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Back to School, Back to the Bus!

By Avery Castellani


In what feels like no time at all, three months of summer vacation have come and gone! This is Avery, once again reporting to you from our homebase at Washington College, which is now officially repopulated with the eager young minds Chestertown no doubt missed so dearly over break. The town has also officially welcomed back our extraordinary author-illustrator duo, Robbi and Matthew. I think I speak for everyone when I say that, as wonderful as it was watching them drive across the country, they were dearly missed!


Now, just because the bus isn't crossing state line after state line anymore doesn't mean our work is over. In fact, the total opposite is true! To prepare for the busy semester ahead, us here at the BoB research team returned to campus a week early (that's right— willingly!) to debrief, delegate, and discuss our roles in the project going forward. As a student researcher, I find this is always one of the most exciting processes the position has to offer. Everyone on our team has a different skillset, and while we hone in on what we're good at, we also spend time branching out into what we've yet to learn. That's how I ended up in a data cleaning workshop with Dr. Garcia.


The job of "cleaning" the data we've been collecting is one of the many goals we have for this upcoming semester. When you're collecting survey responses from a wide variety of students in the K-7th grades, you're bound to get some answers that don't quite match up. For example, one student could have written their teacher as "Ms.Smith," who will appear as a separate teacher from "Ms. Smith" in the same spreadsheet. This work is tedious, but as fellow student researcher Brooke says, pretty relaxing after awhile!


Aside from data cleaning, the team is also hard at work with tasks like preparing conference proposals, utilizing ideas from our tour teacher advisory committee into our dissemination of our results, planning future teacher research/professional development opportunities, and more! It's certainly enough to keep us all busy.


Perhaps the most exciting thing about this semester is that we're heading into it with the definitive knowledge that Matthew and Robbi have achieved their goal of improving literacy attitudes for students across the country, both anecdotally and statistically. Keep your eyes here for all the exclusive BoB research team updates, including future dives into data, as well as retrospective coverage of R&M's upcoming on-campus talk! (Can confirm: the bus will be present!)



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