Research Reports

Discover a wealth of social sector knowledge through reports from experts, foundations, nonprofits, and research institutions working in education.

  • The Right Match: A Strong Principal in Every Public School
  • Funding Futures: Scholarships as Agents of Social Change - Donor Resource Guide
  • Chock Full of Data: How School Districts are Building Leader Tracking Systems to Support Pipelines
  • Schools as Organizations: Examining School Climate, Teacher Turnover, and Student Achievement in NYC
  • The Right Match: A Strong Principal in Every Public School

    Summary

    This report has one central premise: Keeping great principals starts with hiring the right principal. Even as Chicago fights to retain principals long enough to make student learning and school culture gains more permanent, we must recognize some principal attrition is inevitable.

    More than 70,000 students started the 2016-17 school year with a new principal, and at least 60 schools will need a new principal each year for the foreseeable future. The stakes are high: No great public school exists without great leadership. In fact, variation in principal quality accounts for about 25 percent of a school’s total impact on student learning. Yet, more than four out of every 10 public school principals in Chicago leave before they begin their fifth year. To keep great principals, we have to make the right match from the start.

  • Funding Futures: Scholarships as Agents of Social Change - Donor Resource Guide

    Summary

    At the Ford Foundation, we know that young people are a formidable force for positive social change in the world. Yet we have also seen how unequal access to economic and social resources limits many talented young people, and keeps them from reaching their full potential.

    This resource guide is intended to illustrate how scholarship programs can make higher education more open and inclusive to all—and how they can fuel social change. The impact of well-designed scholarships can extend far beyond individual scholars. These scholarships help recognize and cultivate untapped talent, and address the inequality that too often thrives both in higher education institutions and in communities around the world.

    This donor resource guide will be helpful to anyone who wants to start or improve a scholarship or fellowship program and we hope the guide—with its resources and examples from past programs like the foundation's International Fellowships Program—inspires donors and institutions alike to take risks and initiate transformational programs.

  • Chock Full of Data: How School Districts are Building Leader Tracking Systems to Support Pipelines

    Summary

    At one time, finding an assistant principal for a public school in Denver entailed a search through “a gajillion résumés,” in the words of one local school district administrator. Even then, some ideal candidates likely fell through the cracks. Those days are over, owing to the development by Denver Public Schools of a “leader tracking system,” a database of information about the training, qualifications and performance of principals and aspiring principals.
    This Story From the Field examines how Denver and five other school districts have constructed and are using these systems as they seek to better train, hire and support school principals. All six districts are taking part in the Principal Pipeline Initiative, a Wallace Foundation-funded effort to help the school systems develop a large corps of strong school principals and generate lessons for the field.
    In addition to aiding district officials in identifying strong principal and assistant principal candidates and matching them to the right schools, the leader tracking systems are helping in efforts to forecast job vacancies, pinpoint principal training topics and spot potential principal mentors. The districts are also beginning to use the systems to share aggregate information about the performance of principals with the preparation programs from which the principals graduated.
    The publication makes clear that developing a leader tracking system takes time and effort. It describes, for example, how determining what information to collect, and then finding it, proved to be a key but time-consuming task, not least because essential data could be housed in different niches of the school bureaucracies.

  • Schools as Organizations: Examining School Climate, Teacher Turnover, and Student Achievement in NYC

    Summary

    During the last decade, education research and policy have generated considerable momentum behind efforts to remake teacher evaluation systems and place an effective teacher in every classroom. But schools are not simply collections of individual teachers; they are also organizations, with structures, practices, and norms that may impede or support good teaching. Could strengthening schools -- as organizations -- lead to better outcomes for teachers and students?

    This study begins to address that question by examining how changes in school climate were related to changes in teacher turnover and student achievement in 278 NYC middle schools between 2008 and 2012. Drawing on teacher responses to NYC's annual School Survey, as well as student test scores, human resources data, and school administrative records, we identified four distinct and potentially malleable dimensions of middle schools' organizational environments:

    1. Leadership and professional development;
    2. High academic expectations for students;
    3. Teacher relationships and collaboration; and
    4. School safety and order.

    We then examined how changes in these four dimensions over time were linked to corresponding changes in teacher turnover and student achievement. We found robust relationships between increases in all four dimensions of school climate and decreases in teacher turnover, suggesting that improving the environment in which teachers work could play an important role in reducing turnover. (The annual turnover in NYC middle schools is about 15 percent.)

    We also discovered that improvements in two dimensions of school climate -- safety and academic expectations -- predicted small, but meaningful gains in students' performance on standardized math tests.

    Taken together with other emerging evidence, these findings suggest that closing achievement gaps and turning around struggling schools will demand a focus on not only individual teacher effectiveness, but also the organizational effectiveness of schools. The policy brief outlines several potential areas of focus for districts that want to help schools in building healthy well-functioning organizations.

Statistics

Compare how much foundation funding goes to nine different sub-areas in education.

  • Total Number of Recipients

    2011: 10993 recipients, 2012: 11873 recipients
  • Total Number of Grants

    2011: 27375 grants, 2012: 31050 grants