To generate innovative, scalable solutions to our schools' most pressing problems through sustained collaborations among educators, researchers, and designers.

Overview Video

From the beginning, SERP has invited practitioners within schools to participate fully in the process of research and design.

Hear from SERP's pioneers about how they turned a recommendation from the National Academies into a pivotal organization leading change in the field of education.

Contact Us

National Headquarters
1100 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 1310
Washington, DC  20036
(202) 223-8555

SERP Studio
2744 East 11th Street
Oakland, CA  94601

Project SERP & Boston Field Site
Harvard Graduate School of Education
Larsen Hall
14 Appian Way
Cambridge, MA  02138

A Message from the SERP Leadership

In a rapidly changing global economy, knowledge is the one currency that steadily increases in value. The United States—once an undisputed world leader in public education—now falls behind many other nations in average student achievement levels. We cannot rely on successes of the past; our education system must have a vigorous capacity for continuous improvement if we are to be a leader in the future.

Education reform efforts abound: policies regarding content and achievement standards, school size, teacher pay, financial incentive structures, and resource redistribution. Despite the potential importance of these pressures on the system exerted from the outside, the changes in everyday practice these policies intend to stimulate often fail to emerge. Continuous improvement in education practice must occur inside the school systems where teachers and students engage in the daily enterprise of teaching and learning. It requires that education become a practice that evolves as those who educate, those who prepare educators, those who study teaching and learning, and those who design the tools to support professional change, all engage systematically in an ongoing effort to get better at the enterprise of schooling. But we have not as a nation created the contexts for this kind of systematic collaboration.  SERP’s goal is to do just that.

To accomplish its mission, SERP is establishing long-term partnerships with school districts through which we engage in collaborative, problem-solving research and development. Incubated at the National Research Council, the independent SERP Institute continues the NRC tradition of drawing on the nation’s leading scholars to solve critical educational problems of importance to the nation. The model is unique in several respects:

  • School district partners define the problems that are addressed in the program of research and development. Rather than beginning with research and “disseminating” to practice, the SERP model begins with problems of practice—as they appear in practice settings—and recruits the multidisciplinary research and development talent required to effectively address those problems.
  • Practitioners’ involvement in every stage of the work ensures that the dynamics of the classroom, school, and district are considered in the design and redesign of practices, programs, and educational tools.
  • The partnership management role played by SERP ensures that success is defined neither in terms of the goals of researchers nor practitioners alone, but in the productivity of the partnership.

SERP’s ultimate goal is not its products or tools. Rather, we are building an institution committed to drawing the talent of our nation’s great universities and colleges into an ongoing collaboration with K-12 schools and school systems—a collaboration that focuses on continuously improving the education system that is so central to our success as a nation. We have only just begun.

Bruce Alberts
Chair, SERP Board of Directors
President Emeritus, National Academy of Sciences
Former Editor-in-Chief, Science Magazine
Suzanne DonovanExecutive Director, SERP

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1100 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 1310  |  Washington, DC  20036

(202) 223-8555



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