Research and Data Requests at Fayette County Public Schools

In an effort to increase transparency, improve efficiency, and enhance the quality and value of research conducted in and with our schools, the Office of Grants, Research, Accountability, and Data (GRAD) has prepared the following guidance to assist prospective researchers seeking to work with our district. Please review the requirements below prior to submitting a research request.

Thank you,
Office of Grants, Research, Accountability, and Data (GRAD)

Overview of Research Activities in FCPS

The following workflow diagram provides a high level overview of the process. Some required components (e.g., collection of informed consent) are excluded in this workflow diagram for brevity.

Find a cosponsor
No
Yes
Request Reviewed
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
No
Yes
Resubmit
Request Process Start
CoSponsor
Approval
End of Request
Submit Request
to DRA
Approved
Background
Check
Required
Complete
Application
Recruit
Participants
Conduct
Research
Manuscript
Review
Changes
Required
Publish
Results
Make
Changes
Changes
Requested
End of Request
Make
Changes
  1. All research conducted in Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) must be reviewed and approved prior to the commencement of any research activities.
  2. Prior to submitting a research proposal for approval and review, the applicant must secure a district co-sponsor.
  3. Requests for review and approval of research must be submitted electronically to the GRAD using our support portal.
  4. Once approved by the district, the researcher is responsible to secure approval and informed consent from any school leaders, teachers, parents, and/or students as necessary for his/her research.
  5. Prior to the submission of any materials for publication, the researcher must submit the manuscript to the GRAD for final review/approval.
A partial list of guidelines to keep in mind when considering whether or not your research request is likely to receive approval is presented below:

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Research/Evaluation Not Requiring Approval

Studies conducted by employees as part of their normal job responsibilities are exempt from this review process. However, if the research will result in a publicly available document, such as a dissertation or published journal article, the staff member should submit a formal request with a district co-sponsor. If you are unsure whether or not you need to submit a proposal, please contact the GRAD.)

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Timelines for Conducting Research/Evaluation in FCPS

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District Co-Sponsorship

Every research proposal is required to include the name of a district co-sponsor. Submissions that do not provide an identified district co-sponsor will be rejected without any further review.

What does the co-sponsor do for you?

The district co-sponsor serves as the first step in the review process. He/she evaluates the merit of the research request from the perspective of the subject matter expert in the area for which you wish to conduct research. In addition to evaluating the merit of the request, this individual would also be most knowledgeable about current and planned initiatives across the district. He/she can help you identify other staff and/or schools that would be best suited for your study, but keep in mind that this staff member also has other duties that would have a higher priority. If a staff member does not agree to co-sponsor your research request, it will not advance further in the review process. You may ask for feedback about what could strengthen your request, but the GRAD will not review any research requests without co-sponsorship.

How do you find a co-sponsor?

We recommend first reviewing the FCPS organizational chart. Any staff member who directly reports to the Superintendent or holds a director or associate director level position can serve as a co-sponsor. School-based staff cannot serve as co-sponsors, but school leaders will need to approve of any activities within their schools.

To find more information about the work that each department and/or office is responsible for, please review the information on the FCPS departmental websites. This can provide you with the additional information that you might need to better understand who would be best suited to be a co-sponsor. For example, if you were proposing a study related to an intervention for chronic absenteeism, you might want to contact the office of Pupil Personnel.

What to do when you find a co-sponsor?

Using our new support portal, you only need to select the appropriate staff member from the list of potential co-sponsors. They will then receive an email alerting them that they need to approve a request to co-sponsor your research. If your co-sponsor approves, this will automatically advance your submission in the workflow. If you have any difficulties with this you can always email our office: GRAD or submit a help request from the support portal.

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Research/Evaluation Proposal Requirements

In order for a proposal to be considered, researchers MUST submit the following:

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Information on Video Recording

All research involving video/audio recording must obtain active parental and student consent. Additionally, any proposal requesting the use of video recording will require additional review by the Office of the General Counsel to ensure the request satisfies requirements stipulated in any laws, policies, or regulations. Researchers must make a reasonable case for how video recording is important to the research.

Parents must be informed:

The consent form must also include the following information:

NOTE: District media releases are for District purposes only and cannot be used as a substitute for the researcher obtaining his/her own release.

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Information on Studies Involving Sensitive Topics

The following must be addressed if you will be conducting research about information of a sensitive or risqué nature (e.g., drug use, sexual activity, bullying behavior). Typically, surveys of a sensitive nature would require active parental consent (whether connected to a student ID or not). Your consent form must:

Your data collection instruments must:

Privacy of Student and Stakeholder Data

Release of personally-identifiable information from district files is subject to the requirements of federal and state law. Any research project that requires access to private data from district files will require a Non-Disclosure Agreement between the researcher and the district. This agreement will specify the variables to be released and the security measures to be taken by the researcher to protect the confidentiality of the data. Researchers should provide a detailed security plan that indicates where data will be stored, who will have access, and policies and procedures for accessing those data. The security procedures outlined the Restricted-Use Data Procedures Manual is a good resource to reference if you have any questions regarding data security practices.

Parental consent (or student consent where permitted by law) is required for release of all personally-identifiable private data. The release must explicitly state which private information is to be released. Even with parental consent, some sensitive information may not be released unless the student identity is concealed (e.g., medication records, results of mental tests).

All information about students and other individuals collected, created, maintained or disseminated for any purpose through the activities of the researcher or its members shall remain private. All information is governed by the federal laws and regulations on the privacy of student data, 20 U.S.C. Section 1232g (FERPA) and the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), if applicable.

Researchers should be knowledgeable about the following:

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Manuscript Review

Submit for Review
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
Manuscript Drafted
Review by DRA
Measurement
Documentat
Required
Cell Sizes
< 10 Reported
Causal
Language
Sufficient
Documentation
Methods
Support
Inference
Submit
Final
Manuscript
Publish
Results
The manuscript review workflow diagram illustrates the purpose of the manuscript review process. In short, our goal in the review process is to ensure that stakeholder privacy is protected, to ensure that professional and ethical standards in measurement were followed, and to ensure that any causal inferences are supported by the analyses of the data and were approved in the original research request. We do not censor research results, but will require changes to your manuscript if the inferences are not supported by your methods.

If a study will last longer than a single academic year, we ask that the researchers submit an interim report to the GRAD no later than August 01 of the next school year. This submission will be used to review the continuation of the research project.

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Contact Information

If you have any questions about conducting research in FCPS, please contact our office at data.research@fayette.kyschools.us.

Click here to start your research or data request

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