Skip to page content

Students, families and teachers celebrate LISELL-B's White House recognition

Kathryn Kao

October 28, 2015


On Saturday, Oct. 24, over 100 Latino and Karen-Burmese middle and high school students and parents attended a recognition event to celebrate the recent White House award received by LISELL-B, a $2.6 million NSF-funded research and development project housed in the University of Georgia College of Education.

In commemoration of its 25th anniversary, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics recognized LISELL-B and over 230 other organizations across the country as new Bright Spots programs. By highlighting these programs, the Initiative hopes to encourage collaboration amongst stakeholders focused on supporting Latino educational excellence.

The project was only one of five programs in Georgia recognized for supporting and ensuring the educational attainment of Hispanic students. The primary goal of LISELL-B is to construct and study instructional and assessment strategies designed to encourage science talk, writing and action among students. Project activities take place in school and out-of-school settings, such as in the "Steps to College through Science" bilingual family workshops held on different college campuses.

During Saturday's workshop, project participants visited UGA's Soil Testing Lab, where Daniel Jackson, a research professional, engaged the families in activities about the Vidalia Onion Research project housed in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

In a second session, Cory Buxton, LISELL-B's principal investigator and the UGA Athletic Association Professor of Education in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice, led a learning activity for parents and their children on structural engineering at River's Crossing titled "Designing Earthquake Resistant Buildings."

In the final session, in accordance with LISELL-B's goal of promoting family engagement and college and career readiness, Martha Allexsaht-Snider, the project's co-principal investigator and an associate professor in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice, led a family-focused session called "Family Conversations to Support STEM College and Career Aspirations."

Additionally, Narke Nolton and Ayodele Dare, representatives of UGA's Young Scholars program, and student ambassador Kristen Purvis from the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, shared information with students and parents about studying science through programs in the College.

The group then headed to the Village Summit at UGA's East Campus Village for the recognition celebration, where lunch and cake were served. Several teachers from Coile Middle School, Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School, Cedar Shoals High School and Clarke Central High School, as well LISELL-B coordinator Yai Hernandez and eight project graduate assistants were also in attendance.

"The family workshops are a powerful piece as far as really making a difference in these students' lives," said Buxton. "We do a lot of language and science skill development in our workshops, as well as college awareness. We're also creating a different space where the parents feel welcome, enjoy learning together with their adolescent children and where they can communicate with others in multiple languages."

The project hosts several workshops throughout the year, including an annual two-week biotechnology summer academy for students; a series of Saturday family workshops focused on preparing students for college; and an annual four-day summer institute to support teachers in adopting the LISELL pedagogical model for developing the language of scientific practices.

Read more about[LISELL-B'sWhite House recognition](/news/2015/09/nsf-funded- college-of-education-project-recognized-by-white-house-initiative).