Investing AIR Resources to Improve Lives
Since 1946, AIR has conducted rigorous research and applied evidence-based practices to address complex social issues and improve the lives of individuals, from birth to the end of life, both domestically and across the globe. In addition to serving our mission through client-driven work, AIR invests its own talent and resources to tackle seemingly intractable, long-standing problems that block citizens from having access to good health care, education, and pathways to employment.
Learn how AIR's social responsibility projects focus on improving outcomes for schools, students, families, and communities in the U.S. and around the world.
Across the nation, educators are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications for students, educators, and communities. In an effort to support the delivery of quality educational services, AIR is conducting a national survey of school districts and charter management organizations to understand how they are coping with the myriad issues related to school closures. Based on the survey findings, the project will provide actionable information to educators, policymakers, and researchers to inform future education practices beyond this unprecedented health crisis.
Project Lead: Michael Garet
The eSchool 360 program model, implemented by the Impact Network and supported by AIR, increases educational access and quality through technology and training in rural Zambia. This project expanded from nine to 44 schools with a staff of 157 teachers and 6,000 students in a school year. Through this effort, AIR is providing new educational and job opportunities for learners and community members in rural Zambia.
Project Lead: Tracy Gray
Low- and middle-income countries have made significant strides in getting children into school, but that has not always translated to educational achievement. Of the approximately 250 million children across the world who lack basic math and reading skills, about half have spent at least four years in school. Impact Network’s eSchool 360 Program, which was implemented in Zambia, aims to improve the quality of education by incorporating three components: e-learning, ongoing teacher training, and community ownership.
Project Lead: Thomas de Hoop
The goal of this project was to develop and pilot test methods and materials that enhance the oral language proficiency of young children who are dual-language learners. The project—Cultivating Oral Language and Literacy Talent in Students (COLLTS)—consists of professional development in evidence-based teaching methods and curriculum for preschool teachers and family literacy activities of 3-year-old, Spanish-speaking dual-language learners. Findings will be released soon.
Project Lead: Rebecca Bergey
Studies find a consistent gap in math achievement, starting as early as kindergarten. This study developed and evaluated a math learning program for 2- and 3-year-old children that provides parents with resources and developmentally appropriate activities through their smartphones. AIR researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the intervention. Findings will be released soon.
AIR implemented a Breakthrough Series Collaborative model to introduce an evidence-based language intervention in infant-toddler home visiting programs. Home visitors supported families in using language support strategies and provided feedback on children’s developmental practice. The results of a randomized controlled pilot study of the intervention will be released soon.
Project Leads: Aleksandra Holod
Access to family leave may contribute to positive health behaviors, such as well-child visits, immunizations, breastfeeding, and other preventive health care services. This study examined the link between awareness of family leave policies, use of paid and/or job-protected family leave, and maternal and child health. It is the first study to examine this relationship using medical health records, among other data sources, and it deliberately oversampled African Americans, Spanish-speaking individuals, and those who receive Medicaid benefits. Findings are being reviewed and will be released soon.
Project Lead: Aleksandra Holod
According to UNICEF, approximately 161 million children experience stunted growth because of inequitable access to food and balanced diets. Efforts to address this disparity have led to favoring production of a small set of crops (such as rice, corn, and wheat) at the expense of diverse, nutrient-dense, indigenous plants. AIR is testing the impact of a new intervention designed to reintroduce orange-fleshed sweet potatoes—a “neglected” crop—to help reduce child malnutrition and vitamin A deficiency. Findings are being reviewed and will be released soon.
Each year more than 400,000 children are removed from their homes and enter foster care, placing them at high risk for poor developmental outcomes. To address this issue, ZERO TO THREE created the Safe Babies Court TeamTM (SBCT) approach, which aims to reduce the time until a child in the welfare system reaches a safe, permanent home. AIR is conducting a natural experiment that tests the impact of the SBCT approach on the time children spend in foster care, the rates of recurrences of abuse or neglect, and family and child well-being.
For low-income students, access to a postsecondary degree continues to be a barrier to economic mobility. A grant to Say Yes to Education focused on planning activities for the establishment of the Weiss Institute, which aims to increase postsecondary degree completion through scholarships and other support services. A key element of this approach includes the implementation of interagency and cross-sector strategies to bring together stakeholders—including city and county governments, school districts, teachers, businesses, colleges, and universities—to drive powerful community outcomes in postsecondary degree completion.
Project Lead: Eugene Chasin