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Summer Fellows Lab Heats Up

On June 25–27, Maret's Center for Institutional Research in Independent Schools (CIRIS) was honored to host the second annual Summer Fellows Lab.

Funded by an Educational Leadership Grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation, the Summer Fellows Lab brings together a small cohort of institutional research practitioners from across the country to gain skills, share knowledge, and develop projects for their schools.

Fellows Measure Equity and Inclusion in Schools 

Eric Heilman, Maret’s director of Institutional Research, facilitated this year’s Summer Lab, which focused on Measuring Equity and Inclusion in School Communities. Researchers joined the Lab from Episcopal Academy (PA), St. Mark's (MA), Potomac School (VA), Durham Academy (NC), Poly Prep (NYC), and King's Academy (Jordan.)

Over the three days, members of the 2021 cohort attended sessions on a variety of topics, including:

  • developing expertise with data analytics software packages,
  • exploring the ethical and logistical issues that arise out of creating racial and ethnic categories for demographic analysis,
  • designing quantitative metrics of equity and inclusion that schools can track over time,
  • fostering data literacy and healthy data cultures to facilitate institutional evolution.

The Lab also hosted an open session that brought the broader community of institutional researchers together with Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) practitioners from across the country. Participants discussed effective strategies to de-silo and build effective bridges between equity and data analysis work in schools.

Doug Wong of Poly Prep says, "It was nice to balance the more technical work with the more 'on the ground' discussions on how to implement this work within schools. It was also nice to hear about how other schools are doing things, making me feel not so alone in how my school operates." Mohammad Sarhan from King’s Academy adds, "This conference truly was one of the most beneficial ones that I have attended. I found the student race/ethnicity examples that we worked on to be extremely useful."

Eight faces on a Zoom screen smiling and waving

What's Next for the Cohort

Lab Fellows will continue to reconvene throughout the upcoming year as they apply knowledge gleaned from the Summer Fellows Lab to projects ranging from “Measuring the Impact of Academic Support Interventions Across Racial Groups” to “Demographic Analyses of Grades.” Maret's project to build a DEI Dashboard to centralize feedback from students, alumni, faculty, and parents/guardians will be completed later this summer.

With the pandemic ebbing, CIRIS at Maret hopes to host an in-person reunion this year for the 2020 and 2021 Lab cohorts and looks forward to hosting the third annual Summer Fellows Lab on Maret's campus in June 2022.