The Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University


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Current Partners


Boston Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI)
The AGI is collaborating with DSNI on a Kellogg Foundation supported demonstration project to support early-childhood caregiving in the Boston Promise Zone. The project is schedule to last through 2015 and 2016.

Grand Rapids, MI, Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) Initiative
The AGI is collaborating with the ELO Initiative in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to design, implement, and evaluate a project aimed at emphasizing future orientations and success-oriented mindsets in out-of-school time programs serving school-aged children and adolescents.

Strive Together and an Anonymous Funder
The AGI is collaborating with the National Strive Together Organization and an anonymous funder to study challenges of developing and sustaining effective “collective impact” organizations, especially as such organizations endeavor to affect academic excellence with equity.

The Tripod Project for School Improvement
The AGI is uses data from the Tripod Project for School Improvement, Inc., (co-founded by AGI director Ron Ferguson and Robert Ramsdell) to conduct basic research on teaching quality, school leadership, and youth motivation and engagement. Tripod measures were used in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project. The Foundation supported work at the AGI that made further use of the MET data. Other AGI work using Tripod data has been supported by the Raikes Foundation. The MET reports can be downloaded from



Leslie Cornfeld

Leslie Cornfeld is an Associate Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is a nationally recognized for designing and leading high-profile, cross-sector efforts to tackle pressing social and community challenges at scale in the areas of education, child welfare and safety, criminal justice, and civic engagement. She served as chair and director of the Mayor Bloomberg's Interagency Task Force to drive student achievement in low-income communities by developing and identifying new strategies to target chronic student absenteeism and disengagement.  She served as the founding director of the Mayor’s NYC Interagency Task Force on Child Welfare and Safety, where she led a team of policymakers, educators, and agency staff in designing and implementing over a dozen systemic reforms to strengthen NYC’s child welfare and safety apparatus. Ms. Cornfeld has served as trustee on a number of non-profit and other boards, including the Children’s Defense Fund national board for over a decade; the Dalton School in NYC; the Hospital For Special Surgery; the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior; and is founder of a public speaking program in East Harlem. She has contributed articles and opinion pieces in a variety of publications, including the New York Times, Newsweek magazine, New York Law Journal, and Huffington Post (co-author with Robert Balfanz); has been featured on numerous television and news segments in the areas of education, civic engagement and policing, and is a frequent featured speaker at national conferences and summits in these areas.  She is a graduate of Harvard College, Phi Beta Kappa, and Harvard Law School. Full Bio

Karen Craddock

Karen T. Craddock is helping the Achievement Gap Initiative tailor Seeding Success approaches to the specific needs of inner-city neighborhoods and the organizations that support them. Her research and professional practice over more than 20 years have focused on design and delivery of applied socio-cultural research and relationship-based services to agencies, programs and initiatives primarily in the education and health sectors focusing on child, family and community level outcomes. She is a board member with Boston’s Smart from the Start. Dr. Craddock’s academic research and administrative experiences include senior roles with private, public and federal projects and agencies, including Harvard University, Brandeis University, SAMHSA and Education Development Center, Inc. She earned a B.A. from Wesleyan University in Psychology, an Ed.M. from HGSE in Human Development and Psychology/Counseling Processes and a PhD in Child Development/Family Studies from Tufts University. 

Gautam Ramchandani

Gautam Ramchandani works with the Achievement Gap Initiative on the Seeding Success Initiative. He is a seasoned change management executive who has over 30 years worked with nonprofit, software, technology, capital goods and start-up firms to create competitive advantage and increased impact. He has developed innovative strategies for nonprofits facing challenges of declining funding and exponentially increased demand for services. His expertise includes managing high growth and turnaround situations in the USA, South East Asia and the Pacific Rim. Mr. Ramchandani earned an engineering degree at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), New Delhi, India with first class honors, receiving a presidential merit scholarship after high school and placing 17th out of 35,000 candidates in the All India IIT Joint Entrance Exam. He earned an MBA degree from Harvard Business School and was President of the Harvard Business School Club of Connecticut and a co-founder of its Community Partners program helping nonprofits improve their performance.

Tatsha Robertson             

Tatsha Robertson is an award-winning editor and writer with more than 20 years of experience handling investigative, feature and news stories for leading magazines, newspapers and websites. For twelve years, Tatsha has been researching, and writing extensively on both the habits of parents of high-achieving children, and the efforts to close the achievement gap. She will use her investigative skills to help the Harvard Achievement Gap Initiative research how parents contribute to their child’s development and learning. Full Bio