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Field Projects

What does scale mean in the nonprofit world?

Fernanada Alves

In partnership with Team4Tech, we conducted case studies of two of their grantees, NGOs located in South Africa and India, to learn how nonprofit organizations are able to scale their impact. Coburn’s (2003) four dimensions of scaling helped frame our analysis.

Reducing Digital Inequities in Higher Education

Kate Berkley and Shadman Uddin

In recent years, American universities have implemented an array of innovative strategies to enhance the academic success of students, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds. Yet first generation college and low-income (FLI) students continue to encounter barriers to success because they do not have authentic access to digital technology needed to graduate and be career-ready in our ever-changing economy. This paper analyzes the case of digital inequity among FLI students at Stanford University and recommends strategies to elected officials and university, business and foundation leaders to ensure that postsecondary students possess the digital devices they need to be successful.

What is the Role of Small Family Foundations in K-12 Education?

Gabriel Cheong

This ethnographic exploration of Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation shows the impact of Intrepid’s personal investment in the lives of teachers, and how this has affirmed and empowered these grantees to be leaders in the education field, continuing to impact dozens of children in K-12 schools every day. Intrepid’s personal approach is refreshing, differing from many other foundations which invest heavily in charter schools, national advocacy groups and teacher training. This essay suggests that fostering a personal connection with grantees and building a community of like-minded individuals, would allow other small family foundations to also transform education in their own special way.

We Miss 100% of the Shots We Don't Take: Identifying Opportunities in Mental Health Services for Collegiate Student-Athletes.

Kayla Constandse

The deliverables being uploaded have been created for the Stanford Policy, Organization, Leadership, Studies culminating Field Project. The masters recipient, Kayla Constandse, undertook this research to identify opportunities to address collegiate student-athlete mental health crises, particularly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings demonstrate the necessity for athletic departments to further invest in their coaches.

POLS CSET Wipro Fellowship Field Project

Catherine Eng

The Wipro Fellowship selects K-12 science teacher leaders in partnering districts and invites them to a 2-year intensive professional development program. This program is aimed at improving instructional practice, developing science teacher leaders, and increasing student achievement in the sciences. The fellowship program has been operating since 2018.

The Stanford-Sequoia Collaborative for Leadership (SSCL): Designing Learning Environments to Optimize Leadership Development

Olivia Lim

The Stanford-Sequoia Collaborative for Leadership (SSCL) is a two-year professional leadership development program piloted by the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching (CSET) in 2021, which aims to build the capacity of a cross-district cohort of leading teachers, site leaders, and district leaders. As part of my 2022-2023 POLS Field Project which I spent with CSET, I spent six months analyzing how learning environments have been designed to support the growth and development of participants’ leadership identity and stance, to strengthen their ability to practice leadership, and to build a strong community of leaders within and across participating districts. The work involved reviewing the program as well as its impact on participants and their respective schools and districts through site observations, analyses of program data and interviews with program participants. This deposit is a portfolio of the work done, including an analysis of SSCL’s learning environments by drawing on the framework developed by Bransford et al. (1998), presentation summaries to CSET, and findings from qualitative analysis of interviews.

Grow a forest: How education nonprofits scale their impact within the ecosystem

Ellen Liu

Bridging the education equality gaps and addressing the educational challenges at its root requires deepening and expanding the impact of successful organizations and interventions, so collectively, they can benefit more learners and change the whole system eventually.

In partnership with Team4Tech, we conducted case studies of two Team4Tech grantees–Dost Education, India, and LEAP science and maths school, South Africa–to learn how nonprofit organizations are able to scale their impact within their regional ecosystem. Coburn’s (2003) four dimensions of scaling helped frame our analysis.

The two case studies demonstrated that scaling is not a one-size-for-all process. Different nonprofit organizations may take different approaches based on the local challenges, context, and enabling environment. While the approaches are different, there are some common characteristics enabling these nonprofits to succeed in scaling their interventions.

Critical Connections: Reflections on K–12 School District Change through Research-Practice Partnerships

Pamela Low

Since October 2022, I supported Professor Subini Ancy Annamma and the Walkout! Lab for Youth Justice team on the project, “Searching for Solutions: Centering the Voices of African American Youth to Address Disproportionate Representation in Special Education and Suspensions in San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD).” This study’s aim is to build tools for educators to enact their racial justice commitments through reflections on pedagogy and policy from students. Specifically, the project explores trajectories of and strategies identified by Black students that focus on recognizing and reducing exclusionary discipline and instruction. Additionally, by centering their voices, this study seeks to create affirming spaces for Black students in SFUSD.

