Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy will partner with the Evanston Township High School District 202 and Evanston/Skokie District 65 to provide more equitable school experiences for low-income students and students of color.
The Northwestern-Evanston Education Research Alliance (NEERA), an active partnership between Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy and the Evanston Township High School District 202 and Evanston/Skokie District 65, will conduct and use research to promote racial and economic equity and excellence in school and out-of-school learning environments. The district currently has large racial achievement gaps. An initial study will examine how teachers conceptualize and communicate issues related to student identities and learning mindsets and students’ perceptions of teacher expectations. The findings will help create and test the effectiveness of professional development materials that aim to help teachers develop attitudes and practices that support student learning and achievement. A second project will respond to district requests for evidence about how to better support students during the transition from middle school to high school. In addition to these projects, the Institutional Challenge Grant will allow this partnership to focus on the long term and deepen the districts’ engagement in and use of research evidence: The partnership will create an advisory board to strengthen decision making processes, enrich expertise, and build trust, as well as implement a structured learning series to present on specific problems of practice, make sense of the research being conducted, and share research from other settings. For Northwestern, the grant will support the expansion of an existing research-practice Fellows program to include distinguished faculty from other universities and fellows from the community. It would also enable the partnership to engage a team of scholars with strong research records, thereby raising the visibility and respect of research-practice partnerships as a valued approach for conducting high-quality, relevant research. This project will also receive support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation