Four Districts Selected to Pilot Statewide Teacher-Driven Research Initiative

March 27, 2022

The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) has contracted with a leading educational research and analytics firm to launch a first-of-its-kind statewide “Teacher as Researcher” initiative. The $2 million investment is made possible through the state’s Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund.

This initiative by Marzano Research and Education Analytics will lead to teachers who are skilled in testing and evaluating instructional strategies as well as the development of an interactive web application that will help teachers select, implement, and examine the effectiveness of evidence-based instructional strategies.

“Far too often we have a top down approach driving classroom instruction and fail to listen to those who know students best,” said State Superintendent Molly Spearman. “Through our partnership with Marzano Research we are empowering teachers to drive instructional practices, transforming teaching and learning in the classroom.”

To be considered, districts were asked to complete a survey based on the following criteria: capacity to accommodate professional development, geographic location, and poverty level. Four school districts have been selected as part of the first phase of the initiative that will contribute to the development of a set of Teacher as Researcher tools. The first phase began in March 2022. Those districts are:

  • Charter Institute at Erskine
  • Florence County School District Two
  • Lexington School District Two
  • School District of Pickens County

Districts identified a cohort of four to 12 middle school mathematics teachers to participate in six, two-hour Teacher as Researcher professional development sessions. Through these sessions, teachers will have a deep understanding of evidence-based strategies and feel empowered to test them and use the results to adjust their instruction. Teachers will also be able to shape the development of web applications and tools to be used by teachers throughout the state.

“This is a game-changing opportunity for education across South Carolina,” said David Mathis, SCDE’s Deputy Superintendent of the Division of College and Career Readiness. “Marzano Research has a proven track record of assisting districts and schools in developing interventions that keep students on the right track. The South Carolina Department of Education believes this research initiative will give our educators the tools they need to be most successful.”

Districts that were not selected will be considered for the Fall 2022 phase.

The virtual professional development series for the selected districts began in early March and runs through May 2022. For more information about the Teacher as Researcher initiative, visit