Introducing: the NNERPP RPP Knowledge Clearinghouse


 

Paula Arce-Trigatti

Paula Arce-Trigatti

Director, NNERPP

Greetings, NNERPP community! We are so thrilled to officially announce and launch Phase I of our newest efforts in spreading knowledge around all-things-RPPs, the NNERPP RPP Knowledge Clearinghouse! In this blog post, we’d like to share the intention behind the Clearinghouse, a few navigational tips to help get you acquainted with this new resource, and our hopes for the Clearinghouse going forward.

The purpose of the NNERPP RPP Knowledge Clearinghouse is to systematically collect, organize, and synthesize the numerous pieces of knowledge on education research-practice partnerships that are making their way online. In this contribution, we integrate across several resources in order to incorporate as much relevant knowledge as

possible. Resources vary by type, including reading materials, “doing” materials such as templates or model examples, and videos. Additionally, we have made a special effort to present the work in a user-focused orientation.

The intended audience for the Knowledge Clearinghouse includes those who are interested in launching an RPP or are currently working in an RPP. With this in mind, we’ve organized the entry into the Clearinghouse across three main topic areas based on these two different audience strands:

 

For those that are brand new to education RPPs:  We recommend you start here, if this describes your current RPP efforts. “Building the Foundation” is organized into nine general topic areas that we at NNERPP have frequently addressed when fielding phone calls and informational meetings with those interested in getting into this work. Resources in this collection include, for example, defining research-practice partnerships, discussing differences in RPP arrangements, addressing funding and staffing concerns, as well as considering other important infrastructure necessary to get the work going.

For those that are currently working in an RPP, part I (coming soon!) We recommend you start here, if this describes your current RPP efforts, once we’ve launched Phase II. The “Making It Work” section of the clearinghouse is targeted towards those that have experience working in an RPP and would like to develop and refine their current efforts. Resources in this collection will build on those contained in “Building the Foundation” and furthermore, include additional topics such as addressing the sustainability of RPPs.

For those that are currently working in an RPP, part II (coming soon!) This final section is also geared towards those that have worked or are currently working in an RPP, but have more extensive experience. The “Continuous Improvement” section of the collection will focus exclusively on several aspects related to the effectiveness of RPPs. For example, questions that pertain to what it means to be “successful” and strategies that will contribute to the continuous improvement of the RPP will be discussed and supported with resources.

Finally, our goal is for the Knowledge Clearinghouse to stay current by updating it regularly with new and exciting resources contributed to the field. While we will make every effort to achieve this, we also invite you to help us by submitting your own work via the buttons located on each resources page (example below).

Our hope is that you find this new collection of resources valuable to your work. If there are additional suggestions you’d like to make or would like to provide feedback on how to improve the Knowledge Clearinghouse, please drop us a line! Happy exploring!

#NNERPP16: Re-Cap of the NNERPP Annual Forum, August 3-5 in New Orleans


 

I can hardly believe a full week has gone by as I reflect on the amazing time we spent convening last week. What a fantastic few days! This year, which marked the first official Annual Forum of NNERPP as an organization (see 2014 Agenda here and 2015 Agenda here, where the meetings were hosted by the Houston Education Research Consortium), was the largest one yet, with over 75 folks representing state and local agencies that administer education, research institutions, foundations, and policy advocacy groups from across the U.S.

Hosted in association with the one of our members, the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans, this convening featured a broad range of topics aimed at improving the productivity of research-practice partnerships in education. Although several participants were attending for the first time, friendships were formed quickly, and folks were eager to dive deep into how to make this type of work better. While the full agenda can be viewed here, some of the highlights included job-alike huddles that grouped participants among three job roles: the directors of research-practice partnerships, the leaders of RPPs that work in education agencies, and associates in the partnerships (such as post-docs or graduate students).

 

Here we discussed the types of skills required to work in an education research-practice partnership (note: fostering trusting relationships built on mutual respect is a top demand) and we also thought more carefully about how we might assess whether RPPs are in fact “effective” (it was fascinating to hear the diversity in suggestions given the different job roles represented within the partnership!).

We also benefitted from hearing Kim DuMont of the William T. Grant Foundation share knowledge around how research evidence is (or is not) used in practice. This session featured two member partnerships in our network, the Houston Education Research Consortium and the UChicago Consortium on School Research. Carla Stevens and Ruth López Turley (HERC) and Sarah Dickson and Kylie Klein (UChicago Consortium) shared their experiences on how research projects conducted through the partnership impacted decision making within their respective school districts once it was completed.

We also reserved time to facilitate several breakout sessions. Here, participants were encouraged to bring ideas, share experiences, and learn from each other on important RPP-related topics such as supporting implementation of research findings, how to communicate with an external audience, issues to consider when navigating highly political environments, and tips for those interested in building a new partnership. We made use of several post-it boards and markers throughout the sessions – interactive participation among attendees was a key priority.

We even had time to connect while dining together! Several of our participants graciously agreed to host informal “table talks” on additional topics that Forum attendees indicated high interest in exploring via our pre-Forum survey. These included conversations about Improvement Science, Design Based Implementation Research, how to address leadership turnover when working in a partnership, ESSA implementation, and strategies to secure funding for those in middle to later phases of partnership work.

Speaking of ESSA implementation, we also had the pleasure of hearing the varied perspectives of several organizations that are interacting with ESSA as it moves forward. Our next steps are to think about how research-practice partnerships fit into the newly adopted bill…stay tuned!

Our final “team building” activity of the Forum was to squeeze in for a group photo on one of the many staircases of the gorgeous Le Pavillon hotel, where our meeting was held.

Pulling off such a fantastic meeting involved the work of many folks, which I’d like to acknowledge in this final space: immense gratitude for the thoughtful participation of the attendees, Jim Kohlmoos (Senior Advisor to NNERPP), the NNERPP Steering Committee members, Margaret De Sosa and Bill Fulton of the Kinder Institute, the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, note-taking powerhouses from the Houston Education Research Consortium and ERA New Orleans, and of course, our funders (William T. Grant Foundation, Spencer Foundation, Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Wallace Foundation, and Annie E. Casey Foundation), without which this meeting could not have taken place.

As those in attendance know, NNERPP: Phase 2 has officially launched. I could not be more thrilled!

If you’d like more information on NNERPP or how your partnership might join the Network, please contact Paula Arce-Trigatti, Director.