National Center for Rural Education Research Networks

The National Center for Rural Education Research Networks (NCRERN) establishes and supports a network of rural school districts to apply the Proving Ground continuous improvement model to the pressing challenges of chronic absenteeism, college readiness, and college enrollment. The network launched in 2019 with 50 rural districts from New York and Ohio. We will expand the network to include three additional states in which to implement successful interventions.

The Rural Education Network

Through data analysis, strategic advice, hands-on assistance, and peer networking opportunities, the Center will collaborate with network members to build the capacity of rural school districts and support state agencies to use their data to improve the education of their students.

NCRERN will help districts to:

  • identify potential solutions to relevant issues,
  • quickly and reliably assess the impact of their chosen solutions,
  • act on evidence to continuously improve implementation; and,
  • learn to use new and better evidence to make decisions about how to invest resources and improve student achievement.

Proving Ground's Impact

Since 2015, Proving Ground has applied its continuous improvement model to address challenges important to urban and suburban school districts across the country, including the use of educational software and chronic absenteeism.

“Our work with Proving Ground has helped us completely rethink how we look deeply at our data and make meaningful and targeted decisions to improve our work. The Proving Ground continuous improvement model has provided us with a clear framework to persist with and improve upon effective strategies, eliminate efforts that don’t lead to success and identify new ways to maximize our efforts.”
   -Charlie Keenan, Superintendent, Maple Heights City School District

Learn more about Proving Ground's impact.

Learn more about our ongoing work.

Partnering with NCRERN

Members of the Rural Education Network will engage in three mutually-supportive activities to apply Proving Ground's comprehensive continuous improvement approach to address their selected focus areas—chronic absenteeism, college readiness, and college enrollment.

data_analysisData Analysis

NCRERN will:

  • Analyze district data and generate timely reports on findings.
  • Provide an online dashboard for districts to view their data.
  • Provide analyses that meet federal evidence standards.

Each district will:

  • Assess its historical performance.
  • Use data to identify challenges and successes.
  • Act on evidence to co-develop and pilot strategic interventions with other districts.

education_iconStrategic Advice and Hands-On Assistance

NCRERN will:

  • Lead regional working sessions with district teams to review evidence, develop, and prioritize potential solutions.
  • Share potential solutions that have a track record of success.

Each district will:

  • Learn to use evidence to make decisions.
  • Understand the root causes of challenges.
  • Work across departments to achieve set objectives.

network iconPeer Networking Opportunities

NCRERN will:

  • Convene network members and experts annually.
  • Lead virtual sessions for districts to work together and solve problems.
  • Provide an online collaboration and resource-sharing portal.

Each district will:

  • Share resources, ideas, and promising practices with other network members.
  • Solve common problems by identifying and testing solutions with other network members.
  • Learn from experts in the field.

NCRERN Leadership

The Center is led by Principal Investigators Thomas Kane (HGSE), Douglas Staiger (Dartmouth), Christopher Avery (HKS), and Director Jennifer Ash (CEPR).

>Learn more about our advisory board and regional advisors.

Contact Us

Caitlin Laughlin, Project Coordinator,

NCRERN research reported on this website was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305C1900004. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.