Leigh
Parise
Senior Program Development Associate

Parise has been the lead implementation researcher on several MDRC projects and is currently the deputy project director on two large-scale MDRC projects: (1) a contract from the Institute of Education Sciences focused on evaluating the impact of language interventions on the academic achievement of English language learners and disadvantaged native English speakers in the same classrooms using a randomized controlled trial design; and (2) the evaluation of the Innovative Professional Development Challenge, a project with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that seeks to better understand how school districts implement changes to their teacher professional development systems and the extent to which those changes are associated with different teacher experiences and measurable improvements in teacher outcomes. In addition, she is the lead implementation researcher and project manager on an investigation of the implementation and impacts of Communities In Schools, a dropout-prevention program focused on at-risk young people. The project includes a student-level randomized controlled trial and a school-level comparative interrupted time series analysis. She has also worked on a project analyzing Ninth Grade Academies as a strategy to improve students’ successful transition into high school. Before joining MDRC, Parise received her PhD in human development and social policy from Northwestern University, where her work focused on teacher development and school leadership. Additionally, Parise holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MST from Pace University. Parise also taught elementary school in Brooklyn for three years and she is the cofounder of Classroom Champions, a nonprofit organization that connects Olympic and Paralympic athletes with students in low-income schools to foster students’ social and emotional skill development.