounds and children who are not native English speakers. In these instances, research has shown that quality early education programs can help to narrow the gaps in academic achievement that often occur for students in poverty and those who are English language learners (Pianta, Barnett, Burchinal, & Thornburg, 2009; Bartik, Gormley, & Adelstein, 2012).

Despite evidence that early childhood education is important to lifelong development, a report published by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) in 2013 indicates that only 28 percent of four-year-olds were enrolled in a state-funded preschool program in the 2011-12 school year, which was the same percentage as in 2010-11 (Barnett, Carolan, Fitzgerald, & Squires, 2012 ). Even for those children enrolled in early education, the quality of preschool education varies widely. Research has suggested that most children, especially those from low-income backgrounds, attend programs that may not be of sufficient quality to improve their readiness for school success (Sabol, Soliday Hong, Pianta, & Burchinal, 2013).

What is high-quality prekindergarten education? Definitions of quality in prekindergarten programs can vary. Some research defines the quality of programs based on the features of program infrastructure (e.g., level of teacher training, curricula, class size) or the design of the classroom environment (e.g., organization of routines, implementation of activities, quality of teacher interaction with children) ( Burchinal, Vandergrift, Pianta, & Mashburn, 2010). Definitions of quality in prekindergarten programs also can include evidence of factors that are associated with positive academic outcomes, such as high levels of language stimulation, use of developmentally appropriate learning materials, and sensitive and responsive caregivers who provide a positive emotional climate ( Dearing, McCartney, & Taylor, 2009). Finally, some research suggests that the quality of prekindergarten programs may be evidenced by examination of children’s classroom engagement—that is, what children actually experience in the classroom, which would include peer activities and relationships ( Chien et al., 2010). Regardless of which approach is used to determine the quality of prekindergarten programs, research emphasizes that higher quality programs are associated with more positive outcomes for children ( Chien et al., 2010; Keys et al., 2013).

REL Midwest’s Early Childhood Education Research Alliance agenda focuses on understanding and improving the quality of early childhood education programs, and a REL Midwest research study is under way in Michigan to examine changes in the system used by the state to rate its programs. Many states have implemented Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRISs) to rate the quality of early childhood programs, but guidance is lacking on how to design a QRIS to measure indicators of quality.

In 2012, Michigan rolled out a statewide QRIS, named Great Start to Quality, for licensed center-based and family child care programs. Based on lessons learned in early implementation of Great Start to Quality, Michigan changed its rating calculation approach in 2013 for the domains of quality measured. The REL Midwest study titled “Examining Ratings and Dimensions of Quality in an Early Childhood Education Quality Rating and Improvement System ” will help key stakeholders in the state and across the REL Midwest region understand how changes to the calculation system in a QRIS may affect the number of programs rated at each quality level.

In Focus: Early Childhood Mathematics in Indiana

Like literacy, numeracy is a crucial—if often less discussed—skill for adults. Yet, according to the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, roughly 70 percent of American adults cannot explain how to compute the interest paid on a loan or calculate the miles per gallon of gasoline on a road trip (National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008 ). As with literacy, numeracy begins at an early age, with research showing that preschool-age children can retain mathematical concepts and engage in high-level thinking (Clements & Sarama, 2008 ). However, early childhood programs may lack an awareness of high-quality, research-based interventions that produce positive outcomes related to numeracy—interventions that can be used by policymakers to better align early childhood curriculum and program goals to the latest developments in education research (Clements & Sarama, 2009, 2011).

With this in mind, REL Midwest, in partnership with WFYI public television in Indianapolis, convened a panel of research experts and practitioners to discuss early childhood mathematics and the strategies used in Indiana to encourage numeracy through early childhood education programs (click here for an archived link to the broadcast ). Led by Eboni Howard, Ph.D., AIR principal researcher, specialist in early childhood education, and lead for REL Midwest’s Early Childhood Education Research Alliance, Encouraging Mathematical Thinking in Early Childhood Education featured Professor Doug Clements, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning at the University of Denver, as well as Dana Jones from the Indiana Department of Education and Ted Maple, Ph.D., president and CEO of Day Nursery Association, the oldest and largest nonprofit child care provider in Indiana.

