Last modified: Tuesday, July 6, 2004
Indiana University and school reform organization to work together
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington's School of Education and Harmony Education Center, a Bloomington-based national school reform organization, are combining their resources to help school systems in Indiana and nationwide achieve school reform and improve student achievement, officials have announced.
The Harmony Education Center includes a progressive preK-12 school, a youth center, a research institute and the National School Reform Faculty. Since 1995, the NSRF network has helped 100,000 educators through its successful critical friends groups, and also potentially millions of students through school systems supported by NSRF coaches. The partnership will allow IUB's School of Education and Harmony to bring this expertise in coaching and reform to more teachers and schools through university classes, research and consulting work that will emphasize the development of collaborative professional learning communities.
IU and Harmony will work together to promote high-quality instruction in Indiana and throughout the country. Together they will seek private support for joint school reform and professional development, and if needed, help raise funds to finance school improvement efforts. Other resources, including professional training and assistance with grant applications, also will be offered to school systems.
"This partnership is consistent with the School of Education's efforts to strengthen collaboration with schools and communities, and will combine our faculty's considerable research experience with Harmony's expertise in helping to promote process-oriented school reform," said Gerardo M. Gonzalez, dean of the IU School of Education.
Gonzalez recently headed an IU task force that developed a comprehensive plan for the university's role in preschool through undergraduate college initiatives in the state. This new partnership is part of the P-16 strategy to develop collaborative relationships designed to assure a strong pool of graduates coming out of our public schools.
"IU's School of Education has been a national leader in preparing professional educators for our nation's schools," said Steve Bonchek, executive director of the Harmony Education Center. "Schools at all levels face unprecedented pressures to adapt to societal changes and evolving demands to prepare our children for meaningful and productive lives. This partnership with IU will allow Harmony to share and leverage this history of success."
NSRF, started in 1995 by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, relocated its national office to Harmony in 2000. NSRF has grown to encompass 12,000 trained coaches and facilitators operating through 28 centers of activity throughout the country.
The School of Education has worked with Harmony's Institute for Research since around 1990. Directed by Jesse Goodman, professor of education at IUB, the institute has conducted research into several areas over the years, including how Harmony has served as a catalyst for change in other schools and analysis of various school reform projects.