Investing in Teacher Well-being: Building a Legacy of Lasting Change in the Redwood City-Sequoia Union High School District

Albert Lowe

This article explores the importance of investing in teacher well-being and building a legacy of lasting change in the Redwood City-Sequoia Union High School District. The author, Albert W. Lowe, conducted research on the role and impact of full-time counselors in the district and interviewed Dr. Shashank Joshi, a mental health expert from Stanford University. Three main themes emerged from their conversation: the importance of investing in teachers, teacher capacity building, and leaving a legacy of lasting change.

The first theme highlights the need to prioritize the mental health of teachers to ensure the well-being of students. The author discusses statistics on teacher burnout and the impact it has on education. The research emphasizes the importance of supporting teachers' mental health to create a conducive learning environment.

The second theme focuses on teacher capacity building, particularly in supporting students during times of distress. Dr. Joshi emphasizes the value of having mental health counselors embedded in schools and mentions the effectiveness of programs like Kognito, which equips teachers with the necessary skills to support students' mental well-being.

The final theme emphasizes the need for decision-makers at the district level to invest in a lasting legacy of change. Dr. Joshi suggests that every school should have a counselor to provide mental health resources to all students, especially those in high-needs populations. The article discusses the potential impact of maintaining counselors in schools and the importance of integrating mental health services into the community.

The implications for future work involve analyzing qualitative interviews with administrators and mental health counselors in the Redwood City district. The author intends to present the findings and considerations to district leaders, using the themes discussed as a framework. Additionally, the inclusion of student perspectives is highlighted as a valuable aspect to consider in future research.

Overall, this article highlights the significance of investing in teacher well-being and building a sustainable system of mental health support in the Redwood City-Sequoia Union High School District. The insights and recommendations presented aim to inform district decision-makers and contribute to the lasting well-being of both teachers and students.

Understanding Student Usage of the N-word and its Impact at Bay Area Public High School

Andrew Luck and Anthony Sanford

We spent five months supporting a high school in understanding hate speech on campus, specifically the n-word. Our aim was to provide a fresh perspective to the school with the goal of illuminating currently unseen aspects of n-word usage on campus. Our learnings will serve as a guide to better inform the problem-solving process and future implementation of policy and practice to address the n-word on campus.

Supporting the Development of SMFCSD’s Comprehensive Literacy Plan for SY 2023-24

Drew McCann

This collaborative project conducted with the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at the San Mateo Foster City School District (SMFCSD) focused on addressing the district's need for a comprehensive Scope and Sequence and a "Week at a Glance" document, facilitating the seamless integration of various English Language Arts (ELA) and English Language Development (ELD) initiatives across the district. With a central purpose of supporting SMFCSD's districtwide comprehensive literacy plan, the project aimed to align instruction with the science of reading while incorporating elements from distinct curricula. The resulting document outlines and highlights various initiatives and projects implemented between January 9th and June 9th, which were subsequently featured in the districtwide professional development for the 2023-2024 school year. The project's outcomes contribute to enhancing literacy instruction practices within SMFCSD and promote the effective implementation of evidence-based strategies and approaches.

Policy Through the Lens of the National Center for Teacher Residencies

Gabriela Mottesi

For two academic quarters as part of my fieldwork, I supported the National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR) in their state and federal policy branch. NCTR is the only organization in the country that is committed to cultivating, bolstering, and accelerating the impact and influence of teacher residency programs. Throughout my time with NCTR I worked on three main projects: an interactive policy map, a state policy consulting research project and presentation, and a state policy report. Within the uploaded materials, you will discover a project overview document encompassing descriptions of my diverse project experiences and key learnings. Additionally, you'll find presentation slides highlighting the key takeaways from my field project experience, a poster visualizing my conceptualization of teacher residency policies, presentation slides from the state policy consulting project, and a state policy brief.

Bay Ed Fund Field Project: Philanthropic District Change Effort

Xander Paras

Over 20 weeks, I partnered Bay Ed Fund, a philanthropy that seeks to partner with and improve local, suburban school districts. Through a trust-based or power-shifting philanthropic model, the Bay Ed Fund looks to empower the district stakeholders to engage in a long term, change making process over seven to ten years for the sake of student-centered, district improvements. During my time with the Bay Ed Fund, I worked on two congruent projects: first with the consulting company Estrada Darley Miller Group and next with the Bay Ed Fund itself. In partnership with South San Francisco Unified School District, both projects focused on aspects of district change. I began by examining the literature on community driven, K-12, district change efforts. I also led a project regarding the acquisition and retention of talented individuals at key district leadership positions, that can be leveraged for long-term change. My time with the Bay Ed Fund exposed me to the intricacies and challenges involved in educational philanthropic work, and I am equipped with new skills in research, literature reviews, interviewing, and systems thinking. Among the materials, you will find a visualization of the artifacts, a district profile, a literature review, the themes from the Talent Project, and a team strategy meeting agenda.

