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Whole Child

Students come to school with a wide range of health, nutritional, and socio-emotional needs that impact their readiness to learn. EPIC’s work explores policies, programs, and circumstances that impact whole child needs.

Group of Kids Playing at the Field Together

School Start Times

Schools and districts across the country are considering how the bell schedules of schools affect the health and learning of their students.  In work sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, EPIC explores how elementary, middle, and high school start times affect health and academic outcomes including sleep, absences, course grades, disciplinary incidents, and test scores. This study provides state and local education officials with evidence to make more effective school start time decisions. Please contact Kevin Bastian or Sarah Fuller for more information.

The Effect of Natural Disasters on Academic Performance and Achievement Gaps

Natural disasters affect thousands of children each year, causing disruptions to their home lives, schooling, and mental health. With support from the Russell Sage Foundation, EPIC combines achievement data from the Stanford Education Data Archive with data on disaster declarations to identify the effect of being exposed to a natural disaster on achievement nationwide. This study examines effects across different groups of students to develop an understanding of how natural disasters contribute to achievement gaps between students of different race/ethnicities and different socioeconomic statuses.  Please contact Sarah Fuller for more information.

Long-term Outcomes of Early Literacy

A rich body of evidence links early literacy with academic outcomes in primary and secondary school, and adult literacy is correlated with better long-term outcomes in areas such as employment and health. However, there is very little high quality research evidence examining the connection between early literacy and adult outcomes.  The purpose of this project is to provide evidence on the relationship between literacy scores in early elementary school and a range of adult outcomes, including educational attainment, economic outcomes, juvenile delinquency, and teenage pregnancy. Please contact Sarah Fuller or Kevin Bastian for more information.

Assessing the Long-Term Impacts of School Extension Programs on Student Re-Engagement and Learning Recovery

In partnership with the Office of Learning Recovery and Acceleration (OLR) at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), EPIC is conducting a three-year project to examine the effects of the pandemic on educational outcomes in North Carolina and the impact of school extension programs on school re-engagement and academic recovery. This project, funded by the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) within the US Department of Education, aims to increase student re-engagement in school and academic recovery by 1) examining the short, medium, and long-term effects of the pandemic on statewide trends in student outcomes—overall and by subgroup—during the 2020-21 to 2023-24 school years, 2) descriptively exploring variation in the implementation and design of school extension programs sponsored by the OLR across a range of districts and charter schools, and 3) analyzing the impact of school extension programs on student re-engagement and academic recovery during the post-pandemic period across student subgroups by program type, dosage, and design features. The results of this study will provide evidence to support decision making around the design and continuation of school extension activities and success in closing achievement gaps created or widened by the pandemic. Please contact Sarah Fuller or Kevin Bastian for more information.

Back To Normal? The Long Run Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Student, Educator, and School Outcomes

During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools closed abruptly, transitioned to remote instruction, and in many cases, have remained in remote or hybrid learning throughout the 2020-21 school year. A comprehensive understanding of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is vital as schools begin to recover and move forward with new approaches.  In this study, supported by a grant from the Spencer Foundation, EPIC researchers use statewide data to examine the short- and longer-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on student, educator, and school outcomes using a framework of social vulnerability and resilience from the disaster literature.  We use administrative data on all students, educators, and schools in a large statewide school system in the years before the pandemic, the years of the pandemic, and the years following the pandemic.  We also use survey data on approaches to remote learning and student support during the pandemic from a statewide survey of educators and district-level data on remote or hybrid learning models. This study uses descriptive statistics, quantile regressions, and quasi-experimental regression methods to understand the complex effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in schools. Please contact Sarah Fuller or Kevin Bastian for more information.

An Active Implementation Evaluation of School Extension Programs in Western North Carolina

In partnership with the North Carolina State Board of Education, EPIC is conducting a short-cycle formative qualitative study to focus on the initial implementation of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER)-funded learning recovery programs including School Extension, Summer Bridge, and Career Accelerator programs. This study focuses on high schools in western North Carolina, an area where the geographic landscape presented unique challenges during remote learning including limited access to high-speed internet and increased transportation costs. The study is guided by three overarching research questions focused on implementation, outcomes, and enabling/inhibiting factors. Namely, this study investigates 1) how summer learning programs are implemented in high schools within the Western region of the state; 2) the extent educators perceive that summer learning programs are achieving their desired outcomes; and 3) the enabling and inhibiting conditions for the successful implementation and participation in school extension activities. Findings from this study will be presented to policymakers and educators to inform decision-making around how best to aid in recovery and accelerate learning for all students. Please contact Julie Marks for more information.