Research for Action (RFA), an independent research firm, is now a leading programs called Learning from Philadelphia Public Schools Reform. This is a comprehensive, multi-year study of Philadelphia schools and the complex and radical reform efforts. The schools system has been taken over by the state, hoping to drastically improve services and learning students receive. RFA is to investigate the influence of the state takeover, with specific areas of focus, such as:
Data Usage: This study is an in-depth study of data use in low-performing Philadelphia Schools. And asks how schools and communities within those schools are using data to inform instructional decision making. The ways that outsiders (including district and providers), the effect of those practices is also taken into account
Teacher Quality :. Over the past four years has been significant progress in improving the quality of teacher recruitment and retention for all Philadelphia Schools. In fact, since 2002, Philadelphia Schools have drastically cut the number of teachers with emergency certifications have reduced classroom work, and raised the certification rate, especially among new teachers. This has been achieved by providing more curricular and coaching support, by improving school-based hiring process and by training principals in new teacher induction
Governance :. Current reforms in Philadelphia schools is like no other. It has seen the state take over, replacing the School Reform Commission to school, and agreements with educational management companies
students Outcomes :. The bottom line is to be student achievement and performance in all Philadelphia Schools. RFA is collaborating with Johns Hopkins University and the RAND Corporation to study student test scores
Small High Schools :. Philadelphia Schools now the major reform secondary schools which includes the creation of as many as 30 new small high schools aimed at creating more choice for children and families
Action Research and Youth :. Where are the student voices in school reform? Scientists are working with groups of young people in the Philadelphia schools they react and respond to this school reform
alternate route teacher certification :. RFA is assisting researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in the assessment of the position of Pennsylvania is a pilot program in Philadelphia schools. For those who want another way to teacher certification, experts have access to Accelerated Certification for Teachers program. This assessment is supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Education
Middle Grades Math and Science Achievement :. RFA wants to answer the question: What does success in mathematics and science for middle grades students in Philadelphia Schools? The study, which focuses on schools serving high poverty neighborhoods, examines the effect of variables such as grade structure (middle school or K-8), provider (EMO or district school), curriculum and teacher participation in professional development on student achievement.
As Philadelphia Schools continue their search for more reform, Research for Action organization is going right along with it, to study the changes as they come.