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UR professor awarded $463,000 to study Chicago schools

Rochester Business Journal
January 9, 2013

A professor at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education has received a $463,000 grant to examine relationships among school district leaders.

Kara Finnigan was awarded the grant from the Spencer Foundation to target the social networks in organizational learning in Chicago public high schools. Finnigan will work with principal investigator Alan Daly, associate professor at the University of California at San Diego, to study the nation’s third-largest district.

"We hope to answer critical questions about organizational learning and the way that resources, such as innovation, knowledge, and research-based practices, are shared within a district," Finnigan said of the three-year project.

“While our work is especially critical for educators across the country who continue to face challenges in bringing about improvements in their lowest-performing schools, attending not just to the technical aspects but also to the relational aspects of reform is imperative for any school district undergoing change,” she said.

Researchers will look at interactions between teachers at the school site, central office and intermediary organizations in Chicago.
“District leaders at the school and central office need to have opportunities to share knowledge and jointly develop strategies for improvement," Finnigan said.

 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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