Who We Are
The Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) at Brown University is a national policy research and reform-support organization that works with districts and communities to improve the conditions and outcomes of schools, especially in urban communities and in those attended by traditionally underserved children. The hallmarks of our unique approach to education reform are:
1) Our focus on helping education reformers achieve equity and eliminate racial disparities in education.
2) The notion that eliminating disparity in education and developing sustainable education reform at scale requires the combined commitment, efforts, and investment of an entire community.
Experts from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform are available to discuss our take on education reform.
Please contact Phil Gloudemans, AISR’s Director of Communications, if you are interested in speaking with an AISR expert:
email@example.com; 401-863-3552 or 617-257-2958 (cell)
Warren Simmons, Executive Director
Michael Grady, Deputy Director
Richard Gray, Director of Community Organizing and Engagement - National
Ellen Foley, Associate Director of District Redesign
Areas of expertise include:
School Closure and Turnaround
Since the 1970s, education reform efforts have focused on turning around individual low-performing schools and more recently on closing those that are deemed failing. AISR takes a different approach. Rather than asking, What are the elements of a good school? we ask, How can districts organize and support schools to do this transformation work? How do district policies and practices need to change? How can districts engage communities around high school transformation processes and closures? And What do communities need to do to become effective advocates and partners?
Parent and Youth Engagement
Across the country, organized parents have begun to mobilize the collective capacity and power of low-income and working-class communities to demand that all students have access to good schools. Organizing groups view school failure in a larger context of disinvestment in and privatization of public services that intensifies economic inequality. Rather than trusting competition and market forces to spur improvement, organized parents – sometimes partnered with teachers – hold schools accountable as public institutions crucial to equal opportunity. Organizing groups across the country, some with the technical assistance of AISR, have won hundreds of millions of dollars in facilities improvements and new school buildings; policies and resources to support parent engagement; new instructional programs and new small schools; improved access to rigorous courses; equitable distributions of highly qualified teachers; transportation, health care, and counseling supports that students need to succeed in school.
High school graduation is no longer sufficient to meet the exacting demands of a global, knowledge- and creativity-based economy – all students now must be prepared to succeed in college or workforce pursuits. But education leaders across the country are confounded by a growing phenomenon: too many students, particularly those in underserved communities, are not college ready when they leave high school. And while the proliferation of college readiness efforts and the vast range of strategies available to policymakers and practitioners is an exciting development, the messiness of the field poses dilemmas for stakeholders making decisions about how to advance college readiness in a particular place. Whether through a foundation grant or via relationships among state and local leaders, coordination of the multiple efforts is essential, if only to communicate a coherent message about the importance of and path to college readiness.
Extended Learning Time
The new goal of college readiness extends beyond the reach of schools and districts – it calls for a smart education system that uses the resources of the community – higher education, community organizations, businesses, funders, recreation programs, and civic organizations – to support learning outside of schools and align it with what happens inside schools. Traditional afterschool programs fear that alignment with districts will lead to a focus on basic skills, to the exclusion of youth engagement and development; districts fear that out-of-school-time programs will divert money from schools, but leave the schools still accountable for meeting academic goals. AISR holds that out-of-school-time learning must be rigorous and engage the schools, but it should not simply provide longer time for ineffective practices. Schools and districts must partner with community organizations to create effective models of extended learning time together.
If asked about the hottest topic or most talked-about players in American public education today, pretty much everyone’s answer – from parents to policymakers to pundits – would include the words “teachers” or “teaching.” We know that teaching is the single most important in-school influence on student learning. But when any one player in a very important game gets that kind of attention, it’s easy to forget about other factors, like the rest of the team (other teachers and student support professionals), the condition of the playing field (the school’s physical environment and instructional resources), and the strength of the coaches (principals and school leaders), to name a few.
Please contact Phil Gloudemans, AISR’s Director of Communications, if you are interested in speaking with an AISR expert: firstname.lastname@example.org; 401-863-3552 or 617-257-2958 (cell)