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Supporting the Social & Emotional Growth of Children
The section on Supporting the Social & Emotional Growth of Children encourages submissions that focus on fostering healthy development in preschool and elementary-age students. Research that evaluates programs designed to mitigate the challenges of behavioral and environmental risks in educational settings are welcome. Of particular interest are studies that: (1) examine how the design and implementation of policies and interventions facilitate growth in social and emotional competencies, (2) identify critical features of environments that influence developmental pathways, and (3) provide guidance for effectively utilizing existing data on social & emotional functioning in a continuous improvement cycle.

Promoting Student Engagement & Persistence in College & Career Readiness
Research that examines efforts in secondary schools, districts or states to support adolescents’ academic engagement and perseverance is appropriate for the section on Promoting Student Engagement & Persistence in College & Career Readiness. Evaluations of partnerships that span administrative levels and stakeholder groups, including collaborations between K-12 and post-secondary institutions, as well as school-community collaborations that involve data sharing and joint action in support of student success, are particularly encouraged. Among the topics submissions may address are: (1) factors related to student dropout, (2) links with career technical education pathways, (3) social & emotional competencies and mindsets associated with academic achievement, and (4) the relationship between school culture and professional practice, academic engagement and student persistence. Studies that focus on ensuring equitable access to the Common Core State Standards or other challenging instructional pathways for college & career preparation, are of particular interest.

Improving Teacher Effectiveness
The Improving Teacher Effectiveness section welcomes submissions that focus on policies and practices designed to alter the composition and effectiveness of teaching staffs at the school, district or state level.  This includes research for the improvement of: (1) pre-service, credentialing, and induction programs, (2) recruitment and assignment of teachers, (3) observation and supervision of teaching practice, (4) teacher evaluation systems, and (5) strategies to support continuous professional learning.  Studies involving collaborations between K-12 or higher education practitioners, administrators and researchers in an iterative process designed to improve practice, are encouraged.

Addressing Achievement Gaps & Persistently Low-Performing Schools
The section on Addressing Achievement Gaps & Persistently Low-Performing Schools invites submissions that focus on setting-level efforts in schools, districts or states designed to examine and address achievement gaps among students and schools. This may include research that supports schools or districts in continuous improvement around specific problems, such as ensuring inclusive and effective instruction for students with disabilities or increasing graduation rates at low-performing schools. Research that assists decision-makers in assessing the intended, and unintended, ways in which policies and programs differentially impact subgroups or the manner through which school organization and contexts influence achievement gaps and low performance, will be of particular interest.

Research Methods
The Research Methods section invites submissions in the areas of design, measurement, and analysis that facilitate the evaluation and improvement of practice in a variety of educational settings.  Submissions may include novel methodological research, extensions of existing methods, or specific applications, from case studies to initiatives at scale. Examinations of how improvement methodologies inform conceptions about research validity and rigor are welcome. Consistent with the conference theme, research that advances the use of existing data to support improvement efforts is of particular interest.