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Feb. 4, 2014

2014 Outreach Scholarship Community Partner Award

Dorinda Carter Andrews
Department of Teacher Education
College of Education  

David Chapin
Former Superintendent
East Lansing Public Schools

Clifford Seybert
East Lansing Public Schools 

The Outreach Scholarship Community Partnership Award honors Dorinda Carter Andrews, associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education; Clifford Seybert, superintendent of East Lansing Public Schools; and David Chapin, former superintendent of East Lansing Public Schools, for their partnership to close academic achievement gaps in East Lansing Public Schools. The partnership is an exemplary model of cam- pus–community collaboration designed to utilize culturally relevant and responsive interventions for improving student achievement.

The Closing the Achievement Gap in East Lansing Public Schools initiative focuses on identifying factors that contribute to African American student underperformance and implementing academic and cultural interventions for student success. The initiative involves significant collaboration between school district leaders, teachers, parent groups, East Lansing Public School students, and MSU students (particularly in the Department of Teacher Education and the Residential College in Arts and Humanities). This extensive collaboration has led to notable personal, institutional, educational, and research contributions to the school district and larger community, including several initiatives that will have long-term impact.

Using longitudinal mixed methods research, the partnership has yielded new insights into how to increase student achievement through improved student academic engagement and teacher pedagogy and practice. Specifically, the initiative has focused on increasing educator awareness of and sensitivity to the role of race and culture in teaching and learning; helping educators make instructional decisions based on academic and cultural data; building leadership capacity around educational equity and cultural competency; and integrating youth voices in affecting positive change in learning spaces.

In her partnership with ELPS, Carter Andrews has worked with constituents (administrators, parent groups, teachers, and students) to develop interventions that increase individuals’ cultural humility and competency. Over the past five years, she has collaborated with each school’s staff to better understand how to make data-driven decisions about meeting the academic and social needs of marginalized youth. Carter Andrews’s leadership with the Achievement Gap Project has had organizational, educational, and curricular outcomes including the establishment of an Achievement Gap Task Force (now in its fourth year), the establishment of a Director of Educational Equity position, a diversity conference at East Lansing High School, the district’s membership with the Minority Student Achievement Network, a yearlong professional development course on teaching across cultural differences, and community forums on race and cultural diversity.  

Carter Andrews is recognized nationally for her research on race and equity in education. She has partnered with school districts throughout the country to address the academic needs of culturally diverse students. Her scholarly work is published in peer-reviewed education journals and books as well as training manuals and technical reports.

As respective superintendent and former superintendent of ELPS, Seybert and Chapin are dedicated educators focused on providing meaningful and quality educational experiences for all students, particularly those most disadvantaged by the educational system. Chapin originally invited Carter Andrews 
to participate in the Epps’s strategic planning process. So successful was the collaboration that Chapin and she continued working together to address achievement gaps among groups in the school system for more than five years—and this work is continuing with Seybert.

The university–community collaboration provides an excellent example of the scholarship- guided outreach that MSU is committed to as a land-grant university. Such collaborations are systematic, have practical and theoretical significance, and include a mutually beneficial relationship between MSU and a community partner. This particular partnership merits recognition for making a difference in the lives East Lansing youth and the overall East Lansing Public School System.