For too long, policymakers and researchers have been concerned with telling school systems what their problems are, but have provided insufficient support in helping them to figure out how to solve them. The Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS) has been designed to serve as a thought partner for districts, counties and states to pursue whole child, whole community approaches to school system improvement.

The research we undertake is intended to help educational leaders figure out how to implement strategies that place a commitment to equity at the center of their work. We do this by moving beyond outdated approaches to education reform that tinker with the operation of schools but do little to alter the deeply entrenched disparities in performance. Our goal is to encourage comprehensive approaches to education that foster positive, healthy learning environments, and treat youth development and wellness as integral to the mission of preparing and inspiring future generations.

2019 MTSS conference

Long Beach Convention Center - July 29-31, 2019
Learn More and Register Today


  • Pilot Program to Reduce School Suspensions

    CTS is leading a $15 million state pilot with the Orange County Office of Education and the Butte County Office of Education aimed at reducing suspensions and improving school climate through a training curriculum based on a multi-tiered system of support model. Working collaboratively with students and educators, we will design, refine and implement training modules that will promote improved relationships with students, particularly across race, language and socio-economic differences. If implemented well, it could serve as an effective means to address stark differences in educational opportunity that are apparent by race and income throughout the state.


  • School Systems Organized for Equity

    Across the country, states are reconsidering new funding systems anchored in the needs of students and families. CTS’ research on California’s Local Control Funding Formula will bring new insight into how increased school funding can help to shift practices in schools.


  • Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline

    Zero tolerance discipline policies and punitive approaches to school discipline have proven to be ineffective at promoting safety and a positive learning environment for young people. Working with schools and juvenile corrections facilities, CTS is working to devise new approaches to school discipline that decrease disparities, and focus on getting students more engaged in learning by proving greater support and attention to social-emotional development that research shows is essential to student success.


  • School Improvement Networks

    One of the ongoing challenges facing school systems across the country is a lack of learning and sharing of best practices among schools. Instead of focusing on efforts that promote competition, the new LA School Improvement Network (LASIN) consists of eighteen public, charter and private schools, and promotes collaboration on common challenges so that schools have the opportunity to learn from one another, and share research and strategies that can be used to promote sustainable improvement.




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