Our work is guided by the following principles:

  • We engage in equitable work processes internally and externally.
  • We have an improvement orientation, working with humility and striving to learn.
  • We are committed to the co-creation of research with the Detroit communities we serve.
  • We apply rigorous research methods and processes to our work to inform advocacy that is rooted in empiricism.

We began this work as the Detroit Education Research Partnership in 2016 and have grown into a center in the College of Education supported by Wayne State University and external sponsors. We seek to create opportunities for scholars and students across the university and broader academic community to join our collaborative partnerships and gain access to data and study contexts that are necessary to answer questions of critical importance to the Detroit educational and youth development systems.

Learn more about our ongoing projects below. For past research, check out the Research page.

current research focus

Every School Day Counts Detroit (ESDCD) 4 Pillars Project

This is a mixed methods developmental evaluation of the implementation and effect of a whole-school initiative to reduce chronic absence through the use of wraparound services, communications, technical assistance, and research.

Lead Researcher Danica Brown

Partners Detroit Charters, DPSCD, Every School Day Counts Detroit

Funders Skillman Foundation

current research focus

School Access and Transportation in a Time of COVID

This study examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on school mobility and enrollment in Detroit and NYC.

Lead Researcher Jeremy Singer, Sarah Winchell Lenhoff

Partners DPSCD, REACH center at Tulane

Funders Institute of Education Sciences

current research focus

Parent Work Schedule and Student Attendance

This study examines how parents’ employment and work schedule are associated with student attendance in school and the probability of being chronically absent. It contributes new knowledge on how workplace polices outside of schools can shape what we typically think of as school outcomes.

Lead Researcher Kess Ballentine

Partners Detroit Charters, DPSCD

Funders Skillman Foundation

current research focus

Participatory Action Research to Reduce Chronic Absenteeism

This is a participatory action research project designed to address chronic absenteeism and its impact on Detroit neighborhoods. With Detroit PEER support, community members have designed and carried out comparative studies to understand youth and educator perspectives on chronic absenteeism. The goal of the project is to support schools with understanding and addressing chronic absenteeism based on youth-centered, contextually specific, and neighborhood-based information.

Lead Researcher Erica B. Edwards

Partners 482Forward, Every School Day Counts Detroit, Urban Neighborhood Initiatives

Funders Spencer Foundation

Attendance Agent Networked Improvement Community

This study explores the implementation and effectiveness of a key district strategy for reducing chronic absenteeism: the use of school-based attendance agents and a multi-tiered system of support. We examine the organizational and environmental conditions that shape agents’ work, their conceptual understanding of the problem of absenteeism, their use of improvement methods to learn how to improve their practice, and the alignment of the strategy with the nature of the problem in Detroit.

Lead Researcher Sarah Winchell Lenhoff

Partners DPSCD, Every School Day Counts Detroit

Funders Spencer Foundation

current research focus

Economic and Educational Opportunity in the Context of Neighborhood Change: An Evaluation of the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative in Detroit

This is a mixed-methods longitudinal study of the social, economic, and educational impact of a major community development intervention in Corktown, a mixed-income neighborhood in Detroit.

Lead Researcher Sarah Winchell Lenhoff

Partners City of Detroit, DPSCD

current research focus

The Relationship between Teacher Turnover and Student Attendance

This quantitative study draws from student- and teacher-level data for the tri-county Metro Detroit area to identify the association between teacher turnover and student attendance.

Lead Researcher Ben Pogodzinski

Partners State of Michigan

Funders Skillman Foundation