Spencer Grant

In 2020, Dr. Jerome E. Morris was recognized with the prestigious $1 million Lyle M. Spencer Research Award from the Spencer Foundation for his “intellectually ambitious, transformative research” project titled, “Countering the Unintended Consequences of School Reforms: Communally- bonded Schools Reconnecting Black Students, Strengthening Communities, and Improving Educational Outcomes.”

Project Description: A missing element in school reform is the relationship that students have with schools, particularly how a sense of connectedness and trust can lead to improved academic outcomes. Historically, many Black schools served as pillars in their communities and trusting relationships existed among educators, students, and families. St. Louis, Missouri, however, has been at the epicenter of numerous educational reforms and disruptions over decades (e.g., desegregation, state takeovers, charter schools, school closings, Ferguson Unrest) that have increased the uncertainty around schools’ viability in the lives of Black students. A major concern is how this instability impacts the connections Black students have with schools, and consequently, their schooling experiences and outcomes. Employing a Communally-bonded-Schooling-Model, the research team will lead community-based case-studies in three predominantly Black school districts in St. Louis (urban; two inner-ring suburbs).

To learn more, see the following stories on Dr. Morris receiving the Lyle Research Award: