Austin ISD and the University of Texas College of Education hosted its first Collaborative Research Forum. The event brought together university- and district-based researchers to share findings, discuss compelling issues, and identify new areas of inquiry in pre-K-12 education. The intent was to facilitate ideas and collaborations across fields of study in ways that might open new avenues of research that improve outcomes for students, and more than 100 attended.
The forum featured more than 26 presentations from UT College of Education professors and members of AISD’s Department of Research and Evaluation. Topics covered issues concerning building strong instructional environments, students’ reading and language skills, math and science achievement, school culture, climate and mental health, and innovation in elementary education.
Superintendent Paul Cruz, an alumnus of the UT College of Education, attended and discussed the district’s priority of research-based educational practices and assessments.
Researchers from UT and AISD shared projects that ranged from the impact of gentrification on Austin schools to the experience of transgender students in AISD as well as successful reading and math interventions for elementary students.
The collaboration was a “great opportunity for researchers from both of our organizations to showcase our work to increase collaboration, maximize research resources, and streamline moving research into practice,” said Holly Williams, AISD director of research and evaluation, co-coordinator of the event.
Both UT and AISD expressed a desire to make the research forum an annual event.
“We all know that collaboration increases productivity,” said Nathan Clemens, UT associate professor of special education co-coordinator of the event, “but collaboration among individuals with different backgrounds and areas of expertise is particularly exciting.