Building Will and Capacity for Improvement in a Rural Research-Practice Partnership
This study addresses two questions: (1) In what ways and to what extent does a research-practice partnership (RPP) using improvement-science (IS) based processes and tools impact educators’ will and capacity to engage in improvement efforts? and (2) What effect does this RPP have on targeted student outcomes? The RPP highlighted in this research was comprised of university researchers, professional developers, and elementary and junior-senior high school improvement teams including school leaders, teachers, and support staff in the two component schools of a rural district. The study provides evidence that the RPP helped build a district-wide commitment to continuous improvement processes oriented to shared goals, mechanisms for teacher collaboration focused on school-wide improvement, and competence in using IS-based processes and tools. Variable needs for scaffolding of IS-based processes and tools were noted in the two schools with implications for future rural RPP implementation as well as educational improvement theory.