Proving Ground and the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks

Proving Ground and the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks

Housed within Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy & Research (CEPR), Proving Ground and the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks (NCRERN) are programs designed to support capacity building around the use of data and analysis in districts' continuous improvement efforts. Both are networks through which Harvard staff provide participating districts support in three key areas:
  • Data Analysis to shed light on challenges and assess impact of solutions;
  • Strategic Advice and Hands-On Assistance in using evidence to prioritize resources and continuously improve implementation; and 
  • Peer Networking to solve common problems and share resources and ideas with other network members. 

National Center for Rural Education Research Networks

In February 2018, the Center for Education Policy & Research at Harvard University and the Ohio Department of Education announced the creation of the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks.

The National Center for Rural Education Research Networks is funded by a five-year, $10 million award from the U.S. Department of Education's Institute for Education Sciences. The center supports a network of up to 30 rural school districts in Ohio to apply the Proving Ground continuous improvement model to the pressing challenges of chronic absenteeism, college readiness and college enrollment.

Eligibility to Participate and Application Process

Traditional public districts, community schools and STEM districts that are identified as rural by either Ohio's school district typology or the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) locale codes are eligible to participate in the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks.

The 30 rural districts in Ohio will be chosen via an application process. The application and scoring rubric will be available on the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks website on March 15, 2019. Application will be due April 30, 2019. Application focus on leadership commitment, data capacity, and alignment between the district's goals and priorities and the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks services.

To learn more:
Visit the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks website and register to receive email updates.

REGISTER for an informational webinar:

Webinars will be recorded and shared on this page.

ATTEND a regional informational meeting:

  • March 11, Mahoning County ESC
  • March 18, Athens-Meigs ESC
  • March 19, Auglaize County ESC
  • March 22, Hamilton County ESC
  • March 26, Ross-Pike County ESC
  • March 29, North Central Ohio ESC

All meetings are scheduled from 10 a.m.-noon. No registration is necessary.

REACH OUT with questions to:


Proving Ground

Ohio is in its second year of collaborating with Proving Ground to address Chronic Absenteeism. During the 2017-2018 school year, two Ohio districts – Canton City and Maple Heights – joined the initial cohort of Proving Ground districts in Ohio. Through Proving Ground, these two districts are receiving coaching on needs assessments, researching and selecting evidence-based practices, piloting solutions through adaptive evaluation, and examining results to understand what is working for their students and families.


Additional Resources

Last Modified: 4/17/2019 10:54:32 AM