About ISA

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The Institute for Student Achievement (ISA) is a team of committed educators who join with schools and districts to transform high schools, so that students who are traditionally underserved and underperforming graduate prepared for success in college and careers. Through a close partnership, ISA provides the organizational and professional development supports that schools, principals, and teachers need to succeed, giving students the opportunity to learn, grow, and achieve to their fullest potential.

The history of ISA

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We’ve been Partnering with Schools for Over Two Decades

Dr. Gerry HouseIn 1990, philanthropists Lilo and Gerard Leeds founded ISA as a non-profit organization committed to improving the educational conditions and outcomes for America’s underserved youth. In 2000, after 10 years of measurable success, ISA resolved to extend its reach to serve more students. Under the leadership of Dr. Gerry House, a nationally recognized educator, ISA became a close partner to schools, with an implementation model grounded in educational research and practitioner expertise.

Dr. Jacqueline Ancess In 2001, ISA tapped NCREST, the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools & Teaching (NCREST) at Teachers College, Columbia University, as a strategic education partner. NCREST’s co-director, Dr. Jacqueline Ancess, has collaborated with ISA on the design, development and implementation of ISA’s high school reform model and continues to be an active ISA partner.

Since 2001, ISA has engaged in whole school reform in cities such as in Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, and New York. Today, our footprint includes the states of New York, New Jersey, Ohio, California, and North Carolina.

The Educational Testing Service became the parent organization of ISA in January of 2013.  Through the mutual agreement of both boards, the two nonprofit organizations merged.

Dr. Stephanie Wood-GarnettIn 2017, Dr. Stephanie Wood-Garnett became the president of ISA, ushering in a new era for our organization.  Formerly, Wood-Garnett was the Vice President of Policy to Practice (P2P) at the Alliance for Excellent Education. Her portfolio included deeper learning, college and career ready academic standards, assessment, science of learning, and diversity and equity initiatives. Dr. Wood-Garnett is an accomplished educator with extensive experience in leading complex P–20 education reform initiatives at the local, state, and national levels.

Impacting Students’ Lives Motivates Us, Too

Brooklyn Prep GradsOur students are like yours. The majority of students in ISA schools are from low-income and high-need families: over 70% of the students are free/reduced lunch eligible and over 60% enter 9th grade with significant deficits in math and literacy.

ISA’s whole school reform approach has been validated by two independent and rigorous evaluations as effective for increasing the achievement of high-need students in general, and African American male students in particular. These evaluations determined that students in ISA high schools have better attendance rates, accumulate more academic credits, are less likely to drop out, and more likely to graduate from high school within four years than their comparison peers.

Today, after over two decades of partnering with high schools, ISA has a successful track record of having served over 80,000 students, providing them a pathway to high school success and college readiness.  We have collaborated with schools and districts nationwide and have impacted over 4,000 teachers, counselors, and school leaders.