CERES Institute for Children & Youth

Our Purpose

The CERES (Community-Engaged Research and Evaluation Sciences) Institute for Children & Youth conducts applied research and evaluations in order to drive positive educational and life outcomes for children and youth.

Working with key partners in communities, we use rigorous, systematic, and innovative methodologies to develop knowledge that policymakers and practitioners can use immediately to support their young people.

We also generate knowledge that is grounded in the experiences of our partner communities and can be used to inform work in other communities as they strive to improve the lives of their young people.

Importantly, we place children and youth at the center of our inquiries, seeking to help policymakers, practitioners, and researchers better understand who young people are, what young people need to thrive, and how to structure the practices, programs, and policies that actually get young people what they need.

These Core Beliefs Guide Our Work

  • Children and youth are at the center of our work. We build all our work around the simple question: What is in the best interests of the children and youth we seek to support?
  • All children and youth are full of assets but may interact with people, institutions, policies, and structures that create barriers to their realizing their full potential. We view children and youth as the sum of their intrinsic potential and recognize adverse life conditions in our work.
  • We are dedicated to supporting communities and partners as they tackle issues of inequity and bias based on race, culture, language, gender, sexuality, and specialized learning needs.
  • Research is meant to be shared and used. If our research is to have any value, it must be useful to community partners and get into the hands of people with the power to make structural or policy-level changes.

Our Vision

All children and youth will grow up with the support they need to become thriving adults.

Our Mission

Be the crossroads of inquiry, analysis, and action for research and evaluation on how to create the conditions necessary for all children and youth to grow into thriving adults, in authentic partnership with community members.

Our Work

Applied Research: Our original research seeks to answer specific questions posed to us by practitioners, policymakers, or others actively working to improve education and life conditions for children and youth in particular communities. Our original research typically falls into or cuts across the following themes.

  • Positive youth development
  • Teaching, learning, and school climate
  • Social, emotional, and academic development
  • Race and culture

Program Evaluation: We evaluate programs that are designed to improve youth conditions to if, and how, they are achieving their goals. We work with communities to build their capacity to use data to continuously improve their programs and supports.

From Research to Action: A core function of the Institute is a communications and outreach function to promote the work of the Institute and those with whom it works, with the goal of informing, influencing, and inspiring action. Work will be shared with policymakers, education leaders, journalists, influencers, and the wider academic community. We conduct research, but our end goal is to leverage that research to transform outcomes for youth.

Center for Promise: The Center for Promise, a partnership between Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development and America’s Promise Alliance, is a project of CERES Institute for Children & Youth. Its mission is to develop a deep understanding of the conditions necessary for young people in the United States to succeed in school and life.

Current Initiatives

To learn more about our current initiatives visit us at http://ceresinstitute.org.