Rebecca Bulotsky Shearer, Ph.D.

Assoc. Professor

(305) 284-8439
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I am a child clinical and school psychologist and have worked both as a practitioner and researcher with very young children and families living in impoverished urban areas for the past 15 years. My research is guided by a "whole child" developmental-ecological systems perspective which is child-centered and considers both proximal and broader system-level influences on children's development over time.


2004Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania

Professional Experience

2006 - 2007Research Scientist, Erikson Institute
2007 - 2008Senior Research Analyst, Office of Early Childhood Education, Chicago Public Schools
2004 - 2006Office of Research, Accountability, Assessment and Intervention, School District of Philadelphia

Research Interests

Early identification and classroom-based interventions to support early social-emotional development; development of reliable and valid assessment tools for diverse low-income children; use of assessment to inform intervention in early childhood education; longitudinal dynamic associations between early behavioral adjustment, academic achievement, and social adjustment for low-income children; community research partnerships to identify protective factors across home and school settings that promote school readiness.

Research Positons

We are currently recruiting for research assistants to work in our Pyramid Model social-emotional intervention, our Miami Lighthouse for the Blind Early Learning Center evaluation, and our Miami-Dade Quality Counts evaluation projects.

Selected Publications

Bulotsky-Shearer, R., Bichay, K., Bailey, J., Futterer, J. (2019). Internal and external influences on young children's development. In V. Alfonso & G. DuPaul (Eds.). Promoting Health Growth and Development in Young Children: Bridging the Science-Practice Gap in Early Education Settings. Washington, DC: APA.

Williford, A., Bulotsky-Shearer, R. J., Bichay,K., & Reilly, S., & Downer, J. (2018). Adapting assessments of child engagement to develop an early childhood consultation model. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 56, 67-78.

Research Projects

Measurement development: Understanding preschool behavior in context for culturally and linguistically diverse low-income preschool children

My research has focused on (a) developing measurement tools for early childhood programs serving low-income children to assess classroom emotional and behavioral adjustment within routine social and learning activities, and (b) examining emotional and behavioral adjustment within learning contexts where cognitive and social readiness skills are intentionally taught (Bulotsky-Shearer, Fantuzzo, & McDermott, 2008). I am currently examining the validity of dimensions of classroom emotional and behavioral adjustment (Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention; ASPI; Bulotsky-Shearer, Fantuzzo, & McDermott, 2008; Lutz, Fantuzzo, & McDermott, 2002) in the Miami-Dade Head Start Program. The ASPI is an ecologically sensitive teacher report measure identifying (a) types of preschool behavior problems such as internalizing and externalizing behavior; and (b) classroom situations (peer, teacher, and instructional interactions) where problem behavior occurs. To extend the cultural and linguistic validity of the measure, we have adapted and translating a Spanish ASPI form in the Miami-Dade Head Start program through a Goal 5 Measurement Development grant recently funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education (funding period from 2010-2014). The goal is to develop and validate a culturally and linguistically comparable Spanish form for use by bilingual Spanish speaking teachers. We are currently in our second year of the project.

Making Connections for Children, Teachers, Families: Preschool social-emotional intervention development

We have developed an intervention, Learning to Objectively Observe Kids (LOOK) in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Virginia, Center for Advanced Teaching and Learning (2012-2015). The goal of the project is to improves early childhood teachers’ observational skills, increases their understanding of the interdependence between children’s behavior and the resources/opportunities available to them within specific classroom contexts, and helps them to use this information to select evidence-based strategies to meet the needs of children who display challenging behaviors.

Through generous funding through The Children’s Trust Early Childhood Demonstration Program, we are collaborating with Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) Department of Early Childhood Programs and Miami Children’s Initiative (MCI) to develop and test the efficacy of the Teaching Pyramid Model. The Pyramid Model intervention is a tiered, data-driven system of supports developed by the Center for Social-Emotional Foundations of Early Learning (CSFEL) for use within early childhood programs, serving children birth to 5. Three components of the program are being implemented in 10 public schools in the Liberty City area of Miami-Dade County: (a) practice-based coaching support to teachers, (b) learning communities, and (c) family engagement and home-school connections activities. The overarching goal of the current of the project is to evaluate whether the program, as it is implemented by M-DCPS, makes a measurable, sustainable impact on teacher and parent practices that promote children’s positive social-emotional development as foundation for kindergarten readiness and early school success.