Researcher, SRI Education
Sarah Nixon Gerard conducts program evaluation and policy research, drawing on her experience as a prekindergarten classroom teacher for her work in early childhood development and educational technology. Gerard contributes to a range of research, evaluation, and consulting projects, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Ready To Learn Initiative evaluation and the Evaluation of the Apple and ConnectED Initiative. Gerard serves as the project manager for the Ready To Learn evaluation, relying on years of experience studying the efficacy of educational media designed to support learning for young children from low-income families.
Gerard has experience designing a variety of data collection instruments and assessments, conducting classroom observations and focus groups, analyzing data, and developing study designs. Gerard co-led the development of a series of innovative assessments designed to evaluate young children’s understanding of science content and science and engineering practices. She has co-authored evaluation reports on science-focused media for young children and a national 1:1 classroom technology initiative. She is particularly invested in research projects that develop, implement, and evaluate systems of learning for economically and socially disadvantaged communities. Gerard’s work on the Evaluation of the Apple and ConnectED Initiative has included managing multiple administrations of a survey of approximately 3,000 teachers and conducting qualitative analyses of case study data. Some of Gerard’s past work focused on measuring and improving the quality of K–12 STEM education for the National Science Foundation.
Gerard’s publications include an article in Early Childhood Research Quarterly and presentations at meetings of the American Educational Research Association, the American Evaluation Association, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Society for Research in Child Development, and the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, among others.
Before joining SRI, Gerard taught prekindergarten in Washington, D.C. and worked on Capitol Hill in the offices of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Senator Jack Reed. Gerard received an interdisciplinary BA in communications, legal institutions, economics, and government from American University, and an MPP with a concentration on education, social, and family policy from Georgetown University.
- Assisting Parents to Review Online Videos for Education (APPROVE)
- Ready To Learn Evaluation
- The Apple and ConnectED Initiative Evaluation
- Evaluation of Mobile Messaging on Responsive Caregiving
Recent publicationsmore +
Reimagining Instructional Coaching: Developing Observation Tools to Support Instructional Coaching in Pre-K Classrooms
Instructional coaching can improve teaching quality in early learning classrooms. SRI Education, in collaboration with Substantial and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, created a Target Product Profile detailing the ideal features of observation tools to support instructional coaching.
Mobile messaging programs are a low-cost, scalable approach to building parents’ knowledge and capacity to support their children’s development. These programs directly deliver simple and straightforward information, tips, and activities that parents can incorporate into daily routines.
This report focuses on implementation of the Apple and ConnectED Initiative with respect to the dual digital divides along socioeconomic lines in access to technology and its use in instruction.
This report describes the methodology of Apple and ConnectED Research, a six-year study of the Apple and ConnectED Initiative that uses a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods to tell a comprehensive story of implementation and outcomes.
The Efficacy of Digital Media Resources in Improving Children’s Ability to Use Informational Text: An Evaluation of Molly of Denali from PBS KIDS
Two nine-week trials with a national sample of 263 first-graders examined whether free educational videos and digital games supported children’s ability to use informational text to answer real-world questions.
Addressing the complexities of family homelessness is a challenging but necessary goal. State leaders can help by identifying and coordinating all available resources to better serve all children experiencing homelessness and their families.