Laura Stein is a senior researcher at AIR, focusing primarily on school and district turnaround. She has nearly 15 years of experience working in this realm and has effectively managed a wide range of critical project management and research activities. Such activities include designing mixed-methods research studies and program evaluations, coordinating and conducting qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis (i.e., interviews, focus groups, surveys, and classroom observations), managing complex projects involving a variety of school and district stakeholders, and strategically disseminating findings to ensure research informs practice. She recently led a project to examine and report on the progress made to improve student outcomes in District of Columbia Public Schools over the past five years.
Currently, Stein works with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on a variety of projects focused on identifying specific strategies for school and district turnaround. Ongoing projects include an evaluation of school turnaround efforts in low-performing schools throughout the state, a three-year evaluation of district turnaround efforts in Holyoke Public Schools, the state’s second district to be placed into state receivership, and annual monitoring site visits to the state’s lowest-performing schools. As part of the monitoring site visit project this year, Stein coordinated the development of 63 quick-turnaround school level reports that school and district leaders will use to inform school improvement efforts. As part of this larger, ongoing partnership with Massachusetts, she has led the development of several key research products, including an impact study of the state’s School Improvement Grants, an implementation study highlighting effective strategies for school improvement, and a targeted research brief focused on promising practices for supporting English language learners and students with disabilities.
Stein also serves as the lead facilitator for the Southwest Regional Education Laboratory’s partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education, focused on college and career readiness and success, and as as the lead evaluator for the federally-funded College and Career Readiness and Success Center, for which AIR holds the current contract.