The Boston Charter Research Collaborative (BCRC) focuses on research and practice to support students’ cognitive and social-emotional development. It is a source of rigorous evidence on scalable practices to improve student outcomes and a model for similar researcher-practitioner partnerships nationwide.
The Boston Charter Research Collaborative (BCRC) is a multi-year partnership between six Boston-area charter schools or charter management organizations (CMOs), Harvard University, MIT, and TransformEd. The project, which began during the 2014-2015 school year, aims to identify and test promising measures of students’ cognitive skills (such as processing speed, working memory, and fluid reasoning) and social-emotional competencies. Collaborative members have also worked together to test the effectiveness of school-based interventions that aim to improve students’ cognitive and social-emotional outcomes. TransformEd serves as the backbone organization for the project, coordinating between the participating organizations while also translating research into actionable policy and practice recommendations and providing technical assistance to the participating schools. Participating charters and CMOs include Boston Collegiate Charter School, Brooke Charter Schools, Excel Academy Charter Schools, KIPP Massachusetts, Match Education, and Roxbury Preparatory Charter School.
As we do our work, we draw from research, best practice, and the input of diverse stakeholders; then we apply and share what we’re learning around three key questions:
- How can the practices, systems, structures, and environment of a school foster students’ social-emotional development?
- How can researchers and practitioners learn from one another in order to accelerate improvements in student outcomes?
- What are the most effective ways to prompt a paradigm shift towards schools developing the whole child?
You can learn more about the BCRC by reading our white papers:
Mindfulness in the classroom: Learning from a school-based mindfulness intervention through the Boston Charter Research CollaborativeThis paper reviews findings from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) at a partner school, focused on understanding the effects of a direct-to-student intervention on students’ mindfulness development. The paper describes the study in detail and provides additional information about the role of mindfulness in education. We also include recommendations and resources for educators seeking to integrate mindfulness practices into the classroom.
Insights from the Field: Facilitating Dialogue and Learning within a Research-Practice Partnership on Social-Emotional LearningThis paper—the third in a series on our work with the BCRC—shares what we, as a research-practice partnership (RPP), have learned about how a group of schools is connecting data on SEL to theories about practices. The paper describes the approach of the RPP: engaging practitioners in a dialogue about how best to use data and highlighting the ways in which schools are promoting SEL in the classroom.
- This paper is the first in a series that will share lessons learned from the Boston Charter Research Collaborative. In it, we provide recommendations on laying a foundation for a successful collaboration between researchers and practitioners who want to work closely with each other to better understand and support growth and success for all students.
Patterns in Student Self-Report and Teacher Report Measures of Social-Emotional Mindsets, Skills, and HabitsThis paper – the second in a series on our work with the Boston Charter Research Collaborative – investigates a variety of issues related to the measurement of students’ MESH that are of particular interest to school practitioners. With our partners at Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research, we focus on the first year of data collected on student MESH and present initial findings on a) how these competencies change over the course of the school year, and b) the relationship between student self-reports and teacher reports of students’ MESH competencies.