Dr. Christina Cipriano is an assistant professor in the Psychology Department in the College of Arts & Sciences. Led by Dr. Cipriano, the Recognizing Excellence in Learning and Teaching (RELATE) Project is focused on improving the academic, as well as social and emotional learning outcomes for both students and their teachers in traditionally under-served classrooms and at risk-schools.
Cipriano asserts that student outcomes can be improved by a systematic intervention targeting the wellbeing of the educators in the school. RELATE, which was developed, field tested, and validated by research scientists and practitioners, offers a classroom observation tool and an integrated approach to professional development grounded in culturally responsive social and emotional learning.
The project received $155,241 in grant funding from the William T. Grant Foundation and competitions offered through the University of Massachusetts. Based at UMass Dartmouth, the RELATE Project is a multi-university initiative that is working with the Boston, Fall River, and New Bedford public schools, and local alternative schools. It embeds an evidence-based professional development system that promotes high-quality, evidence-based instructional techniques focused on improving outcomes of traditionally underserved populations in the community.
“Despite Massachusetts’ status as one of the best states for public education in the country, pockets of students serviced by the public schools, including those requiring extended school-year educational services, fare quite differently,” Cipriano said.
“This initiative promotes the health and wellbeing of these students and teachers through systematic research-to-practice community partnerships.”