CNE chosen for prestigious Harvard rural education program

Efforts will focus on absenteeism, college readiness

By Dick Maloney

Clermont Northeastern School District is aligned with one of the nation’s most prestigious universities in an effort to keep students in school and better prepare them for post-secondary education.

Earlier this week, CNE was chosen as one of 50 “rural” districts, including 18 from Ohio, to participate in the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks, an initiative of the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University.

NCRERN’s mission, according to a press release, is to identify students most at risk for absenteeism and unprepared for college, and change management resources designed to guide rural schools in addressing chronic absenteeism, college readiness and college enrollment.

CNE High School Principal T.J. Glassmeyer said the district went through a rigorous application process that included multiple levels of interviews. 

What does this mean for CNE?

The district will have the opportunity to apply the Proving Ground model of evidence-based improvement.

According to the district’s state report card at, CNE had an attendance rate of 93.6 percent for the 2017-2018 school year. Glassmeyer said the rate has been holding steady.

“It’s always a challenge. If you’re not in school you can’t learn,” he said.

The district received an email from the Center asking rural districts to apply.

“It is a great opportunity to improve the educational outcomes for our students,” Glassmeyer said.

District representatives will attend training sessions and conferences through the center, and help develop research-based proven programs that address absenteeism and college readiness. CNE’s goal is that graduating seniors enter the work force, proceed to college or join the military.

“We find often students aren’t prepared for levels of rigors for college,” Glassmeyer said. “Math courses are always the biggest deterrent.”

“The network brings together our expertise in strategic management and analytics and our partners’ expertise in supporting rural students,” Proving Ground director and NCRERN interim director Bi Vuong said. “We are excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with districts committed to learning with us and sharing their expertise with each other.” 

The NCRERN partnership is for five years.

 “I really think this is a great opportunity for the district to be able to network with other districts that have similar challenges,” Glassmeyer said.

More about the program, according the NCRERN release:

Funding: The Institute of Education Sciences is awarding $10 million to support the National Center for Rural Education Research Networks (NCRERN); it is being cost shared by IES (91 percent) and the Center of Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University and its partners, New York and Ohio (9 percent).

About NCRERN leadership: Thomas J. Kane is an economist and Walter H. Gale Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, as well as faculty director of the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR). Douglas O. Staiger is the John French Professor in Economics at Dartmouth College. Christopher Avery is the Roy E. Larsen Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Bi Vuong, Proving Ground director (CEPR), will act as interim director of the Center.

About the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University: The Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University seeks to transform education through quality research and evidence. CEPR and its partners believe all students will learn and thrive when education leaders make decisions using facts and findings, rather than untested assumptions. Learn more at

About Proving Ground: Proving Ground, a CEPR initiative, works to make evidence-gathering and evidence-use an intuitive part of how education agencies conduct their daily work. Proving Ground utilizes a continuous improvement framework to help agencies rapidly identify and test solutions to specific challenges. Learn more at

About the Institute of Education Sciences: The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is the independent and non-partisan statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education. Their mission is to provide scientific evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and to share this information in formats that are useful and accessible to educators, parents, policymakers, researchers, and the public. Learn more at