January 2017

January 2017


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

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.

Speakers will include:

  • Marty West, Associate Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education;
  • Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: Carrie Conaway, Associate Commissioner; 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


Webinar Recording – Moving the Needle for First-Generation College Students: Innovative Strategies to Support Completion

Nearly one-third of college-going students each year are first-generation. While there have been strides made in the number of first-generation students attending college, research has demonstrated that first-generation students graduate at a lower rate (40%) than their peers whose parents attended college (55%).

In recent years, there has been a greater emphasis placed on strategies to support student completion. This webinar shared innovative strategies at the institutional and state level to improve the number of first-generation college students earning a postsecondary credential. Presenters included: Austin Buchan, Executive Director, College Forward; Krissy DeAlejandro, Executive Director, tnAchieves; Ben Walizer, Project Director, Office of the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success, Georgia State University, and Fellow, University Innovation Alliance.

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 will feature 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.

Our first post in the series, Learning Systems: Improving Education in States and Districts by Vivian Tseng, Vice President of Programs at the William T. Grant Foundation and Anu Malipatil, Education Director at the Overdeck Family Foundation, explores the ways that states and school districts can effectively use data, build capacity, and work together.

Stay tuned and help us spread the word!

Click here to view all AYPF publications

Click here to find all briefs and reports


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:

Center for Innovation in Education Leadership in Transformation

In an environment of transformation and new systems design, leadership is the art of enabling a learning community to move from current to future state by continuously and dramatically improving outcomes and capacity. This paper focuses primarily on individuals as leaders of learners and teams, the work aims to inform larger issues of policy and practice, including the redesign of systems that recruit, prepare, select, evaluate and reward teachers and leaders and creation of tools that support self-reflection and self-direction for those already in practice, supporting both individual development and peer collaborations.

Southern Regional Education Board Bridging the Computer Science Education Gap: Five Actions States Can Take

This report offers five actions for states and schools to help more young people — especially girls, black and Hispanic students, and students from low-income families — learn computer science and explore and choose careers in computing fields. The full report also surveys the disciplines, workforce needs, and current state of computer science education at the K-12 and postsecondary levels.

American Institutes for Research Center on Great Teachers and Learners Learning to Teach: Practice-Based Preparation in Education

This brief outlines essential features for providing high-quality, structured and sequenced opportunities to practice within teacher preparation programs. This brief is intended to support states, districts, and EPPs that are striving to prepare and support excellent teachers by showcasing several teacher preparation programs wherein faculty have enacted innovative strategies to embed practice-based opportunities into existing coursework and field experiences that more closely connect with the realistic demands of today’s classrooms.

The ETS Opportunity Project Choosing our Future: A Story of Opportunity in America

This initiative takes a comprehensive look at opportunity in the United States, and proposes a broad framework for action, one that supports long-term commitments to evidence-based interventions and policies that can be adapted for communities and populations with both different needs and different resources.

National Public Radio (NPR) School Graduation Rates Are Deceiving. Here Are 7 Things That Would Help

On the surface, it would seem that we’re doing a great job of boosting high school graduation rates, but the reality is more nuanced. Some schools are lowering standards or relying on untested quick-fixes This NPR story highlights the ways we can more accurately and meaningfully track high school student success.