CONNECT is a center for research and innovation in elementary education.

Conducting Research at UCLA Lab School

An essential element in the CONNECT network is UCLA Lab School, part of UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. The school’s classrooms, offices and playgrounds serve as dynamic sites for teachers, administrators and researchers to explore topics and issues relevant to children’s education and development.

The goals of CONNECT and the school are to stimulate innovative research that has implications for educational practices in schools serving diverse populations of children, and to encourage the exchange of ideas among scholars, practitioners and others concerned with child development and school reform.

CONNECT and UCLA Lab School encourage programmatic research projects that are relevant to educational issues and help to foster a strong community of researchers and teachers who work cooperatively on a long-term basis. Priority is given to proposals consistent with and supportive of these goals and to researchers who are committed to participating in Center activities, including publishing  articles about their work,  and making presentations about their work to school faculty and the greater educational community through outreach locally, and at national and international conferences. Because participation by many disciplines is crucial to the success of this initiative, we welcome unsolicited proposals that mesh with Center objectives from researchers with varied disciplinary affiliations. The Center is designed to encompass a broad range of research topics from many different disciplines. Although priority will be given to proposals that are consistent with the Center’s goals, we do not discourage other kinds of proposals.

Researchers interested in conducting projects at UCLA Lab School must complete and submit the application, available by registering and submitting proposal here.

What our researchers had to say about CONNECT in our 2021 survey. 

Connect Staff

Megan Franke PhD,  Interim Director

Megan Franke is a Professor of Education at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Franke’s research focuses on understanding and supporting teacher learning for both preservice and inservice teachers. She studies how teachers making use of research based information about the development of children’s mathematical thinking support students to learn mathematics. She is particularly interested in how teaching mathematics with attention to students’ mathematical thinking can create opportunities for low-income students of color to learn mathematics with understanding. In addition, Dr. Franke designs, prepares and studies the preparation of early childhood to 6th grade mathematics teachers. She is currently engaged in a study of teacher educator practice across three universities focused on implementation of particular teacher educator pedagogies and approximations of practice. The study addresses how the university and school contexts shape the practice and learning opportunities for teacher educators and preservice teachers. Her research work to support teachers, schools and communities was recognized with the 2012 AERA Research into Practice Award. In addition, Franke was the co-PI of the Center for Diversity in Mathematics Education (DiME) and worked across universities to support fellows active in studying equity issues in mathematics education. DiME was awarded the AERA Division G Henry Trueba Award. Dr. Franke was elected to the National Academy of Education in 2017.

Sandra Smith, MBA, Assistant Director

Sandra is charged with the ongoing administration,  documentation and operations for research projects at the UCLA Lab School.  She manages the Institutional Review Board (IRB) oversight for all Lab School projects, and leads the secondary review committee (consisting of UCLA & Lab School faculty and parents) appointed bi-annually to ensure the educational mission of the school and the research projects are in alignment.  Onsite at the Lab School Research office, she provides orientations, validates training and certification of the researchers, visiting scholars and Lab School faculty, along with supportive monitoring for ongoing research.

Nicole Mancevice,  Assistant Prof-in-Residence

Nicole Mancevice is an Assistant-Professor in Residence in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on disciplinary literacy, curriculum design, and teachers’ professional learning. As a CONNECT fellow, Nicole partnered with teachers to co-design and study instructional strategies and lessons to support students’ reading in social studies. Her dissertation is a design-based research project that examines instructional approaches for teaching elementary school students how to read and evaluate historical texts. Nicole holds a B.A. in English from Connecticut College, and an Ed.M. in Language and Literacy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Christine Lee,  Project Scientist

Christine Lee is a Project Scientist at CONNECT research. She engages in participatory design-based research and teacher-researcher collaborations to study how learning occurs through play. Her research focuses on designing and implementing play-based learning, how play can support instructional interactions, the importance of affect and identity, environmental education, and service-learning. She also supports ongoing teacher research and professional development at the UCLA Lab School. Christine holds a M.Ed. from the University of San Diego and a B.A from University of California, San Diego.