Advancing Environmental Literacy at Scale: Building Capacity at County Offices of Education

Stephanie Seidmon

In California, County Offices of Education (COEs) sit in a rather liminal space, providing technical support for districts to build their capacities in various ways. Knowing the imperative that all students deserve access to the skills and information that will support them in promoting health and wellbeing for themselves, their communities, and the planet, The California Environmental Literacy Initiative, supported by the nonprofit organization Ten Strands, sought to train COE employees to plan and implement environmental literacy initiatives through a 9-month fellowship program. In studying this program and talking to its fellows, its success as a pilot is clear, and I recommend that the program is not just continued, but expanded. Further, I uncovered opportunities to support and complement the ongoing policy advocacy that Ten Strands is engaging in to expand environmental literacy at scale in California.

Scaling Reform with Intermediary Support: SMFCSD Assessment Initiative

Joanna Weingast

For my field project, I worked with San Mateo Foster City School District (SMFCSD) on their reform initiative to develop a new districtwide approach to assessment and to ultimately select a set of standards-aligned assessments that are consistent with that approach. For support in this endeavor, the district had hired an intermediary organization. Throughout my project, I witnessed the challenges of scaling districtwide reform and how partnerships with intermediary organizations can exacerbate those challenges. Drawing upon these experiences and existing literature on scaling reform and intermediary organizations, I have created a comprehensive set of resources for districts and schools to reference when considering working with an intermediary organization or when already partnered with an intermediary organization. I have also proposed a theory of change for the future of SMFCSD's assessment initiative. Given that schools and districts frequently hire intermediary organizations to support their reform efforts, I hope these tools prove useful in identifying and perhaps avoiding potential obstacles.


Jodi Anderson Jr.

Rézme’s mobile platform disrupts the outdated 2D resume, cover letter, and background checking model by sourcing, screening, and matching justice-impacted job applicants with second-chance employers. Recommendations from verified sources in an applicant’s social and professional network coupled with personal 60-second audio and video modalities highlight research-based factors of employability while upending negative assumptions about an applicant’s lack of formal job history, training, education, and digital presence.

SUSD Formative Assessment Implementation: Student Agency

Yesenia Ayala

For two academic quarters as part of my fieldwork, I supported WestEd’s partnership with Sunnyside Unified School District. For the last seven years, Sunnyside Unified School District has created and continues to build the infrastructure and culture to successfully implement formative assessment. With the district guiding the learning, WestEd works as a partner to support SUSD by providing professional development opportunities and resources. Through thoughtful planning and creating an intentional plan, the first stage of the work consisted of learning about the formative assessment practice and the evidence-based approach to the work. In March 2022, I visited the site for five days, where I experienced the shift between research and practice. Among the materials, you will find our site visit interview protocols and questions for students and educators, a student agency starter resource guide proposal for the district, a sample lesson informed by the proposal, site presentation, reflection blog, and other supporting material.

Interactive Case: Positionality in Field Work

Natalie Berkeley Bess and Cata Fuenzalida

This interactive case about two POLS students' experiences in their field project in Oakland Unified School District. Slides are meant primarily for teaching purposes and can be edited to teach the following objectives to a graduate level education course:

Students will be able to… 
1. Understand how POLS students’ positionalities can impact their work in their field project 
2. Explore the dynamics and complexities of district operations, school board politics, and school closures 
3. Reflect on how their own positionalities may impact their upcoming experiences in their field projects

Qualitative Study of Adult Learners in Singapore

Chee Wing Chan

Education is one of the possible ways that we might seek to limit the impact of globalization by ensuring that the population is up to date with skills. This would ensure that the population continues to be economically productive. Many governments and international organizations have introduced systems, initiatives, and programs in their quest to produce a population who are lifelong learners that can face the challenges in a globalized world. Singapore is one such country that is also embarking on this journey. This qualitative study aims to share insights into 7 Singaporeans' journey on continuing education after they have started work.

Research Support for "Illuminating the Textures of Disability-Race Intersections"

Thu Cung

As part of a research assistantship, these works hold three different elements from which to better understand the issue of disproportionality in special education: history, theory, policy. The paper focusing on history shares insight into how certain policies and practices within special education and the broader construction of ability were and continue to be deployed as forms of marginalization. The analytic memo provides a working theoretical framework which connects technologies, multiple trajectories, and Critical Race Theory as a guiding frame for an ongoing research project. The policy brief highlights the current landscape of disproportionality in California and suggests recommendations aimed at creating a more holistic and proactive approach to the issue of disproportionate identification of children and youth for special education.

