Harvard to Launch National Center on Rural Education

New Research Center Will Address Challenges of Chronic Absenteeism, College Readiness and Work Locally with MVESC's Dr. Mike Fuller

CAMBRIDGE, MA (February 8, 2019)— The Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $10 million grant to The Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University to launch the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks (NCRERN).

The grant will create a network of rural school districts that will work together to create and test solutions to the challenges of chronic absenteeism, college readiness and college enrollment in rural education. Nearly $5 million of the five-year grant will support 30 rural Ohio school districts statewide. Another 30 rural districts in New York also will participate.

The Center, led by Thomas J. Kane (Harvard Graduate School of Education), Douglas Staiger (Dartmouth College), and Christopher Avery (Harvard Kennedy School), will apply CEPR’s Proving Ground model of evidence-based improvement and will employ the local expertise of Dr. Mike Fuller (Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center) for the Ohio research.

Fuller, Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center’s director of the Center for Innovation and Data Services, and his team gather and package data for use by school districts. 

Fuller collaborates with Ohio University, The Ohio State University and the Ohio Department of Education on a variety of research initiatives. He recently co-authored a chapter in the Handbook of Rural School Mental Health and a research article in Children and Schools related to the school experiences of rural youths. His current work includes data visualization of chronic absenteeism, the utility of machine learning for early warning systems in school settings and longitudinal analysis of college enrollment success.

Since 2015, CEPR’s Proving Ground has supported partner districts by providing data analysis, strategic advice, hands-on assistance and peer networking opportunities. Ohio was selected to participate in this grant opportunity, in part, because rural districts in Ohio serve a large percent of the state’s school-age children compared to the national average.


Dr. Mike Fuller