The mission of The SchoolWorks Lab, Inc. is to bridge the gaps between teachers, parents, researchers, administrators, and policymakers by conducting and distributing research filled with common understandings, clear findings, and coherent policy, resulting in greater learning for all students.
The Lab researches school reform data and conclusions to provide answers to questions on relevant topics useful to the general public and the field of education.
The SchoolWorks Lab, Inc. actively partners with students, teachers, schools, organizations, school districts, states, countries and international organizations to improve education and restore hope to teaching and learning.
Founder and President, The SchoolWorks Lab, Inc.
Rob Southworth is an arts education scholar-practitioner, collaborating with schools, school districts, and community-based organizations. He also works with policymakers at national research forums, state departments of education, and legislators in Washington, DC. Southworth is the founder and president of The SchoolWorks Lab (SWL), an education non-profit created in 2002 to provide high-quality research to effect change and improve access, inclusion and equity for every student in K-12 schools. SWL has been awarded multiple U.S. Department of Education and state funded arts education grants for research and evaluation, totaling $1,245,000. He writes and publishes weekly blogs on school reform, assessment, creativity and arts education issues.
Southworth was a political science and theater major in college. He started his career in education as an apprentice teacher at Shady Hill School in Cambridge, MA, and then taught technical theater and acting at Colorado Academy—producing 9 plays a year. He worked in professional theater at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. When he attended the Experienced Teachers Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, he brought the idea of performance assessment with him. Theater had confirmed his belief that experiential learning opportunities, such as the arts, support creativity as students demonstrate what they know and can do. Through his work with the National Center for Restructuring Education Schools and Teaching, and teaching in graduate schools of education, he honed his ability to improve teacher learning. In his role as the Chief Academic Officer for a successful K-3 arts integrated literacy school, he turned his vision – of building teacher capacity to grow and make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged students – into reality.
Chief Academic Officer involved with all aspects of academic planning and operations for The Foundations School, a new K-3 independent school offering small classroom sizes, free tuition (85% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch), and a central focus on arts integration and literacy (opened January 2021).
President and Principal Investigator for research and evaluation projects that provide achievement gap insights useful to policy makers, the field of education, and the general public. SWL provides arts integration program evaluation, assessment, student achievement and teacher professional development services. Major research and evaluation projects include:
New Hampshire Department of Education (2019); NYC Department of Education (2008–09); Theater Communications Group (2006-10); Theatre Museum (2004–06); Empire State Partnerships (2003–09); New York State Council for the Arts (2002-08); San Diego Public Schools – Literacy Institute (2001-03); NYC Community School District 2 (1998–99); School of the Future (1995-2001); Rockefeller Brothers Fund (1996); New York State Education Department (1994-96); and more.
Teachers College, Columbia University, Adjunct Assistant Professor, C&T Depart. (1998-2004)
Bank Street College of Education, Adjunct Professor, Principal’s Institute (1998-2002)
Adelphi University Graduate School of Education, Adjunct Professor, Manhattan Center (1996–99)
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University. Curriculum and Teaching Department. Advisor: Linda Darling-Hammond, Ed.D. Dissertation: Teacher Opinion of Student Assessment (1999)
C.A.S., Harvard Graduate School of Education. Experienced Teachers Program. Advisor: Eleanor Duckworth, Ph.D. (1990)
M.Ed., Tufts University. Masters in Secondary Education (1990)
Massachusetts Teacher Certification. Certification in Social Studies, Grades 7-12 (1983)
Shady Hill School. Teacher Training Program. Apprentice Teacher, Grades 5 & 8 (1983)
A.B., Dartmouth College. Political Science. Academic citations for English and Theater (1981)