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From Early Ed to After-School Programming: Important Research Topics in 2017

By Urban Education Contributor — January 08, 2018 3 min read
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Coming back from our two-week winter hiatus and starting off the new year, we are taking some time this week to reflect on the research and insights shared on this blog last year. Our regularly scheduled programming returns next week!

The beginning of a new year often makes us pause and ponder on the previous year before looking ahead to what’s coming next. Before we kick off 2018 with a new series of posts, we are thus taking some time in this blog post to review the research shared here throughout 2017. If you are new to this blog, welcome! We invite you to catch up with what we have been up to since our last summary of previous blog posts in the summer and to learn more about the purpose behind launching this blog (hint: it’s all about bridging research and practice in education!). If you are a returning reader: welcome back! We hope this summary is a useful overview of the various posts you might have been following over the past several months.

2017 was certainly a big year for the National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships (NNERPP, @RPP_Network) and its members, 23 terrific research-practice partnerships (RPPs) from around the country. Our recently released Year-in-Review offers a more comprehensive overview of NNERPP’s activities and research undertaken by our members in 2017. Without doubt, the launch of this blog, Urban Education Reform: Bridging Research and Practice, was a key development for us in 2017, allowing our members to share exciting new research findings from both the researcher and practitioner perspectives. Bloggers also shared insights and lessons learned from the unique challenges and opportunities research-practice partnership work brings, including reflecting on broader questions relevant to the larger field of RPPs.

Recap of Research Topics

Blog posts focused on teacher-related research discussed professional development needs of rural teachers in Oklahoma and of online teachers in Wisconsin, and examined the teaching profession in the era of school reform in New Orleans. The respective practitioner blog posts outlined how the Oklahoma State Department of Education addressed rural teachers’ challenges identified through the research, how the findings from assessing online teachers’ training needs led to changes on the practice-side, and how teachers can benefit from coming together with researchers and other members of the education community.

In blog posts about early childhood education research, we read about a partnership designed to research New York City’s Pre-K for All in a researcher and a practitioner post, and about research on a four-year-old kindergarten program in Madison and its potential to increase kindergarten readiness and enhance equity, again from a researcher and a practitioner perspective.

Several posts examined research related to supporting historically underserved students: Evidence from San Francisco suggests ethnic studies courses have great potential to help these students succeed, leading the San Francisco Unified School District to implement the curriculum at scale. Research coming out of New York City provided four key strategies for improving school culture for Black and Latino male students — an assistant principal’s post outlined how implementing these strategies helped transform her high school’s culture.

Other topics included: Increased high school graduation rates in Chicago and the way research contributed to these dramatic increases (make sure to also read this compelling account by a high school principal who turned her school around using research-based practices); the potential of after-school programs to improve children’s academic skills (with a practitioner reflection from a leader of community-based organization offering after-school services to kids in low-resourced communities in New York City); and school turnaround efforts in Tennessee, with the researcher post summarizing 5 years worth of research about what worked, what did not, and why, and the practitioner post outlining steps the state has taken to capitalize on these findings.

Come back on Thursday for a review of broader RPP-related topics bloggers discussed throughout the second half of 2017!

The National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships (NNERPP), housed at the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University, aims to develop and support research-practice partnerships in education in order to improve the connection between research, policy, and practice. Connect with NNERPP on Twitter.

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The opinions expressed in Urban Education Reform: Bridging Research and Practice are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


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