LBJ School Students: Enhancing Child Care in Austin

LBJ School PRP Cynthia Osborne

Over the past year, LBJ students, under the guidance of policy professor and director of CFRP and the Center for Health and Social Policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, Dr. Cynthia Osborne, worked on their capstone Policy Research Project (PRP) "Enhancing Child Care in Austin" with United Way for Greater Austin, a key advocate for early childhood education in Central Texas. 

For nearly four years, United Way of Great Austin has implemented their Success By 6 Early Language Coaching program, placing early childhood coaches in child care center classrooms to help children improve their receptive vocabulary skills. As part of these efforts, the coaches collect pre-intervention and post-intervention data on the children using the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) for English speakers and the Test de Vocabulario en Imágenes Peabody (TVIP) for Spanish speakers. Both nationally recognized tests determine growth in “receptive vocabulary,” or the child’s grasp of words and concepts understood through listening, which tends to be highly predictive of subsequent school achievement.

United Way for Greater Austin partnered with Dr. Osborne and the LBJ School to conduct pre-intervention assessments on children during the fall of 2017 and to analyze pre- and post-intervention assessments collected over the previous three program years (2014-2015, 2015-2016, and 2016-2017). Students presented the data and findings to United Way for Great Austin leadership at year end.

In photo above, members of the 2017-2018 Enhancing Child Care in Austin PRP with Dr. Cynthia Osborne: Heather Allison, Laura Aranda, Angelica Ferrandino, Adrián Gaspar, Fiona Gilmore, Laura Gorsky, Amie Harris, Rehan Hasan, Wayne Holstine, Heidi Kahle, Clare Lanaux, Amanda Macune, Mary Mills, Hanna Munin, Sanaa Rafique, Victor Matthew Saenz, Stefan Silveira. (Photo: Elizabeth Petruy, Teaching Assistant)