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RITE Research-Practice Partnerships

Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
38 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on April 19, at 12:05 AM CDT
Project Owners

RITE Research-Practice Partnerships with Kaneland and Rockford Public Schools

Generating new knowledge on teacher preparation.

Support our rigorous and relevant research
on the “how” and “why” behind teacher education.

NIU’s Research on the Impact of Teacher Education (RITE) lab assembles College of Education faculty from several departments, undergraduate students, graduate students and K-12 educators with three core members – Todd Reeves, Natalie Andzik and Rachel Donegan – to create solutions.

Their studies explore ways to improve the effectiveness of teacher preparation and of teachers themselves.

Research-practice partnerships underway with Kaneland Community Unit School District 302 and Rockford Public Schools 205, representatives of which identify problems of practice; design or co-design teacher-education interventions; and provided feedback on the feasibility or utility of proposed research or grant projects.

Members of the RITE lab team host weekly lab meetings to collaboratively design and discuss projects and to offer feedback.

Interested partners can access a reading library of important theoretical and methodological resources, professional development opportunities and a list of relevant grant funders and programs.

Why is this important?

We focus on solving authentic, localized problems of practice so that the way we initially prepare and professionally develop teachers is more effective. 

NIU students who participate, meanwhile, learn about research methodology, the conduct of research studies and partnership activities. 

The experience of participation in both a lab and its high-quality opportunities to collaborate with our school partners is critical for graduate student development, not only in research experience but also in understanding the education contexts they ultimately intend to serve.

Ultimately, this work will support understanding of teacher learning and development – and better understanding of these processes can improve teacher education and, in turn, the K-12 students’ achievement and attainment.


How will your generosity advance this cause?

Our primary use of the funds will financially support graduate students with tuition assistance and/or small stipends.

Because many of these students take on lab project work on a pro bono basis – on top of their coursework and jobs – these dollars will help us to compensate them for their excellent work, retain them in the lab, offset their tuition costs and possibly reduce the amount of time they must spend in outside employment during their graduate studies.

These funds also will allow recruitment of new students to promote new synergies among lab affiliates in support of our mission.

Choose a giving level


Level 1

Will provide one school district staff member with a Panera boxed lunch.


Level 2

Will fund travel (mileage, gas, tolls) for two graduate students to attend a partnership meeting.


Level 3

Will fund about two-and-a-half hours of data analysis by a graduate student.


Level 4

Will provide Panera boxed lunches for a full partnership meeting.


Level 5

Will fund about 50 hours of paid hourly work by graduate students.


Level 6

Will fund a 20-hour assistantship for a graduate student.

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