Roundtable: Innovations in Bridging Research, Policy, and Practice: Better Data for Better Early Education Policy Decisions
(Family and Child Policy)

Saturday, November 4, 2017: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Stetson G (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Roundtable Organizers:  Kate Tarrant, New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute
Moderators:  Sherry Cleary, New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute
Speakers:  Kelvin Chan, New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Sara Vecchiotti, Foundation for Child Development, Travis Cramer, New York University and Faith Lamb-Parker, Bank Street

Achieving social policy change requires robust and nuanced information about what interventions work, for whom, under what circumstances. Independent applied research must be part of the discourse in setting policy priorities. The proposed session will describe the implementation of a unique research and policy collaboration that does just that: The New York Early Childhood Research Network, this first-of-its kind collaboration between a foundation, researchers in the metropolitan area, and key policymakers focused on a shared goal of improving New York City Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) program. Together, this group co-constructed a research agenda that gets under the “black box” of the implementation UPK program. With significant funding from the Foundation for Child Development, eight research studies are providing actionable and scientifically rigorous research findings using diverse methodologies to support continuous improvement of UPK. This session will include an interactive roundtable discussion in which each speakers will share concrete examples of the ways in which the collaboration is providing better data and new measures to inform and improve early childhood policy decisions. We will begin the session by setting the context for the collaboration to provide robust, unbiased research to inform policy. We will describe the research network model in which we explore the key roles that researchers, policymakers, funders, and facilitators have played in developing the network. A speaker from each stakeholder group will participate in the roundtable. We will emphasize the key features of Network's success as well as challenges we have encountered related to sustaining the commitment to coordination and collaboration. We will share research results from two studies that are impacting policy to showcase the kind of valuable information that this collaborative model can yield. One study, featuring a doctoral student, will discuss teachers’ use of social networks to improve practice. The second study, featuring a seasoned researcher, will describe how teachers are using child assessment to inform practice. Finally, we will engage participants in a discussion about strategies to measure the effectiveness of research-policy-practice collaborations.

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