February 2017

February 2017


Webinar – Role of Data to Support College and Career Readiness and Success for Students in Foster Care (Wednesday March 1, 2017, 1:00-2:15PM ET)

Longitudinal data are important sources of information for assessing and improving educational priorities, initiatives, and investments, but these data can also support efforts to ensure all students are college and career ready. Specifically, states can use data to measure and track student progress, develop early warning indicators, provide access to information to multiple stakeholders, and encourage cross-agency data sharing to better support student success.  This webinar explores strategies for leveraging data to support college and career readiness and success (CCRS) goals for all students, with special emphasis on students in foster care. With access to quality data, education and child welfare agencies can work together to improve educational outcomes and promote CCRS for students in foster care. Presenters will discuss a set of emerging practices that serve as examples of how states can use and link data to support CCRS.   As states are working to fulfill the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), this webinar aims to provide concrete strategies to leverage the data collection and reporting requirements related to students in foster care to achieve CCRS goals.

Presenters include:

  • Susan Bowles Therriault, Director, College & Career Readiness & Success Center, American Institutes for Research
  • Elizabeth Dabney, Director, Research and Policy Analysis, Data Quality Campaign
  • Kristin Kelly, Assistant Director of the Legal Center for Foster Care, American Bar Association, Center on Children and the Law
  • Lisa Guillen, Education Programs Consultant for Foster Youth Services, California Department of Education
  • Jenna Tomasello, Policy Associate, American Youth Policy Forum
  • Shawna Reid, Education Data Warehouse Bureau Chief, Florida Department of Education

Webinar – ESSA and Research Evidence: Opportunities and Challenges for States (Wednesday, March 7, 2017, 1:00-2:30PM ET)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) presents states with unprecedented flexibility over, and responsibility for, the use of research evidence in their policies and practices. The new law places a heightened importance on the use of research evidence as a critical tool for planning, collaborating, decision-making, and continuous improvement. As states begin to think about the implications of this new law, all relevant stakeholders will need to understand the requirements and opportunities under ESSA, as well as the barriers and challenges they may encounter in carrying out these new requirements. In this webinar, teams from three states will present their progress to date in establishing systemic use of research evidence, their ultimate goals, successful strategies, and the challenges and roadblocks they have faced to date.

Speakers include:

  • Dr. Marty West, Associate Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: Carrie Conaway, Chief Strategy and Planning Officer; Russell Johnston, Senior Associate Commissioner
  • Tennessee Department of Education: Nate Schwartz, Chief Research and Strategy Officer; Rita Fentress, Director of School Improvement
  • Michigan Department of Education: Venessa Keesler, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Educator, Student and School Supports; Karen Ruple, Manager, MI Excel Statewide System of Support


Discussion Group Summary – Greater Rochester Afterschool Leadership Summit

The Greater Rochester Afterschool Leadership Summit brings together education, afterschool, business, philanthropy, community-based, elected, and municipal leaders from the greater Rochester community. This event provides an opportunity for leaders in the community to learn and discuss the value of an afterschool system as part of an interconnected system of services for youth that supports social and emotional learning, academic success, and the development of 21st century skills to promote readiness for college, career, and life. The summit featured presentations and interactive sessions with national experts and afterschool champions from other leading cities, along with key voices from the local community, to collectively inform the region’s strategic priorities for youth moving forward.

Creating a System of High-Quality Education Options to Serve All Students (Study Tour, Denver, CO)

With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), there is a renewed emphasis on making sure all young people have access to high-quality educational opportunities that prepare them for success in postsecondary education and the workforce. For states and districts, this means developing and holding accountable an array of high-quality educational options for vulnerable student populations, including alternative settings. The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) is organizing a learning exchange and study tour for state leaders to explore how states can leverage opportunities under ESSA to create a system of high-quality alternative settings to serve all students.

