RFA was commissioned by The Franklin Institute (TFI) and Science Leadership Academy (SLA) in spring 2011 to research how the first cohort of graduates from SLA fared as they entered postsecondary institutions. This study has a special focus on student participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) tracks. TFI and SLA were also interested in having RFA identify and document key elements of the SLA partnership school model to inform strategies for replication.
SLA is a small, selective-admission Philadelphia high school created through a partnership between the Franklin Institute Science Museum and the School District of Philadelphia. The school distinguishes itself with its inquiry-driven and project-based pedagogy, its use of technology, and its partnership with TFI, a Philadelphia-based science museum and educational center. SLA offers STEM-rich learning experiences but is not a STEM-only school. While SLA shares some characteristics with high schools around the country that are STEM, SLA leadership strives to realize a broader visionin which inquiry is threaded through all content areas. In the spring of 2011, TFI and SLA commissioned Research for Action (RFA) to conduct a pilot study of the school’s activities. Two research briefs resulted:
- 1. Care + Inquiry = Science Leadership Academy examines elements of the SLA model to inform strategies for replication.
- 2. The First Graduating Class of the Science Leadership Academy reports on high school and first-year college outcomes for the Class of 2010.