Overview of Project Bright IDEA Team

The Research on Education and Development of Youth (REDY Center) in the Social Science Research Institute at Duke University will participate in research, evaluation and scaling-up of a ten-year, state-based Javits funded project, Bright IDEA, through a new interdisciplinary Initiative on Education and Human Development. Selected undergraduate students and faculty will visit school districts, engage educators and their students, families and communities and conduct case studies that will inform public policy on effective teaching models for all students.

Project Bright IDEA, introduced by the Exceptional Children Division, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the American Association for Gifted Children in 2004, significantly increased the qualifications of a number of academically gifted students from underrepresented populations by changing the dispositions and capacity of regular elementary teachers to use research-based instructional practices.

Faculty, undergraduates and graduate students at Duke University will have opportunities to engage with educators and diverse groups in North Carolina and other states on important issues of developing the potential of all students and finding effective teaching models that can close the opportunity and achievement gaps.

This Initiative on Education and Human Development can have a major impact on education and the promotion of models that strive to provide equity, excellence and academic integrity for all students regardless of place of birth or circumstance. The Bright IDEA model can serve as one model that has significant results in North Carolina schools and one that can continue to provide case studies for exploring and comparing new models for America’s schools.

Project Summary for 2014-2015

The REDY Center will engage undergraduates, graduate students and faculty in research, evaluation and scaling-up of a ten-year, Javits funded, Project Bright IDEA launched in 2004 by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the American Association for Gifted Children.

Bass students will be able to visit communities and engage with educators and students, and conduct research (both statistical and qualitative case studies) in schools that are using the Bright IDEA model and variations on the models.

The Bright IDEA Pilot was developed in response to Increasing Opportunities to Learn, (The Darity Report), submitted to the State Board of Education in 2001. The pilot was revised under a Javits Grant that spanned 2004-2010 and significantly increased the qualifications of a number of students for gifted programs from underrepresented populations. Regular elementary teachers changed their dispositions to believe that all students could be successful in mastering an advanced curriculum, and they learned how to differentiate the classroom environment to meet the learning styles, interests and academic needs of all students. Since Javits funding ended, districts have scaled-up the model to K-12 under Bright Tomorrow and are interested in participating in new research and case studies. The REDY Center and Knowledge Network Systems will provide an online community of learners for Bass students to engage the stakeholders in the districts on evaluating the Bright Tomorrow model and public policy issues on education and human development.

Project Leaders

The core team that will direct and collaborate with undergraduates and graduate students on their respective research projects will include the Team Leader and Director, REDY Center: Dr. Angel Harris, Professor, Sociology and African American Studies. Margaret Gayle and Daniel Turner, Associate Researchers and Jackie Terrell, Program Coordinator, REDY Center will coordinate all the activities and logistics of the undergraduates and graduate students with the school districts. The central office staffs, families and school leaders in the school districts will provide a source of diverse opinions and groups for the Duke students and faculty to interview and engage as they develop their research projects. Dr. Kristen Stephens and Dr. Ann Brewster, Program in Education at Duke will collaborate with our team on their work with gifted students and drop out research.

Angel Harris, Ph.D., Dr. Harris, Director of Research on Education and Development of Youth at Duke will lead the Bass Team, as Principal Investigator on Project Bright IDEA and EHD.

Martin Zelder, Ph.D.will conduct the undergraduate class for granting credit to the students involved in the Bass Project.

Team Composition for 2014-15

Undergraduate and graduate students from Public Policy, Sociology, Political Science, Philosophy, Economics, Education, Neuroscience and Engineering are involved in projects during this year.