Gowanda Joins Harvard Center on Rural Education

Gowanda Central School District has joined 50 rural schools 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 as of July 22, 2019. 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.

Additional area districts participating are Fredonia, Randolph and Sherman central school districts.

“Chronic absenteeism puts students at-risk for falling behind and potentially dropping out,” says Dr. Robert B. Anderson, Superintendent of Schools at Gowanda Central School District in New York. “At Gowanda, we want to learn from other rural school districts and collaborate with them to share evidence-based practices to help make our students feel welcome and supported for lifelong success.”

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. Throughout the five years, the Center’s member districts will collaborate on shared challenges, learning from each other to guide future work on school improvement.

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

“The districts selected to be part of the National Center for Rural Education Research Network deserve congratulations,” said Capital Region BOCES District Superintendent Anita Murphy. “Their selection represents a uniquely valuable opportunity for them to bring the power of evidence and the Proving Ground improvement model to bear on some of the most pressing issues facing rural districts including chronic absenteeism and college readiness and enrollment. I look forward to learning alongside our districts as they work to improve student outcomes together.”

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