Current Projects

Strategic Partnership with the Institute for Student Achievement (2001-present)
Since 2001, NCREST has been the strategic partner to the Institute for Student Achievement (ISA). NCREST has collaborated with ISA on the design, development and roll out of their high school reform model.

Partnership with the New York City Chapter of Say Yes to Education (2002-present)
NCREST has been a partner to the New York City chapter of Say Yes to Education (SYTE) since 2002. NCREST provides on-going organizational and strategic support to the chapter in areas such as professional NYC middle and high school choice and admissions process and staff recruitment, and preparation of annual reporting to the foundation’s board.

New Jersey Network of Superintendents Documentation (2008 ­ present)
NCREST helps to design and document the development of the New Jersey Network of Superintendents (NJNS).

The Understanding Fiscal Responsibility (UFR) Curriculum Evaluation (2010- present)
NCREST serves as the evaluator of the Understanding Fiscal Responsibility Project (UFR). The UFR Project is developing a social studies and mathematics curriculum that focuses on the federal budget, the federal debt, and budget deficit.

The MCNC Middle/Early College Research Partnership (2002- present)
Since 2002, NCREST has served as a research partner of the 25-year old Middle College National Consortium (MCNC), a network of high schools across the nation, situated on community college campuses. NCREST has documented the design, development, and operation of the Consortium’s Early College High School Initiative.

Collaborative Research on the Bard High School Early College (BHSEC) Model (2012-2015)
NCREST is partnering with Bard High School Early College (BHSEC), to document key design features and practices associated with its model.

Recent Projects

The Michigan Early Middle College Association Research Partnership (2010 ­ 2013)
NCREST serves as a research partner of the Michigan Early Middle College Association (MEMCA), a network of middle-early college high schools in Michigan. NCREST collects data and conducts analyses that provide information used by MEMCA schools to strengthen their design and implementation.

International Baccalaureate School Transformation Research System (STaRS) (2012)
NCREST, in collaboration with another research organization, is assisting IB to develop a system for the ongoing collection of data from schools on their transformation as a result of becoming IB schools.

Education for the Poor: Financial Crisis Response Project in Mongolia (2009 - 2013)
ICREST (NCREST’s international branch) is providing technical assistance to the Government of Mongolia and the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science (MECS) in creating the conditions for effectively managing a crisis-mitigation grant from the Asian Development Bank.

PAN 3 Action Research Study: Practice Area Network 3 Math DYO Assessment Initiative
From 2008 to 2010, NCREST collaborated with elementary schools in New York City’s Empowerment School Organization Network 3 (ESO 3) to design and conduct an action research study on the network’s Math Design Your Own (DYO) formative assessment practices.

Early College Data Use and Professional Development Project (2007- 2010)
The Data Use and Professional Development project represents a collaboration between NCREST and Jobs for the Future (JFF). Its purpose was to assist early college high schools and intermediary organizations to effectively use data.

International Baccalaureate Quality Assurance Framework (2011)
NCREST provided assistance to the International Baccalaureate organization in assuring the fairness, equity, and quality of its school authorization and review process.

Research on Early College Math and English Instruction (2009-10)
NCREST conducted research and produced a report on the ways the Early College High School math and English teachers prepared students for college level work.

Cleveland Schools Excellence Project (2007)
In 2007, the Cleveland and Gund Foundations asked the Institute for Student Achievement (ISA) and NCREST to identify, describe, and share best practices that exist within Cleveland public, private and charter schools.

Urban Advantage: Documenting 8th Grade Science Inquiry (2006-07)
NCREST carried out a documentation project of Urban Advantage (UA), a New York City science education initiative that partners eight renowned science-rich cultural institutions with the New York City Department of Education and public middle schools to promote scientific discovery and learning.

