Research & Action Report, Fall/Winter 2013

Wellesley Centers for Women research and action initiatives are funded primarily by federal, state, and corporate grants and contracts. Several new and continuing projects received funding over the past six months.


Parental Profiles of Sexuality Communication: Protective Effects on Youth Sexual Behavior
Project Director: Jennifer Grossman, Ph.D.
Funded by: National Institutes of Health

This longitudinal investigation will examine profiles of early and later parents’ approaches to sexuality communication and will assess their influence, along with other aspects of parent teen sexuality communication, on adolescent and emerging-adult risky sexual behaviors.


Mapping Licensing and Quality Rating and Improvement System Terminology
Project Director: Wendy Wagner Robeson, Ed.D.
Funded by: Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care

This project reviewed, compared, and contrasted the terminology found in the Massachusetts’ Department of Early Education and Care Licensing Regulations and Quality Rating and Improvement System Standards resulting in a Terminology Glossary.


Ready Educators Quality Improvement Partner
Project Director: Wendy Wagner Robeson, Ed.D.
Funded by: Thrive in 5, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley

The Thrive in 5 Review Committee has selected Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) as the Quality Improvement Partner for the Ready Educators Pilot: Linking Program Improvement to Child Outcomes. Ten center-based and five family child care programs in Boston, MA will receive intense technical assistance through individualized program improvement plans in order to improve program quality and children’s readiness for school.


Out-Of-School-Time Physical Activity Standards: Implementation Trends
Project Director: Georgia Hall, Ph.D.
Funded by: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with University of California San Diego

This commissioned analysis is responsive to the research gaps about out-of-school time (OST) intervention settings identified in the “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Midcourse Report” produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The findings from the study, which include a national online survey and best practice research briefs, will inform policy makers and providers on approaches to increasing physical activity for children and youth participating in OST programs.


Mindfulness and Literacy In Young Children
Project Director: Michelle Porche, Ed.D.
Funded by: Hemera Regnant Fund

This six-month planning grant will consolidate a newly-formed mindfulness research team at WCW. This interdisciplinary team, comprised of individuals from various WCW projects would establish mindfulness research as a thematic priority area at the Centers. The net effect of this planning grant will be the creation of a strong team and the development of usable methods of mindfulness practice involving infants and toddlers that focuses on early language and literacy development. The work will be documented in a concept paper designed to inform subsequent pilot research and programming.


Apt Validity Study II: Improving Rater Reliability
Project Directors: Allison Tracy, Ph.D. and Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D.
Funded by: William T. Grant Foundation

Partnering with local and out-of-state organizations, the Assessment of Program Practices Tool (APT) Validity Study II will focus on developing and testing a video-based training and online feedback system that prepares experienced users of the APT to meet rigorous standards of accuracy for higher stakes purposes. The APT is a well-established observation measure used for evaluating the quality of out-of-school-time settings.


Implementing the Massachusetts Women’s Justice Network’s Action Plan: Alternatives to Incarceration for Women in Massachusetts
Project Director: Erika Kates, Ph.D.
Funded by: Gardiner Howland Shaw Foundation

This project will enable the implementation of the action plan currently being developed by the Massachusetts Women’s Justice Network (MWJN). The action plan is aimed at reducing the imprisonment of women in Massachusetts and encouraging a greater use of alternatives to incarceration, e.g., the diversion of women from the criminal justice system to effective, women-centered resources addressing trauma, substance abuse, and other concerns. The plan addresses many of the inequities, needs, and concerns identified by the Gender & Justice Project at WCW, funded by the Gardiner Howland Shaw Foundation. This collaborative project brings together advisors, partners, and supporters of the work to implement the action platform.


Additional Funding


Tracy Gladstone, Ph.D. received continued funding from Boston Children’s Hospital for the Baer Foundation-funded family prevention of depression project.

The Jean Baker Miller Training Institute at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) received gifts from various individuals and supporters.

Nancy Marshall, Ed.D. received funding from Associated Early Care and Education to score, review, analyze, and report on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PVT) and Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) data for the children in family child care homes.

Peggy Mcintosh, Ph.D. received gifts from various individuals and supporters of the National Seed Project (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity) on Inclusive Curriculum at WCW.

The National Institute On Out-Of-School Time (NIOST) at WCW received support for training, technical assistance projects, and continuing evaluations from The New Jersey School Age Care Coalition; Maine Parent Federation; Fairfax County Office for Children; Network of Extended Day Directors; Reebok International (BOKS); Northeast Regional Key; Christopher House; Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network; Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities; United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey; City of Fort Worth Parks SPARC Program; Boston & Beyond Summer Learning Program; Pasadena Independent School District; Berks County Intermediate Unit; Boston Public Schools; City of St. Paul/Sprocket Program; and Public Health Management Corporation.

The Open Circle program at WCW received various gifts from friends and supporters of the social and emotional learning program.

Joanne Roberts, Ph.D. received funding to conduct eight days of training across Massachusetts in the various Quality Rating and Improvement System regions on the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale–Revised Edition scale for the UMass Donahue Institute, in conjunction with Massachusetts Department of Early Education & Care.

Wendy Wagner Robeson, Ed.D. received funding from Associated Early Care and Education to provide training and assessment of PPVT-4 and PALS-Pre-K.

Nan Stein, Ed.D. gave the keynote speech at the Bullying and Sexual Harassment: Managing Each Appropriately in Schools training workshop sponsored by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. Stein also served as a speaker at a workshop on an evidence-based multilevel prevention program for middle school students on sexual harassment and precursors to dating violence sponsored by Jane Doe, Inc., a Massachusetts coalition against sexual assault and domestic violence.

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