Publications and Tools

Since our founding in 2011, we have completed more than 150 consulting projects. We regularly share some of the findings and insights that emerge from these projects. 

Below are some recent publications, tools, and other resources that reflect our work with state agencies, school districts, charter school organizations, foundations, and advocacy groups—among others.

Leading Through Learning 

Using Evolutionary Learning to Develop, Implement, and Improve Strategic Initiatives

Leading Through Learning is a toolkit that summarizes Evolutionary Learning, a disciplined approach to creating and sustaining more equitable education systems through careful observations of people's experiences. The toolkit is based on more than a decade of insights and experiences with system leaders as they work to understand, act on, and advance improvements in education.

Leading Through Learning begins with an introduction to Evolutionary Learning. Next, it describes each stage of Evolutionary Learning and includes more than 12 ready-to-use protocols, which are embedded throughout the toolkit. Lastly, we created a case study of a fictionalized district implementing Evolutionary Learning to help illustrate key ideas.

Reports, Tools, and Our Ideas

Cover for the Fundamental 4, which featues a dark blue background, report title, and images from in-person and report schooling.
Fundamental 4: Pandemic Learning Reveals the Value of High-Quality Instructional Materials to Educator-Family-Student Partnerships

July 2021

In our report, "Fundamental 4: Pandemic Learning Reveals the Value of High-Quality Instructional Materials to Educator-Family-Student Partnerships," we met with nearly 300 students, families, and educators from nine school districts and charter school organizations to uncover how system leaders expanded their understanding of the instructional core to include families—and how to sustain this innovation and others well after the pandemic.

Cover of the CPRL report "About Time: Master Scheduling and Equity." The cover is dark blue with the title and a white image of a clock.
About Time: Master Scheduling and Equity

May 2021

The sudden shift to remote learning has unsettled long-held assumptions about the structure of the school day and the scheduling process. Instead of viewing master scheduling as a technical task, more schools and districts now view master scheduling as part of a strategy to address inequity. In the report “About Time: Master Scheduling and Equity,” we draw on the experiences of principals, schedulers, programmers, and others to establish a case for adopting a more equity-focused, strategic approach to master scheduling.

Cover of RISE to Thrive publication featuring a woman standing before students at desktop computers; a second woman directing a child to look into the horizon, and a mother and father with their son and daughter
RISE to Thrive: A Vision for a Transformed and Equitable Education System

March 2021

How might we design an education system that prepares every child, of every race and background, to thrive in school and in life? We answer this question in RISE to Thrive. Based on conversations with more than 300 students, families, teachers, and leaders, among others, our latest publication also incorporates existing research on instructional practices as well as the insights and innovations gained since the pandemic to help leaders design more equitable school systems.

Cover of Making Learning Work Introduction. Blue background with a graphic tree and images related to distance learning such as a laptop and headphones
Making Learning Work: A Family Guide to Supporting Your Child in Hybrid and Remote Learning

January 2021

As the second half of the school year begins and many children across the country continue to participate in school via hybrid or remote learning, we are excited to share a resource to help families support their children’s learning and growth. Download the materials, which are available in English and Spanish. Check out these suggestions for how to use these materials.

Cover of CPRL's report on the Purple Star School Designation Program. The cover features the title "Purple Star School Designation Program" in purple surrounded by three purple stars and high-school aged students at the bottom of the cover.
A Study of the Purple Star School Designation Program: Summary Report

December 2020

We studied the role of the Purple Star School Designation Program ("Purple Star"), a national initiative sponsored by the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) to help families reduce the burdens of frequent mobility that military-connected families may experience. The study describes the reach of the Purple Star program, and how it galvanizes, strengthens, and promotes existing school and district strategies for supporting military-connected families. It closes with recommendations for refining Purple Star as both a program and a brand.

Cover of Gates of report about networks for school improvement with title and authors' names
Managing for Change: Achieving Systemic Reform Through the Effective Implementation of Networks for School Improvement

November 2020

We are pleased to share the results of our 2-year formative evaluation of the Networks for School Improvement (NSI), an initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We found that NSIs have great potential to improve academic and college access outcomes for marginalized students. Two NSIs in our study exemplify the motivational and management structures needed to realize that promise.

