Ed Eval TIG Week: Laura Fogarty, Matthew Linick, and Adam Voight on School District Partners With Local University – A Collaborative Approach to Research & Evaluation

We are Laura Fogarty, Policy Research Fellow at Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and doctoral student in Urban Education at Cleveland State University (CSU); Dr. Matthew Linick, Executive Director of Research and Evaluation at CMSD; and, Dr. Adam Voight, Director of the Center for Urban Education at CSU. The Research and Evaluation Department at CMSD has recently worked with CSU’s Center for Urban Education to create a Research Policy Fellowship for CSU doctoral students to work as research assistants in the school district. We believe the partnership between the university and the school district is a very valuable component of our work and want to give the readers an introduction to the Research Policy Fellowship and this aspect of the partnership between CMSD and CSU.

This fellowship creates an opportunity for doctoral students at CSU to experience first-hand applied evaluation work in a non-academic setting, while also expanding the capacity of CMSD’s Research and Evaluation department. It also creates a local talent pipeline from which CMSD can recruit research and evaluation personnel. The Research and Evaluation department provides district- and building-level leadership with the information they need to make effective investments of public resources through program report cards and formal evaluation reports. This partnership and the additional capacity provided by doctoral students, like Laura, make it possible for the department to provide this support.

Lesson Learned: The Center for Urban Education at CSU works with educators to use research to address real world problems in urban education. Recently, the center collaborated with CMSD to examine an innovative student voice initiative implemented in district high schools that created small student teams that provided input to principals on school improvement. The center conducted dozens of interviews with CMSD high school principals and students and analyzed district archival data to determine whether students and schools benefited from the initiative in terms of academic achievement, student engagement, and positive school climate. With the creation of a fellowship position for a CSU doctoral student to work directly with the district, we can facilitate communication and planning and ensure that each side is up-to-date on the research and evaluation work that impacts both organizations.

We look forward to what this collaboration brings to all who are involved, and hope to extend this effort in the future and deepen the research and evaluation partnership between CSU’s Center for Urban Education and CMSD’s department of Research and Evaluation.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Ed Eval TIG Week with our colleagues in the PreK-12 Educational Evaluation Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our Ed Eval TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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