Learning How to Combine Our Strengths
In Spring of 2019, a series of meetings were held to discuss strengthening research-practice partnerships (RPPs) between AISD and University of Texas. These meetings examined many different existing RPPs with school districts across the country (Stanford and San Francisco USD, Rice and Houston, UChicago and Chicago Public Schools, among others).
In these discussions, models were compared and distinct UT Austin and AISD priorities were used to propose a new RPP model that would meet the needs of both organizations. These meetings and subsequent reports can be used as a model for exploring university-school district partnerships around the country.
A Summary of the 2019 UT – AISD Learning Meetings on Research Practice Partnerships
The ultimate goal of building this relationship was to increase the creation and use of relevant research insights that benefit AISD students and their families.
The five key principles of a successful partnership identified during the meetings are:
- Mission alignment – Research directly aligned to identified AISD priorities for benefitting kids and families in the district and also producing world-class scientific insights.
- Speed of scientific innovation – Research set up to increase the rate of scientific innovations related to high-leverage problems of practice.
- Rapid reporting – Establish robust feedback loops for research insights to return to the district in actionable ways that benefit AISD kids and families.
- “Whole child” focus – Integrated education, health, and juvenile justice data systems along with innovative assessments of “hard to measure” factors absent from administrative data.
- Rigorous attention to who gets to participate – Research conducted with an eye toward inclusion, rather than simply choosing readily-available school partners.
|AISD’s Identified Needs||University of Texas’ Identified Needs|
|Streamline the process to approve research that meets priorities that is different from at-large requests.||Engage in scientific innovation|
|Reduce the burden of evaluating numerous proposals that need constant feedback and do not align to strategic priorities.||Establish clarity about AISD’s mission and priorities, so research could be more strongly aligned|
|Assist with formulating essential questions to research to ensure strategic priorities are the focus of the research.||Propose fast-track proposal review and data collection for research studies that are aligned with district priorities|
|Insulate research agenda and district focus from the day-to-day political distractions and seeming emergencies that can absorb capacity away from most important work.||Build efficient data sharing agreements.|
|Receive support in developing practices and strategies to close achievement gaps.||Provide opportunity for junior scholars to summarize and share research findings to practitioners|
|Form stronger networks with external partners, the community, and families.||Create opportunities to collaborate with teachers, school leaders, or district staff on relevant research.|
|Communicate within better feedback loops with all partners supporting the work.||Offer increased support of students who are submitting research studies to AISD.|
Next Steps for a UT – AISD Research Practice Partnership
- Build on the existing relationship and trust between AISD and the UT School of Education
- Engage in a twelve-month launch process, led by the Dean of the College of Education
- Allow AISD strategic priorities to guide researchers in building agenda
- Align research agenda with UT priorities to obtain an institutional commitment from UT
- Identify and develop “early-adopter” research institutes within UT that will provide the research expertise.
|Jay Brown||Evaluation Analyst|
|Cinda Christian||Senior Research Associate|
|Lisa Goodnow||Associate Superintendent of Academics & SEL|
|David Kauffman||Executive Director, Multilingual Education|
|Mark Robinson||Principal, James Bowie High School|
|Jane Ross||Director, Child Study System/MTSS|
|Kevin Schwartz||Chief Technology Officer for Learning & Systems|
|Arati Singh||Trustee, At-Large|
|Tracy Spinner||Director of Health Services|
|Michelle Wallis||Executive Director, Office of Innovation & Development|
|Holly Williams||Director, Department of Research & Evaluation|
The University of Texas at Austin
|Germaine Awad||Associate Professor, Department of Educational Psychology|
|Sarah Kate Bearman||Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology|
|Robert Crosnoe||Professor and Chair of Sociology|
|Cynthia Franklin||Associate Dean for Doctoral Education, Steve Hicks School of Social Work|
|Beth Gerlach||Adjunct Assistant Professor & Research Associate, Steve Hicks School of Social Work|
|Charles Martinez||Dean, College of Education|
|David Yeager||Associate Professor and Faculty Research Associate|
Austin Area Foundations and Community Organizations
|Betsy Abell||President – Buena Vista Foundation|
|Carmel Borders||President – Tapestry Foundation|
|Sue Carpenter||Chief Programs Officer – United Way for Greater Austin|
|Kelty Garbee||Director, Programs – Educate Texas|
|Samantha Halloran||Board of Directors – Tapestry Foundation|
|Kim McPherson||St. David’s Foundation|
|Jeanne Klein||Co-founder, Jeanne and Michael Klein Foundation|
|Melanie Mullan||Strategic Advisor – Tapestry, Buena Vista, and Jeanne and Michael Klein Foundations|
|Grant Gottesman||Board Member – Gottesman Foundation|
|Alicia Grunow||Co-founder and Improvement Specialist – Improvement Collective|
|Elaine Allensworth||Director of the UChicago Consortium – University of Chicago|
|Jon Krosnick||Professor in Humanities and Social Science – Stanford University|
|Ruth Lopez Turley||Houston Education Research Consortium Director – Rice University|
|Todd Rogers||Professor of Public Policy – Harvard University|
|Sean Talamas||Chief Operations Officer – Character Lab|
|Laura Wentworth||Director of the Stanford – SFUSD Partnership – CAED Partners|