STEP Literacy Research & Development Manager

  • Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
  • Full-time
  • STEP
  • uch-14143

Research continues to show that a majority of America's schools fail to prepare students of color and students from low-income families to succeed in college and beyond. Many view these problems as intractable. UChicago Impact does not.

Launched in 2011 as a not-for-profit organization, UChicago Impact is one of four units that comprise the University of Chicago's Urban Education Institute (UEI). The other units include: the UChicago Charter School, the UChicago Consortium on School Research and the Urban Teacher Education Program (UTEP).

UChicago Impact culls knowledge and learning from across these units to create scalable evidence-based tools and supports designed to improve schooling nationwide. UChicago Impact stands apart from others in the market for the following reasons:

  • It is embedded in The University of Chicago
  • Its work is grounded in rigorous research
  • It establishes long-term partnerships with schools and districts.
  • Its partners achieve results

UChicago Impact currently has partners and clients in more than 60 cities and 33 states — including some of the highest performing school systems and charter management organizations nationwide (e.g., KIPP, Uncommon Schools, Achievement First).

Role Description

The STEP Literacy Research and Development (R&D) Manager position is grant-funded for a period of 24 months upon hire. If the associated research project receives more funding and/or another project requiring similar skills emerges, the STEP Literacy R&D Manager may have opportunity to continue on at UChicago Impact beyond the currently confirmed 24-month time period.

The STEP Literacy R&D Manager will report to the Co-CEO of UChicago Impact and work collaboratively with other colleagues on the research, development, piloting, revision, and analysis of data pertaining to STEP’s formative literacy assessment expansion to 8th grade.

The successful candidate will help with a variety of tasks and projects- some in partnership with the STEP Managers of Professional Learning, others under direction from the Co-CEO.  He/She will assert ideas on how to approach the design extension, revision and implementation of a formative literacy assessment for STEP in the 7th and 8th grades. This role requires a range of skillsets including: deep knowledge of the developmental trajectory for reading, data analysis and interpretation, ability to speak to literacy knowledge and related supports for teachers and students, ability to oversee planning and execution of projects, and ability to establish high-level goals while also working to address the day-to-day responsibilities of project implementation.

Other typical work-related activities include:

  • Coordinate the development process: managing the work- flow, monitoring progress, and ensuring that timelines are met.

o  Write plans and progress reports.
o  Maintain documentation of the assessment development process: documenting all products and procedures.

  • Collaborate with the Co-CEO, the Co-Director of STEP, and/or the STEP Manager of Professional Learning and on the day-to-day activities of the STEP research project, including creating, implementing, monitoring & updating recruitment project plans.
    • Tracking tasks/deliverables to ensure timelines, milestones &/or goals are attained.
  • In coordination with a psychometrician and Director of R&D and Technology, develop and maintain IRB  protocols  for  STEP  research.
    • Oversee data collection, evaluation and analysis.
  • Analyze student assessment data.
  • Write reports, articles and manuscripts.
  • Coordinate efforts with piloting classrooms: managing relationships with teachers and school leaders, informing schools and UEI leaders of on-going work and scheduling changes and revisions.
    • Conduct interviews and focus groups.
  • Represent Impact at conferences, client presentations, and workshops.
    • Present research findings at meetings, conferences, and community forums as well as to funding agencies and other community-level and policy-level stakeholders.

Qualified candidates must have:

  • Master’s degree in literacy, education or equivalent area of study (required)
    • Doctorate in related field preferred
  • Ten or more years of professional experience
    • Demonstrated success in a research/practitioner role
  • At least 6 years of experience as an elementary classroom teacher, during which regular and ongoing literacy instruction was delivered
    • Grades 5-8 instructional experience preferred
    • Small group reading instruction (Guided Reading) instruction preferred
  • Ability to manage multiple projects with multiple leads and/or managers, as well as multiple key internal/external relationships
    • Ability to create project plans, timelines and budgets
    • Background with MS Office products
      • Excel and database work, in particular
    • Experience collecting, tracking, and acting upon key performance metrics
  • Strong knowledge of formative literacy assessment and instructional practices (and related research)
    • Experience with STEP assessment administration preferred
  • Desire to collaborate and build strong working relationships with others
  • Strong initiative and ability to work well under pressure
    • Excellent organizational and time management skills
    • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Commitment to local and out of state travel (up to 15% of overall time annually)
  • A passion for supporting schools in their work to continuously improve student outcomes

UChicago Impact employees enjoy opportunities for personal growth and advancement, rewarding work in a people-oriented environment, an organizational culture that values work/life balance, and commitment to a diverse workforce and an environment of inclusion.

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