Education Northwest’s Caitlin Scott was honored by the American Educational Research Association (AERA) as the 2013 Emerging Scholar in School Turnaround and Reform. Scott received the award at AERA’s annual meeting in April because of her contributions to school turnaround research and evaluation. “I consider education to be a social justice issue,” says Scott. “I am so honored to be recognized for my work, but being able to do research that may help improve education for underserved students is the reward, in and of itself.”
As the principal investigator for the evaluation of the federal Center on School Turnaround, Scott has collected data about school improvement efforts nationwide. For instance, Scott conducted a national survey of state leaders that asked how states were implementing new federal school-turnaround principles and what assistance they need to support their efforts. In addition, she is a consultant for the Center on Education Policy, where she assists with studies of federal school-turnaround policies.
Scott is also currently leading research and evaluation of school-turnaround projects in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho and believes that her knowledge of what’s happening at the national level informs these regional projects. “Our understanding of the national context and access to national and state leaders can help frame research and evaluation of local efforts,” she explains.
While I was the recipient of the AERA award, I can’t take all the credit for the work we do in school turnaround. I feel privileged to work with an incredible group of talented, highly qualified evaluators, researchers, and technical assistance providers here.
An example of Scott’s work in the region is a report she and her team recently completed for the Oregon Department of Education that described how Oregon schools used their federal school improvement grants in 2012. The report provided an initial look at schools’ documentation of grant implementation and sustainability; participants’ views of the successes and challenges of implementation; and early student achievement trends.
“School turnaround is hard, but extremely important, work. To do the work well, state, district, and other education leaders need accurate, unbiased data about their efforts,” Scott points out. “Education Northwest can assist in data collection and analysis that helps education leaders make good decisions and improve schools.”