Collaboration + Relationships + Trust | LSU Social Research & Evaluation Center's Impact on K12 Education is Mission Driven
February 24, 2021
The work of LSU's Social Research & Evaluation Center in education-focused areas impacts the community. Our mission and vision seek to contribute to the advancement of equity and wellbeing through transformative change in social systems through research and collaborative relationships. We believe in prevention and being proactive; we invest in children, their families, the school workforce, and school systems.
Collaboration with state, district, university, and community partners enables the multidisciplinary researchers at the Social Research & Evaluation Center (SREC) to advance its mission driven work. SREC is a research center in the LSU College of Human Sciences & Education. SREC faculty and staff work to foster healthy social systems by designing, implementing, and evaluating community and social initiatives including educational programs. SREC researchers generate knowledge through research to benefit education partners and provide professional services, outreach, and capacity building.
SREC is currently engaged in multiple capacities in four education-focused projects: 1) We serve as the program evaluator, mental health consultant, and technical assistance for Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education (AWARE). This Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) program is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and collaborates with three Louisiana school districts to increase behavioral health services and trauma-informed care in K-12 schools. 2) SREC researchers serve as the external evaluator of the Research-Practitioner Partnership (RPP) for BRbytes, which provides a new curriculum in computational thinking and computer science for middle and high school students in one school district. BRbytes is funded by the National Science Foundation and we are assisting the larger LSU research team by investigating how their new research knowledge flows to and is utilized by teachers.
SREC's Current Education Projects: Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education - AWARE | BRbytes | Louisiana School Social Work Expansion Project - LaSSWx | Louisiana Social-Emotional Learning and Academic Integration - LA SELA
3) SREC researchers serve as the program evaluators for the Louisiana School Social Work Expansion Project (LaSSWx), which is a LDOE and LSU School of Social Work U.S. Department of Education grant funded program to increase the school mental health workforce in k-12 schools, specifically for school social workers. Increasing the mental health workforce will aid educational systems in holistically meeting all the needs of Pk-12 students. 4) LDOE has recently launched a program to integrate social-emotional learning into the whole school and academic experience. For the Louisiana Social-Emotional Learning and Academic Integration (LA SELA) program, SREC is designing and delivering 30 hours of professional development content to district and school leadership to assist them in improving school climate and eliminating punitive disciplinary practices.
Our Services At a Glance
- Intervention and action research
- Evidence-informed practice
- Surveys and data collection tools
- Process and outcome/impact evaluation
- Program fidelity monitoring
- Needs assessment and asset mapping
- Statistical and qualitative analysis
- Developing and managing databases
- GIS Mapping and spatial analysis
- Outreach and community engagement
- Professional development
- Grant consulting and proposal writing
School Mental Health Programs
While each of these programs have specific and focused goals and objectives, the totality of this work represents the impetus for big change in Louisiana PK-12 schools. SREC has partnered with the State Department of Education and school districts to build infrastructure and to establish comprehensive school mental health programs in schools.
SREC researchers bring expert knowledge and skills to strengthen school-based mental health systems. We support multi-tier systems by providing direction about selection of research-based interventions and practices. This includes sharing knowledge and providing training sequences, conducting needs assessments, managing data, and providing technical assistance related to mental health screening, instrument development, and measuring changes to school climate.
Transforming systems and making change is hard. Mixing expertise with respect for the individual and appreciation of difference provides the mechanism for improving our community and state.
The work of SREC in this education focused area impacts the community. Our mission and vision seeks to contribute to the advancement of equity and wellbeing through transformative change in social systems through research and collaborative relationships. This work is often prevention and proactive, rather than reactive, as we invest in children, their families, the school workforce, and school systems. The success of this work is rooted in collaboration, relationship-building and trust. At the heart of catalyzing change is human relationships. Transforming systems and making change is hard. Mixing expertise with respect for the individual and appreciation of difference provides the mechanism for improving our community and state.
Written by: Judith Rhodes | PhD, LMSW
Rhodes is the current Director of the LSU Social Research & Evaluation Center. She uses her expertise in social work and education for program design, implementation, evaluation, and grant writing. Her work investigates the school-to-justice pathway through research in school social work, school-based interventions, and educational attainment youth placed at risk. She has lead US Department of Education funded interventions with particular emphasis on cross-sector collaboration.