Implementing a P-3 Credential in California State Universities

Elena Elliott

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) is proposing a P-3 Specialist Teaching Credential that ensures that teachers are adequately prepared to provide high-quality instruction to California’s youngest learners. The details of the P-3 Specialist preparation program requirements are still being developed, but California colleges and universities are already beginning to anticipate both the opportunities and the challenges of the new credential. This report summarizes findings from interviews of administrators and faculty in four California State Universities.

Participatory Budgeting in the Ferguson-Florissant School District

Shawn Filer

This report captures the learnings gained and resulting recommendations from a six-month engagement between the Ferguson-Florissant School District (FFSD) and a masters student at the Stanford Graduate School of Education in the Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies program focusing on equitable budget construction through the process of Participatory Budgeting. The report contains the learning gained from over 200 pages of literature review on Participatory Budgeting, a policy brief recommending that $3,000,000 of federally issued educational stimulus funds be distributed through democratic discourse, two visuals that summarize FFSD’s budget process and current budget composition, a visual to identify where community stakeholders can get involved in FFSD’s current improvement process and recommendations on what the foundations of Participatory Budgeting should look like in FFSD when leadership is ready to implement such programming.

The Ambitious Teaching Project

Gabriela Fiore Bonicio

The Ambitious Teaching Project final presentation and activity plan for a professional development concept mapping activity. Drawing from Shepard and Chi, Glaser, and Farr, I developed an intervention with teachers to understand how they make sense of formative assessment concepts. They would have to come up with an original model that conveys key assumptions and associations of formative assessment. An important aspect of this activity is that it assumes teachers as experts, which is particularly relevant for an external organization.

Educator Perceptions of Early Childhood Assessment

Molly Gibian

This project was conducted to evaluate early childhood educators’ perceptions of three types of assessment and to identify current assessment practices in an early childhood education organization that serves children in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. It focused on math assessment in pre-kindergarten classrooms by comparing an observation measure, a teacher-administered direct assessment, and a technology-delivered direct assessment.

Whiteboard Advisors Graduate Fellowship - 2021-22 Portfolio of Work

Jenn Hofmann

As my 2021-22 POLS Field Project, I served as Stanford's Graduate Fellow with Whiteboard Advisors, an education consulting firm. The final field project is a portfolio of work, showing work ranging from Minority Serving Institution landscape analyses to issue briefs.

Alternatives to Different Models of Financing Postsecondary Education

Rui Huang

In the US, there are approximately 1.8 billion dollars of student debt and an approximately 50 percent college completion rate. Higher education is becoming more unaffordable and possession of a degree in no way guarantees good employment. Besides these issues, competition in industrial markets requires continual upskilling for job security or career advancement. This brief offers insights into the different models of financing postsecondary education in different nation-states; its purpose is to apprise policymakers, employers, and the general public about a range of strategies available for financing postsecondary education and lifelong learning.

Peninsula Bridge Report & Insights

Cordy McJunkins

Given the growing literature on first-generation, low-income, and minority student outcomes in college, practitioners have looked to find ways to help improve the likelihood that these students go to and through college. Peninsula Bridge, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, has done this by creating programming for students from middle school all the way through college graduation. This report is a reflection of the six months I spent at this organization in which I reviewed their data and conducted informal interviews about the impact of their work. This brief provides insight into what Peninsula Bridge offers its students and recommendations to improve and expand the services they provide to children in high school and as they go off to college. The recommendations listed are not meant to be comprehensive but serve as a guide for areas of growth within the organization and for similar organizations that engage with marginalized populations.

Rudsdale Newcomer High School: An alternative option for newcomer high school students with interrupted schooling

Maria Camila Rivera Zabarain

This report documents how Rudsdale Newcomer High School supports newcomer students in Oakland. I performed a literature review about community schools and newcomer students in a joint study with the John Gardner Center. Moreover, with the Center's support, I developed informal interviews with the School staff and students and collected information about how this School provides an alternative educational experience to newcomer students. The following report contains the profile published as part of the John Gardner Center's profiles in the California Alternative Education Series. Additionally, this report includes the School's informational flyers for the community, which I helped develop.

“What Does Support Look Like For You Today?": Designing Learning Containers for K-12 Instructional Leaders

Savannah Strong

This field project supported the work of PhD student, Kemi Oyewole, who conducted a research-practice-partnership with a group of Bay Area-based K-12 instructional leaders. The final deliverable comprised a design workshop and retreat during which participants were given space to reflect on group learnings from the 2021-22 academic year, recharge at the end of their 3rd year of pandemic teaching, engage in mutual learning with POLS students, activate their learnings through a workshop with professors, and dream expansively about what the future of their network will look like. While the final deliverable for this project was the retreat itself, the following article constitutes the author's reflections surrounding the experience of organizing and hosting it.

