CBR Grants

The Indigenous Learning Lab Phase 2
Aydin Bal, Professor, Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education

The Indigenous Learning Lab Phase 2 is a continuation of the Indigenous Learning Lab project in Northwoods High School (NHS) in Northern Wisconsin wherein the research participants collectively design and implement a culturally responsive behavioral support system (CRBSS) to address the persistent problem of racial disproportionality in school discipline affecting the educational opportunities of Indigenous students. In the 2019/20 academic year, the Learning Lab members designed a new culturally responsive behavioral support system. In the 2020/21 academic year, the Lab members (Learning Lab Implementation Team-LLIT) are engaging in institutional preparation wherein they create enabling contexts such as increased buy-in from the school stakeholders and operationalizing the new behavioral support system within the school. In the 2021/22 academic year, the LLIT will fully implement the system, monitor the progress of implementation, and plan for sustainability. This project is of dire need in the NHS community for the following reasons: 1) Northwoods High School, serving Ojibwe youth, has been a site of suffering for the Indigenous community. The indigenous students in NHS represent only 20% of the student population at the school, yet receive 100% of expulsions, 64.3% of in-school suspensions and 52.2% of out-of-school suspensions (School Data and Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, 2019). This project is one of the efforts to close the gap of racial disproportionality; 2) the school system is typically “prescribed” by outside experts who may not have a comprehensive understanding of the history and context of the community, particularly pertaining to educational injustices such as patterns of racial disproportionality. In the Indigenous Learning Lab project, the local stakeholders are the experts of identifying problems and solutions. Their experiences and values are funds of knowledge in the systemic transformation process. They collectively design, plan for implementation, implement, and monitor the new behavioral support system. This project offers a new paradigm in situating the school stakeholders as the subject of transformation, not as the object of the work.

Engaging youth in reimagining school food
Jennifer Gaddis, Assistant Professor, Civil Society and Community Studies

This project uses community-based participatory research conducted in collaboration with undergraduate students enrolled in CSCS 375: Human Ecology of Food and Sustainability, the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), and youth-serving community organizations to uplift the perspectives of MMSD students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals. The team will engage both UW-Madison students and K-12 students in the process of collecting data, analyzing data, and making recommendations for how to reimagine MMSD’s school food program and cafeterias in ways that promote student belonging and contribute to building sustainable and healthy school communities. Students’ access to and experiences in school food programs are an important, but often overlooked, contributor to school climate and student belonging. In MMSD, as in many U.S. school districts, there is an observable distinction between students who eat school breakfast and lunch, often due to economic necessity, and those who bring food from home or purchase items a la carte. Furthermore, with large numbers not participating and paying into these programs, districts struggle to provide nutritious, appealing, and culturally-appropriate meals for students, as well as high-quality jobs for staff. Increased participation and dollars into the MMSD meal programs can be an important step towards improving student health and school climate.

Preserving and Amplifying the Lives, Landscapes, and Knowledges of Driftless Women in Agriculture
Caroline Gottschalk Druschke, Associate Professor, English

UW-Madison faculty, staff, and students will work alongside the Vernon County Ag Women’s Network (including women from Vernon, Monroe, Crawford, and Richland Counties), relying on a suite of methodologies from the humanities (oral history collection, building drawings, photo voice, comics, and participatory mapping), to document the voices and perspectives of Vernon County ag women. Together, they will explore four central questions: 1) what is your connection to this land and this place? 2) what are the cultural dynamics at play in this place? 3) what strengths do ag women bring to agricultural lives and communities in this place? 4) how can we make women’s lives and experiences and expertise more visible? The Vernon County Ag Women’s Network, co-founded by Dani Heisler-Wodill and Julie Larson, is open to any woman who works, or has worked, in the ag industry, whether in feed sales, farming, production or otherwise, and works to to bring women together to share, learn and grow together. The central focus of this project is to gather together, curate, and amplify the expertise of Vernon County women in agriculture.

Black Homeschooling: Aspirations, Challenges and Opportunities
 Rachel A. Johnson, PhD Candidate, Educational Policy Studies

This research study highlights the learning experiences of Black homeschoolers in the Midwest. This project centers Black caregivers and youth who homeschool with the goal of understanding why and how Black families provide home-based education outside of mainstream schools. While the literature on Black homeschooling is growing, there remains little known about how Black youth understand their homeschooling experiences. This study will partner with Black homeschool youth to document their experiences. Using various techniques, Black homeschool youth in this project will capture and share what identifying as Black/African American and homeschooling means to them. Further, this project can provide additional insight for educators, parent groups, administrators, and policy makers interested in creating equitable educational spaces for Black people in communities, K-12 education, and higher education.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion in Waunakee
Gavin Luter, Managing Director of UniverCity Year

The Village of Waunakee knows that it needs to have better awareness among their citizens and village staff about their history in relation to Native Nations people. This partnership brings the Village into stronger relationship with the Ho-Chunk Nation (on whose land Waunakee is located). One class, taught by Jessie Conaway, is helping the Village of Waunakee by conducting staff training, community education sessions, completing a cultural management plan, planning for permanent installations around the village to honor the Ho-Chunk Nation, mapping cultural assets in the area, and creating a land acknowledgment statement with the village. The main drivers of this project are Village Board President, Chris Zelner, Village Administrator, Todd Schmidt, and Tom Wilson, Waunakee resident and Administrator for the Town of Westport.

