Center for Educational Research and Technological Innovation (CERTI)

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Throughout its 30-year history, Chesapeake Bay Academy (CBA) has demonstrated an enduring commitment to innovation. CBA is excited to take the lead once again in an ambitious new endeavor that will gather the region’s most skilled special educators, IT professionals, curriculum designers, and education researchers. The project is designed to shape the future of educational study and practice in Hampton Roads and beyond.


The mission of CERTI is to develop, evaluate, and disseminate new programs and practices utilizing innovative, learner-centered technology in partnership with institutions of higher education and in collaboration with the K-12 community.


CERTI will be globally recognized as a community-oriented, collaborative leader in educational research and technological innovation.


Learner Centered: CERTI emphasizes personalized education that considers each individual’s unique learning needs and preferences, through understanding and inclusivity.

Collaborative Leadership: CERTI is structured on a model of shared and transformational leadership that inspires individual, collective, and organizational growth.

Community: CERTI is dedicated to creating reciprocal partnerships that support and advance community investment in educational research.

Ethical: CERTI models ethical practices in education, research, collaboration, and resource management in the pursuit of just beneficence.

Empirical: CERTI embraces an empirical approach to knowledge acquisition based on experimental research and ever-evolving data driven conclusions.

Disruptive Innovation: CERTI reimagines learning across the educational continuum.

With the advent of the COVID pandemic, the use of educational technology has accelerated in totally new and unanticipated ways. CBA has seized the moment to study the wide range of instructional technology, methodologies, and interventions that have been implemented in service to all students, and particularly those with learning differences. Chesapeake Bay Academy, in partnership with Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS), Old Dominion University (ODU), and Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU) has created the Center for Educational Research and Technological Innovation (CERTI).


  • To develop a model, research-based virtual learning program at CBA for students with learning differences.
  • To evaluate new and emerging hardware and software applications for students with specific learning differences.
  • To explore the efficacy of online learning environments for students with a variety of physical and cognitive differences.
  • To identify best practices in a virtual environment to support student motivation and engagement.
  • To inform the development of content for teacher education programs that will develop the necessary skills for teaching in a virtual environment.

Why CBA?

  • CBA strives to be a beacon for best practice methods in individualized learning – now evidence-based best practice
  • CBA size and nature makes it conducive to innovation and flexibility
  • CBA has a foundational research infrastructure built on prior research projects within the school
  • CBA has foundational alliances with area institutions of higher education

The future of education is NOW and CBA is committed to leading the way!

CERTI-fied Facts

  • The Center for Educational Research and Technological Innovation (CERTI) at Chesapeake Bay Academy (CBA) was established in January, 2021 to study the impact of the wide-range of technology-based interventions and strategies utilized at CBA, both before and during the pandemic. Below are highlights of that work
  • Upper school students at CBA significantly preferred Microsoft Teams (Fall 2020) to ZOOM as a videoconferencing platform for “meeting their learning needs” (Spring 2020) (< .05).
  • The predominant personality temperaments of CBA upper and middle school students in 2022 were conscientiousness and openness to experience.  Both of these styles positively correlated with a preference for in-class vs. virtual learning (2022).
  • CBA students, parents, and teachers participated in a national research project to help validate a standardized measure of social-emotional well-being — the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) (2018).
  • CBA faculty self-rated high comfort (rated 4 of 5) with pedagogical knowledge emphasizing individualized learning (2021).
  • 90% of upper and middle school CBA students preferred in-class to virtual learning (2022).
  • Upper school CBA parents were highly satisfied with their virtual learning in May 2020 (rated 9 of 10).
  • Upper school CBA students were highly satisfied with digital learning in both April and May, 2020 (rated 8.38 and 9 of 10 in April and May, respectively).
  • Being with friends was the major reason given for CBA students’ in-class learning preferences; emotional engagement in learning was high among students with in-class learning preferences (2022).
  • In CBA research involving clinicians at EVMS and Riverside Hospital, funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia, neurofeedback for children with ADHD (delivered via videogames) altered participants’ EEG patterns toward similarity with those of typically developing children (2002).
  • At the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, at CBA and in most schools nationwide, younger (elementary-aged) students experienced greater virtual learning difficulties than older (upper school) students.

Taryn Myers, Ph.D.

Director of Academic Effectiveness and Associate Professor of Psychology, Virginia Wesleyan University

Mindy Gumpert, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor of Education, Virginia Wesleyan University, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Old Dominion University

Mary Roberts, Ph.D., LPC-ACS, ATR-BC, ATCS

Associate Professor, Art Therapy and Counseling, Eastern Virginia Medical School

Linda Miller-Dunleavy

Master Lecturer, Old Dominion University (retired)

J.D. Ball, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Eastern Virginia Medical School

Derek S. Porter, Ed.D.

Teacher of History & Music, Center for the Study of Boys, Research Coordinator, St. Christopher's School