STEP Spring Seminar: Creation and Analysis

Devon Winsor

My project supported the process of creating STEP's spring seminar curriculum on Race, Culture, Intersectionality, and Identity in California schools. It outlines considerations for teaching STEP students about race, culture, intersectionality and identity. Recurring themes are identified and observation, interview, and student written feedback data were gathered and triangulated to gauge student perception of 4 spring seminar classes.

Networked Improvement Community for Students with Disabilities: Lessons from the 2020-2021 School Year

Thibaut Delloue

Nationwide, students with disabilities represent 13.7% of all enrolled students — totaling almost 7 million students in the 2017-18 school year. Our country’s education system is not meeting the needs of these students, particularly when their disabilities are coupled with other factors like poverty and race. When marginalization intersects with disability, students often face low expectations and segregation and are denied access to higher education and other postsecondary options. Marshall Street currently supports a multi-year Networked Improvement Community (NIC) of school organizations from across the country. Their goal is to use the principles of Continuous Improvement to make dramatic gains for Black and Latinx students with disabilities experiencing poverty. The following briefs document the efforts of three Charter Management Organizations during the 2020-2021 school year to begin the Continuous Improvement process.

Restorative Restart: The Path Towards Reimagining and Rebuilding Schools

Sergio Diaz Luna

After more than a year of strictly virtual or physically distant participation in school, students are in need of a restorative restart—an opportunity to feel safe, seen, supported, and engaged in learning. The objective should not be to put back into place the previous practices that led to inequities but rather to reimagine and rebuild a system that supports all students with a focus on equity. During the 2021–22 school year, education leaders, educators, and other stakeholders have the potential to reimagine and rebuild schools. They can not only reverse the effects of pandemic-induced lost learning opportunities but also lay the groundwork for systemic transformation by using evidence-based, whole child approaches to advance learning and engagement for all students.

This report builds upon the April 2021 brief Reimagine and Rebuild California Schools: Restarting School with Equity at the Center, which was endorsed by over 40 California-based family and student engagement organizations, associations representing educators and system leaders, research institutes, and civil rights and equity groups. The report summarizes the evidence undergirding the brief and presents concrete practices to guide implementation.

Coaching Co-Teachers: Learnings from a Networked Improvement Community to Support Students With Disabilities

Sam Eiseman

For my POLS project, I partnered with Marshall Street's Continuous Improvement team to codify learnings from their Networked Improvement Community for Students With Disabilities. This brief focuses on coaching co-teachers, and includes best practices, things to consider, and a breakdown of different coaching models to choose between. In addition, the brief contains resources that districts and charter management organizations (CMOs) can use to support instructional coaches in this work. The guidance in this brief comes from the learnings of multiple CMOs as they executed PDSA cycles over the course of the 2020-21 school year.

Beyond the Virus: Highlighting the Experiences of Disadvantaged Youth During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Rob Heavner

This document contains two works that I created during my time a as team member at the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities. I spent twenty weeks working as a thought partner and team member on the Gardner Center’s research practice partnership with the East Palo Alto based organization, Live in Peace. Pages 3-16 of this document contain a literature review on the effects of Covid-19 on disadvantaged youth. One unpublished source from the Gardner center was removed to maintain privacy. On pages 17-19, is the focus group protocol that I created with input and collaboration from the Gardner Center team. The protocol will be used by the Gardner Center in June 2021. Since the project is ongoing, the Focus Group Protocol has been anonymized to maintain efficacy. The development of the protocol was guided by the literature review and the results from a survey that the Gardner Center team implemented during the early months of 2021. Both documents have been and will continue to be used to help the Gardner Center analyze the strengths of Live in Peace’s Students Who Achieve Greatness (SWAG) program.

Redwood City Together / Stanford University Case Study

Lange Luntao

In the Redwood City and Fair Oaks neighborhoods, Redwood City Together (RWCT) works to build a collective action agenda that promotes improvement in the areas of education, childcare, and family mental health and wellness. This case study focuses on 1) Redwood City Together’s approach to collective impact, 2) the recent history of the initiative and selected relevant accomplishments over the past year, and 3) current status and opportunities for growth in Redwood City Together’s relationship with Stanford University. Particularly in the context of the opening of the Stanford Redwood CIty campus, this case study asks: how might Stanford, as one among many community partners, continue to partner in an authentic and useful way with the work of RWCT?


Briana Mullen

We have potentially missed an important piece of the puzzle that is necessary when considering how to create the conditions for learning at the greatest number of schools possible; the people democratically elected to govern our schools. Whether or not the current governance system is highly effective or requires reform are questions that I will put aside for the moment.2 These governance bodies have an outsized effect on the conditions and context in which teachers work & students learn. Not engaging with this group of policymakers & school-community liaisons leave room for confusion and lack of clarity of what constitutes high-quality boardship3 in the system. This paper argues for the investment in professional learning for school boards by describing 5 key dimmenions of successful board members.

