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Unlocking Equity:
Social Justice Research for K-12 Educators

Many well-intentioned school reform efforts center on the need for “research-based” policies and practices, yet few classroom teachers and education leaders receive exposure to current research findings and studies on a regular basis. This project aims to close the research-to-practice gap specifically in the interest of promoting educational equity.  

Spring 2024 Issue

Open the door to impactful practices


Improving Mental Health Among Transgender Adolescents

Transgender adolescents exhibit depression at a rate four times higher than their cisgender peers, and they are five times more likely to attempt suicide. Though research on the topic is relatively new, there are self-compassion strategies and interventions that could lead to improved mental health outcomes for this vulnerable group.

Today’s Civil Rights Fight: What’s Math Got to Do With It?

Research shows that there are three common systemic barriers to Black student participation in STEM programs at all grade levels. This article reviews the research, describes those barriers, and offers recommendations for overcoming them, with particular attention given to the most impactful leadership moves.

Elementary English Learner Classroom Composition and Academic Achievement

Research consistently shows that diverse classrooms with integrated language proficiency policies are more beneficial to English learners than classrooms segregated by student ability. But guidance for developing such policies is scant. This study fills that gap and shows that integrated approaches also benefit teachers, English-proficient peers, and the social-emotional outcomes for all students. 

Affordances of Multilingual and Multimodal Literacy Engagements of Immigrant High School Students

Educators are tasked with providing immigrant students with a smooth and equitable transition to school, a challenge that goes beyond ensuring students learn the primary language of instruction. These students confront racism and negotiate power imbalances pertaining to their multiple and intersecting identities, but research shows that multilingual and multimodal narratives can help address those difficult topics.

Improving Relationships and Student Outcomes Through Restorative Practices

What do you know about restorative justice? Are you familiar with its basic principles? This review of literature offers exercises and resources to educators looking to implement restorative practices in their classrooms, especially for students with mild to severe emotional or behavioral disorders (EBDs).  



Racial Identity and Civil Rights Literature for Black Children

Educators face numerous challenges when teaching the Civil Rights Movement, and students suffer whether the cause is insufficient curriculum materials or a lack supporting resources. But engaging with the difficult topics raised by this subject matter is crucial for student development and can improve everything from racial understanding to teacher practice.

Fall 2023 Issue

How Frequent Teacher Referrers Expand Racial Disciplinary Disproportionalities

This paper analyzes how a small group of educators in a large, diverse urban school district doubled the racial discipline gap in their schools and it makes recommendations for how leaders can successfully address and mitigate such disparities.

Black History Curriculum

Incorporating culturally relevant education in K-12 classrooms presents many schools with both systemic and curricular challenges, but teachers and leaders have found practical responses that can lead you in the right direction.

Latinx Students' Perceptions About Their Experiences

Latinx children face multiple challenges in school, including social isolation and stereotypes from both community members and educators. Through interviewing these students and emphasizing the value of student voice, researchers uncovered four key needs that could be used to improve educator practice and student experiences in your school.

Culturally Adapted Support for Black Male Learners

Black students aged 5 to 21 are more likely to be identified with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBDs) than students in any other racial group, and research has shown these students are both overrepresented and horrifically underserved. In this study, researchers describe a successful multi-tiered approach to treating students with EBDs that could change how your school serves these children.

Supporting Equity in Cooperative Mathematics Learning

Ensuring that mathematical instruction is both comprehensive and equitable requires careful planning and reflection. This review of literature highlights some of the most critical cooperative practices that teachers can enact and some of the most important questions they need to ask when working to improve mathematical outcomes and understanding.

“Discomfort” as Resistance to Transgender Student Affirmation

Using interviews from a small rural school, this study documents how concerns for personal and community discomfort impaired accommodations for a transgender child in elementary school. Examination of that discomfort reveals important patterns and mistakes educators can recognize and address when seeking to better support transgender students.

Does Reclassification Change How English Learners Feel About School? 

The impact of social-emotional learning (SEL) on academic success is well-documented, but its usefulness for English Learners (ELs) is not widely discussed. This study shows how the reclassification process for ELs can both positively and negatively affect SEL skills, which may have implications for both educators and policymakers.

Gender Disparities in AP Computer Science Exams

Despite increasing demand for computing jobs, only one of every five PhDs in Computer Science (CS) are earned by women, and this underrepresentation is echoed in high school Advance Placement (AP) courses. This paper focuses on how schools can remedy that disparity and create more equitable classrooms for girls.

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