Policy Studies Associates

Technical Assistance



The Wallace Foundation

the ESSA Leadership Learning Community (ELLC)

Since 2016, PSA has played a central role in supporting and documenting the work of the ESSA Leadership Learning Community (ELLC), a national collaborative that promotes leadership for equity in state and city education policies. Funded by The Wallace Foundation, and managed by the New York City Leadership Academy, the ELLC represents a partnership between the National Urban League, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the Council of the Great City Schools. ELLC partners from 10 states convene to identify policy priorities, develop common messaging, and determine strategies for promoting equity in school leadership and outcomes..

Council of Chief State School Officers

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) convenes state education agency staff in topical work groups to promote cross-state information on sharing, learning, and collaboration. PSA supports CCSSO by advising on the design of these cross-state work groups and by developing reports and resources to promote cross-state learning. For CCSSO work groups focused on strengthening school leadership, PSA has provided state education agencies with trend analysis and examples of state progress, priorities, and challenges, helping states to stay abreast of strategies to address shared problems of practice. PSA also supports CCSSO work with states on school and district improvement. PSA continues to develop and present on support materials for the CCSSO’s member states, as well as provide formative advice for the planning of future CCSSO work group activities. Public reports related to PSA’s technical assistance can be downloaded from the CCSSO and Wallace Foundation websites.

REL Midwest

PSA has been a technical assistance provider and thought partner for the Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest (REL Midwest) at the American Institutes for Research since 2014.

  • PSA is designing and implementing a training for local school board members in Wisconsin focused on understanding and applying research to improve educational outcomes among black students. In recognition of stark racial disparities in educational achievement, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has made closing educational outcomes gaps between Black students and their white peers a state priority. PSA is working under subcontract to REL Midwest to train local school board members—among the state’s key educational policymakers—to make evidence-based decisions about ways to produce more equitable outcomes for Wisconsin’s students.

  • In 2017, PSA directed a technical assistance project intended to help the Michigan Department of Education and other state and local stakeholders build knowledge about effective or promising teacher residency programs as a potential strategy both to develop highly effective new teachers and to remedy the state’s teacher shortage problem. PSA worked with REL Midwest staff and the Midwest Alliance to Improve Teacher Preparation’s Stakeholder Advisory Group to organize and deliver two trainings in the state. The first training profiled effective or promising teacher residency programs, the implementation challenges that teacher residencies typically face, and the strategies used to overcome them. The second training built on the first learning session, exploring the feasibility of developing local district/university partnerships to design and implement teacher residency programs in Michigan. Both trainings brought together national experts on teacher residency programs.

  • PSA conducted monthly scans of state policy documents, research, legislation, and media publications to analyze and report on emerging policy issues in each of the seven REL Midwest states served, including Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. In particular, the monthly summary reports informed research agendas and projects addressing emerging state and local education needs.