Laura Valdiviezo and Nelida Matos have been awarded Public Service Endowment Grants by the UMass Amherst Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement. The awards are intended to enhance the public service mission of the campus. Grants support projects that deliver public services through special projects with an emphasis on converting knowledge into readily usable forms for immediate applications.
Matos, lecturer, Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies, will use the grant for a project aimed at closing the achievement gap in Springfield's middle schools. She will draw on teacher knowledge and experience to identify where teachers are implementing innovative teaching practices that have the potential to effectively reduce the achievement gaps in their classrooms. The study will carry out preliminary research to identify where promising practices appear to be emerging, with future research planned to carry out an in-depth assessment of the most effective strategies.
Through her project, Valdiviezo, assistant professor, Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies, intends to provide teachers with research strategies to develop knowledge of the linguistic and cultural backgrounds of English language learners. Her project focuses on the preparation of teachers as researchers as an effective approach to better support English language learners in Amherst's regional public school system.