Cover to a family guide to distance learning which features a laptop surrounded by symbols related to teaching and learning
A Family Guide to Distance Learning

September 2020

Distance learning presents a challenge for many families. We are proud to provide families with some much needed resources to make distance learning more manageable. Check out these publicly available resources in English and Spanish. You can also access these resources as Google Slides in English and Spanish.

Cover of the Connecticut Guide to Distance Learning, which is navy blue and features a photo of a girl at a laptop
Actualizing Connecticut Classrooms for Continuous Learning

July 2020

CPRL, in collaboration with the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and its educational partners, developed guidance to support districts in creating equitable, high-quality, and culturally responsive and sustaining remote learning available to all children, no matter what their home situation and their education and language needs. In response to the possibility that public health data may require remote learning for the 2020-21 school year, this resource draws directly on the state’s fall guidance as well as comprehensive research into best practices of how districts and schools met the challenges and opportunities posed by the spring 2020 transition to remote learning. Follow the link to see the complete set of resources.


Image of Mitigating the Impact of School Mobility: An Effective Practices Model and Guide for Educators Cover Page
Mitigating the Impact of School Mobility: An Effective Practices Model and Guide for Educators

November 2019

The models and tools included in this guide are designed primarily for adaptation and use by school- and district-level personnel responsible for supporting highly mobile student populations. The guide will also be helpful to state department of education personnel seeking to devise state-level supports for mobile students and to assist districts and schools in designing and implementing their supports.

Image of Newark Enrolls Report Cover Page
Newark Enrolls: A Principled Approach to Public School Choice

April 2018

CPRL and MarGrady Research released this report which examines the school enrollment system in Newark, New Jersey and determines that Newark’s centralized enrollment system has improved access and equity for high-needs students. Newark Public Schools (NPS) developed a universal enrollment system, Newark Enrolls, that went into effect during the 2014-15 school year. This report assesses the impact of Newark Enrolls, highlights strengths in the implementation of Newark Enrolls, and identifies opportunities for continued improvement.

Image of Challenges of Supporting Highly Mobile, Military-ConnectedChildren in School Transitions Report Cover Page
The Challenges of Supporting Highly Mobile, Military-Connected Children in School Transitions

October 2017

CPRL released this report which examines the current environment of school transitions and military-connected children. The report describes the challenges students and families face, shares promising practices, and identifies potential solutions. CPRL produced this report at the request of the Military Child Education Coalition® (MCEC) and with the support of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative DAF, an advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Image of Re-envisioning Professional Education Report Cover Page
Re-envisioning Professional Education

March 2017

CPRL hosted two dozen U.S. and Canadian leaders of innovative university-based graduate programs in multiple disciplines and allied professional organizations at the Accelerating Multidimensional Learning in Professional Education Convening at Columbia University. In preparation for the convening, CPRL staff prepared this paper to provoke discussion about the state of professional education, the need for reform, and the promises and challenges of implementing the dramatic changes needed to prepare professionals for the 21st workplace.

Supporting More Integrated and Inclusive Learning Experiences

Male student seated on a rug with two other students around him.

We have partnered with education leaders at the state, district, and school levels to pursue school integration as one strategy for creating more equitable school systems. Below are some resources we have developed in partnership with others to support school integration. 


The New York Community Trust provided valuable support to help us share some of our ideas and lessons learned about school integration to a wider audience. We also thank MarGrady Research for their collaboration in this work, especially in the creation of IntegrateNY and the design of the segregation index.

Looking for More?

Check out our Events page to see what Institutes, trainings, panels, and talks we have planned. Visit our YouTube channel for recordings of our events. 

Want to Become a Client?

As a CPRL client, you will work with a Project Director and a team of 3-6 graduate students and receive support from our Founder Jim Liebman, Executive Director Dr. Elizabeth Chu, CPRL senior leadership, and other faculty and staff at Columbia University. Client engagements typically begin in September, January, and May each year. Read more about our services and testimonials from our clients.

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