SCoPE Additional Information
Community Research Assistants (CRAs)
A key to the SCoPE partnership’s success was the community-based research assistants (CRAs), whose role was to intentionally foster trusting relationships between the UM research team and school-based practitioners. These individuals were hired and trained by the UM research team; however, they were all residents of the communities surrounding the school sites (except at one site where two UM graduate students commuted to the district). Their efforts were essential for data collection and fostering school site partnerships.
See the full CRA job description here. Our CRAs were highly qualified with most being bilingual Spanish speakers, and all having previous experience working in educational settings or working with children and/or families. They also had the following skills:
Culturally sensitive and aware to develop and maintain positive relationships
Ability to interact respectfully with multiple stakeholders
Experience working in educational settings, preferably with 5th–8th graders
Ability to communicate with a variety of stakeholders
Must be able to communicate goals of study to multiple stakeholders
CRAs contributed to an equitable partnership that benefited school and research partners. Schools gained the service of these skilled individuals, who after clearing the district’s volunteer background check process, performed a variety of supportive tasks (e.g., tutoring, filing paperwork, informal presentations about college or careers). The research team relied on the CRAs to leverage their relationships and knowledge about the school to coordinate the logistics of data collection, manage on-site issues as they arose, and conduct observations and interviews. This document outlines the CRA duties across the timeline of the project.
The CRAs also supported the facilitation of professional learning community sessions led by CASEL at each school to examine data and practice.
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
At each school, teachers received invitations to join a professional learning community (PLC). The use of PLCs arose as an idea from a district partner and were facilitated by CASEL, initially as a service provided in coordination with the UM research partners. The PLCs provided a space to collaboratively engage with and conduct original analyses of data from SCoPE surveys as a reflective tool for conversations about practice. The goal of the PLCs was to co-create knowledge and understanding with teachers. Each school site’s PLC took on a unique character as facilitators encouraged teachers to drive the conversation towards topics that mattered to them and to connect what they saw in the data to their and their students’ lived experiences.
See below for sample meeting goals from our PLCs.
Data Reflection Protocol
Teachers worked in the PLCs to analyze data from their school sites using this protocol.