MACS to join Harvard center on rural education

The Mexico Academy and Central School District recently joined 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.

“We are incredibly proud MACS was chosen as a partner in leading this important work,” Mexico Superintendent Sean Bruno said. “Our selection is another recognition of the extraordinary efforts that our students and staff put forth every day as well as the tremendous support from our Board of Education. As part of the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks, we look forward to developing and sharing innovative practices to support increased student successes.”

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 districts selected to be part of the National Center for Rural Education Research Network deserve congratulations," said Capital Region BOCES District Superintendent Anita Murphy. "Their selection represents a uniquely valuable opportunity for them to bring the power of evidence and the Proving Ground improvement model to bear on some of the most pressing issues facing rural districts including chronic absenteeism and college readiness and enrollment.  I look forward to learning alongside our districts as they work to improve student outcomes together."

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

About the CEPR 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.