Financial Literacy and Career Readiness: Program Design for East Palo Alto Academy Foundation Scholars

Will Paisley

Students from East Palo Alto Academy have fewer resources than students at surrounding South Bay Area high schools, which necessitates the foundation’s work. 95% of their students qualify for free and reduced lunch and 75% are English language learners. The foundation’s team focuses mainly on financially supporting students through scholarships but hopes to expand its impact through other programming. Development of a financial literacy and career readiness program is EPAAF’s next step to expanding its offerings. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a pause in the organization’s physical programming with students and this project serves to create a foundational plan for implementation in the coming academic year and beyond. Fostering a new generation of diverse and successful individuals with higher education degrees is of great importance to advancing issues of social and racial equity in American society. EPAAF’s work is community based for the underserved students of East Palo Alto who are predominantly people of color. Equipping these students with the tools necessary to succeed will only benefit society through servicing the needs of underserved populations. Overall, this POLS project is part of a thoughtful long-range planning process to sketch a multi-year sequence of events, which will foster scholars’ career readiness and financial literacy throughout their undergraduate experience.

Identifying Shared Teacher Mindsets to Define Best Learner-Centered Practices

Lily Rosenthal

A literature review and qualitative study were done to define learner-centered design. For the qualitative research, five teachers were interviewed to determine shared mindsets and best learner-centered practices. The deliverable is a guide for teachers to understand learner-centered design and utilize best practices in their classrooms.

Your Signature on Your Vote-By-Mail Ballot is Important!

Ali Bloomgarden

Many vote-by-mail ballots across the United States are not counted due to a problem with verifying a voter’s signature on their ballot, called a signature mismatch. Signature verification is the process of comparing the signature on a voter’s vote-by-mail ballot with that voter’s signature in their state’s voter registration system. If the signature on a voter’s ballot does not match one in the system, the ballot is either challenged or rejected. In 19 states, if a ballot is challenged for signature discrepancy, the state requires registrars to notify the voter of the mismatch and provide an option to fix the signature so the vote can, ultimately, be counted. In 31 states, if there is a signature mismatch, the state does not require that voters be notified and be given the option to remedy their signature, and the ballot is rejected and the vote is not counted. This webinar is made for all eligible and registered voters to learn about the importance of their signature on a vote-by-mail ballot. Given the national push to vote by mail in light of COVID-19, it is critical, now more than ever, that voters know the importance of their signature on their vote-by-mail ballot, so we can all vote with confidence

Kelly Branning

Understanding Wu Yee and The Primary School’s Partnership to Strengthen Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

Kelly Branning

This report was compiled for The Primary School’s San Francisco Early Childhood Education team with the goal of understanding the implementation of the Early Childhood Mental Health Initiative at Wu Yee Children’s Services center in San Francisco. The report was informed by qualitative interviews with individuals across Wu Yee sites, including the Kirkwood location that is piloting a new mental health consultation model. Ultimately, the report finds that program implementation varied greatly from site to site, with the most success reported out of the Kirkwood pilot of the new model.

Characteristics, Competencies and Core Values of Successful Design Thinking Schools

Marlee Burns and Haley Hemm

Prepared for the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching, this comprehensive booklet outlines the characteristics, competencies and core values of successful design thinking schools. A qualitative approach allowed us to gather meaningful information from four design thinking schools, including public and private and ranging from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Our recommendations are rooted and linked to evidence from each of the schools. This extensive document provides both depth and breadth for those considering starting a design thinking school or for those who would like to reflect on their current model. Design thinking provides a unique lens to the world of education and offers meaningful insights and applications for educators everywhere.

Hollyhock Leading Fellows (HLF) Capacity Building Framework for Teacher Leadership

Jen Calder

The Hollyhock Leading Fellows (HLF) Capacity Building Framework for Teacher Leadership maps the core challenge, targeted capacities and outcomes of the HLF program. The framework charts the HLF program path from the core challenges it endeavors to meet, the capacity targets that fellows develop, and the outcomes they can expect to see. It is based on existing teacher leadership, educational equity and capacity building research as well as the HLF processes, practices and artifacts. It serves as a means to communicate clearly how fellows can benefit from their participation in the program, and to situate the HLF within the field of teacher leadership development.

Venture Capital in Education: A Literature Review on the Structure of VC

Serena Cervantes

For my POLS project, I partnered with Professor Kathryn Moeller to create a literature review and glossary mapping out the overall structure of the venture capital world – the history behind venture capital, its funding structures, and the levers of power and influence in venture capital. Because of the lack of research in education on the topic of venture capital, this literature review and glossary serve as an exploration of how venture capital fits into the political economy of education so we can better understand the effects of corporate power on education. 