The People’s Emergency COVID Relief Fund & Political Education
Carolina Sarmiento, Assistant Professor, Civil Society and Community Studies

The mission at the P.O.W.E.R. Collective is to produce and support critical scholarship and community projects led by students, community members, and professionals of color at UW-Madison and across the state of Wisconsin. In light of the devastating COVID-19 world pandemic, the P.O.W.E.R. Collective is focusing on supporting their community-based partners including Freedom Inc, Harambee Village, Urban Triage, and Voces de la Frontera, each of which serves Black communities and nonblack communities of color in the Dane County Area. This project additionally plans to bring undergraduate students of color interested in community-based research to attend of political education “cyphers” around the motivations guiding this COVID relief effort, and best practices for developing community-engaged scholarship couched in the experiences that P.O.W.E.R. had collaborated with their community-partners. Drawing from hip hop epistemology, the P.O.W.E.R. Collective utilizes the term “cypher” to reflect their commitment to uplifting and co-creating space alongside their community partners. They plan to first, collaborate with community partners on relief efforts over the Summer of 2021 given the urgency of the situation and worrisome trends in COVID-19 related issues in the community, and then offer 2 political education cyphers for undergraduate students in the Fall semester, 2021. Creating community between undergraduate and graduate students that really centers relief for community needs during the pandemic will prove to be beneficial to the greater social life of Dane County.

Dreamer’s Middle School College Access Program 
Claudia Triana, graduate student in Educational Policy Studies

An estimated 98,000 undocumented students graduate from high school each year in the United States, yet only a small fraction of those (about one-fourth) go on to attend college. The availability of in-state tuition for undocumented students is a significant factor in their decision to enroll in postsecondary education. In Wisconsin, in-state tuition has not been available for undocumented students since the Doyle administration, and state-financial aid programs have never been an option. Undocumented students in Wisconsin face considerable financial obstacles in accessing college, at $38,634 out-of-state tuition is more than three times the cost of in-state tuition. Even if financial barriers can be mitigated, undocumented students also face challenges with college admissions requirements, immigration related psychological and social burdens that affect student’s mental health, ineligibility to many public benefits, and lack of access to or awareness of professional and occupational opportunities upon graduation, to name a few. These daunting and overwhelming obstacles are the impetus for starting

Dreamers of Wisconsin (DoW). This community-based organization’s mission is to reduce the barriers undocumented students face in accessing and thriving in higher education. While financial limitations are one of the biggest obstacles undocumented and DACAmented students face, the reality is that many undocumented students are often tracked at early grade-levels. Once in high school, they have already missed out on the opportunities that make them college-ready. This project is a Middle School College Access Program (MSCAP) pilot for Dane County, which would create a college pipeline for undocumented students. Fostering a culture where students expect to go to college and receive exposure to opportunities after they graduate needs to begin before they even get to high school. Dreamers of Wisconsin believes it is critical to present our undocumented youth with academic options early on their academic trajectories. The pilot would include workshops on different types of universities and their

admission processes, limited scholarships and funding opportunities available, and how to plan for high school as an undocumented student, providing a holistic orientation to college preparation. Further, middle school participants will be paired with an undocumentor to serve as a college advisor.

Promote Trust and Collaboration in Queer Media Ecology: A Community Coalition for Health Equity
Yidong Wang, PhD candidate in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication

“Queer We Are, Together We Heal” is a multimedia campaign addressing the needs of LGBTQ+ communities around health equity during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the campaign, a coalition of community organizations collaborated to document the impact of the pandemic on different sections of the community, identify structural designs aggravating health disparities, and raised awareness of an intersectional approach to equity. More broadly, this project explored ways how community resources can be better coordinated to serve marginalized groups (based on race, gender, sexuality, age, disability, etc.) and how inter-group trust can be cultivated to elevate the community capacity to address common challenges. This project has convened a coalition of community organizations in Madison. The next step will be scaled up the coalition to cover other areas of Wisconsin.

Facebook campaign: https://www.facebook.com/QueerHealthEquity

Our Lives article, featuring interviews with community partners: https://ourliveswisconsin.com/article/queer-we-are-together-we-heal/

Menominee Tribal Community Forest Outreach Plan
Angela Waupochick, graduate student in Forest and Wildlife Ecology

Project funding will support education and outreach work focused on forest health and management of the Menominee Forest. The team will establish a working group composed of community leadership, educators, organizers and interested membership that will identify ways to incorporate teachings of tribal forest history, ecology, tribal and federal policy, and forest management into existing, appropriate tribal venues and networks. The team will also conduct a broad survey of the tribal membership, and discussions with youth and community leaders will be used to identify specific ways to inform and engage tribal members in forest management decisions. Lastly, project funding will supplement two tribal youth internships to support existing forest research work during the 2021 field season. We will develop these internships to engage tribal youth in tribal forestry operations, expose them to potential career opportunities, and ensure maintenance of the tribe’s legacy of sustainable forestry management.