Completed Projects

College Board: CollegeEd
The College Board commissioned the creation of the CollegeEd curriculum for middle school students. Its vision was to offer students, parents/guardians, and school staff with a tool to assist students to develop high educational aspirations, as well as to provide them with information that will enable them to make informed decisions about their future and chart their path towards those goals at an age when they still have time to prepare academically and financially. As part of the curriculum development plan, the College Board contracted NCREST to conduct both formative and summative evaluations of the curriculum. NCREST's evaluation research consisted of three phases. During the first phase we examined the content, organization, and pedagogical suitability of the curriculum materials for the intended student populations prior to implementation and offered suggestions to curriculum developers. Phase Two consisted of documenting the implementation process of the curriculum during the piloting stages and providing feedback to curriculum developers and implementers. Phase three of the research had a two-prong objective; we studied and documented implementation issues emerging during the nationwide, large scale roll-out of the curriculum and examined the initiative's ability to achieve its objectives of facilitating a school culture where all students were given the encouragement to pursue post-secondary educational aspirations and to make informed decisions about their future and chart their path towards those goals.

CollegeEd Curriculum Evaluation
Funded by the College Entrance Examination Board, NCREST was commissioned to conduct both formative and summative evaluations of the Board's "Middle School College Awareness Curriculum" that was used with seventh grade students in a large number of schools nationally. NCREST studied the content and pedagogical suitability for the intended student population and used ten designated sites to identify aspects of the program that are most effective. In working collaboratively with the College Board program leadership and consultants who were overseeing the development of the curriculum, NCREST identified measurable and attainable objectives as well as key decision points in the life of the program where data from the evaluation could help shape future development.

Principal Researcher: Veronika Denes, Senior Researcher, NCREST, Teachers College Advisor: Betty Lou Whitford, Professor, Teachers College and Director, NCREST

Cultural Interchange in Four Urban Schools
Cultural Interchange in Four Urban Schools, a federally funded ethnography, explored cultural barriers between home and school that prevented students outside the middle- class mainstream from learning. Collaborated with study participants in producing case studies and a video, Cultural Interchange illuminated the process by which students, family members, and school staffs came to see the world through each other’s eyes. (More about the project. . .)

Ernest L. Boyer Technology Submits for Educators
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, in collaboration with the National Council on the Accreditation of Teacher Education, implemented a two-and-a-half-year national effort to increase the effective use of educational technology in high school classrooms and teacher education institutions. The project, The Ernest L. Boyer Technology Summits, was evaluated by NCREST, with particular attention paid to the influence on participants of four regional two-day conferences and support for follow-up activity by teams of teachers and college professors. The evaluation focused on participants’ perceptions of the quality of the conferences, the degree to which the follow-up team work influenced classroom and program practice, the influence of selected context features on participants’ use of educational technology, and participants’ perceptions of the influence of technology on student attitudes and behavior.

Following-Up the Coalition Campus Schools Project-Small Schools
The Center for Collaborative Education, the Coalition of Essential Schools, and the New York City Board of Education piloted a new model for transforming failing urban high schools. Two failing high schools, Julia Richman in Manhattan, and James Monroe in the Bronx were phased out, and nine new small schools were founded to take their place. The large buildings were reconceived as multi-purpose, multi-age campuses, housing several autonomous small schools, as well as other agencies related to education. At the time, NCREST studied the launching of this project which is recorded in a publication titled, “The Coalition Campus Schools Project: Inching Toward Systemic Change in New York City.” Six years later, the Julia Richman Campus housed four autonomous high schools, one K­8 school, a special education program for autistic children, a vocational/technical program, an infant-toddler center, a professional development teacher center, and a medical clinic. The Monroe Campus housed four autonomous high schools and is planning an elementary school. Both schools are governed by a building council of representatives from each of the schools/programs. How are the students doing? How are the campuses doing? How viable is this model for successfully transforming failing urban high schools? NCREST conducted a study to find out.

