Amanda Stein is a Senior Research Associate at the Ounce of Prevention Fund. Her research interests include studying the short- and long-term outcomes of children and families participating in both formal and informal early education settings and advancing the definition, measurement, and implementation of “high-quality” practices and organizational conditions in the early childhood field. At the Ounce, Dr. Stein directs the Educare Chicago Implementation and Follow-Up Studies and provides research leadership on various Ounce initiatives. She also co-leads the Research-Program Partnership at Educare Chicago focused on supporting program leadership, staff, and families in effective data interpretation and use to drive continuous quality improvement. She has considerable experience partnering with external organizations, participating in a network of over 20 early childhood researchers conducting secondary data analyses within Educare schools; collaborating with Erikson Institute on an early math evaluation; and co-leading the evaluation and dissemination for the Birth-To-College Collaborative with the UChicago Urban Education Institute. She has published in both peer-reviewed scientific journals and practitioner-focused journals and authored content about data utilization and birth through college alignment. Prior to the Ounce, she was a post-doctoral fellow in Early Childhood Special Education Policy & Leadership at the University of CO emphasizing systems, policies, and collaborative leadership.She holds a PhD in human development and family studies from Iowa State University and a BS in developmental psychology from the Creighton University.
Stein is working with researchers at the UChicago Consortium to bring the 5Essentials framework of organizational supports to early education and develop, test, and validate surveys for teachers and families of preschool-age students. Ultimately, the purpose of the Five Essentials-Early Ed is to provide reliable and valid survey data that will a) provide leaders and staff with actionable information about where to focus improvement efforts, b) transform how quality improvement is defined, promoted, and researched in the early education field, and c) will provide a common lens, language, and metric to support the alignment of essential organizational supports across the educational continuum.