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College of Education, Prince George’s County Renew Partnership for School Improvement

By Emily Schuster

Leaders from the University of Maryland and Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on May 3 to renew their partnership for another three years.

The PGCPS-UMD Improvement Science Collaborative, originally launched in January 2020, has been held up as a national model of an outstanding school-university partnership, dedicated to improving schools, supporting teachers, advancing equity and bridging the divide between research and practice.

“In this collaborative, research and practice inform and guide each other. It’s a bidirectional, reciprocal relationship, dedicated to improving the educational experience and outcomes of all students in PGCPS and beyond,” said Jennifer King Rice, UMD’s senior vice president and provost, who helped launch the collaborative in her former role as dean of the College of Education. “I’m so proud of this work and I’m incredibly excited about the next chapter. This is the way higher education and PK-12 should be working together.”

Rice, College of Education Dean Kimberly Griffin and PGCPS CEO Monica Goldson signed the renewed MOU. It will deepen and expand the collaborative’s work, including through the new Racial and Social Justice Research-Practice Partnership Collaborative, funded through a UMD Grand Challenges team project grant, and the new EdTerps Learning Academy, which will offer continuing education programs to teachers. In addition, the collaborative will grow its postdoctoral network and boost its profile as a founding member of the National Center for School-University Partnerships.

“We want to continue to expand our role as national leaders and share our expertise,” said Griffin.

Since signing the original MOU, more than 100 PGCPS educators and a dozen UMD faculty have connected through networks focusing on improving math skills and social and emotional learning. The MOU also led to the Maryland PDS 2025 project, which supports the goals of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future by providing vibrant professional development and support for prospective, new and experienced teachers. The College of Education’s Center for Educational Innovation and Improvement, under the direction of Segun Eubanks, serves as the planning hub for the collaborative.

The PGCPS-UMD partnership is the focus of a chapter in a new book, “Improving America’s Schools Together: How District-University Partnerships and Continuous Improvement Can Transform Education.”

“Improvement science is about learning, making improvements, using the data, circling back and doing it again. I value that process, and I’m grateful that the University of Maryland agreed to do that work with us,” said Goldson.

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