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New London schools to address 'obstacles to student achievement'

By Norwalk Reflector staff • Jul 26, 2019 at 11:00 AM

NEW LONDON — New London Local Schools has joined 50 rural districts 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, NCRERN seeks to transform education through quality research and evidence. The center and its partners believe all students will learn and thrive when education leaders make decisions using facts and findings, rather than untested assumptions.

“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 armed forces and/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 programs that will help prepare our students for college success,” said Brad Romano, New London Local Schools superintendent.

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. 

Proving Ground, a CEPR initiative, works to make evidence-gathering and evidence-use an intuitive part of how education agencies conduct their daily work. According to its website, the initiative uses both its “ongoing network collaboration” and annual institutes to help school districts “identify and test evidence-based solutions to specific challenges, such as chronic absenteeism, that are obstacles to student achievement.”

“The network brings together our expertise in strategic management and analytics and our partners’ expertise in supporting rural students,” said 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 an alignment between the district’s strategic goals and the work of the centers, the capacity to utilize data for decision making, a commitment to continuous improvement practices and geographic distribution.

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