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Expertise Area

K–12 Education and Juvenile Justice

We understand issues related to K-12 education and school systems in and across a variety of public school contexts, including district schools, charter schools, and juvenile justice facilities. Our research focuses on the implementation and impacts of various schoolwide programs and supports, as well as curricula and instructional practices, related to literacy, STEM, and high school to career and college readiness.

We are committed to improving equity for students in primary and secondary schools and aim to make sure all students have an opportunity to shape their education. Our work is designed to implement reform at a national, state, district, and school level. We understand issues related to K-12 education and school systems in and across a variety of public school contexts, including district schools, charter schools, and juvenile justice facilities.

Our research focuses on the implementation and impacts of various schoolwide programs and supports, as well as curricula and instructional practices, related to literacy, STEM, and high school to career and college readiness. Our findings related to K-12 education have been used to inform policymakers and the media, support teachers, and guide students.

Related Projects

Allegheny County Education Research (ACER) Project

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Evaluation of the Philadelphia Health Resource Center (HRC) program

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Expanding the Knowledge Base on State Policies that Validate Learning that Occurs Outside of the Classroom

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An Evaluation of the Picasso Schoolwide Model

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Say Yes to Education: RFA’s Five-Year Evaluation of the Cleveland Chapter

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RFA’s Evaluation of Outcomes in City Year Philadelphia Schools

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Evaluating Philadelphia’s Community Schools Initiative

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Examining the Fiscal Impact of Charter School Expansion

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Comprehensive School Safety Initiative: Discipline in School Contexts

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Examining Credit Transfer from Juvenile Justice Facilities to the School District of Philadelphia

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Evaluating the Reimagine Learning Initiative for New Profit, Inc.

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Evaluating Women in Natural Sciences (WINS) for the Academy of Natural Sciences

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An Evaluation of Parent Councils at Five Sites Across the Country: National Urban League

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Evaluating the Philadelphia Academies’ All-Academy High School Model

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A Formative Evaluation of the Coalition of Essential Schools’ Summer Institute with Philadelphia High School Teachers: Philadelphia Schools Collaborative

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Using Common Assignments to Strengthen Teaching and Learning

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Examining a Math Intervention in Philadelphia Schools: An RCT in Partnership with RAND

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STEM Training for Philadelphia Teachers: An Evaluation Funded by the National Science Foundation

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Providing Technical Assistance on ELL Policy to the Pennsylvania Department of Education: A Project of the Mid-Atlantic REL

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Providing Policy Guidance and Support to Increase Student Success in Higher Education

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The Philadelphia Education Research Consortium (PERC)

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Integrative Arts Programs in Philadelphia: An Examination of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program in Four Public Schools

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An Evaluation of Delaware’s Teacher Evaluation System

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An Evaluation of the Partners for Youth Program: American Red Cross

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Boosting Adolescent and Young Adult Literacy: An Examination of Literacy Teaching and Learning in Philadelphia’s Accelerated Schools

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A Formative Evaluation of Reform Initiatives in Trenton Public Schools: Trenton School District

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Evaluating Project L.I.F.T.: A Cross-Sector Effort to Close the Achievement Gap

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A Study of Middle School Girls: American Association of University Women (AAUW)

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Going Small: Public/Private Collaboration in Restructuring High School Education in Philadelphia

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An Evaluation of MicroSociety, an Experiential Whole-School Reform Model: MicroSociety, Inc.

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City Year Philadelphia: An Evaluation of Implementation and Impact

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An Exploratory Research and Evaluability Study of the Peer Academic Development Curriculum by White-Williams Scholars

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Evaluating Teacher Engagement for the Hope Street Group

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An Evaluation of Philadelphia’s Annenberg Challenge, Children Achieving: School District of Philadelphia and The Annenberg Foundation

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A Documentation of a Collaborative High School Planning Process: Philadelphia Education Fund

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An Evaluation of the Keystone Science Network (KSN): Franklin Institute Science Museum

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Philadelphia’s Constitution High School and its Partnerships: A Formative Evaluation

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An Evaluation of the Science Resource Leaders Program: School District of Philadelphia and PATHS/PRISM

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Learning from Philadelphia’s School Reform

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Providing Technical Assistance to the New Jersey Department of Education

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An Evaluation of the Philadelphia Urban Systemic Initiative (USI): School District of Philadelphia

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Need in Deed Formative and Outcome Evaluation

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Twenty Years of Reflection and Action: Lessons from an Exemplary Urban Professional Development Group

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Using Data to Inform Instruction: Examining Teachers’ Use of Data to Inform Mathematics Instruction

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An Evaluation of Parent and Community Roles in Local Schools: Alliance Organizing Project (AOP)

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A Study of Local Education Funds: Public Education Network (PEN)

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Career and Technical Training in Juvenile Justice Facilities: Increasing the Capacity of a Statewide Network to Make Evidence-Based Decisions

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A Study of the Experiences of African-American Students: Lower Merion School District

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School Choice in a City of Neighborhoods: Philadelphia’s Approach to High School Reform

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A Review of Seven Parent Engagement Initiatives: The Annie E. Casey Foundation

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An Evaluation of the Philadelphia Youth Network’s GED-to-College Initiative

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Taking Stock/Making Change: School District of Philadelphia and the Center for Urban Ethnography, University of Pennsylvania. An Action Research Project

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An Evaluation of Metro Math: The Center for Mathematics in American Cities

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Artwell’s HeartBeat Program: An Evaluation of an Elementary School Music Education Initiative

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An Evaluation of an In-School Parenting Education Program: Educating Children for Parenting (ECP)

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A Study of Effective Organizational Practices

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A Study of How 8th Grade Students Understand High Standards Reforms and the Impact on Academic Engagement and Achievement: Spencer Foundation

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Renaissance Schools in Philadelphia: Examining Early Implementation of a Turnaround School Model

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A Participatory Evaluation of the Gratz Connection: School District of Philadelphia

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An Evaluation of the New Jersey Graduate-K12 Partnership: Rutgers University

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An Evaluation of the Regional Environmental Education Program Middle School and High School Curriculum: Schuylkill Valley Nature Center

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An Evaluation of Congreso de Latino Unidos’ Éxito Project

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Action Research with Youth United for Change

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Teacher Turnover in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

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A Study of High School Restructuring in Five Schools: Philadelphia Education Fund (PEF)

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Youth Civic Engagement in Urban School Reform

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An After-School Literacy and Leadership Development Program for Girls: Sisters Together in Action Research (STAR)

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An Evaluation of the Center for Literacy’s Integrated Literacy Model at West Philadelphia High School

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An Evaluation of the Reduced Class Size/Early Balanced Literacy Initiative (RCS/EBL): Philadelphia Education Fund (PEF)

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An Evaluation of How Science Leadership Academy Graduates and Preparedness for Postsecondary STEM Majors

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An Evaluation of Partners in Change with a Middle School Change Project: PATHS/PRISM

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An Evaluation of the Pennsylvania High School Coaching Initiative, a Classroom-Based Coaching Model

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A Capacity Building Project with Art Educators: National Arts and Education Consortium (NAEC)

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An Evaluation of the School District of Philadelphia’s Faith Partnerships Program

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Cross-City Campaign for Urban School Reform: A Study of the Contributions of Community Organizing to Urban School Reform

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An Evaluation of the American Reading Company’s ACTION 100 Initiative in Elementary Schools in Camden, NJ

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An Evaluation of Pregnant and Parenting Teen Programs: School District of Philadelphia

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An Evaluation of the School District of Philadelphia’s Pilot Parent Leadership Academies (PLA)

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A Study of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA): The Logan Square Neighborhood Association and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

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City Year Miami: An Implementation Evaluation

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An Evaluation of Talent Development, a Whole-School Reform: The Philadelphia Education Fund (PEF)

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Revisiting RFA’s Theory of Change and Indicators Framework for Communities for Public Education Reform

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An Evaluation of the Bread Loaf Rural Teachers’ Network (BLRTN): Bread Loaf School of English, Middlebury College

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Learning to Learn from Data: Using Data to Inform Instructional Decisions and Improve Student Learning in Low-Performing Urban Schools

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An Evaluation of Family Literacy Initiatives

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The Campaign for Better Schools: A Coalition to Influence New York City School Governance Supported by the Donor’s Education Collaborative in NYC

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An Evaluation of the Philadelphia Urban Systemic Program (USP): School District of Philadelphia

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An Evaluation of Elev8: A Community Schools Model

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An Evaluation of the New York City Mathematics Project: Lehman College, City University of New York

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Which Bets Paid Off? Estimating the Effects on Middle Grades Achievement of More than a Decade of Ambitious Reform in Philadelphia

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Teacher Mobility in Allegheny County, 2014-15 through 2019-20

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Students Experiencing Homelessness in Allegheny County

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Special Education Funding in Pennsylvania Charter Schools

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FAQ: Allegheny County Teachers of Color

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School Police Presence in Allegheny County

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Teacher Diversity in Pennsylvania from 2013-14 to 2019-20

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How Long Will it Take Me To Get to School?

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Responses to Covid-19 School Closures

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Allegheny County Students in Foster Care

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Equity-Focused Charter School Authorizing Toolkit

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Investing So Schools Work

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Detroit-Area Early Childhood Workforce Study

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New Data on Teacher Diversity in Pennsylvania

Recently, the Pennsylvania Department of Education provided new data for 2016-17 that include the race and gender of the 155,854 teachers in Pennsylvania’s public schools. RFA compiled and cleaned the raw data and is providing, for…

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School Performance Profiles: Still Not the Sum of a School’s Parts

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Philadelphia Community Schools Progress Report

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Supporting Literacy in Out-of-School Time: Summary of Evidence

The City of Philadelphia’s Citywide Out‐of‐School‐Time (OST) Initiative was launched in February 2017 to better coordinate and focus the capacities of OST programs on the needs of the city’s children. The first phase of this initiative…

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Charter School Special Education Funding in Pennsylvania

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Project LIFT: Year Four Student Outcomes Memo

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Making the Most of Interim Assessment Data: Lessons from Philadelphia – Executive Summary

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Selecting a High School: Not a Level Playing Field

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Six Years of Philadelphia GEAR UP – Executive summary

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Community Schools in Practice: Research on Implementation and Impact

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Blended Learning: Lessons from Best Practice Sites and the Philadelphia Context

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Creating a Comprehensive Picture of School Performance

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Lessons Learned about Parent Organizing: A Case Study

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Fewer English Language Learners – or More than Meet the Eye?

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Private Sector Involvement in Urban School Reform: Emerging Themes

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Teacher Beliefs about Equity in a Mathematics and Science Reform Program

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The Quest for Quality: Recruiting and Retaining Teachers in Philadelphia

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Teacher Turnover High at ‘Takeover Schools’

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