During the 2018-19 school year, BERC piloted a new organizational structure that will allow it to expand its work and support for youth in Baltimore and the state of Maryland. One of our goals is to build a sustainable research and practice community by opening the consortium to any university or college in Maryland interested in working with Baltimore City Public Schools. To that end, we have developed a new structure to increase opportunities to partner and disseminate and translate research findings into action steps for all partners. As part of that work, BERC has created three organizational structures.
The CEO-Deans Board is chaired by the chief executive officer of City Schools and the education deans of founding universities Morgan State and Johns Hopkins, with members including the BERC executive director, BERC research co-directors, and the deans from partner colleges and universities. The group facilitates communication about findings from current projects and how the district will implement changes to practice or policy. The group will hear district priorities from the CEO, and deans can share their special expertise and interest areas of their institutions. This opportunity to meet regularly will lead to deeper relationships and identification of more opportunities for local universities to support City Schools. This group meets twice a year.
The Research Board is chaired by the City Schools research director and the research co-directors from founding universities, Morgan State and Johns Hopkins. Membership includes one faculty member from each university, referred to as Institutional Leads. Research board Institutional Leads serve as liaisons between any interested faculty members at their institution and BERC. The Research Board reviews and approves all research projects and products. This board collaboratively maintains a quality-control process to ensure that all work generated through BERC is of high scientific rigor and relevant to the mission and priorities of BERC and City Schools. The Research Board meets monthly to ensure timely approval of projects.
The City Schools Leadership Team is chaired by the City Schools chief achievement and accountability officer, BERC’s executive director, and other City Schools Leaders. It focuses on topics decided jointly by City Schools leadership. Specifically, BERC research co-directors, faculty and City Schools staff from offices such as Engagement, Schools, Whole Child Services and Support, Human Capital, New Initiatives, Career and College Readiness, and others are invited to meetings as relevant to particular projects to discuss insights gained from research underway. Here, researchers have the opportunity to disseminate research findings through conversation and describe what is known and discuss how the district can develop action plans that build on the findings. The group will identify what is not understood and define next steps for the research. Serving as thought partners and content experts, BERC faculty will listen to questions and concerns directly from district leaders to ensure that proposed research projects align with the district’s needs and that recommendations from work are implemented.
BERC also has a wide set of affiliated faculty.