About IRRE
About IRRE

Who is IRRE?

For over 18 years, the Institute for Research and Reform in Education (IRRE) has partnered with schools, states, and districts to develop more personalized, engaging, and rigorous learning environments in struggling secondary schools. Firmly grounded in adolescent development, we seek to improve the lives of young people in the present and beyond. The five core strategies of our framework for reform, First Things First, lead to meaningful improvement in students’ commitment and achievement.

A nonprofit organization, IRRE draws on a national team of more than 50 experts who work in specialized teams to provide professional development, strategic consultation, and technical assistance, as our partners focus on combinations of the core strategies. We work with entire districts, clusters of large high schools and middle schools, or single high schools and feeder middle schools within a district.

What the evidence shows

Independent evaluations and publicly available data demonstrate achievement and graduation improvements in many of our partner schools — improvements that dramatically exceed gains in comparison schools serving similar populations. Well-known educational economists have cited our work as the most cost-effective approach to improving graduation rates in communities with many economically disadvantaged families.

How we work

IRRE’s partnerships are longstanding and mutually accountable. They have survived changes in school, district, and state leadership and are grounded in two fundamental principles. First, we tell our partners the truth as we see it and then work with them to find customized and creative ways to meet the inevitable challenges that meaningful change brings. Second, we help our partners build their capacity to strengthen and sustain the work beyond our intensive involvement in it.

What drives our research

In our commitment to creating and sharing new knowledge for the education field, three central questions guide our efforts: What are the most effective strategies for improving student achievement and commitment in struggling secondary schools? What are the conditions needed to successfully launch and sustain effective strategies over time? How can IRRE’s expertise be transferred to others to transform educational practice on a greater scale?