Transforming Education (TransformEd) and NewSchools Venture Fund (NewSchools) have embarked on a multi-year partnership to support schools in expanding their definition of student success to include academics, social-emotional competencies, and the positive learning environments that support students’ development in both of these domains. Through this partnership, TransformEd provides school leaders with the data, research, and support they need to improve student outcomes. We also seek to conduct novel research that is relevant to educators and that contributes to the broader national dialogue around expanding the definition of student success.
To further these goals, we have been collecting data on students’ social-emotional development as well as students’ and teachers’ perceptions of the school culture and climate across more than 40 schools in NewSchools’ Invent portfolio for the past two years. To make these data actionable, we have conductedtwice-yearly meetings with participating schools in which we focus on helping school leaders understand their data in order to identify appropriate next steps to improve school culture and foster healthy social-emotional development. In the second year of this partnership (school year 2017-18), we have seen leaders truly embrace the portfolio’s shared definition of success and begin to use data more actively to help educators throughout their schools in order to support students’ holistic development.
Through this partnership, we also aim to bridge the research-practice divide by working with participating schools, NewSchools Venture Fund, and a range of external experts to explore research questions that are relevant to educators. This aligns with the recommendations of Jones, Farrington, Brackett and Jagers, who suggest in their recent report for the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, that next generation research “requires a new practice-based science of social, emotional, and academic development that is relevant and responsive, organized around practical questions and knowledge of developmental needs and developmental interactions, situated in the real-word, and executed by practitioner-researcher teams.”