Albany State University Center for Educational Opportunity Awards Research Grants

With generous support from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Center for Advancing Opportunity, Albany State University Center for Educational Opportunity has selected its 2020-2021 grantees. Projects selected for research funding include:

Dr. Sheila Gregory, Clark Atlanta University (Educational Model)

Identify strategies to provide improved access for LGBTQIAP students of color, while providing multiple activities for students, parents, teachers, counselors and community in positive and nurturing educational environments to garner greater learning outcomes and well being. The research project will span more than four Atlanta area school districts and five HBCUs.

Dr. Leah Hollis, Morgan State University (Educational Opportunity)

Study is designed to give voice to students who are affected by the abrupt change to online learning. Their insights and experiences can, in turn, inform school district administrators on what strategieswere successful for students and what strategies failed to bridge the gap for students who potentially have limited resources to engage online learning. The central research question is: How do students of color in a suburban community adjust to online learning during a disruptive disaster? To answer the research question, the principal investigator (PI) will interview a group of 11th and 12th grade students enrolled during the 2019-2020 academic year in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who experienced educational instruction disruption when schools were shuttered due to COVID-19.

Dr. Andrea Lewis, Spelman College (Educational Access)

Research seeks to explore how racial identity, agency and exposure to culturally-relevant school practices defines the experiences of Black elementary school girls attending school in predominantly White communities. Most literature on Black girls within school settings focuses on the criminalization, discipline and hypersexualism of middle and high school girls. Though the experiences of middle and high schools girls are important and impact adolescence, this study seeks to learn the elementary school experiences of Black girls, especially those in majority schools and the impact it has on future learning and identity.

Dr. Megan Lyons, North Carolina Central University (Educational Opportunity)

Students from fragile communities are much more likely to experience traumatic events when compared to their non-economically disadvantaged counterparts. Consequently, this can cause them to have poor peer interactions and lead to classroom disruptions and increased discipline referrals. Additionally, often parents in fragile communities often work long hours which also can limit their involvement with their child’s school. From this research, the goal is to determine which skills will best equip parents in fragile communities in meeting their child’s social emotional needs. Targeting African American and Hispanic families, the goal is to better meet the needs of the whole child, thereby honing academic and social emotional skills.

Dr. Felicia Mayfield, Clark Atlanta University (Educational Innovation)

There is a significantly low rate of male teachers of less than 2% of the teaching population. Clark Atlanta University is committed to changing the narrative in its school community. After conducting preliminary research, there was a need for the collection of additional data for creating models that encourage males of color to continue their pursuit of education as a career choice.

Dr. Nicole Taylor, Spelman College (Educational Innovation)

An area within education that has sustained attention over the last few years is family and community engagement. This is due to a number of factors including current legislation (i.e., Every Student Succeeds Act) that points to the importance of partnering with families and communities to strengthen children’s educational skills and experiences. Study will address the need to engage and accommodate families in their student’s learning experiences. The population of focus will be (majority) African American families with elementary students enrolled in Title I schools.

Ms. Lisa Puga, Rutgers University (Educational Access)

Many critiques of homeschooling focus upon the ways that homeschooling perpetuates inequalities in the public system, and the material/cultural privilege that is required in order to homeschool. Additionally, homeschooling is seen as a “cocooning” practice, where children are shielded from religious or philosophical differences and are explicitly taught of the dangers in secular society. This stereotype about homeschoolers is truly made absurd when acknowledging many black families’ narratives who faced grave discrimination, explicit racist interactions, or problematic stereotypes within the school system. Study will examine the complex portrait of urban homeschooling.

Winning proposals were selected based on the research plan, impact on removing barriers to high-quality education, and potential of improving K-12 education. At the close of the grant cycle, research findings will be shared via conferences and symposia, peer-reviewed publications, symposia, and websites.

About Us

The Center for Educational Opportunity was established on April 13, 2018. As a research center, our aim is to support outcomes-based, impact research with a focus on four pillars: educational opportunity, educational models, educational innovations and educational access. Our mission is the advance educational research in order to strengthen and empower fragile communities from the bottom up.



Center for Educational Opportunity Releases White Paper of Teacher-Leader Narratives from Fragile Communities

The Center for Educational Opportunity (CEO) has released a white paper titled, A Sacred Space: 12 Expert Teachers Share Stories of Resilience, Success and Leadership from the Vantage Point of Fragile Communities. The white paper is a collection of teacher-leader narratives from the lens of fragile, underserved communities spanning, urban, rural and tribal settings.

The CEO sought the expertise of Katherine Bassett, founder of Tall Poppy, LLC, a company devoted to the training of education leaders and standards revision/development; and of Research and Assessment Design Solutions, an organization focused on solutions to assess social and emotional skills. She is the former President and CEO of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year. Bassett curated stories ensuring diversity of race/ethnicity, gender, school setting, developmental level of students taught, number of years teaching experience and diversity of experiences.

Included are 12 case studies grouped thematically under Training and Offering Ongoing Support to Educators; Education Beyond the Classroom and Advancing Social and Emotional Learning. Each contributor provided an introduction, challenges, solutions, outcomes and lessons for educators

“We believe that these teacher-leaders’ proximity to students and families can help us find connections between research and practice,” said CEO Founding Director Dr. Kathaleena Monds.

The white paper calls for “a community-based approach involving innovative strategies, fluid planning and decision making, a multifaceted support system, and most importantly, teacher leaders willing to be boundary spanners and seek innovative strategies in the pursuit of change,” stated Katherine Bassett.

Click here to download.

Center for Educational Opportunity Welcomes Summer Interns to Virtual Research Internship Program

The Albany State University Center for Educational Opportunity (CEO) is proud to welcome its 2020 summer interns. As the COVID-19 global health crisis looms, the health, well being and education of our community remains our top priority. Consequently, the CEO is offering a fully-remote internship program.

We are pleased to provide internships to the following students (pictured left to right):

Alanna Beasley, Spelman College – Economics

Jamilah Hawkins; Albany State University – Education

Jasmine Prier; Albany State University – Computer Science

Kayla Kirkland-Johnson; Spelman College – Education

The eight-week virtual internship will run June 1–July 23, 2020,  and will allow students to engage in research activities that focus on K-12 educational opportunities in fragile communities and the economics of education.

Internship activities will include:

  • Exploring educational choice among families living in fragile communities
  • Exploring economic options available to families living in fragile communities
  • Writing op-eds
  • Developing a ‘working’ manuscript focusing on educational opportunities, access, models, and innovation
  • Participation in weekly virtual meetings on relevant topics
  • Attending professional learning sessions on research methods and writing
  • Working closely with faculty research mentors
  • Presentation of research findings at undergraduate symposia 

“We greatly value the fresh perspectives and problem-solving ability that undergraduate student researchers bring to the table,” said CEO Founding Director Dr. Kathaleena Edward Monds. “What’s more, an essential part of our mission is to help build and diversify the research pipeline through coaching and mentoring.”

Evidence shows that undergraduate research experiences enhance students’ confidence, inquiry and analysis, while also improving their graduate school and career prospects. 

The Center for Educational Opportunity was established on April 13, 2018. As a research center, our aim is to support outcomes-based, impact research with a focus on four pillars: educational opportunity, educational models, educational innovations and educational access and a mission to advance educational researcher in order to strengthen and empower fragile communities from the bottom up.