Capturing complexity: Evaluation of the Yale Child Study Center School Development Program
Begun forty years ago by James P. Comer and colleagues at the Yale University Child Study Center, in collaboration with the New Haven Public Schools, the Comer School Development Program (SDP) can be considered the forerunner of modern comprehensive school reform initiatives in the United States. SDP practices considered highly controversial in 1968 – whole-school change, school-based management, strong parental involvement in decision-making, and teacher study groups – are now considered fundamental elements in effective education. SDP remains unique in the way child and adolescent development principles are used to inform and guide organisational functioning, behaviour management, and pedagogy in the service of improved academic achievement and personal development. It is also simultaneously involved in district-wide and policy level reform, and reform within schools of education.