The N.C. Recovery Practitioners Network, a partnership between the N.C. Department of Public Instruction and the UNC School of Education, among other institutions, hosted its first in-person workshop on Friday.
The network aims to support individual school districts across North Carolina as they advance their capacity for in-house research and evaluation.
The partnership also includes the N.C. Collaboratory, Harvard University, Georgetown University and 16 public school districts throughout the state.
Participating school districts identify a unique need in their district and are then paired with university researchers who are both experts in that specific field and geographically close to the district.
Jeni Corn, the director of research and evaluation at NCDPI, said the robust postsecondary education landscape in North Carolina provides a unique opportunity for local districts.
“We are very fortunate to have just a wealth of research resources all over North Carolina,” Corn said. “So really the purpose of this network is to kind of be like a matchmaker to connect districts who have a desire to address a problem that they're struggling with at the local level.”
Greer Arthur, the research director for the N.C. Collaboratory, said the partnerships that are being established between researchers and current practitioners are essential in creating research specific to each district’s needs.
The mutual exchange of information and the involvement of practitioners is critical for making sure the research actually addresses the questions the districts need to answer, Arthur said.
Lauren Sartain, assistant professor in the UNC School of Education and co-leader of the network, said the geographical proximity to the district when thinking about individual partnerships is important considering the wide range of districts participating in the network.