NEWTON, MA | July 2, 2010
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences (IES), researchers from Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), will collaborate on a new $13.6 million national center to identify what makes some large urban high schools effective and then transfer those practices to less-effective schools. Other partners in the five-year initiative include Vanderbilt University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Florida State University.
The Developing Effective Schools Center, to be located at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, will identify practices and policies that make some high schools more successful than others at improving outcomes for low-income and minority students. Once researchers identify these effective practices, they will develop ways to transfer them to other schools in the same systems. The center will work with district leaders and teachers in the Dallas (Texas) Independent School District and Broward County (Florida) Public Schools.
“We will be paying close attention to the districts, schools, and classrooms where effective practices are in place,” said Cheryl King, who will lead EDC’s research team, which also includes colleagues Maria-Paz B. Avery and Barbara Miller. “The new center offers a promising opportunity for researchers, program developers, and school and district practitioners to work together to improve student achievement.”
The center will focus specifically on effective programs to improve student achievement in English/language arts, mathematics, and science; reduce the likelihood that students will drop out before graduation; and increase enrollment in advanced courses among traditionally low-performing students.
Researchers will use a combination of interviews, surveys, and observations to uncover what effective high schools are doing that contribute to their success. They then will collaborate with district leaders and participants from both the effective and less effective high schools on implementing these successful practices.
“EDC’s partnership with Vanderbilt and the award from IES are strong acknowledgement of our longstanding expertise working to understand how district and school leaders support learning,” said Joanne Brady, senior vice president and director of EDC’s Learning and Teaching Division. “It is immensely gratifying to collaborate with our colleagues at Peabody College and the other partners on this critical research and development effort.”
Thomas Smith, associate professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt, will serve as principal investigator and director of the new center.
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), is a global nonprofit organization that develops, delivers, and evaluates innovative programs to solve some of the world’s most urgent challenges in education, health, and economic development. EDC conducts more than 350 projects in 35 countries. Visit www.edc.org.