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Each of Insight’s products is designed to convey complex information clearly, effectively, and concisely, particularly to nontechnical audiences. Our white papers, policy briefs, reports, and other publications are tailored to ensure research evidence informs public policy and program implementation. We aim to exceed client expectations with every product delivered.

All Products and Publications

The Central Region: A Report Identifying and Addressing the Region’s Educational Needs

This report summarizes the activities and results of the Central Regional Advisory Committee (RAC), 1 of 10 RACs established under the Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002 (20 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq.). The RACs were formed to identify the region’s most critical educational needs and develop recommendations for technical assistance to meet those needs. The technical assistance provided to state education agencies (SEAs) aims to build capacity for supporting local education agencies (LEAs or districts) and schools, especially low-performing districts and schools; improving educational outcomes for all students; closing achievement gaps; and improving the quality of instruction. The report represents the work of the Central RAC, which includes Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Committee members convened three times and reached out to their respective constituencies between July 19, 2016, and August 25, 2016. Members of the Central RAC represented a variety of stakeholders, including LEAs and SEAs; institutions of higher education; parents; practicing educators; and organizations serving youths, educators, or both. The members collaborated, communicated, and shared resources using Communities360⁰, an interactive online platform hosted within the larger GRADS360⁰ system housed within the secure U.S. Department of Education environment. Table A provides a list of committee members and their affiliations. Originally there was another representative from the Colorado Department of Education on the Central RAC, but she left for another organization and could no longer participate. An invitation was also extended to a superintendent in Wyoming who declined participation.

The Appalachian Region: A Report Identifying and Addressing the Region’s Educational Needs

This report summarizes the activities and results of the Appalachian Regional Advisory Committee (RAC), 1 of 10 RACs established under the Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002 (20 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq.). The RACs were formed to identify the region’s most critical educational needs and develop recommendations for technical assistance to meet those needs. The technical assistance provided to state education agencies (SEAs) aims to build capacity for supporting local education agencies (LEAs) or local education districts and schools, especially low-performing districts and schools; improving educational outcomes for all students; closing achievement gaps; and improving the quality of instruction. The report represents the work of the Appalachian RAC, which includes Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Committee members convened three times and reached out to their respective constituencies between July 19, 2016, and August 31, 2016. Members of the Appalachian RAC represented a variety of stakeholders, including early childhood specialists, state and local school board members, education researchers and practitioners, school administrators, parents, and representatives from organizations serving educators and federal and state governments. The members collaborated, communicated, and shared resources using Communities360⁰, an interactive online platform hosted within the larger GRADS360⁰ system housed within the secure U.S. Department of Education environment. Table A provides a list of committee members and their affiliations

Sources of Newly Hired Teachers in the United States: Results from the Schools and Staffing Survey, 1987–88 to 2011–12

There are at least four ways teachers may enter a new school: directly after receiving a new degree, exiting a different career, transferring from another school or type of position in a school, or after a break from teaching. The data used in this report span 25 years, from 1987 to 2012, providing an overview of these four key sources of newly hired teachers in the United States using the Schools and Staffing Survey
(SASS).

Four administrations of SASS (1987–88, 1999–2000, 2007–08, and 2011–12) provide data tracing the demographic characteristics, experience, qualifications, and prior year activities of newly hired K–12 teachers in the United States. Newly hired teachers are those who are new to teaching or those who are in a new position at a school in a different district or system in the academic year of the survey administration and taught at least half time or more at the school.

Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) 2016 Focus Report

This summary outlines the findings from the 2016 Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) focus groups. DACOWITS collected qualitative data during visits to 14 installations—representing all four DoD Service branches (Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy) and the Coast Guard—from April to May 2016. During the focus groups held at these sites, the Committee addressed four topics:

  1. Gender integration
  2. Strategic communication
  3. Mentorship
  4. Mentorship

Chapters 2–6 list the questions asked for each topic and summarize the responses for each topic.

Enhancing SNAP Quality Control Completion Rates Final Report

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture developed the Quality Control (QC) process for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 1977 to track and measure errors in both eligibility and benefit determination for the program. States conduct monthly reviews of a statistically representative sample of participating households (active cases) and households for whom participation was denied, terminated, or suspended (negative cases). These reviews measure the validity of SNAP cases and ultimately serve as the basis for the SNAP payment error rate. The SNAP QC process also provides FNS with a probability‐based national sample that supports research on the SNAP population.

National completion rates for SNAP QC reviews have generally declined since peak levels in the 1980s and State‐level completion rates vary widely. The purpose of this study is to examine the factors contributing to incomplete reviews of active cases and to describe best practices associated with high SNAP QC completion rates. Maximizing these completion rates will enable FNS to minimize bias in the QC dataset and most accurately estimate the eligibility and benefit errors made by States.

Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) 2015 Report

The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) (hereafter referred to as the Committee or DACOWITS) was established in 1951 with a mandate to provide the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) with independent advice and recommendations on matters and policies relating to servicewomen in the Armed Forces of the United States. Individual members of the Committee are appointed by the SECDEF and serve in a voluntary capacity for one- to four-year terms.

It has been the Committee’s approach since 2010 to divide its work into two areas of focus: Assignments and Wellness. The Committee selected topics for study under each area of focus, and gathered both primary and secondary sources of information: briefings and written respons- es from DoD, Service-level military representatives, and subject matter experts (SMEs); data collected from focus groups and interactions with Service members during installation visits; and literature reviews. These sources of information, along with information DACOWITS gained through studying some of these topics in previous years, formed the basis—or reasoning—for the Committee’s recommendations.

The Committee voted on recommendations during its September 2015 business meeting and approved this annual report at its December 2015 business meeting.

Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) 2015 Executive Summary

The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) (hereafter referred to as the Committee or DACOWITS) was established in 1951 with a mandate to provide the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) with independent advice and recommendations on matters and policies relating to servicewomen in the Armed Forces of the United States. Individual members of the Committee are appointed by the SECDEF and serve in a voluntary capacity for one- to four-year terms.

It has been the Committee’s approach since 2010 to divide its work into two areas of focus: Assignments and Wellness. The Committee selected topics for study under each area of focus, and gathered both primary and secondary sources of information: briefings and written respons- es from DoD, Service-level military representatives, and subject matter experts (SMEs); data collected from focus groups and interactions with Service members during installation visits; and literature reviews. These sources of information, along with information DACOWITS gained through studying some of these topics in previous years, formed the basis—or reasoning—for the Committee’s recommendations.

The Committee voted on recommendations during its September 2015 business meeting and approved this annual report at its December 2015 business meeting.

WIC Participant and Program Characteristics 2014 Final Report

This publication is the 14th report in the WIC Participant and Program Characteristics (PC) study series.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). WIC benefits include nutritious supplemental foods; nutrition education; counseling, including breastfeeding promotion and support; and referrals to health care, social services, and other community providers for pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants, and children up to the age of 5 years.1 For pregnant women, WIC seeks to improve fetal development and reduce the incidence of low birth weight, short gestation, and anemia through intervention during the prenatal period. For infants and children, WIC seeks to provide nutritious foods during critical times of growth and development to prevent health problems and improve their health status. For breastfeeding and postpartum women, WIC also seeks to improve dietary intake and promotes breastfeeding as the optimal method of infant feeding.

WIC Food Packages Policy Options Study II Final Report

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), administered at the Federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), provides supplemental foods to safeguard the health of low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to 5 years of age who are at nutritional risk. WIC participants receive a prescription for a food package—a specific set of foods designed to enhance the health and nutrition of infants, children, and mothers. The contents of the food packages were clarified and modified via the Final Rule issued in 2014 (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): Revisions in the WIC Food Packages; Final Rule [WIC Final Rule], 2014).1 The purpose of this report is to (1) examine policy options and food allowances implemented by WIC State agencies (WIC SAs) in response to the Final Rule; (2) assess the changes WIC SAs made between fiscal year (FY) 2010 (following the implementation of the Interim Rule (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): Revisions in the WIC food packages; Interim Rule [WIC Interim Rule], 2007) and FY 2015 (when WIC SAs implemented most of the options of the Final Rule); and (3) discuss strategies used by WIC SAs to contain program costs.

Examination of Cash Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits in Puerto Rico

The Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) provides critical nutrition support for low-income residents of Puerto Rico, issuing a monthly benefit that includes both cash and noncash portions. NAP households must redeem at least 75 percent of their benefits electronically through electronic benefit transfer (EBT) at certified retailers, and may redeem the remaining portion (up to 25 percent) in cash. The entire benefit (both the noncash and cash portions) is supposed to be used only for the purchase of eligible food items.1 The purpose of the cash portion is to give participants with limited access to certified retailers a way to purchase food. In February 2014, the Agricultural Act of 2014 (P. L. 113–79, commonly known as the 2014 Farm Bill) reauthorized the NAP block grant and included a provision to phase out the cash portion of the NAP benefit coupled with an equivalent increase in the noncash portion (Agricultural Act of 2014, 2014, § 4025).

The 2014 Farm Bill also mandated a study to assess the potential adverse effects for both participants and food retailers of replacing the 25-percent cash portion with noncash benefits. This study examines the history and purpose of the cash portion, barriers to redeeming the noncash portion, and use of the cash portion for the purchase of nonfood and other prohibited items.