SDP Fellowship Program

"[SDP] was a great place in the arc of my professional development...to be exposed to people who are at the leading edge of trying to make a difference.”

Anthony Sims, SDP Fellow
Prince George's County Public Schools (MD)

The SDP Fellowship is a premier professional development experience led by an accomplished team at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University. The two-year program develops talented data strategists in school systems, state education departments, and nonprofit organizations. By participating in the fellowship, both fellows and their host agencies will grow advanced analytic capacity, develop clear priorities and plans for data and data systems, build organizational willingness to use data for decision-making, and uncover valuable insight about performance. Together with SDP, these leaders are building a growing, national network focused on improving student outcomes in America’s public schools.

About the Fellowship

Curriculum

During the two-year program, fellows participate in a structured, SDP-designed, professional development program created to boost their skills and knowledge in three key areas:

  1. Measurement and analysis
  2. Leadership/management and effective communication
  3. Research findings in education policy

The SDP Fellowship program consists of a series of workshops led by some of the leading program evaluation academics in the field, ongoing advising and mentoring with Harvard faculty and SDP staff, virtual learning opportunities with faculty and fellow alumni, book clubs, online resources and communities, and access to a growing national network of data strategists. 

Our Goals
We intend for fellows to leave each workshop session armed with a vision for their work, along with the tools and relationships necessary to move from vision to action. The SDP Fellowship curriculum:

  • provides fellows with skill-building opportunities that directly contribute to their work;
  • significantly elevates their analytic, communication, and project management skills;
  • builds a professional and intellectual network; and
  • provides time and resources for fellows to reflect on their work.

Our curriculum focus areas include measuring teacher effectiveness, compensation, college-going success and persistence, data management, data visualization, early warning systems, and implementing data-driven operational decisions. Through workshop sessions, book clubs, and webinars, fellows develop a deep understanding of current trends and policy issues, becoming specialists in using analysis to inform policy.

What Makes SDP Fellows Unique?

SDP Fellows are: 

  • entrepreneurial change agents dedicated to transforming how key policy and management decisions are made in public education.
  • thought partners that enable education agencies to break through strategic issues that benefit from robust analyses.
  • talented data strategists that lead and support key projects in their placement agency.
  • key contributors in a growing network of analytic leaders committed to impacting education reform through research and data.

Benefits for Fellows & Host Organizations

Collectively, SDP Fellows and their supervisors form a network of analytic leaders committed to impacting education reform through research and data. In each partner organization, fellows and their supervisors reach important goals and produce powerful results through the following strategies.

High-Quality Professional Development
Fellows attend six intensive workshops over the two-year period, including two national conferences, featuring leading faculty and practitioners from Harvard and beyond. The curriculum focuses on measurement and analysis, leadership and change management, and education policy. Fellow supervisors also attend three of the six workshops. 

Opportunity for Impact and Leadership
Fellows have the opportunity to take a leadership role on analytic, policy-oriented projects that impact student achievement outcomes, teachers’ instruction, and organizational processes.

Technical and Subject-Matter Expertise
Fellows and agency partners are exposed to rigorous and timely research in education reform and provided with a portfolio of resources to support analytic skill-building. Fellows’ work often leads the field with knowledge on the newest analytic techniques and emerging policy areas.

Access to National Network
Fellows and agency partners join a growing network of forward-thinking partners and data strategists innovating new programs and techniques in K–12 organizations across the United States. Fellows gain knowledge of current practices and lessons learned from their colleagues and apply these lessons to their host organizations.

Competitive Compensation Package
Data Fellows receive $80,000–$90,000 annual salary plus benefits. 

Capstone Reports

SDP Fellowship Capstone Reports are practitioner-oriented resource guides that provide education leaders with insight on how to leverage data and analytics to inform policy and strategic decision-making. The reports—written by SDP Fellows about the work they led during the two-year program—include case studies, strategies for replicating analyses, and recommendations to education agencies, future fellows, and researchers.
Read the SDP Fellowship Capstone Reports

Faculty Advisors

As part of the SDP Fellowship program, fellows have access to faculty advisors, giving them the opportunity to interact with and receive one-on-one mentoring from leaders in education research. Faculty advisors serve as both intellectual coaches (reviewing work product and discussing possible analytical approaches), as well as managerial coaches (advising fellows when they meet organizational obstacles). Through this relationship, fellows develop a stronger understanding of current research in education, while also deepening their knowledge of quantitative analysis and its application to policy reform.

CHRIS AVERY
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

ALEX J BOWERS
Teachers College, Columbia University

CELESTE CARRUTHERS
Department of Economics, University of Tennessee Knoxville

SCOTT CARRELL
Department of Economics, University of California, Davis

MATTHEW M. CHINGOS
Brown Center on Education Policy, Brookings Institution

ROBERT CRONINGER
Department of Education Policy and Leadership, University of Maryland

DAVID DEMING
Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

SUSAN DYNARSKI
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and School of Education, University of Michigan

HUNTER GEHLBACH
Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

DAN GOLDHABER
Center for Education Data & Research, University of Washington

ANDREW HO
Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

BRIAN JACOB
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

RICHARD MURNANE
Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

JENNY NAGAOKA
The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research

LINDSAY PAGE
University of Pittsburgh School of Education

JOHN PAPAY
Department of Education, Brown University

MEREDITH PHILLIPS
Department of Public Policy, University of California, Los Angeles

SARAH REBER
Department of Public Policy, University of California, Los Angeles

ANDREW RICE
Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison

MARGUERITE ROZA
Center on Reinventing Public Education, University of Washington

BRUCE SACERDOTE
Department of Economics, Dartmouth College

CHRIS WEISS
Department of Sociology, New York University 

JOHN B. WILLETT
Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

MARTIN WEST
Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University