Introduction to the Series

1624 Michael GradyMichael Grady

Michael Grady is interim executive director of AISR.

Since 2006, it’s been my privilege to serve on the faculty of the Urban Education Policy (UEP) Program where I teach a course in research design and methods. When we first designed the UEP program, our goal was to create a three-semester sequence of courses and internships that illuminate the linkage between educational theory and practice. Our nearly 300 graduates have gone on to serve as innovators, policy analysts, and school and district leaders – many continuing to work here in Rhode Island and the New England region.

A key component of the summer term is an intensive research practicum where teams of students collaborate with a local organization to examine a current challenge or problem of practice. Invariably, the six-week practicum experience yields powerful learning and capacity-building for our host organizations. For our students, the practicum is an opportunity to apply the research principles and practices they study in class to a contemporary policy or practice challenge.

The Annenberg Institute is pleased to host a series of blog posts written by students in the current UEP cohort who completed research projects this past summer. These projects produced a range of important deliverables – a tool to measure trauma awareness in schools, an after-school program in the New Bedford Housing Authority, and a strategy for the Rhode Island Department of Education to disseminate evidence-based programs, among others.

In the charged atmosphere of our current national politics, the very legitimacy of scientific evidence is being questioned by some in positions of leadership. Rarely has there been a more urgent need for preparing the next generation of education leaders with the skills and temperament to pursue sound decisions based on rigorous analysis of the best available data. The impressive work completed this past summer by our current UEP cohort gives one hope that, in the final analysis, thoughtful, independent analysis of policy decisions will prevail. 

Part 1:

New Bedford Housing Authority: A Logic Model for Effective After School Programming
By Charlie Thompson, Steven Tedeschi, Zachary Charette, and Esther Rhie

Part 2: 

Providence Children & Youth Cabinet: Recommendations for Scaling a Trauma Sensitive Initiative
By Katja Hamler

Part 3: 

Rhode Island Department of Education: Resources for School Transformation
By Biying Zheng, Alyssa Fatal, Tong Tong, and Erica Prenda