Two basic ideas lie at the foundation of all of our research efforts.
First, everything that is truly important matters in education happens (or at least shows up) where the students are. This means in classroom, in cafeteria and on the playground. Everything else must support what happens there, where children interact with each other, with adults and with the activities that adult create for them.
Second, there are real problem in our educational system and schools, and these problem require intentional and system remedies and solutions. That is what policy is: intentional and systemic action. Policy is not merely paper policy (i.e., what is written on a piece of paper), but rather is what is done intentionally and systemically.
Unfortunately, while there is a need for policy remedies and solution, it actually is quite difficult to get policy to affect desired change where student are. Our focuses on implementation, particularly on understanding the role of school leadership as a potential mediator of policy. We believe that schools leaders play a critical role in implementing, interpreting or even blocking federal, state and district policy, in their critical role as gatekeepers and policy leaders in their schools.
Thus, only by truly understanding the work and influences on school leaders can those who would craft policy solutions understand how to improve education for students, communities and society.