**Please visit https://www.austinisd.org/openforlearning for updates and important information regarding AISD’s response to COVID-19.**
The Austin Independent School District (AISD) supports high quality research that addresses well-informed research questions of educational importance.
AISD has moral and legal obligations that require oversight of research activities that make use of district resources such as data, facilities, employee time, and access to students. AISD’s Department of Research and Evaluation (DRE) utilizes a formal application and review process to better facilitate all research requests.
External Research Coordinator
Phone (512) 414-9804
Applying for Research
In order to conduct research in AISD, an application must be submitted to the External Research Coordinator, Jay Brown, the semester before the research is to begin. There are specific application due dates twice a year. Full proposals include the application as well as all appended materials (e.g., protocols, permissions, curricula examples, forms/contracts, etc.). Proposals are reviewed by DRE as well as by content and area experts at AISD. For complete proposals, decisions will be returned to applicants within eight working weeks after the deadline. Please click on the application materials link to the right for more information on the review process and copies of forms.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most active data collection associated with external research is paused for 2020-2021.
Capacity to participate in research is limited. Concerns include safety as well as atypical contexts affecting data collection and research validity. Please read below for information on new applications, currently approved projects, and specifics for AISD community partners. Current limitations to external research are in place to allow campuses flexibility while also providing alternative opportunities for those interested in conducting research within AISD. These changes are temporary and we plan for our full host of external research and evaluation opportunities to return in time.
We are happy to provide aid where possible (e.g., answering questions, letters of support, etc.). Contact Jay Brown with questions about collaborations, grant planning, future research, and more.
Please pay attention to application deadlines and requirements.
June 1, 2021 Deadline
We are accepting applications for extant data and active data collection. Projects should have a start date no earlier than fall 2021. While we hope to re-open research opportunities, we do not yet know what the next school year will look like. It is likely we will have limited capacity for external research projects. We will first prioritize studies approved before January 2020 that were placed on hold the during 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school years.
AISD may be able to approve a small number of new studies that include active data collection (e.g., surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations, etc.). Approval will be based on our formal review procedures as well as: 1) the level to which the study has planned for changing educational landscapes (e.g., online documents, virtual data collection, etc.), 2) alignment with short- and long-term district priorities, and 3) immediate benefit to sites and participants.
We ask researchers to limit asks for active data collection and prioritize projects that may be accomplished with extant data maintained by the district (see below for more details). We understand this may restrict some projects and/or require study plans to be reconfigured.
October 31, 2021 Deadline
We are accepting applications for extant data only. Projects should have a start date no earlier than spring 2022. Applicants my request access to data maintained by the district for secondary analysis of students, staff, and/or campuses. Available data include information collected for state/federal reporting requirements as well as unique information collected by AISD. Researchers may visit TEA for more information on accountability and other statewide reporting requirements. Researchers may also look at interactive reports and publications found on the DRE website; these examples should provide information on types of data available. Those interested in requesting extant data may contact Jay Brown with questions on specifics (e.g., data types and/or application details).
Note on Pending Applications
There are a few applications which are considered pending; these include proposals submitted prior to COVID-19 but not yet approved by AISD. Please contact DRE as soon as possible. We have additional information and options available. For 2020-2021 applicants (i.e., those who submitted early for the June 1st deadline), we will refund application fees or allow applicants to submit alternative proposals. These may include data requests only, alternative start times, etc.
Projects approved before March 12, 2020 (i.e., a dated and signed approval letter from DRE) may continue research, where possible, when campuses resume classes. As always, principal approval must be obtained annually, using the Principal Recruitment and Agreement to Participate (PRAP) form. Researchers should gain site approval and collect signatures, then return PRAP forms to external research via email.
When conducting data collection on AISD campuses, researchers must follow all protocols for visitors including any additional requirements added to limit viral contact and spread. Researchers working with students in individual settings must complete a background check. Contact Jay Brown with questions on gaining approval, lost forms, background checks, etc.
Projects must follow design and data collection methods as approved in the application, or researchers may request a change to a project through the Change Request for Approved Projects form. Changes may include: time, logistics, location(s), sampling/participants, methods, and/or protocols. Please make sure to outline all requested changes and reason(s) for the request. Once the form is received, the request will be evaluated and approved according to fit with intended scope of the original, approved project as well as current AISD capacity.
Many researchers will be working to submit progress reporting or amendments to funders, institutions, etc. We are able to aid researchers of approved projects with documentation and other help they may need in relation to studies. Researchers should contact Jay Brown with questions on approved projects. Remember to use the AISD research number (RXX.XX) on all communication.
AISD Approved Community Partners
AISD works to coordinate, align, and expand opportunities for our partners in the Austin community. Explore links in this section to find out more about grants, partnerships, and student support. For AISD approved community partners who wish to evaluate their programs, we offer a variety of plans for data and analysis. Partners may submit evaluation plans using the DRE application process.
We are continuing to help serve AISD approved partners during COVID-19. Partners may continue their evaluations as planned or modify evaluations using the Approved Project Change Request form. Contact Jay Brown with questions on current evaluation projects, modifications, and/or new projects. We have information on changing to virtual consents, tips, and more. We will also help answer questions on connected research as many partners are approached independently for research access.
Students, Families, and Data Privacy
Learn more about how AISD maintains research compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) and other regulations regarding students' privacy rights.