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Research-Practice Partnership Award

CERA is honoring an exemplary research-practice partnership in California. Recipients of this award represent the collaboration and cooperation between researchers and practitioners that results in improved educational outcomes.  Award recipients include at least one researcher and one K12 or higher education leader/practitioner and have proven results in:

  • Partnerships with an ongoing relationship focused on a specific area for improvement

  • Partnerships who demonstrative a collaborative, iterative, or cyclical process in which research informs practice and practice informs research

  • Partnerships in which researchers are embedded in the practice of teaching and learning or practitioners/leaders are integral to research activities

2023 Award Winners

Guillermo Solano Flores, Stanford University

Victoria Dye, Sequoia Union HS District

The Stanford-Sequoia K-12 Research Collaborative is a research practice partnership between the Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) and nine local school districts: Belmont, Las Lomitas, Menlo Park, Portola, Ravenswood, Redwood City, San Carlos, Sequoia Union, and Woodside. The partnership specifically focuses on supporting the long-term success of multilingual learners across the nine districts by identifying the conditions that lead to positive outcomes for students. Since the 2016 launch, the collaborative has co-developed more than 20 research projects with Stanford researchers.

Through the partnership, the research revealed that students classified as ELs had limited graduation rates and diverse math trajectories. Additionally, existing assessment instruments and practices were not sensitive to the implemented high school math curriculum and were not aligned to making mathematics course placement decisions.

In response, the Sequoia Union High School District team, led by Vicky Dye and Diana Wilmot (Director of Research and Evaluation) integrated this evidence into their decision-making. Ultimately, the partnership resulted in changes to 9th grade math placement policies and math course pathways, eliminating the remedial pathway and increasing opportunities for students. The district also hired instructional coaches and consultants dedicated to providing professional development and ongoing support for the teachers, including transformation of the math assessment program so that it improves 9th math course placement and aligns with the district's philosophy of teaching and learning. As part of this initiative, math teachers receive targeted support via instructional rounds, observational tools, and integrated English language development, which bolsters their capacity to teach heterogeneous groups. Meanwhile, the new assessments measure mathematical reasoning and allow the district to provide a better lens of how students are thinking and measure their progress, which is incorporated into the professional development for math teachers.

Early research findings from the randomized control trial in 2019-20 revealed that students placed into grade-level math courses in 9th grade were more likely to finish geometry in 10th grade and had a reduction in chronic absenteeism. This is encouraging evidence that the math initiative is working and that the new math placement policies provide an increased opportunity for the most vulnerable students to demonstrate college and career readiness in math. The Research-Practice Partnership (RPP) is ongoing and continues to study the long-term effects of the heterogeneous groupings in 9th grade Algebra I.

Past Award Winners


Nazanin Zargarpour (Claremont Graduate University)

Monica Principe (Pomona Unified School District).

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