3 Lessons Schools Can Learn From Startups

Hannah Chia

Working with Entangled.Group was a true privilege and eye-opening experience. “3 Lessons Schools Can Learn From Startups” captures my reflections on this experience and the other two documents are samples of the work I completed.

Evaluating and Strengthening EPAAF’s Mentorship Program to Support First-Gen, Low-Income College Students

Jimin Choi and Praveen Loganathan

How can mentorship programs help students thrive in college? In 2019, East Palo Alto Academy Foundation (EPAAF) launched a Mentorship program to support first-generation college students. This project evaluates the effectiveness of EPAAF’s mentorship program and identifies pathways to help students thrive in college. The attached presentation highlights the strategic review of EPAAF and the Mentorship program, recommendations to strengthen the program, and opportunities to better support first-gen college students.

10,000 Degrees Project

Belen Gutierrez

My project was to support the implementation study of the 10,000 Degrees non-profit in San Francisco through the John Gardner Center. Throughout Winter and Spring quarters I updated literature on college success indicators for students that aligned with and validated the support and services that 10,000 Degrees provides to students. Much of the research also included the partnerships and support needed for students at a community college and included factors such as student social-emotional well-being and basic needs (e.g. housing and food security.) I was able to update indicators on the current College Success Grid, which was formed during the CRIS study and have been able to expand research to include new documents that have been published within the last 3-5 years. In hope my portion of the ongoing implementation study will hopefully provide validation of the services that 10,000 Degrees and support in their expansion efforts in the Bay Area and different parts of California.

Continuous Improvement in Practice: Findings from Schools and Districts in California

Lauren Hogan and Maira Martinez

Prepared for Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), this research brief reports effective strategies that enable continuous improvement capacities at the school and district levels. Through comprehensive analysis of case studies and interviews with school leaders, this brief highlights salient practices that are visible within four lenses of continuous improvement. The findings of this report can be shared with instructional leaders who are hoping to utilize improvement science within their organizations and can be replicated or adjusted given different school or district contexts.

SWAG: Where Practice Meets Research

Joshua Jordan

As a research intern with the Students with Amazing Goals (SWAG) Research Team at the John Gardner Center, I was privileged to complete three deliverables: a literature review exploring successful school-community partnerships, the development of a youth survey, and a review of the SWAG theory of change. This experience revealed the importance of relationship-building in school-community collaborations, especially research-practice partnerships.

The Donor Support Ecosystem: A Sketch

Yoon-Chan Kim

During winter of 2020, the Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society interviewed fifteen professionals from fifteen unique organizations in the donor support ecosystem to gain insight into the philanthropic practices of donors from those who work closely with them and to better understand the role these donor support professionals themselves play in shaping the trajectory of philanthropy. This report tries to articulate what was learned and sketch the conditions of a growing donor support ecosystem. It is preliminary not yet an official publication of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. The lab plans to deepen the investigation to expand our findings in the coming months.

California Special Education Fiscal Analysis Study

Hillary Knudson

My POLS project was in support of WestEd’s fiscal policy analysis study on special education in California. This study was commissioned by Governor Newsom to understand the complexity of special education funding and determine opportunities for alignment and improved methodology. I served as a contributing author and researcher for the Phase I Report with a focus on state-to-state comparisons, fiscal monitoring, and charter school policy. My final deliverable included a slide deck detailing the scope of the project and my own role, as well as the published report (July 2020).

Talent Lifecycle Design

Carmen Krefft and Elizabeth Tish

In partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, we developed a repository of skills, behaviors, and dispositions that every staff member should exhibit. This matrix will better inform professional development, performance evaluation, and hiring processes as the organization strives to improve their staff coaching practices.

Hiring and Recruiting Continuation School Teachers: Initial Findings from an Examination of Three Urban California Districts

Alex Kuehn

Teachers in California’s continuation high schools work with student populations that are markedly different from those in comprehensive schools in the same district. Yet, little research exists on how principals and administrators recruit and hire teachers to work in these settings. This report presents initial findings from qualitative interviews with six continuation school principals and administrators on the topic of teacher recruitment and hiring in continuation schools. Principals and administrators use a continuation school’s reputation, contractual language, and targeted credentialing as strategies for recruiting teachers. Among other qualities, they prioritize teachers’ personality characteristics and their ability to implement engaging instruction when interviewing candidates. Finally, principals and administrators use interviews, openness about the nature of the teaching role, and school perception as mechanisms to hire teachers who will be able to be successful. These findings, while not generalizable, offer insight into opportunities for further research.

