Kennedy Institute

The James C. Kennedy Institute for Educational Success seeks to identify innovative and cost-effective means for promoting and sustaining the educational success of vulnerable children from early childhood through post-secondary education. Made possible by a gift from James C. Kennedy, the Institute established a program endowment which supports the research and operations of two faculty chairs in the Morgridge College of Education.

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Dedicated to applied research and dissemination of knowledge in the area of early childhood education

Dr. Douglas H. Clements, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning

Douglas H. Clements is a Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning; Executive Director, Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy; and Professor at the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver. He was previously a SUNY Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Buffalo, SUNY. Previously a preschool and kindergarten teacher, his present research interests are in the areas of the learning and teaching of early mathematics and computer applications. He has published over 100 research studies, 8 books, 50 chapters, and 250 additional publications. His latest books detail research-based learning trajectories in early mathematics education: Early childhood mathematics education research: Learning trajectories for young children and a companion book, Learning and teaching early math: The learning trajectories approach (Routledge). Dr. Clements has directed 20 projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Dept. of Educations, Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Currently, Dr. Clements is Principal Investigator on two large-scale randomized cluster trial projects (IES). He is also working with colleagues to study and refine learning trajectories in measurement (NSF). Dr. Clements was a member of President Bush's National Math Advisory Panel, convened to advise the administration on the best use of scientifically based research to advance the teaching and learning of mathematics and coauthor of the panel's report. He was also a member of the National Research Council's Committee on Early Mathematics and co-author of their report. He is one of the authors of NCTM's Principles and Standards in School Mathematics and Curriculum Focal Points. Dr. Clements teaches courses on early childhood mathematics, early childhood educational technology, and the cognitive foundations of early childhood education. In addition, he works with over 350 teachers in three current projects that include professional development and collaborative research.

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Dr. Julie Sarama, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Technology

Julie Sarama is the Kennedy Endowed Chair in Innovative Technology and Professor at the University of Denver. She was previously a Professor of Mathematics Education at the University at Buffalo (SUNY). She conducts research on young children's development of mathematical concepts and competencies, implementation and scale-up of educational reform, professional development models and their influence on student learning, and implementation and effects of her own software environments in mathematics classrooms, published in more than 50 refereed articles, 4 books, 30 chapters, and 60 additional publications. She has been Principal or Co-Principal Investigator on five projects funded by the National Science Foundation, including Building Blocks—Foundations for Mathematical Thinking, Pre-kindergarten to Grade 2: Research-based Materials Development and Planning for Professional Development in Pre-School Mathematics: Meeting the Challenge of Standards 2000. She is co-directing two large-scale studies funded by the U.S. Education Department's Institute of Educational Studies (IES). The first is a Phase II project, Scaling Up TRIAD: Teaching Early Mathematics for Understanding with Trajectories and Technologies was just awarded by the IES. The second is Increasing the Efficacy of an Early Mathematics Curriculum with Scaffolding Designed to Promote Self-Regulation. Sarama was previously the lead co-PI at the Buffalo site on another IES-funded project, A Longitudinal study of the Effects of a Pre-Kindergarten Mathematics Curriculum on Low-Income Children's Mathematical Knowledge (IES). This is one of seven national projects conducted simultaneously at the local and national levels (combined data) as part of the IES's Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research project. Dr. Sarama has taught secondary mathematics and computer science, gifted math at the middle school level, preschool and kindergarten mathematics enrichment classes, and mathematics methods and content courses for elementary to secondary teachers. She designed and programmed over 50 published computer programs, including her version of Logo and Logo-based software activities (Turtle Math, which was awarded Technology & Learning Software of the Year award, 1995, in the category "Math").

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Dr. Phil S. Strain, Kennedy Endowed Chair in Urban Education

Dr. Phil S. Strain is James C. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Urban Education at the Morgridge College of Education and Director of the Positive Early Learning Experiences (PELE) Center, University of Denver. He is the author of over 300 scientific publications, has served on the editorial boards of 22 professional journals and has been Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator of grants and contracts totaling over 80 million dollars. He is particularly interested in expanding inclusive preschool options, comprehensive services for young children with autism and prevention and intervention for children with challenging behaviors. Dr. Strain is the author of the original grant that funded the development of the inclusive LEAP Preschool Model for young children with autism in 1980, has conducted the largest randomized, controlled trial of an autism intervention (LEAP) to date (Strain & Bovey, 2011). The LEAP Preschool program began as a federally funded (i.e., Handicapped Children’s Early Education Program) model demonstration program serving young children with autism and typical children, ages 3-5, within an inclusive preschool setting. At the time of its inception, LEAP Preschool was one of the few early childhood programs throughout the country that was committed to inclusive practices for young children with disabilities and their families. Dr. Strain also co-authored the original grant to fund the development of The Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children (Pyramid Model). Dr. Strain’s current projects include the Pyramid Model Scale-up to Kindergarten, National Center on Pyramid Model Interventions and the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center funded by the U.S. Dept. Of Education, and Evaluation of Preschool Special Education funded by the U.S. Dept. Of Education and the Institute for Education Sciences (IES).