Current Projects

Highly Sensitive Children in Schools

We are working with Dr. Michael Pluess and his team at Queen Mary University in London to develop a classroom observation measure to identify highly sensitive children. High sensitivity is a temperament based trait that is marked by aesthetic sensitivity, low sensory threshold (i.e., more easily overwhelmed by sensory stimuli), and ease of excitation (i.e., more easily overwhelmed by the environment, such as crowds, or feelings, such as empathy). Children who are highly sensitive are likely to have some difficulties adjusting in the typical classroom environment. Being able to accurately identify these children will help teachers and researchers more effectively design and implement interventions that fit students’ needs.

Building Bridges for Teachers

This project is a collaboration with faculty from Counseling Psychology and Special Education and Communication Disorders. Building Bridges for Teachers (BBT) is an extension of Building Bridges (BB), which was developed by Dr. Michael Scheel who has been implementing this program for 10 years in Lincoln high schools. In Building Bridges, counseling psychology doctoral students work one-on-one with at-risk 9th graders using a goal-focused positive psychology approach. Results from pilot studies show that students in Building Bridges have improved academic achievement, attendance, and likelihood of graduating from high school. As an extension of Building Bridges, BBT gives teachers the goal-focused positive psychology skills so that they can use this approach with their students. We are implementing BBT this fall in a Lincoln high school with 9th and 10th grade teachers.

Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten (ECLS-K) 2010

Using the ECLS-K, which follows children from K to 8th grade, our lab is currently pursuing several compelling questions regarding children’s social, emotional, and behavioral well-being. Because the sample is large and diverse, we are able to examine subsets of the population, such as children of color, and various mental health diagnoses, such as ADHD and depression. Our lab has access to both the public and restricted data.

Civil Rights Data Collection

Using data from Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), collected by U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, we are exploring topics of equity practice and policy for regarding issues such as access to education, use of discipline practices, and student absenteeism. CRDC offers unique insights into trends for students in publicly funded American schools. Data are collected through a biennial survey from all public local educational agencies and schools, including long-term secure juvenile justice facilities, charter schools, alternative schools, and schools serving students with disabilities. Data are available disaggregated allowing for analysis into differences between students of different racial and ethnic groups, those served under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), and those with limited english proficiency (LEP). Using NCES ID codes, CRDC data can also be merged with other national education datasets, such as the ECLS-K (see above).