Goldman Sachs Foundation Institutes for School Redesign, Teaching, & Leadership
In June 2000, the Goldman Sachs Foundation awarded a two-year grant to Teachers College, Columbia University to support a project designed to improve the quality of teaching in New York City schools and to strengthen a small cohort of newly redesigned high schools. The project was coordinated by National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching (NCREST) and the National Commission on Teaching & America's Future (NCTAF). NCREST and NCTAF used two strategies to ensure that New York City students have access to high-quality education:

1. Facilitated and documented collaboration with the Goldman Sachs Institutes for School Redesign, Teaching and Leadership-- a professional development initiative that involved 20 small New York City high schools--and the New York City Board of Education. Using an apprenticeship model, the Institutes supported the development of quality teaching in small high schools in New York City. Three mature, high performing, innovative small high schools--International High School, Middle College High School, and Urban Academy Laboratory High School--partner with 17 newer small high schools to strengthen their organizational, instructional, and leadership practices for the purpose of achieving higher standards for student and school performance. The three Institutes developed and disseminated effective organizational, pedagogical, and leadership practices across schools. Activities included on-site professional development, curriculum workshops, study groups, inter-school visits, assessment development, inquiry pedagogy, new leadership development meetings, principals' networks, and critical friend’s reviews for whole school improvement and accountability. The Office of the Deputy Chancellor has supported the Institutes with a grant of $100,000. Goldman Sachs Foundation funding enabled NCREST to produce a videotape on the Institutes professional development.

2. Convened and advised a policy group, consisting of representatives of diverse New York City education stakeholder organizations, including the New York City Department of Education, institutions of higher education, the United Federation of Teachers, the business and foundation communities, and other key organizations, to improve teacher quality in the New York City schools.

The Lucent Project
The Lucent Peer Collaboration Initiative Project, funded by Lucent Technologies Foundation, was a three year project located in four school districts: Albuquerque, New Mexico, Broward County, Florida, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Seattle, Washington. As part of the project, NCREST documented the development and functioning of peer collaboration groups--called Lucent Learning Communities--in the four districts. The project was designed to support teachers and school and district administrators in creating professional community structures and norms for examining and improving their practice so that student learning improves. NCREST staff coordinated the research and documentation component of the project, which aimed at informing both the project participants and the world of practice at large about the processes and outcomes of the work.

National Partnership for Excellence and Accountability in Teaching (NPEAT)
NCREST, through Teachers College, was a member of the National Partnership for Excellence and Accountability in Teaching (NPEAT), a national coalition of universities, professional associations, research and development institutes, and other education related organizations. The Partnership’s work over five years, funded by the US Department of Education, was an examination of teacher preparation and professional development; the nature and consequences of partnerships in collaborative research and development; the use of standards and assessment in teaching and teacher education; and the role of educational technology in teacher education. NCREST engaged in research and development work focused on experienced teachers’ opportunities to continue to grow professionally as a consequence of their membership in nontraditional educational contexts (Professional Development Schools, charter and restructuring schools, teacher networks, and mentoring and induction programs). The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) is leading the NPEAT strand devoted to the study of standards and assessment. In addition, the NCTAF-led standards and assessment work will be done in collaboration with a number of organizations, including the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

New York State New Assessments Project: The Elementary Literacy Program
This project worked with the New York State Education Department and New York State teachers to develop, pilot-test, and research the Elementary Literacy Profile, a classroom- based assessment instrument that gathers evidence about progress in literacy learning. The information that the Elementary Literacy Profile provided can be useful for instruction and reporting to parents and the public. The project involved 1,500 students in 25 districts. The studies of the Profile in these districts aimed to examine its psychometric properties, provide understandings about its feasibility for use across the state, and assess its impact on teaching practice and student learning.

PDS Technology Integration Project
The PDS Technology Integration Project was a collaborative research and development project with four local elementary schools that were part of the District 3-Teachers College PDS School Partnership, and the Center for Technology and School Change and NCREST. As a research and development project, it had two goals:

1) Support four PDSs to develop their capacity for technology integration in classrooms, schools, teacher education, and the PDS partnership for the purpose of better enabling students to perform to high standards.

