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Minority Student Achievement Network Student Conference (copy)

Verona High School students write ideas on how to eliminate achievement and opportunity gaps for minority students during the national Minority Student Achievement Network student conference last month at the Madison Concourse Hotel. The students are, from foreground, senior Arame Diop, junior Dao Lo and and senior Ary Saravia-Coira.

In an unprecedented collaboration, the state and the University of Wisconsin-Madison will work together to identify classroom practices proven to narrow gaps in student opportunity and achievement levels, the UW-Madison news service reported.

The four-year project, funded with a new $5.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, seeks to identify state schools where racial and economic achievement gaps are narrowing and talk with teachers about how to replicate their successes elsewhere.

“The more we learn about what’s impactful, the more channels we can pursue to try to help kids in Wisconsin,” said Eric Grodsky, associate professor of sociology and educational policy studies at UW’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research.

Schools with best practices will be identified in part through data collected by the state Department of Public Instruction, which has already highlighted successes in the 2014 report, "Promoting Excellence for All."

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"Our goal is to translate that analysis and research into evidence-based recommendations that principals, administrators, teachers and guidance counselors can easily use to make better decisions on how to solve the challenges unique to their districts, and better serve students," said Jared Knowles, a DPI research analyst and the project's principal investigator.

The project will kick off later this month. Read more about it here.

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