In the complex landscape of public education, participants at all levels are searching for policy and practice levers that can raise overall performance and close achievement gaps. The collection of articles in this edition of the Journal of Applied Research on Children takes a big step toward providing the tools and tactics needed for an evidence-based approach to educational policy and practice.

Author Biography

Robert Balfanz is a principal research scientist at the Center for Social Organization of Schools, Johns Hopkins University. He is the co-director of the Talent Development Secondary Project, which is currently working with over 100 high poverty secondary schools to develop, implement and evaluate comprehensive school transformation and turnaround. His work focuses on translating research findings into effective reforms for high poverty secondary schools. He has published widely on secondary school reform, high school dropouts, middle grade on-track indicators, chronic absenteeism and instructional interventions in high poverty middle and high schools. Recent works include Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenges in Ending the Dropout Crisis. He is the Director of the Everyone Graduates Center launched in February 2009 which engages in analytic, tool and model development, and capacity building efforts aimed at ending the nation's graduation rate crisis. Dr. Balfanz is also the Co-Operator of the Baltimore Talent Development High School, a Baltimore City Public School System Innovation High School and Director of the Talent Development/Diplomas Now US Department of Education Investing in Innovations (I3) validation grant project. Dr. Balfanz is the first recipient of the Alliance For Excellent Education's Everyone a Graduate Award.