Penn GSE Partnership

About the Partnership

In 2014, the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, awarded a two-year grant jointly to the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) Office of Research and Evaluation and to the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) to support the development of a formal researcher-practitioner partnership aimed at improving public education in Philadelphia. The Partnership is supported by William Hite, the Superintendent of the SDP, and Amy Gutmann, the President of the University of Pennsylvania. It is advised by a board of key school and community stakeholders.

The primary focus of the partnership—named Shared Solutions—is collaborative work between the School District of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education that serves educators and students in Philadelphia. In 2018, the partnership was expanded to include the University of Delaware College of Education and Human Development. Overarching goals of the partnership are to:

  • Analyze successes and challenges within the District and its schools.
  • Identify areas for school improvement.
  • Provide actionable insights into how we can improve teaching and learning, school climate, and help create more successful schools.

One of the foundational projects of Shared Solutions was to develop a series of District-wide surveys through which students, parents & guardians, teachers, and principals in all Philadelphia District and Charter schools could provide annual feedback to the District and school leadership about how they experience and rate their schools.

The data from these surveys are used to help shape ideas about what next steps teachers, parents & guardians, school staff and administrators, community members, and the District can take to improve schools for our students. To view results from the surveys in an interactive database, please visit:

Another initial project of the partnership was to study school improvement and identify what was –and was not–working across the school district.

The School District of Philadelphia regularly hosts various events that provide stakeholders with the opportunity to share their experiences with school improvement efforts and critically reflect on research and data.