Category: News

Dr. Ruth Neild to Join RFA

Research for Action (RFA) is pleased and proud to announce that Dr. Ruth Curran Neild will be joining the organization to serve as Director of its Philadelphia Education Research Consortium (PERC). PERC, an initiative of RFA launched with a grant from the William Penn Foundation in 2014, is an innovative research-practice partnership serving Philadelphia’s public education sector.

Dr. Neild currently serves as the Delegated Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education. Since joining the agency in 2011, Neild has instituted a wide range of reforms that have strengthened the utility and accessibility of highly rigorous educational research. Under her leadership, the Regional Educational Laboratory program introduced researcher-practice partnerships that have served as laboratories of innovation for knowledge utilization. She has also greatly improved the utility of federal educational research databases and launched a new IES website.

Neild’s appointment is a homecoming of sorts, notes Kate Shaw, RFA’s Executive Director. “Ruth has deep roots in Philadelphia. She received her BA from Bryn Mawr College and her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also served on the faculty of the Graduate School of Education. Using Philadelphia as a laboratory for much of her research, she has published extensively on topics such as the importance of early warning systems for high school dropout, career and technical education, and small schools. Moreover, a multi-year collaboration with RFA led to a series of seminal reports on the importance of recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers in Philadelphia. We are excited to welcome her back to RFA, and to Philadelphia.”

“I am thrilled to be returning to Philadelphia,” said Neild. “My early experience at RFA showed me the importance of thinking creatively about strategies that bridge research and practice, and significantly influenced my work at IES,” she noted. “The Philadelphia Education Research Consortium provides me with an important opportunity to expand my vision for knowledge utilization by creating a national model for how rigorous, place-based research can best serve the needs of those on the front lines of public education.”

RFA is an independent, nonprofit education research organization with more than two decades of experience in utilizing research as a tool to improve access to high-quality education for disadvantaged students. With a staff of over 30, RFA retains its historic commitment to Philadelphia, while also engaging in a wide range of K-16 education research across the region and nation. Dr. Neild will join RFA on January 17, 2017.

PERC and WHYY to Host Community Forum on ELLs

Schools are working hard to meet the needs of ELLs. Join PERC, WHYY, and the Philadelphia Public School Notebook as we host a community forum about challenges, possibilities, and how you can support the education of these students.

Participants and panelists include:

  • Mayor Jim Kenney (invited)
  • City Councilwoman Helen Gym
  • Otis Hackney, Chief Education Officer, City of Philadelphia
  • Linda Long, Bilingual Education Advisor, Pennsylvania Department of Education
  • Allison Still, Deputy Chief of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs, School District of Philadelphia
  • Kinyta Smalls, Director of Bilingual Studies and ESL, Mastery Charter Schools
  • Pheng Lim, Principal, Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School (FACTS)
  • Ellen Somekawa, Executive Director, FACTS

To register, please complete the form below.

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Dr. Rosemary Hughes Appointed Director of PERC

Dr. Rosemary Hughes, an experienced educational researcher with deep roots in Philadelphia public education, has been named Director of the Philadelphia Education Research Consortium (PERC). Hughes brings high-level research experience that spans the School District of Philadelphia as well as the city’s charter and non-profit sectors.

“Rosemary’s combination of skills and experience is a wonderful match for this position,” said Kate Shaw, Executive Director of Research for Action and PERC’s founding director. “Her knowledge of how to use research to support and improve Philadelphia’s public schools will be invaluable to PERC.”

Launched with a three-year grant from the William Penn Foundation, PERC is an innovative partnership between Research for Action, an independent research organization that serves as PERC’s organizational home; the School District of Philadelphia; the city’s charter school sector; and researchers from Temple, Drexel, and the University of Pennsylvania. These cross-sector partnerships are a defining characteristic of PERC.

Melanie Harris, Chief Information Officer of the School District of Philadelphia, said, “I am thrilled to have Rosemary at the helm of PERC.” Dr. Nancy Songer, Distinguished University Professor and Dean of Drexel’s School of Education, echoed this sentiment: “Drexel is excited about its partnership with PERC, and I look forward to working with Rosemary.”

“I am extremely excited to continue to build upon the successes of PERC,” said Hughes. “Through close collaboration with educational leaders across the city, we will continue to build capacity for connecting research to tangible implications for practice.”

Since its inception in August 2014, PERC has published a series of briefs on Blended Learning, and has launched several new research projects, including a study of English Language Learners in the city’s public schools.

RFA Launches New Education Research Consortium

Philadelphia’s school leaders—both in the School District of Philadelphia and in the city’s many charter schools—must make important decisions about policy and practice on a daily basis. A new consortium—the Philadelphia Education Research Consortium, or PERC—is designed to provide those school leaders with rigorous research and analysis in order to inform those decisions. Learn more…