Donna DiPrima Bickel has been a Fellow of the Institute for Learning (IFL) at the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), University of Pittsburgh since 1997. She is currently a member of the PreK-12 English language arts team and former chair of the elementary literacy team. Dr. Bickel co-developed and leads the Content-Focused Coaching® (CFC) work of the IFL in elementary literacy, a program for preparing elementary literacy coaches on the use of Content-Focused Coaching®, a rigorous model of professional development based on the IFL's Principles of Learning. Dr. Bickel produced and directed the video artifacts that form the core of this practice-based program and she has assisted principals and central office leaders in Chapel Hill, NC; Providence, RI; Pittsburgh, PA; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; El Paso and Austin, TX to create the conditions needed to support coaching effectiveness. Dr. Bickel has also provided professional development for K-12 English language arts coaches learning to function in this challenging role. From 2006-2010, Dr. Bickel was co-principal investigator with Dr. Lindsay Clare Matsumura, on an Institute for Education Sciences (IES) experimental design grant to study the impact of the Content-Focused Coaching® model on teachers' practice and student achievement in elementary literacy, and co-authored several papers on this work. Over the past two years, Dr. Bickel, along with colleagues on the ELA team, has assisted with the development of several ELA units aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and assisted coaches and teachers in Boston, MA, Akron, OH and most recently, Chapel Hill, NC to understand and shift teaching approaches required by the Common Core State Standards.
Dr. Bickel earned a B.A. from Hunter College (NY) and a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Bickel has thirty years of experience in pre-kindergarten through middle school education as both a researcher and practitioner and has worked in higher education and public schools. She was the director of the Pittsburgh Public School's Work Sampling Project, where she coordinated and conducted professional development for administrators and teachers and supervised the implementation and evaluation of this performance assessment system in five schools. As co-investigator with Dr. Samuel Meisels, Dr. Bickel worked on one of the Pittsburgh Public Schools' Restructuring Evaluations which examined the impact of the use of Work Sampling on teachers, students, and parents. As an adjunct assistant professor in education at the University of Pittsburgh, she designed and taught two core courses in the Early Childhood Teacher certification program and, as an instructor, co-designed and co-taught a course in Instructional Leadership in the School of Education to aspiring principals. She has conducted local program evaluations for several national preschool programs, including EVEN START and Families for Learning, and has consulted locally and nationally on a variety of early childhood issues regarding curriculum, instructional practice, and assessment. She has taught regular and special education classes at the elementary level and is certified as a curriculum and instruction specialist for grades K-12 in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Bickel has a special interest in the production and use of digital video examples of teaching practice as a tool for professional development. She played a key role in collecting and writing commentary for the video examples for the New Standards Primary Literacy Standards and for Speaking and Listening Preschool Through Third Grade, produced by the National Center on Education and the Economy and the University of Pittsburgh. She currently is a co-principal investigator, with Drs. Lindsay Clare Matsumura and Richard Correnti on an IES grant proposal to develop and study the potential of long distance coaching via the internet.