The scholarship of Dr. Wexler and the Adolescent Literacy and Professional Development Lab focuses on ways to improve literacy outcomes for adolescents with reading difficulties and disabilities in content-area and supplemental intensive intervention settings through professional development and coaching models.
The Adolescent Literacy and Professional Development Lab works in partnership with school districts, instructional leaders, and teachers to develop, refine, and evaluate professional development and coaching models that lead to sustained implementation of evidence-based literacy practices.
Dr. Wexler and her colleagues at The University of Texas at Austin were recently awarded two federally funded grants to further the work on AIM Coaching. First, Dr. Wexler (PI) and her colleagues were awarded a $1.4M (2020-2024) Development and Innovation grant from the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to refine and rigorously evaluate the efficacy of AIM Coaching for middle schools. Second, Dr. Wexler (PI) and her colleagues were awarded a $1.6M grant from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP; 2020-2024) to answer questions related to implementation and sustainability of AIM Coaching under routine conditions. Included in the OSEP project is a focus on training administrators to support AIM Coaching, and researchers will also create a virtual version of AIM Coaching.
The purpose of PACT Plus, a model demonstration project funded by the US Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to Dr. Wexler (co-PI) and her colleagues at The University of Texas at Austin, was to build a school-wide literacy model in four middle schools. Researchers worked closely with practitioners in the schools providing intensive professional development and coaching to teachers. Eventually, the research team scaled back support in an effort to support practitioners as they implemented the model with little to no research-team support. During PACT Plus, it became clear that the field could benefit from literacy coaching model designed to support teachers’ varying levels of skill and will. Therefore, the team began to develop such a model (i.e., AIM Coaching; see Current Research, above).
As principal investigator of Project CALI (Content Area Literacy Instruction), funded by the US Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Dr. Wexler and her colleagues at University of Connecticut and Vanderbilt University developed and evaluated a middle school co-teaching and literacy professional development model designed to improve collaboration between general (content-area) and special education teachers and enhance reading achievement and content-area knowledge of students with disabilities.