Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School
  • 01-Mar-2018 to 30-Jun-2018 (CST)
  • Administration
  • Chicago, IL, USA
  • Full Time

Job purpose


The Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School, and its programs, provides mental health treatment and special education services to students with severe social and emotional disorders. It has anecdotal evidence of its success but is seeking to back this up with research, data, and outcome measurement and analysis. The new position of Research Director will lead and oversee the organization's efforts to track, investigate, report, and impact the work of the school's programs with the aim of influencing the best practices in the field, informing public policy decisions, and aid the school as it seeks to become an industry leader in residential treatment, special education, mental health services, and growth of children, adolescents, and their families. These efforts include both short term, time limited projects as well as on-going longitudinal and follow-up studies that encompass both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The activities will be reported out to the school's staff to assist in quality improvement; the Development Office to enhance fundraising; the Leadership teams to further strategic development; the Board of Directors to facilitate governance; and to professionals within the field to contribute to establishing best practice standards in this field. Reporting will occur on a scheduled basis for each project in the forms of written reports, informational tables and graphs, presentations, and, when applicable, peer-reviewed publications. This position will work with both internal and external personnel to ensure timely and accurate completion of projects. The Director of Research will be responsible for facilitating the integration of solid research practices into the established milieu without compromising or disrupting the intensive treatment milieu. Reach and outcome measurement will be completed in a manner that reflect the highest integrity of scientific study, all applicable laws, regulations, and standards of best practices, and with respect and sensitivity of everyone involved with particular care given to issues of race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, gender, sexual orientation, trauma, learning differences, and mental health concerns.


Duties and responsibilities

 Build a Research Culture at the School 20%

  • Complete a Needs Assessment in terms of Research and Outcome Measurement at the school
  • Complete an evaluation of current efforts to complete research and outcome measurement at the school
  • Establish a 5-year strategic plan for establishing and advancing research development at the school that includes but is not limited to anticipated accomplishments, and dates of completion. This plan should specify and identify responsible personnel for each task and detail specifically the methods by which participants, staff members, leadership teams, and the board of directors will be involved and informed. This plan should also include an outline for the dissemination of both internally and externally.
  • Educate existing and future staff members, students, and families about the importance of research, outcome measurement, and external engagement in our field
  • Identify areas of the school's programs that can best benefit from and contribute to the field of study through research and measurement
  • Aid each aspect of the programs in identifying program specific research and outcome measurement projects to be completed on a time limited and/or on-going basis.
  • Further the school's goal of being an inclusive, affirming, anti-racist, anti-prejudice program by ensuring all research and outcome measurements is sensitive and responsive to differences related to race, religions, ethnicity, economic status, gender, and sexual orientation.

Conduct Outcome Measurement- 20%

  • Establish key indicators related to the services provided by the school's program from pre-admission to post-discharge that are based on both process and outcome based data
  • Develop and sustain process and outcome based activities to gather, aggregate, analyze, and interpret outcome findings on a routinely scheduled basis that focuses on the school's settings, demographics of participants, identified needs of participants, interventions utilized, and related factors external to the school
  • Complete data collection and analysis with strong scientific and statistical adherences and that are reflective of the schools' mission and values
  • Ensure all applicable laws and requirements are adhered to in the collection and use of data, in particular related to informed consent to participate and privacy issues
  • Ensure outcome measurements are in concert with established outcome measurement of regulatory agencies, funding sources, professional trade organizations, while also extending the boundaries of those organizations
  • Collaborate with leadership staff and Director of Compliance in developing on-going, time limited, and targeted continuous quality improvement projects related to programmatic service provision
  • Complete a retrospective follow-up analysis of the school's impact on former students, and potentially employees, for all years since 1948.
  • Complete an on-going follow-up study of all students and participants

Generate Project Reports 15%

  • Establish a schedule for reporting on research and outcome measurement efforts that includes internal programs, leadership teams, compliance and development, board of directors, and external partners when requested
  • Provide written summary of research and outcome measurement as directed
  • Provide graphic reports that provide a clear visual depiction of the information being presented
  • Facilitate the sharing of written and graphic reports with the individuals and groups listed previously when appropriate
  • Evaluate findings to determine what information should be shared externally for the purpose of professional presentation
  • Prepare a quarterly finding report for the Board of Directors and Newsletter
  • Prepare an annual finding report for the Annual Report
  • Provide as requested information updates that can be used to respond to referral related questions and marketing efforts, such as a website update, blog report, or social media pages

Integrate Information into Practice -10%

  • Determine in what manner is it best to share research and outcome measurements on an on-going basis with staff members
  • Present gathered information in a manner that is informative, direct, constructive, professional and conducive to learning
  • Contribute to the completion of on-going licensing, certification, approval, and accreditation reviews as needed
  • Participate in professional trade organizations research and outcome measurement efforts when appropriate and advancing the school or the fields knowledge

Collaborate with Development Office and Marketing Team -10%

  • Coordinate with Development Office and Marketing Team to ensure findings reports are shared in a timely manner and in preparation of key events for both departments
  • Identify and report on key findings that would increase the school's ability to be awarded grants and attract new referrals

 Share Findings Publicly 10%

  • Develop and mentor staff from all parts of the program to identify the areas of work that they are completing that would be noteworthy and contributory to the broader learning community in our field of practices
  • Submit three to five professional conferences to present findings on an annual basis after the first year of the Strategic Plan, whether the presenter is in this position or a mentored member of the school staff
  • Support the submission to at least three publications annually, with two being peer-reviewed, articles or essays that further shares the work of the school and connects the school to the broader learning community of the field

 Supervise Research Assistants and Interns 5%

  • Supervise administratively and clinically any part-time employees and/or graduate level interns and externs in the completion of research and outcome measurement
  • Coordinate collaboration with external partners that provide academic training students to assist in the completion of research and outcome measurement

 Milieu Maintenance 5%

  • Be a positive role model for students, families, and staff members by maintaining a high degree of professionalism, in particular as related to behaving in ways that reflect honesty, integrity, and sensitivity to others
  • Be on-time, organized, and complete tasks in a timely and thorough manner
  • Participate in the all-school activities, including but not limited to open houses, student and family events, holiday celebrations, and graduations

Other Duties as Assigned 5% 


 Master's Degree in related field, licensed LCSW or Ph.D./Psy.D preferred

Expertise in using SSPS and other information database required

Expertise in using academic research search tools, databases, and libraries required

Expertise in using Microsoft Office Suite required

3 years of past research experience required, 5 or more years preferred

2 years of supervisor or managerial experience preferred 


Working conditions 

  • Working within special education and mental health treatment setting where program participants can potentially express emotionally upsetting or physically dangerous behavior
  • Training in therapeutic crisis intervention model
  • Typical office work station set-up, with extended periods of time working at a desk and computer
  • Some travel to other programs, local travel to board meetings, and occasional out of town for conferences and networking opportunities
  • Need to interact with co-workers, participants, family members, board members, and fellow professionals in a respectful and professional manner on a regular basis
  • Need to be self-monitoring tasks completion and multiple demands and timelines


Physical requirements

 The physical demands of this position are similar to regular office work.

Need to be able to lift up to 50lbs to carry file boxes

Need to be able to safely protect oneself in accordance with TCI model in the event of a student's assaultive behavior


Direct reports

 As the activities of the department grow there is a potential for supervising part0time research assistants and graduate level interns/ externs.


The Leslie Shankman School Corporation is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants are considered for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, marital or veteran status, or disability.


Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School
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