Archived Information

Tools for Schools - April 1998

Appendix B:

The National Institute on the Education
of At-Risk Students

The National Institute on the Education of At-Risk Students was created in the U.S. Department of Education by the Educational Research, Development, Dissemination and Improvement Act of 1994. The Institute's purpose is to "carry out a coordinated and comprehensive program of research and development" for the improvement of the education of "at-risk students" (Sec. 931(e)(2)). The statute defines an "at-risk student" as one who "because of limited English proficiency, poverty, race, geographic location, or economic disadvantage, faces a greater risk of low educational achievement or reduced academic expectations" (Sec. 912(l)(2)).

The mission of this Institute is to provide national leadership and support to expand research- based knowledge and strategies that promote excellence and equity in the education of children and youth placed at risk of educational failure. The legislation authorizes the Institute to:

Research and Development Centers -- A major component of the Institute is the National Research and Development Center program:

Sponsored Research -- The National Institute on the Education of At- Risk Students is co-sponsoring two studies on Developing and Implementing High Performance Learning Communities. The five year studies focus on the strategies and procedures to initiate, support, and sustain high achievement for all students, especially those students in high poverty schools. Staff contact: Kathy Fitzgerald.

The institute also is co-sponsoring a Partnership for Excellence and Accountability in Teaching that will bring together elementary, secondary and postsecondary educational institutions, state and local education entities, national professional associations and other stakeholders across this nation whose influence is crucial to improving teaching effectiveness. This new Partnership, headed by the University of Maryland, aims to enable those who teach and influence teaching to use knowledge based on research and effective practice to ensure that teachers have the capabilities, motivation, and opportunity to help all students, especially those placed at risk of educational failure, achieve challenging academic standards. Staff contacts: Edward Fuentes and Stephanie Dalton.

Field-Initiated Studies Research Grants -- The Field-Initiated Studies Program supports work to improve the education of students placed at risk of educational failure by awarding multi-year discretionary research grants on topics generated by investigators from a variety of entities. The institute funded 15 projects in 1996 and six additional awards in 1997. Check the Field-Initiated Studies Internet site at for more details and information about future competitions. Staff contacts: Beth Fine and Karen Suagee.

Small Business Innovation Research Program -- This program funds research to stimulate technological innovation in the private sector, strengthen the role of small business in meeting Federal research and development needs, and increase the commercial application of ED-supported research results. In 1997, this Institute made seven awards under the following topic: Development or Adaptation of Innovative Technologies to Enhance Learning and Development of Students Placed At Risk of Educational Failure. Check the Internet site at for more information. Staff contact: Ok-Choon Park.

The D.C. Desk -- A key component of the Department's Washington, D.C. Public Schools Initiative, the D.C. Desk provides access to Department resources for key personnel in the D.C. Public Schools. The D.C. Desk is actively involved in support of the school system's systemic reform efforts through activities such as technical assistance related to research-based practices and information, and linkages to promising school reform initiatives. Staff contacts: Susan Talley, Sandra Steed, and Ronald Pedone.

Visiting Scholars Fellowships -- This institute has joined with other Office of Educational Research and Improvement institutes to establish a visiting scholar program, administered by the National Research Council. The fellowships will provide an opportunity for the most qualified applicants to work at the institutes in Washington, D.C. for a specified amount of time. More information is available from the National Research Council on the Internet at or by telephone at (202) 334-2872. Staff contact:Sandra Steed.

Graduate Research Fellowships and Dissertation Grants -- The Institute has an agreement with the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Science Foundation to further support ongoing joint grant programs administered through the American Educational Research Association. The institute's contributions to the grants program are intended to support research by minority students and will be awarded to conduct large-scale policy and practice related education research on issues pertinent to the mission of the National Institute on the Education of At-Risk Students. Staff contact: Edward Fuentes.

For More Information:
Write, fax, call, or visit our website:

The National Institute on the Education of At-Risk Students
U.S. Department of Education
555 New Jersey Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20208-5521
Telephone: (202) 219-2239
Fax: (202) 219-2030

Visit our Staff Page


[Appendix A: Table 2] [Table of Contents]