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Ohio Department of Education, Harvard Announce Schools Selected for Continuous Improvement Opportunity

Release date: 7/22/2019

Collaboration to help rural districts address chronic absenteeism, college readiness and more

The Ohio Department of Education and the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University today announced that 19 Ohio schools have been selected to join the Proving Ground network of districts that will work together to address the challenges of chronic absenteeism, college readiness and college enrollment in rural education.

The National Center for Rural Education Research Networks (NCRERN) will facilitate collaboration among rural schools to develop, implement and evaluate interventions addressing chronic absenteeism, college readiness and college enrollment, as part of a $10 million grant provided by the Institute of Education Sciences. Proving Ground’s current work with urban districts in Ohio led to reduced absenteeism in the Canton City and Maple Heights City school districts.

The following districts will join the NCRERN network for continuous improvement in Ohio:

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

“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.”

Since 2006, CEPR has worked with urban and suburban school districts across the country, pursuing joint research projects and training analysts to use data for action. Through its Proving Ground project, CEPR has helped a set of urban districts and charter schools diagnose challenges and systematically identify, pilot and test solutions. Now, CEPR will adapt what it has learned to launch a model of evidence-based improvement for rural schools. 

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

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.  Additionally, during this five-year period, the center will host several national conferences, which will be open to the public, and provide updates on the interventions that were implemented as a part of the network. Rural districts in New York also were selected to participate.

More information on Proving Ground can be found by clicking here.