IES Funds Three National Research and Development Centers
IES Funds Three National Research and Development Centers

February 2019

On February 6, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) announced that it has awarded $25 million in grant funding to the University of Missouri, Harvard University, and the University of California, Irvine, to establish three national research and development centers focused on improving rural education and secondary student writing.

Two of the centers—The National Center for Rural School Mental Health (NCRSMH) at the University of Missouri and the National Center on Rural Education Research Networks (NCRERN)  at Harvard University—will focus on improving rural education. The third center, the WRITE (Writing Research to Improve Teaching and Education) Center at the University of California, Irvine, will focus on secondary student writing.

“These centers will provide us with valuable research into topics that are not always given the weight they deserve,” said IES Director Mark Schneider. “With IES support, these centers have the potential to make a difference for students across the United States.”

NCRSMH was created with the purpose of bringing together researchers with rural school districts across Missouri, Virginia, and Montana to enhance the capacity of rural schools to identify, prevent, and intervene in youth mental health concerns. NCRSMH plans to develop and evaluate a comprehensive, public health, and prevention science approach to systematic mental health screening and supports for rural schools.

NCRERN establishes a continuous improvement network to build the capacity of rural school districts and supporting state agencies to use their own data to improve the education of their students. NCRERN will provide support for data analysis, problem diagnosis, solution development, piloting of potential solutions and their evaluation, and peer networking.

The WRITE Center seeks to improve the writing skills of high school students by identifying features of high-quality student writing and creating professional development for teachers. The Center will conduct research exploring the characteristics of high-quality source-based argument writing in English Language Arts, science, and history for secondary school students. 

"We are excited to see what these new centers will accomplish over the next five years," added Schneider. “Over 20 percent of U.S. students attend rural schools, and research on schools and education must reflect this fact."

For more information about these centers, please click here.