Participants discussed various aspects of early childhood mathematics, including children’s capacity for developing mathematical thinking skills and the research that supports learning and teaching math to preschool-aged children, the importance of developing mathematical skills during early childhood, and Indiana’s policy response to early childhood mathematics. For Professor Clements, early childhood mathematics is “so much more than just counting.” Mathematics can expose young children to important reasoning and problem-solving skills related, for instance, to spatial awareness, patterning, and sorting. Furthermore, Dr. Clements sees early childhood mathematics as an important barometer of academic success in later life, with some studies pointing to persistent problems with math as one of the most reliable indicators of reducing a student’s likelihood of graduating from high school.

In Indiana, policymakers and practitioners have implemented statewide plans to encourage greater numeracy among preschool-age children. In 2012, the Indiana Department of Education revised its Foundations to the Indiana Academic Standards for Young Children from Birth to Age Five , a framework for child care providers, parents, and caregivers. The guide details the knowledge and skills—the foundations—that children must achieve in preparation for kindergarten. As Dana Jones discussed in Indianapolis, the revised framework and foundations “are not a comprehensive list” but rather a guide to assist young learners in gaining the knowledge and skills that are critical for success in school. According to Jones, the framework provides daily opportunities for children to engage in problem solving, reasoning, communication, connections, and representations—skills that researchers such as Professor Clements have identified as important for young children to learn the content of math. Indiana uses this framework as part of its quality rating system, helping parents, policymakers, and practitioners better understand children’s academic preparedness for kindergarten.

Children are not the only ones benefitting from Indiana’s focus on early childhood mathematics. As Dr. Maple explained, applying the math foundations as well as using quality rating systems developed by the state have helped early childhood practitioners plan their activities and deliver quality mathematical instruction in preschool programs such as Day Nursery. Dr. Maple indicated that in conjunction with the professional development and training offered to Indiana early childhood teachers—from the awarding of Child Development Associate credentials to the Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children mathematics workshops—Indiana is implementing many of the evidenced-based recommendations made by researchers to ensure that young children are developing the skills to lifelong numeracy.

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News, Events, and Activities

  • A whole new look and improved navigability await you at the REL Midwest website. Check it out!
  • The REL Midwest Board of Directors met on October 29, 2013, in Rosemont, Illinois, and welcomed new chief state school officer Bradley Buck, Ph.D., to the board. In August 2013, Dr. Buck accepted the appointment by Governor Terry Branstad to serve as director of the Iowa Department of Education.
  • Join REL Midwest at 1:30 p.m. (Central Time) on November 20, 2013, for Teaching Preservice Teachers to Teach Online , an interactive webinar designed to address the central question: How do we prepare preservice teachers to educate K–12 students in online and blended settings? Featured speakers are Kathryn Kennedy, Ph.D., director of research at the International Association for K–12 Online Learning (iNACOL), and Leanna Archambault, Ph.D., assistant professor at Arizona State University. The event also will feature discussions led by practitioner members of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), who will share examples of the steps they have taken to address online and blended learning in their preservice teacher training programs. The session will include a question-and-answer period to facilitate a dialogue among presenters and participants. Register today.
  • Minnesota public television viewers can tune in to tpt on December 8 and again on December 15, 2013, for Career and Technical Pathways to STEM Disciplines. This one-hour public television event from REL Midwest’s Making Connections series focuses on how rigorous science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) content is being integrated into career and technical education opportunities to guide students into STEM-related careers.
  • Ruth Curran Neild, Ph.D., commissioner of the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, will be the featured speaker at a REL Midwest Making Connections event on December 12, 2013, in Lansing, Michigan. Jointly presented by REL Midwest, the Great Lakes Comprehensive Center, the Michigan Department of Education, and Voices for Michigan’s Children, Increasing Graduation Rates by Creating a System of Supports is designed to increase awareness of innovative, promising, and research-based dropout prevention interventions. Dr. Curran Nield will discuss the recommendations of the IES practice guide Dropout Prevention as well as her previous work on dropout prevention at Johns Hopkins University. The event also will feature a panel of educators working on dropout prevention initiatives and participating in REL Midwest’s Dropout Prevention Research Alliance who will highlight their successes, challenges, and lessons learned from dropout prevention work in Ohio and Minnesota. Registration is open now.
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Resources to Explore

