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How can we design spaces that empower youth in becoming developers of community-based events for youth?

Former R.A.P.F.A.I.R. students work together to learn how to navigate Worcester resources in order to plan and facilitate the R.A.P.F.A.I.R. event, as well as mentor their fellow ninth graders with their historical research and preparing for their rap battles.

Contacts: Lilly Johnson, Helen Segil, and Max Stern

How can graphic novels be used as a teaching tool in English Language Arts classes? Does teaching multimodal literacy lead to stronger reading comprehension and more detailed writing?

This project explores whether cultivating multimodal literacy skills, including pairing decoding and visual cues, helps improve reading comprehension and evidence-based analysis in written work.

Contacts: Jeremy Shulkin and Raphael Rogers

How do teachers develop an epistemology of social justice and transformation within the communities they teach?

Our Master of Arts in Teaching program explores ways to use “Knowledge Maps” to highlight the need to introduce our teachers to the ‘Funds of Knowledge’ found in our communities. Along with Ms. Parretti’s fifth-grade classroom in the Main South neighborhood, we examine the social geographies that can positively impact academic achievement in urban schools.

Contact: Dr. Carmen Ocón.

drawing illustratin of city from child

How do you improve teaching and learning in high-school biology so that all students, and particularly English learners, can experience deep learning and agency as scientifically literate sensemakers and engaged citizens? As part of the Next Generation Science Exemplar (NGSX) project, a group of teacher researchers in several Worcester High Schools are implementing and documenting their use of the MBER Curriculum. We are seeing changes in classroom culture, in students’ sense of themselves and their peers, and significant improvement in the pass rate on the MCAS biology test, a requirement for high school graduation in Massachusetts.

Contact: Sarah Michaels

How can zero-waste principles and the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework be combined in the art classroom to create a powerful learning environment for all learners?

This project explores the art classroom as an ecosystem where human and material potential are essential assets in developing a learning community.  The zero-waste classroom project aims to create a model for both inclusivity and sustainability.

Contacts: Kate Egnaczak and Helen Segil

This partnership between a university-based researcher and a middle school science teacher  began with project-based inquiry and continued with unstructured thought-partner spaces: meetings with no agenda where they wrestled with problems of practice. Framed as incubation periods, these meetings allowed them to focus not on solution-oriented talk, but open grappling. Within these spaces, they found markers indicative of developing an inquiry stance, such as increased risk-taking and deepening self-reflection.

Contacts: Scott Bodamer and Nastasia Lawton-Sticklor

The New Teachers Induction and Support Group was created in 2015 in response to the voiced disparity between the support and structure provided for the Master of Arts in Teaching students and that of new teachers in the area. Today, the group provides a close-knit space in which these new teachers can come together to discuss problems of practice, read books together and network with other professionals.

Contact: Heather Roberts

How can co-teaching become a model supporting growth and inquiry among university teacher educators, mentor and in-service teachers, and pre-service teachers?

Because collaboration is critical to professional practice in teaching, our work has centered on  modeling and coaching collaborative practices for pre-service teachers. Our research focuses on ways of creating co-teaching experiences across university courses and classroom settings that benefit all participants: pre-service teachers, teacher mentors, university teacher educators, and elementary school children.

Contacts: Holly Dolan and Annie Cohn

What are the pedagogical possibilities of graphic novels in fostering students’ critical, academic and disciplinary literacies?

The Graphic Novels Club at Claremont Academy provides an afterschool collaborative inquiry space for a university professor, an ELL teacher, and high school girls to explore how graphic narratives differ from other forms of storytelling and to engage in meaning-making around the realities of young women of color.

Contacts: Lori Simpson and Jie Park

How can Poetry Inside Out support the literacy development of multilingual youth?

Poetry Inside Out (PIO) is a poetry- and translation-based literacy program developed by the Center for the Art of Translation where students translate world-class poems from their original language (e.g., Spanish) into English.  ESL teachers in Worcester Public Schools have been implementing PIO, and researching how PIO can support literacy development.

Contacts: Lori Simpson, Jie Park, and Sarah Michaels

At its foundation, this team of science teachers seeks to understand the difference between teaching a subject and teaching a student. The group comes together to explore a variety of science practices, including: science teaching with ELL students, reading and writing in sciences, blended learning, and Next Generation of Standards. The group shares its work at conferences.

Contact: Letina Jeranyama

What makes a good story?  How to support students in learning as a community-of-artists?

Sixth graders in the Art Club at Gates Lane Elementary explored storytelling through the creation of their own original video pieces.  The students engaged as a community of film-makers, involving video production, acting, script writing, and prop and set design to create their own movie and film festival for  family and friends at Clark’s Razzo Hall.

Contacts: Anais DerSimonian and Dominique Pratt

This after-school arts and technology workshop created a space for exploring ways to support student and teacher reflection on individual and collective learning experiences through art and technology.  This included the use of Reggio Emilia-inspired video documentation processes, community art and documentation walls, and reflection circles.

Contacts: Jane McKeag and Katerine Bielaczyc

What types of dialogic tools foster deep reflection on student perspectives on learning and teaching?

In partnership with Claremont Academy, this project examines ways to include student perspectives as an integral part of the school improvement processes. Using a variety of dialogic tools, teachers engaged in collective inquiry into critical issues of school change.

Contacts: Kate Bielaczyc and Nastasia Lawton-Sticklor

How can schools become places where working together toward continual improvement is a way of being?

This school-led project focused on critical change processes in school improvement. The school worked to develop a theory of action involving social practices, design principles, and tools to support the development and evolution of schools as learning organizations.

Contacts: Kate Bielaczyc, Nastasia Lawton-Sticklor, Jie Park, Thomas Del Prete, and Ricci Hall

How a school/university partnership be leveraged to promote transformative learning and effective practice for first-year undergraduates?

This First-Year Intensive Seminar at Clark University involves undergraduate in working in close collaboration with Woodland Academy teachers and students — in running an after-school “Poetry and Art Club” for sixth graders. Together the two groups come together weekly to do Poetry Inside Out (PIO), translating poems from around the world into English, designing a high-end art exhibit, and publishing a book. The work was documented by other Clark undergraduates and Woodland teacher-researchers.

Contact: Sarah Michaels

Contact Information

Hiatt Center for Urban Education

Office Location
  • Jonas Clark Hall
    Clark University
    Worcester, Massachusetts 01610
  • 1-508-793-7722
  • 1-508-793-8864 Fax