Research Manager, Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) Model (SFF)

Research Manager, Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) Model; Reports to Deputy Director, Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) Model, Milpitas, CA

About Us:

The Sobrato Family is committed to building a strong and vibrant Silicon Valley community through business and philanthropic leadership. The Sobrato Family Foundation operates primarily as a place-based grantmaker that invests in organizations serving the residents most in need in Santa Clara, San Mateo and Southern Alameda counties. The Foundation utilizes both real estate and cash to achieve a positive local impact, by providing in-kind office and meeting space at its three nonprofit centers in Redwood Shores, San Jose and Milpitas; awarding multi-year grants for general operating support to a wide-range of Silicon Valley nonprofits; and implementing two place-based strategic grantmaking approaches focused on expanding opportunities for low-income beneficiaries: the 21st Century Education and the Pathways for Success programs.

In addition, the Foundation operates the Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) model, to accelerate the success of English Learner (EL) students in preschool and elementary school. The model was developed in 2007-2008, piloted in three schools in 2008-2013, and has been rapidly replicating since 2013 – with 89 active schools in 2016-2017 that are located in Silicon Valley, other parts of the Bay Area, the Sacramento region, the Central Valley, and in Southern California. As a complement to SEAL’s expansion, the Foundation is beginning to pursue opportunities for statewide advocacy around the needs of English Learner students, and for advancing research-based education policy that will better support this critical, rapidly growing population of children in California.

About the Model:

 The SEAL model is a comprehensive approach of intensive, enriched language education for the implementation of next generation content standards, with a strong focus on building the capacity of educators and public school systems. SEAL was designed and is currently directed by Dr. Laurie Olsen, a national expert in English Learner education. Core principles of the model include: viewing bilingualism and EL students as an asset; all students and EL’s in particular learn best through thematic, hands-on, exploratory and inquiry-based curriculum and pedagogy; oral language development is foundational to literacy; students achieve more quickly and at a higher level when they pursue schooling in systems that are aligned, coherent, and which provide consistency in learning strategies across the early education environment and primary grades in K-12. The SEAL model is a research-based approach, intended to support educators in enacting the best current knowledge about child development and academic learning for English Learners, and the team views the development and utilization of evidence as a crucial dimension of operating the model.

Summary and Key Responsibilities:

The Research Manager (RM) will contribute to a robust research and evaluation agenda that supports the efficacy of the SEAL model specifically, and high-quality EL instruction generally. The RM will be responsible for coordinating a comprehensive slate of research activities, in collaboration with third-party evaluation consultants and SEAL partner districts — under the direction of SEAL leadership, and in collaboration with senior staff of the Foundation. This includes both quantitative and qualitative analyses, using extant data from public sources, as well as new data collection using specific instruments that are appropriate for assessing SEAL’s implementation and impacts on teachers, students, and systems. Current evaluation and research projects utilize quasi-experimental and random control designs, as well as program evaluation including ethnographic methods, longitudinal data analysis and implementation science approaches. The RM is expected to facilitate the operational execution of these efforts, while also applying her/his knowledge of valid research and evaluation designs and methodologies, to guide SEAL’s evolving approach to evidence gathering.

The RM will also promote robust communication and dissemination of the research being created, working closely with the Foundation, to present a compelling story and insightful findings for our partners and for the field. The RM will be directly responsible for maintaining relationships with key partner organizations and consultants to support these efforts. The RM may also occasionally enlist internal capacity from colleagues in other areas of the SEAL team, or from the Foundation, to accomplish key deliverables.

To support the expected on-going growth of the SEAL model, as well as the Foundation’s expanding strategies around policy and advocacy for English Learners, the RM may also be tasked to identify organizational development needs regarding evaluation and research. Specifically, should the SEAL team include the future addition of a research assistant, the RM will be expected to provide supervision and support to that role – around clear priorities that reflect deeper capacity and sophistication in our work.

Profile and Qualifications of Successful Candidate 

The candidate will bring the following qualifications and attributes:

  • Bachelor’s degree required; master’s degree or doctorate strongly preferred.
  • Minimum of 5-7 years experience with large-scale research and evaluation projects.
  • Prior experience as a research assistant and/or research associate in the field of education preferred.
  • Experience in student equity issues, English Learner education, Early Childhood Education and/or teacher capacity building a plus.
  • Adept in searching for and synthesizing research articles or other existing bodies of knowledge.
  • Strong technical evaluation skills, with experience working with diverse data sets that are publicly available from statewide sources and district-level data, for quantitative and qualitative measurement.
  • Exemplary project management capabilities, including scoping and benchmarking workflows against clear timelines.
  • Work well independently and within a team, demonstrating initiative, flexibility, and collaboration.
  • Interpersonal skills to relate to leaders in public school districts, with teams of academic evaluators, and with SEAL colleagues and the Foundation’s leadership.
  • Strong learner disposition with the ability to make meaning and synthesize new or unfamiliar research, ideas, and theories quickly and have strategic awareness of how to utilize new learning.
  • Exceptional organizational and multi-tasking skills, ability to be proactive and constantly prioritize responsibilities in a fast moving and rapidly changing environment.
  • Extraordinary diligence and attention to detail.
  • Strong verbal, and written communication skills; ability to write clearly and succinctly, with competence in proofreading.
  • Strong computer skills including proficiency in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, and advanced skills in Excel; experience in Mac environment preferred, including document formatting.

Additional Information:

  • Salary commensurate with experience
  • Highly competitive benefits package
  • Full-time, exempt position

Equal Employment Opportunity 

The Foundation is an equal opportunity employer, welcomes a diverse pool of applicants, and makes employment decisions on the basis of merit. Foundation policy prohibits unlawful discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, marital status, physical disability, mental disability, military service, legally protected medical condition, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state, or local laws.

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