• Welcome to the Research, Accountability, and Data Department

    The Research, Accountability and Data Department in District 65 conducts applied research and analysis on District programs, goals, and priorities; oversees the review and approval of research conducted by external researchers; oversees state and federal data reporting and compliance; manages state and local assessment logistics and procedures; oversees and supports grants management, and works with school leadership teams and district departments to support the effective use of data and evidence to inform decision making.    

    Our departmental theory of action is: if we have high-quality data systems and we use research and evidence-based insights to drive our strategies, then we can conduct reliable analysis and research and increase our potential for improving outcomes so that our district can be more effective at serving our students and staff and improving long-term student success.   

    Our Team

    As a department, we bring many valuable skill sets to best serve our district and community. Our broad range of experience and areas of expertise contribute to the support we provide in the district.

    Simone Griffin, Ed.D., Director: Simone designs and conducts applied research studies and program evaluations of high-priority strategic goals and critical district programs, working alongside district department leaders to assess areas of success and areas for improvement.  She supports district leaders and school leadership teams in using data and evidence to drive continuous improvement.  

    Cindy Gonzalez, Assessment Data Analyst: Cindy administers State Assessments (ACCESS, IAR, DLM, ISA, KIDS) as well as NWEA MAP for the district. She supports test coordinators, building leaders, and teachers in implementing testing to the required student populations, analyzes test result data, and manages the data integration of approved instructional applications for computer learning.

    Steve Mkrtschjan, Student Information System Manager: Steve is responsible for infrastructure changes to the Student Information System  (PowerSchool). He also develops data exchanges between SIS and other software. Steve's other responsibilities include reconciling and reporting student data to the State; he also prepares annual reports to the School Board (Opening of Schools and suspensions.) Steve provides data-related support to staff district-wide. 

    Joseph Spilberg, Grants Manager: Joseph is responsible for the management of the grants in District 65, including Title I & II, IDEA, PreSchool for All, and all other state and federal grants. He also acts as a project manager and lead writer for D65 competitive grant submissions. 

    Francisco Yang, Project Analyst I: Francisco provides support to district-wide staff on matters related to data and analysis (primarily quantitative but also qualitative). He also prepares program evaluations and data-related reports for district stakeholders. 

    Community Partners 

    We collaborate with multiple community partners to improve our practices as we share insights, work together on projects and, most importantly, share the same commitment to helping our students succeed in their academic progress. The following is a brief description of just two of our partnerships that impact the research in our district. 

    Northwestern-Evanston Education Research Alliance (NEERA) -  A partnership between Northwestern University, District 65, and District 202 that routinely discusses current projects, goals, and analysis of shared data.  Northwestern-Evanston Education Research Alliance logo

    EvanSTEM - A partnership focused on providing STEM program accessibility and engagement to students who have traditionally been underperformed/underrepresented in this field. Some collaborators in this partnership include Family Focus, Evanston Public Library, The City of Evanston, among others. 


    Current Projects 

    We place high importance on the success of research projects in the district because of the valuable insight we can gain to better improve our practice for the benefit of our students, families, staff, and community. Below are some projects we are currently collaborating on with our partners:

    William T. Grant Foundation funded projects - With much collective effort, NEERA has been awarded one of four institutional challenge grants from the William T. Grant Foundation which provides the necessary resources to carry out multiple research projects and institutional investments for our research-practice partnership.  As part of the award, we have several multi-year research studies we are working collaboratively on with NEERA partners. Projects include The NEERA Teacher Engagement Project and The Middle-to High-School Transition: Designing Resources and Supports for Students of Color

    I4All Project - A collaboration that includes community partners to best understand and update Evanston’s OST infrastructure to make sure it provides equitable engagement and support for 6th-8th grade youth in exploring interests in TEA (Technology, Engineering, and the Arts).