Cia Siab (Hope) in Wisconsin: A HMoob (Hmong) Story
Choua Xiong, graduate student in Educational Policy Studies

This is a community-led, community-driven exhibit that centers the theme of hope to understand HMoob youth, elders, LGBTQ, and women lived experiences of war, historical trauma, memory, resilience, and healing. We write HMoob instead of the common spelling Hmong/Mong to accurately depict the correct pronunciation of this group. The exhibit will showcase HMoob artifacts, objects, and artistic representations of ways HMoob contest and remake memories despite national silence in the American and HMoob story of war, and the ways the HMoob found belonging in reclaiming and adapting communal practices. This grant proposes to conduct community-based participatory research with trauma-informed methods to explore the following questions:  1) How do HMoob in Wisconsin tell (or don’t tell) stories about the Secret War and the Vietnam War? 2) How do HMoob in WI contest the silences and absences in the American and HMoob story of war? 3) What are the ways the HMoob found belonging in reclaiming and adapting communal practices? While most exhibits on the HMoob have examined HMoob history, from war in Laos to resettlement and adaptation in the U.S., and HMoob traditional cultural practices, few have examined the ways the HMoob experience can also shed light on the intergenerational battlefields of national and ethnic memory at home in the U.S. 

Collectively Imagining Life After Coal: Participatory Focus Groups for Grassroots Social Change
Garret Zastoupil, PhD candidate in Civil Society and Community Studies

In May 2020, in the middle of the novel coronavirus pandemic and corresponding economic crisis, Great River Energy, announced that it was closing the Coal Creek Station, a coal-based electrical power plant in rural McLean Country, North Dakota. Additionally, the mouth-mine owned by NACCO Industries, Falkirk Mine, is set to close alongside the power plant. As the largest coal-power electrical facility in the state of North Dakota, and largest employers in McLean County, the closures of Coal Creek and Falkirk Mine will impact the entire county, as these two entities employ over 700 residents and account for 67% of income in the county. This closure of the coal industry is part of a larger trend throughout the United States and much of the global north and south, of electrical organizations shuttering nonrenewable power extraction and production facilities and bringing renewable energy sources online. Dakota Resource Council (DRC), a state-wide grassroots environmental group is organizing in McLean County to support the development of a just transition that supports the economic and environmental sustainability of the region during the closure of the coal industry. This community-based research project with Dakota Resource Council seeks to collaboratively shift the belief of rural residents in their capacity to envision and enact a different future for the county. DRC is currently building a resident-led organization in McLean County to promote participatory development during the transition. This study seeks to complete a series of participatory focus groups with both specific community groups and community residents throughout McLean County. These focus groups will be used to understand residents’ beliefs about the health of the local community economy, perceptions of community efficacy to create grassroots change, and identify sites of collective power within the community.

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  • Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, Community-based Evaluation of the Cultural Connections Program for children with incarcerated parents
  • Vivien Ahrens, Developing participatory evaluation tools with Centro Hispano of Dane County’s Youth Programs
  • Gretchen Trast, Care For All: Childcare and the direct care workforce
  • Ally Shepherd, Language education for refugees in Greece
  • Carolina Sarmiento; Amy Hilgendorf; Ethen Pollard; Nicholas De Marsh; Mahnker Dahnweih, Freedom Inc. Community Survey
  • Caroline Gottschalk Druschke; Ben Sellers; Tamara Dean, Supporting community-based flood resilience through public engagement and storytelling
  • David Rosenthal; Susan Smedema; Xiaolei Tang; Rozy Manazo; Cristina Starr; Clare Norelle; Hannah Fry, Building local capacity to heal from trauma: The El Salvador Mental Health Promotion Project
  • Hamidreza Nassiri; Alaura Borealis, Claiming the media back: Community media production with cellphones
  • Karla Ausderau, Future directions for the structure of the Madison Metropolitan School District: School-age pregnant and parenting students (SAPAR) program
  • Lara Gerassi; Scott Kornish; Mary Krumplitsch, Preparing practitioners to identify and address sex trafficking in Northeast Wisconsin
  • Laura Livingston; Joseph Stein, Participatory evaluation of agricultural programming with farmers in Ghana
  • Aydin Bal, Building capacity for community-school-university partnerships for systemic transformation – Toward a culturally responsive Indigenous Learning Lab
  • Olayinka Shiyanbola; Mattigan Mott; Donna Shepard, Enhancing a community-based program for African Americans with diabetes in Milwaukee
  • Kallista Bley, Sensing toxicity: Water systems and quality monitoring