2) Document the conditions and variables that facilitate and constrain technology integration in these different venues. The purpose of our research was to contribute to the knowledge-base on and deepen our understanding of the conditions and variables that support the successful integration of technology in schools, classrooms, teacher education, and PDS partnerships so that technology is used to help students perform to high standards. The project was funded through a Technology Challenge grant awarded to the National Institute for Community Innovations (NICI).

See a list of projects created by teachers participating in PDS Technology Integration Project.
View an integrated project on Japan from a 3rd grade class.
See a list of resources for educators and policymakers interested in technology use and access in schools.

Promoting Children Achieving Through Targeted Support
The purpose of the William Penn Foundation grant was to support improvements in teaching, schooling and student achievement through the two clusters, in pursuit of the goals of Children Achieving. The district and foundation identified three key areas for improvement

1.) Purchasing new books, materials, instructional resources and computers;

2.) Creating extended-day support programs for students; and

3.) Providing professional development.

NCREST's focus in data analysis and writing was on the use of the William Penn Foundation funds to improve teaching and learning, how teaching has changed over the years of the grant, and how student achievement has improved.

Restructuring Teacher Education for Restructured Schools: Creating a Network of Leading Edge Professional Development Schools
The Leading Edge Professional Development School Network was a research and development project designed to bring together six teacher preparation programs around issues of teaching standards. These programs explicitly prepared teachers to meet new teacher performance standards and assessments and support pre-service and in-service teacher development through Professional Development School models. The project’s second year disseminated its work in the fall of 1999 in a set of case studies. These studies provided detailed descriptive evidence about the approaches, the content, and the processes they use to respond to the call for high standards. The Leading Edge Network sites are the University of Louisville, University of Southern Maine, University of California at Santa Barbara, Wheelock College in Boston, Teachers College in New York, and the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. They were engaged in preparing prospective and beginning teachers in sites that are connected to major school reform networks and that were actively involved in the mutual restructuring of schools and schools of education.

TC Innovations New Teacher Academy
The New Teacher Academy was a program designed to educate and support teachers in their first two years of teaching. The Academy offered thirty hours of instruction to teachers entering the profession. The instruction was customized to the needs of each individual school district and was designed to help teachers achieve the knowledge, skills, guidance and support necessary for them to be effective in their classrooms, grow as educators, and remain committed to the teaching profession. National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching (NCREST) conducted both formative and summative evaluations of the New Teacher Academy in the three school districts where this work was sponsored by the Kellogg Foundation. The goal of the evaluation was to provide a solid foundation of information that can be used to determine the degree to which Project's objectives are met and to provide explanations of how and why the purposes of the Project are realized.

Teacher Education Case Studies
This study focused on TeachNet, a professional development network in New York City designed to support teachers' use of the Internet and other new media to enhance teaching and student learning. Directed by the Teachers Network (formerly IMPACT II), TeachNet encouraged teachers to create and transform curriculum they have used with their own students into digital form so that other teachers can have access to this work via the Internet. The project facilitated an on-line and off-line network of teacher mentors and mentees to support the curriculum work. The New York Teachnet Project brings together 35 teachers in six New York City public schools—IS 24 in Staten Island; PS 101 and Franklin K. Lane HS in Brooklyn; Murry Bergtraum and University Neighborhood High Schools in lower Manhattan; PS 88 in Queens. They are part of a national network of TeachNet project sites. The two research questions guiding the study over three years were:

1. What is the impact of the TeachNet Project and its use of the Internet on teacher learning, teaching, and teacher leadership?

2. What observable student learning outcomes can be documented in the physical and virtual classrooms of TeachNet Project teachers?

Technologies in Teaching (Eiffel Project)
The Eiffel Project is a Technology Challenge Grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to the Center for Collaborative Education (CCE), the Institute for Learning Technologies at Columbia University (ILT), and the New York City Board of Education. The objective of the grant was to influence achievement of under-served children and youth in 67 schools in New York City through the introduction and use of advanced digital information systems. NCREST served as an external evaluator.

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