Education Research and Policy Consulting
Our mission is to promote innovation and meaningful change in public education through strategic leadership and learning within and across all levels of the education system. We believe that all members of society - students, parents, educators, organizations and policymakers - have an important role to play in developing and implementing strategies that will improve educational outcomes for all.
We work to cultivate strategic leadership and learning, the construction of a policy environment conducive to innovation and successful implementation of effective strategies, and engage in meaningful evaluations of the various strategies and interventions employed to support teaching and learning.
Our work is guided by a set of core principles and a continually refined set of primary source documents and research. We invite you to review our principles and the research that guides our work.
Building upon a research- and practice-based set of Turnaround Practices, we specialize in working with states, districts, and individual schools to engage in strategic planning (e.g., root cause analysis, needs assessment) and the development of strategic objectives and actions leading to accelerated improvement. We use networks as a mechanism for accelerating learning and building the leadership capacity of individuals and organizations to support sustainable improvement. Because context matters, we customize our work to build upon the context, needs, and assets of our clients
We work with leaders across the education system (NGOs, states, districts, schools) and incorporate systems thinking into the design of accountability systems, support systems, and policies that incentive the use and sharing of evidence-based best practices so that all students are able to thrive and succeed in school and through college and career. We focus on urban and high poverty locales, emphasizing strategies for closing achievement gaps. We incorporate Improvement Science methodology into our work, building the capacity of leaders and teachers to successfully design and implement solutions.
We provide detailed analysis and evaluations of state and federal education policies and regulations as they impact local improvement efforts, focusing on how policies are interpreted and enacted by individuals across the education system. Using our analysis as a starting point, we work with educational leaders to consider how to best construct, adapt, utilize and communicate education policies so as to create a productive policy environment that supports innovation and transformational change.
INSTLL has worked closely with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education since 2010, focusing on district and school turnaround. Our partnership led to the development of a set of Turnaround Practices that provide a framework for planning and support, including a variety of research and practice-based publications and guides.
Through our work, we have developed multiple tools, guidance, processes and rubrics to support districts engaged in significant improvement efforts, including a Framework for District Improvement. Please visit our Rapid District Turnaround site for additional information.
Our recent work (2014-2019) has focused on the use of networking and improvement science methodology to explore how to accelerate improvement efforts within and across school districts. We recently completed a three year partnership with Mass Insight Education that involved a network of five urban districts and over 20 schools working on a shared problem of practice and we have since expanded this work by focusing on building networks of schools within districts.
The five-district Gateway to College Success initiative led to the publication of a policy brief, Using Networked Improvement Communities to Accelerate Improvement, and a detailed Technical Report that provides the research and evidence base for the brief. school turnaround
Additional information on our approach to systems design and networking is provided on our Systems Improvement page, including a preview of the suite of networking and improvement science tools and processes we are using, and hope to use with districts interested in this approach to improvement.
Three recent evaluation reports showcase our approach to providing customized and rigorous evaluation support to organizations, state departments of education, and districts:
Additional information on our approach to evaluation and policy development is provided on our Evaluation and Policy Analysis page, including description of our approach to evaluation and how we work with states and district to analyze and construct policy that incentives accelerated improvement among district and schools.