Who helped us to weave these threads?
After two years of strategic planning and review of national and Pennsylvania student outcome data, we are grateful to several local Foundations and University personnel for their financial support and expertise necessary to design our unique approach to improving those outcomes, Positive Learning and Integrated Design (PLAID).
Thanks to The Grable Foundation, we were able to work with ASSET STEM Science for professional development for our staff in inquiry based/STEM learning. ASSET STEM Education, a national education improvement nonprofit has provided our teachers training in the latest research-based, standards-aligned materials exploring science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) content and concepts.
The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and Hillman Family Foundation enabled us to collaborate with local university personnel, research and design the PLAID concept and bring the University of Pittsburgh’s SPECS program to Pace. The SPECS Team designed and conducted the program evaluation research to document outcomes of a pilot study on the effectiveness of PLAID. This organization is an authentic assessment and program evaluation research model, which is designed to document quality, impact, effectiveness, and outcomes of prevention-to-intervention approaches for children and youth who are at developmental risk and/or with developmental disabilities, challenging behaviors; and chronic medical conditions in real-world community contexts.
We appreciate and look forward to our continuing partnership with Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU’s) Community, Robotics, Education, and Technology Empowerment (CREATE) Lab for the evaluation and innovation of technologies for our specific population of students. Our vision is for Pace to be a satellite location for our children to experience and learn from CREATE tools. Along with CMU, West Liberty University and Carlow University are also partners in the CREATE Lab Satellite Network that engages educators and local communities in the development and dissemination of cutting edge technologies, and innovative approaches to learning and teaching. West Liberty University is assisting us with training teachers in makerspace and design thinking, while Carlow University is helping us incorporate a developmental approach for scaffolding student engagement and support in effective instructional practices.
Additionally, Mimi Falbo and Associates continues to support the development of coaching interventions and data collection processes enhancing the incorporation of PLAID throughout the program.
The implementation and dissemination of PLAID in year two would not be possible without the above funders and collaborators. It is their passion, commitment and hard work that has exemplified that they too believe kids CAN!