District Joins Harvard Center on Rural Education

Cambridge, MA (July 22, 2019)— Today, New London Local Schools  joins 50 rural schools as a part of the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks (NCRERN), an initiative of the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University. Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education, the district will have the opportunity to apply the Proving Ground model of evidence-based improvement to address chronic absenteeism, college readiness, and college enrollment.

Brad Romano, Superintendent for New London Local Schools explains, “New London is very excited to join The National Center for Rural Education Research Network.  New London Local Schools strives to support the development of skills in our students that allow them to become employable after high school,  have the necessary attributes to enlist in the arm forces, an/or the strong foundation to enroll and be successful in college.  By joining this network New London Local Schools will be able to collaborate with other rural districts across our state and enjoy the support of Harvard University while we develop program that will help prepare our students for college success.”

NCRERN will produce tools for identifying students most at risk for absenteeism and being unprepared for college as well as change management resources designed to guide rural schools in addressing chronic absenteeism, college readiness, and college enrollment. Throughout the five years, the Center’s member districts will collaborate on shared challenges, learning from each other to guide future work on school improvement. 

“The network brings together our expertise in strategic management and analytics and our partners’ expertise in supporting rural students,” says Bi Vuong, Proving Ground director and NCRERN interim director. “We are excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with districts committed to learning with us and sharing their expertise with each other.” 

Applicants were chosen based on alignment between the district’s strategic goals and the work of the Center, capacity to utilize data for decision making, commitment to continuous improvement practices, and geographic distribution. The following districts from Ohio will join the rural education center: 

Ansonia Local Schools; Bethel-Tate Local Schools; Black River Local Schools; Caldwell Exempted Village Schools; Cardington-Lincoln Local Schools; Clear Fork Valley Local Schools; Clermont Northeastern Schools; Crooksville Exempted Village Schools; East Guernsey Local Schools; Edison Local Schools; Franklin Local Schools; Goshen Local Schools; Licking Heights Local Schools; New London Local Schools; North Union Local Schools; Northwest Local Schools; Ridgewood Local Schools; Scioto Valley Local Schools

“Congratulations to these districts for being selected to take part in this incredible opportunity that aims to support students by reducing absences, increasing college enrollment and ensuring college preparedness,” said Paolo DeMaria, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “The Ohio Department of Education’s partnership with Proving Ground underscores our commitment to continuous improvement with a focus on rural areas of the state. I applaud these schools for rising to the challenge of leveraging data and analytics to encourage student achievement, and I look forward to seeing the positive success stories that develop because of this innovative project.”

Funding: The Institute of Education Sciences is awarding $10 million to support the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks (NCRERN); it is being cost shared by IES (91%) and the Center of Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University and its partners, New York and Ohio (9%).

About NCRERN leadership: Thomas J. Kane is an economist and Walter H. Gale Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, as well as faculty director of the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR). Douglas O. Staiger is the John French Professor in Economics at Dartmouth College. Christopher Avery is the Roy E. Larsen Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Bi Vuong, Proving Ground Director (CEPR), will act as interim director of the Center.

About the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University: The Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University seeks to transform education through quality research and evidence. CEPR and its partners believe all students will learn and thrive when education leaders make decisions using facts and findings, rather than untested assumptions. Learn more at cepr.harvard.edu.

About Proving Ground: Proving Ground, a CEPR initiative, works to make evidence-gathering and evidence-use an intuitive part of how education agencies conduct their daily work. Proving Ground utilizes a continuous improvement framework to help agencies rapidly identify and test solutions to specific challenges. Learn more at provingground.cepr.harvard.edu

About the Institute of Education Sciences: The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is the independent and non-partisan statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education. Their mission is to provide scientific evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and to share this information in formats that are useful and accessible to educators, parents, policymakers, researchers, and the public. Learn more at https://ies.ed.gov.

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