As a scholar-practitioner, Latoya Watson conducts research in the following areas: equity in (higher) education, college access, student retention and persistence, intervention for students "at-risk", and academic advising for "under-served" students. While studying for her Master of Public Administration with concentrations in State & Local Management and Education Policy, she served on the research team that garnered high-needs and "Race to the Top" funding for the State of Delaware.
Research and Professional Interests
Equity in (higher) education, college access, student persistence, intervention for students "at-risk", and academic advising for "under-served" students
Co-authored report with Dr. Jeffrey Raffel, now retired Director of UD School of Public Policy and Administration Charles P. Messick Professor . This report, funded by the Delaware Department of Education, highlighted hiring needs and trends in K-12 education. For this report, personnel directors from each district responded to survey questions; the survey was supplemented by DOE data. This report was used to request high needs funding from the federal government; it was ultimately used to secure Race to the Top funding.
According to report findings, the late teacher hiring mirrored the prior year, which was a significant decrease from prior years. While difficulty in hiring special education decreased from the last year, it continued to be one of the most difficult to fill. Special Education, bilingual/ESOL, high school math, and high school science positions were difficult to fill; elementary, physical education, english, and social science positions were not difficult to fill.
Co-authored report with Audrey Bare and Kelly Sherretz for this annual report funded by the Delaware Department of Education.This report was used to request high needs funding from the federal government; it was ultimately used to secure Race to the Top funding.
According to report findings, high school math was the most difficult teaching position to fill. Special Education, bilingual, ESOL, middle school math, and high school science positions were difficult to fill; elementary and physical education were not difficult to fill. The districts reported an increase in major difficulty in hiring for many of the subject areas this year compared to previous years.
Improving college access: an analysis of parent engagement in student success plans (2008)
An analytical report submitted to the Public Management Faculty of [the now] School of Public Policy and Administration in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Public Administration. The purpose of the study was to determine the progress toward effectively engaging parents in Student Success Plans -- a program to personalize the the high school experience so students can be "competently guided" and be able to make "make mature and informed judgement" about their careers.
Schools face various challenges when implementing Student Success Plans. School counselors feel overwhelmed with other responsibilities. They also have problems with staff buy-in. Many teachers feel that SSP takes away from instruction and are reluctant to advising because they feel overwhelmed with instruction, prep, and professional development. Low parent participation and district poverty are additional logistical concerns.
The analytical paper concluded that the effects of parent engagement on student achievement are dependent on the type of involvement and the age group. Overall, the strongest positive effects on student achievement are associated with "learning at home" and remains true for students from all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. In fact, when parent engagement activities are linked to learning, they are most effective at improving student achievement.