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Research
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Dr. Eileen Coppola

Eileen Coppola is now the Head of School at Innovate Manhattan Charter School in New York City. While she is now putting into practice years of research on schools, teachers, and students, she remains part of our research group.

Dr. Coppola is committed to the improvement of urban schools to better serve the children and families who most depend on them.  As a researcher who focuses on the impact of educational policy on classrooms and students’ experience in school, Dr. Coppola’s recent work has been on collaborative study regarding the impact of Texas accountability policies on students’ completion of high school, and on exploring how students internalize the discourse of “the American Dream” to understand the purpose of school. 

  photo of Eileen Coppola

Coppola was lead organizer of the community and academic conference “Texas Dropout Crisis and Our Children” in October, 2006 at Rice University, drawing over 400 participants and featuring a national panel of researchers.  As an outcome of that conference, she has focused on translating the findings of dropout research and solutions to elected officials and the media, emphasizing the conditions within schools that lead to high dropout rates.

In 2005, she published with Linda McNeil a chapter on research methods for policy research: “Official and Unofficial Stories: Getting at the Impact of Policy on Practice,” in the American Education Research Association’s Handbook on Complementary Methods for Research.  Her monograph, Powering Up: Learning to Teach Well with Technology (Teachers College Press, 2004), uses classroom application of technology as a case study to demonstrate how school organizations can promote teachers’ professional learning, and was praised by the American Library Association as an outstanding academic title for that year.  From 2002-2004, she was honored with a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Academy of Education and the Spencer Foundation to study how accountability systems affect the way teachers, administrators, and students think about the purpose of schooling.

Coppola is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Urban Superintendent’s program, from which she received her Ed.D. and Ed.M. in 2000 in the area of Administration, Policy, and Social Planning.  She previously earned an M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University and her B.A. from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.  She taught middle school history and interdisciplinary studies in New York City and has served in school and district leadership positions in the Boston and Philadelphia public schools, where her work focused on equity and systemic reform.

While at Rice, Dr. Coppola was the Associate Director for Research and Research Scientist at the Center for Education, Rice University, and a Lecturer in the Education Certification department.  She taught courses in Urban Education, Education Policy, and the Philosophy, History, and Sociology of Education.