What’s in a Coaching Call? Analysis of Teacher-Leadership Program Coaching Calls at Stanford’s Center to Support Excellence in Teaching (CSET)

Chris Lacopo

Analysis of over 400 minutes of virtual coaching calls between coaches at Stanford’s Center to Support Excellence in Teaching and emerging teacher-leaders yielded insight into the essence of transformative mentoring of adults. A new teacher-leader, who is often awkwardly situated between administration and faculty, faces many challenges. The coach, whose work is founded on trust and sense of partnership, must be deeply engaged and should infuse mentoring sessions with support, constructive critique, and empathy.

Building Cooperative Models in Higher Education

Ana Machado

Since the beginning of the last century, co-operative models in Higher Education are partnership models that connect universities and hiring organizations, with the main objective of integrating learning and working. There are three stakeholders with convergent, but often divergent, interests in this relationship: students, Higher Education institutions, and employers. This paper conducted a literature review on the topic to create a framework for building new models of co-operative programs that balance the different perspectives of all the involved parties.

The Healing Power of Nature: Increasing Access to East Bay Regional Parks’ Health Benefits for Oakland’s Diverse Residents

Clare McLaughlin and Meg Pantell

The East Bay Regional Park system (EBRP) is an expansive natural space in Oakland, a racially and economically diverse urban community in California. This study interviewed local park visitors to understand the perceived health and wellness benefits of Reinhardt Regional Park (a park location within the EBRP system) as well as visitors’ perception of the park’s engagement with the local community. Study participants (n=15) noted extensive physiological and psychological health and wellness benefits of the park, and also noted potential barriers to access, which hinder some community members from experiencing these benefits. EBRP’s position as the largest regional park system in the United States, its location within a diverse urban community, and its history and current vision for community engagement create a nexus of opportunity for EBRP to be leveraged as a powerful public resource for health and wellness.

Shared Responsibility: Higher Education in Prison Programs Evaluations Analysis (expanding on Ithaka S+R’s Unbarring Access report)

Paola Mora Paredes and Camila Moreno-Jimenez

With the expansion of post-secondary education programs in prisons, there is a lack of a reliable infrastructure to evaluate them. This project is aimed “to develop a more robust research and data infrastructure for evaluating the quality and impacts of higher education in prison programs.” The report sets a historical context to explain the current politics regarding higher education in prison programs. This is followed by a landscape overview with Ithaka S+R’s ​Unbarring Access ​ report, and current evaluation practices at various levels including ​single program, statewide, and meta-analysis​. The report concludes by recommending some frameworks that programs can utilize to best support incarcerated students.

Integrating Indigenous Peacemaking in the Academy

Niyo Moraza-Keeswood

This toolkit serves as an introduction to the Indigenous practice of Peacemaking. It provides foundational knowledge for individuals, communities, and organizations who are considering building alternative processes to address harm, violence, difference, decision making, and community building. This resource discusses various systems of Indigenous conflict resolution; explores application in diverse settings, and presents an introduction to peacemaking circle facilitation. This toolkit was made in collaboration with the Native American Cultural Center, Stanford University.

Can Design Thinking Reduce STEM Gender Gaps in Japan?

Miwa Okajima

Can design thinking experience increase the female students’ interests and motivation and provide the nudge they need to consider STEM professionals, innovators, and entrepreneurs?” SKY Labo, a non-profit education social venture explores this hypothesis by providing 3-day workshops to Japanese students since 2016. The results from the pre- and post-intervention surveys informed that the short intervention has a strong positive influence on the female students’ mindsets, self-images, and perceptions towards STEM, innovation, and entrepreneurship, while gender norms and negative attitudes towards failure remains to be persistent.

Need a Nudge? Findings and Recommendations From an Analysis of the Academy Nudging Platform

Eric Saito

This project was in partnership with StraighterLine, a subscription-based, low-cost online college credit provider. StraighterLine sought to improve the efficacy of its automated platform of nudge message emails, with the ultimate aim of improving course completion rates. This project provides a review and executive summary of the existing literature regarding nudge messaging and adult learning. The findings were then used to create a nudge message criteria/checklist. Finally, the checklist was used to evaluate all 44 messages in the StraighterLine Academy nudge message platform. Eight messages from that platform were targeted for an A-B test. These messages were edited and improved based on the checklist. The findings, summary, and sample emails were arranged in a slide deck presentation and presented to the StraighterLine C-suite.

What you need to know

Admission requirements

To learn more about requirements for admission, please visit the Application Requirements page.

Financing your education

To learn more about the cost of the program and options for financial support, please visit Financing Your Master’s Degree on the admissions website.

Contact admissions

For admissions webinars and to connect with the admission office, see our  Connect and Visit page.

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