Advancing Equity through Deeper Learning in Rural Schools (Study Tour, Charleston, SC)

This study tour addressed how two high-need rural schools in South Carolina are addressing the challenges of preparing students for college and career success. The i95 “Corridor of Shame” in rural South Carolina is characterized by high illiteracy and high unemployment, yet within this corridor, two districts are working to transform their community into a “Corridor of Innovation.” They are accomplishing this with the New Tech Network, a leading design partner for comprehensive school transformation, as well as the Riley Institute, based at Furman University. These two STEM-focused New Tech high schools—Scott’s Branch High School and Cougar New Tech—will graduate their first classes in 2017. The schools utilize four design pillars: culture that empowers students and teachers, project-based learning, broad use of technology, and school-wide “deeper learning” student outcomes. Additionally, dual enrollment with college courses and engagement with regional employers are helping to advance equity and opportunity for students, families, and the community by promoting student development, growth, and economic self-sufficiency.


Please visit our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/amyouthpolicyforum for video clips of events, interviews and more.


Forum For Thought Blog AYPF is proud to announce our new eight-part weekly blog series, Using Research Evidence under ESSA. This series will feature guest bloggers who will share lessons learned, resources, and insights on how states and districts can best use research evidence in their efforts to plan for and implement ESSA.

In partnership with the William T. Grant Foundation, AYPF’s blog is featuring experts from the field on the role of state chiefs, the importance of leadership in building evidence-based systems, using intermediaries as power brokers, how to break down silos between researchers and practitioners, and more.

  • Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), state and local education stakeholders have significant new autonomy. How can we ensure that stakeholders use the best research available to build capacity and work together? Vivian Tseng, Vice President of Programs at the William T. Grant Foundation, and Anu Malipatil, Director of Educatio at the Overdeck Family Foundation explain. Read More
  • In any organization or effort, leaders establish the culture and set the tone. Under ESSA, how can leaders set the example when it comes to using data and research effectively? AYPF executive director Betsy Brand explains. Read More
  • Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states are now able to provide new levels of research evidence-based support and incentives to schools and districts. But how can we best implement these programs? Carrie Heath Phillips from the Council of Chief State School Officers highlights five areas that states are exploring. Read More
  • Why do some school turnaround initiatives yield substantial results and others do not? Carrie Conaway and Russell Johnston from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education explain how cooperation and data-sharing within their agency revealed four common areas of practice in schools that show improvements. Read More
  • When using research evidence under ESSA, it’s common to hear, “Invest in what works!” But what exactly is the “what?” Ruth Neild, Director of the Philadelphia Education Research Consortium unpacks the issue Read More

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AYPF interns are an integral part of the team, and engage in a variety of activities, including researching and analyzing data, writing fact sheets and summaries, and planning and helping to organize briefings on Capitol Hill.

The application process is rolling. For more details, please visit our Employment Page.


Check these out – recommended reading from the AYPF staff:

Education Policy Center at American Institutes for Research Principal Professional Development: New Opportunities for a Renewed State Focus

Principals’ groups and other educators have long lamented that school leaders are often absent from the policymaking process or included as afterthoughts. This publication provides a set of foundational principles of what school leaders should know and be able to do that states and districts can look to as a framework to guide their own school leadership policy and practice.

University of Chicago To and Through Project Busting Myths About What Matters for High School and College Success

The path to and through high school and college can be confusing for some students, which can hurt their decisions about what to focus on in order to maximize their chances for success. Fortunately, more than a decade’s worth of research and data from the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research has helped solidify the facts and dispel myths about what it takes to make it to and through college.

Digital Promise Research@Work Video Series

Educators and educational product developers understand the value of using research to inform their work, but it can be overwhelming to find the most relevant and promising research findings. The Digital Promise Research@Work video series introduces 12 video research topics that support education practices.

Chiefs for Change From Financial Transparency to Equity: Part I

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) mandates that school districts publicly report their per-pupil expenditures. This issue brief1 examines steps district and state leaders can take to make financial transparency a springboard to real equity and better outcomes for students.