Three West Virginia University School of Public Health faculty members will be part of a $4.8 million Department of Education grant to develop a new West Virginia Family Engagement Center. Associate professor Dr. Alfgeir Kristjansson, and adjunct faculty members Dr. Megan Smith and Dr. Michael Mann – formerly full-time faculty in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences – will serve as external evaluators for the project.
The EdVenture Group, Inc., a leading nonprofit in the field of education, received the grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, which supports organizations that provide technical assistance and training to state and local educational agencies in the implementation and enhancement of family engagement policies, programs, and activities leading to improvement in student development and academic achievement. Through a partnership of families, state and local educational agencies, school-level staff and personnel, and community-based organizations, the West Virginia Family Engagement Center will support student achievement and school improvement and increase the number of high-quality educational options available to families.
The West Virginia Family Engagement Center will be a collaborative project of The EdVenture Group, Inc., the West Virginia Department of Education and the West Virginia University School of Public Health. Under the direction and leadership of Dr. Lydotta Taylor, president & CEO, and Dr. Meaghan Cochrane, education researcher, The EdVenture Group, Inc. will oversee all aspects of the project, including: recruiting and retaining school partners; training; technical support; coaching schools, families, and community organizations; and working with the external evaluation team. The West Virginia Department of Education will provide school and student data in recruiting high need, low performing comprehensive schools for participation in the Family Engagement Center. Drs. Kristjansson, Mann and Smith will provide external evaluation.