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Our Story

SchoolRise® was established by Kathryn H. Au, Ph.D. and Taffy E. Raphael, Ph.D., award-winning literacy researchers. Over long careers of research and practice they developed a clear vision of schools and classrooms that could bring students of all backgrounds to high levels of literacy. But they saw a problem:  This vision was not becoming a reality – particularly in schools serving diverse student populations.

In response, Au developed the pioneering approach to school improvement now known as the Standards Based Change (SBC) Process.  Her research documented improved achievement levels for students in schools using the SBC Process than in those not using the process (Negotiating the Slippery Slope: School Change and Literacy Achievement).  Aware of the success of the SBC Process in Hawai‘i, Raphael introduced it in Chicago in 1999 and saw similarly increased student achievement (Defying Gravity: Literacy Reform in Urban Schools). Raphael & Au used their findings to develop a step-by-step approach to school improvement called the SchoolRise Seven Levels to Success.

In 2005, Au and Raphael founded SchoolRise to bring their research-based improvement approach to a widening circle of schools.  Queries from customers led to related efforts in community engagement and program evaluation, with clients such as the Art Institute of Chicago and the United Way.

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