The UNC School of Education and the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics have formed a partnership in which researchers will study the effectiveness of the STEM-focused high school’s programs.
The effort, funded with a grant from the N.C. Policy Collaboratory, is intended to become a long-term collaboration that works to promote equitable and effective STEM education.
The collaboration comes in the form of a “research-practice partnership” in which researchers will study initiatives at the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics — NCSSM — and use those findings to improve the school’s educational practices and outcomes.
The project is supported by a $150,000 grant from the N.C. Policy Collaboratory, a UNC system center that works to employ policy and research expertise at UNC system universities for practical use by state and local governments.
Troy Sadler, the Thomas James Distinguished Professor of Experiential Learning at the UNC School of Education, is the principal investigator on the project, with Daniel Klasik, an assistant professor at the School of Education, serving as a co-principal investigator. Krissi Hewitt, executive director of institutional effectiveness and chief research officer at the NCSSM, is also a co-principal investigator and will co-chair, along with Sadler, the leadership team managing the project. A steering committee made up of leaders at the two schools will provide overall guidance.
Aiming for a long-time partnership
NCSSM, which is administered as part of the UNC system, is a residential high school located in Durham for academically talented students in their junior and senior years from across North Carolina. NCSSM will open a new campus in Morganton, N.C., next year.
NCSSM recently was ranked as the second-best public high school in the country by Niche, a firm that advises families in their high school and college searches.
The partnership’s first studies will examine NCSSM’s Summer Ventures program, a four-week program for North Carolina students in their third or fourth year of high school. Another focus of examination by the partnership will be NCSSM’s various course delivery models, including residential, online, and remote enrollment.
An additional objective of the partnership’s first research projects is to establish working relationships that serve to create structures to support the continuation of long-term partnership between the two schools.