  • The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) offers reviews of early childhood education studies that examine the impact of interventions on outcomes, including mathematics achievement, language competencies, oral language, and early reading/writing.
  • Teaching Math to Young Children is a recently released IES practice guide aimed at providing evidence-based recommendations for improving mathematics instruction focused on early math concepts.
  • As stated on its website, the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) “conducts and communicates research to support high-quality, effective early childhood education for all young children.” NIEER also leads the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO), one of 22 comprehensive centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. CEELO aims to strengthen the capacity of state education agencies to lead sustained improvements in early learning opportunities and outcomes.
  • The Education Commission of the States’ kindergarten database provides data from primary sources outlining state policies on 11 kindergarten issues commonly addressed by state policy, including compulsory school age, kindergarten entrance age, minimum hours required for kindergarten, kindergarten readiness assessments, and curriculum.
  • Developing Early Literacy Skills presents strategies that can be implemented across early childhood care and education contexts or at home by parents to increase awareness of the research base on developing early language and literacy skills. REL Midwest and its Early Childhood Education Research Alliance hosted this one-hour public television event featuring Timothy Shanahan, Ph.D., director of the Center for Literacy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Stephanie K. Siddens, Ph.D., director of the Office of Early Learning and School Readiness at the Ohio Department of Education.
  • Encouraging Mathematical Thinking in Early Childhood Education presents information from existing research and examples on encouraging young children to think mathematically. REL Midwest and its Early Childhood Education Research Alliance hosted this one-hour public television event featuring Doug Clements, Ph.D., Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning and a professor at the University of Denver, who discusses his work on the learning trajectories of preschool-age children and the research-based interventions that develop young children’s mathematical thinking.
  • The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a membership organization dedicated to raising the quality of education for all children from birth through age 8. NAEYC’s national accreditation system spans programs for young children, associate’s degree programs, and recognition of high-quality baccalaureate and graduate programs as part of the accreditation system of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
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Contact Us

For more information about any of the items in this newsletter or to speak with a member of our staff, please contact us by telephone (866-730-6735) or e-mail (relmidwest@air.org). We look forward to hearing from you.

REL Midwest at American Institutes for Research
1120 East Diehl Road, Suite 200
Naperville, IL 60563-1486
866-730-6735
www.relmidwest.org

This material was prepared under Contract ED-IES-12-C-0004 by Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest, administered by American Institutes for Research. The content of the publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. This publication is in the public domain. Authorization to reproduce in whole or in part for educational purposes is granted.
This email was sent to: mkbarbour@gmail.com

This email was sent by: American Institutes for Research
1000 Thomas Jefferson Street NW, Washington, DC 20007-3835 USA

We respect your right to privacy – view our policy

November 9, 2013

FW: Free Webinar to Address Preservice Preparation for Online Teaching

Another event reminder from this past week…

Free Webinar to Address Preservice Preparation for Online Teaching

The Midwest Regional Educational Laboratory at American Institutes for Research will host a free webinar Wednesday, November 20, 1:30-3:00 p.m. CST, to address the question of how we prepare preservice teachers to work in online and blended settings.

“Making Connections: Teaching Preservice Teachers to Teach Online” will feature Kathryn Kennedy, director of research at the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, and Leanna Archambault, assistant professor at Arizona State University, who coauthored the 2012 study Offering Preservice Teachers Field Experiences in K-12 Online Learning: A National Survey of Teacher Education Programs. Kennedy and Archambault will discuss the current landscape in the field. Bryan Zugelder, executive director for undergraduate affairs and partnerships at the University of Central Florida’s College of Education and Human Performance, will share practical examples, and Mary Herring, associate dean of education at the University of Northern Iowa and chair of AACTE’s Committee on Innovation and Technology<http://aacte.org/about-us/governance/standing-committees.html>, will discuss lessons for future work. To learn more about this webinar, visit the REL Midwest web site<http://www.relm!
idwest.org/events/teaching-preservice-teachers-teach-online-webinar>. For questions or additional information, please contact Bri Martin at (312) 283-2302 or by e-mail at bmartin@air.org


Mary C. Herring, PhD
College of Education – Associate Dean
University of Northern Iowa
159A Schindler Education Center
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0606
http://www.uni.edu/coe
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