Faculty & Staff Directory

Robert Balfanz, PhD

Professor

Keywords: Early-warning systems; high school dropouts; instructional interventions in high-poverty schools; secondary school reform

O:(410) 516-4272

Robert Balfanz, PhD, is a research professor at the Center for the Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, where he is co-director of the Talent Development Secondary reform model and director of the Everyone Graduates Center. He is a leader and a co-founder of Diplomas Now, an evidence based school transformation model for high needs middle and high schools which combines whole school reform with enhance student supports guided by an early warning system and winner of a federal Investing in Innovation (I3) validation grant which is currently being implemented in forty schools across twelve school districts. He has published widely on secondary school reform, high school dropouts, early warning systems, chronic absenteeism, school climate, and instructional interventions in high-poverty schools. He focuses on translating research findings into effective school interventions. His also a frequent speaker on dropout prevention and early warning indicators and has consulted with numerous state education associations through partnerships with the National Governors Association and Jobs for the Future. Dr. Balfanz is the first recipient of the Alliance For Excellent Education’s Everyone a Graduate Award and the National Forum’s to Accelerate Middle Grade Reform Joan Lipsitzs Lifetime Achievement award. In 2013 he was named a Champion for Change for African American Education by the White House.   He holds a B.A. in history from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in education from the University of Chicago.

EDUCATION

Ph D, University of Chicago .
Major: Education
Dissertation Title: Mass Schooling and Manufacturing Productivity

BA, Johns Hopkins University
Major: History

ACADEMIC POSITIONS

2012 – Present, Professor, Center for Social Organization of Schools, School of Education, Johns Hopkins University

2008 – 2011, Principal Research Scientist, Center for Social Organization of Schools, Johns Hopkins University

2002 – 2007, Research Scientist, Center for Social Organization of Schools, Johns Hopkins University

1996 – 2002, Associate Research Scientist, Center for Social Organization of Schools, Johns Hopkins University

1991 – 1996 Senior Author/Developer, University of Chicago School, Mathematics Project-Elementary Component

OTHER ACADEMIC, GOVERNMENT, MILITARY, AND PROFESSIONAL POSITIONS

Academic
2008 – present Director, Everyone Graduates Center, Center for Social Organization of Schools, Johns Hopkins University

2008 – 2017 Co-Director, Talent Development Secondary, Center for Social Organization of Schools, Johns Hopkins University

Government
Co-Chair My Brothers Keeper Student Success Mentor Initiative, US Department of Education. (December 1, 2015 – January 1, 2017).

Technical Advisor to Interagency Task Force to Reduce Chronic Absenteeism, Mayors Office City of New York. (February 2010 – December 2014).

AWARDS AND HONORS

Non-Profit Fellow, Results for America. (February 2017-Present).

Champion of Change for African American Education, White House. (February 2013).

Bush Institute Education Fellow, George W. Bush Institute. (January 2013-Present).

Joan Lipsitz Lifetime Achievement Award, National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. (June 21, 2012).

Every Child a Graduate Award-Alliance for Excellence in Education (2007).

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

Johns Hopkins University
ED 855.643, Turnaround Leadership in Schools and Educational Organizations, 4 courses.
ED 855.723, Education Policy Practicum, 2 courses.
ED 855.730, Doctoral Directed Readings, 3 courses.

RESEARCH

Books
Balfanz, Robert, Fox, Joanna, Bridgeland, J and McNaught M (2009) Grad Nation Guidebook America’s Promise Alliance: Washington, DC.

Legters, N., Balfanz, R., Jordan, W. T., McPartland, J. (2002)., Comprehensive reform for urban high schools: A talent development approach. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Selected Book Chapters – First Author
Balfanz, R., MacIver, D., Byrnes, V (2015). Chapter 1: The Implementation and Impact of Mathematics Reforms in High-Poverty. In Edward A. Silver and Patricia Ann Kenney (Eds.), More Lessons Learned from Research: Volume 2 (Vol. 2). NCTM.

Balfanz, R., Legters, N. (2007). NCLB and Reforming the Nation’s Lowest-Performing High Schools: Help, Hindrance, or Unrealized Potential?. In G. Sunderman (Ed.), Holding NCLB Accountable: Achieving Accountability, Equity, and School Reform (pp. 191-207). Corwin Press.

Balfanz, R., Legters, N. (2004). Locating the dropout crisis: What high schools produce the nation’s dropouts, where are they located, who attends them. In G. Orfield (Ed.), Dropouts in America: Confronting the Graduation Rate Crisis. Boston, MA: Harvard University Education Press.

Balfanz R. (2004) What Recent Research Has to Say About What Early Childhood Mathematics Educators Need to Know in C. Greenes ed. Challenging Young Children Mathematically Golden Co: NCSM Monograph Series pp.4-14.

Balfanz, R., MacIver D., and Ryan D. (2002) “Enabling ‘Algebra for all’ with a Facilitated Instructional Program: A Case Study of Talent Development Middle School” in V. Anfara (Ed) Handbook of Research in Middle Level Education, Volume 2. Greenwich CT: Information Age Publisher.

Selected Journal Articles – First Author
Balfanz, R. W. (2016). Missing School Matters. Phi Delta Kappan, 98(2).

Balfanz, R. (2012). A Path Forward: Evidence-Based Approaches to Educational Policy and Practice. Journal of Applied Research on Children, 3(2), 5. http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/childrenatrisk/vol3/iss2/1/.

Balfanz, R (2009) The American High School in the Twenty-First Century: The Challenge of Becoming an Avenue of Advancement for All in J Kemple and C. Rouse Eds Future of Children High School Issue, Princeton, NJ.

Balfanz, R., Herzog, L. & MacIver D. (2007) Preventing Student Disengagment and Keeping Middle Grade Students on the Graduation Path in Urban Middle-Grade Schools: Early Identification and Effective Interventions Educational Psychologist 42(4) 1-13

Balfanz, R., Legters, N., West, T. C., Weber, L. M. (2007). Are NCLB’s easures, Incenties, and Improvement Strategies the Right Ones for the Nation’s Low-Performing High Schools?. American Education Research Journal, 44 n 3, 559-593.

Selected Co-Authored Book Chapters and Journal Articles
Legters, N., Balfanz, R. (2009). Do We Have What It Takes To Put All Students on the Graduation Path?. State Education Standard, 10 n 1, 4-9.

Neild, R., Balfanz, R. & Herzog L. (2007) An Early Warning System Educational Leadership 65(2) 28-34.

Neild, R. and Balfanz, R. (2006) An Extreme Degree of Difficulty: The Educational Demographics of Urban Neighborhood High Schools Journal for Education of Students Placed at Risk 11(2) 123-143.

McPartland, J., Balfanz, R., Legters, N. (2006). Reforming the most troubled high schools: The talent development approach. In R. W. Smith (Ed.), Time for Change (pp. 73-89). Creskill, NY: Hampton Press.

Other Selected Publications
Balfanz, R. (2017)., How Boosting Education Research Could Revolutionize US Schooling. Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Balfanz, R. et. al. (2016)., Closing the College Gap: A Roadmap to Postsecondary Readiness and Attainment. Center for Social Organization of Schools, Johns Hopkins.

Balfanz, R. & V. Byrnes (2016)., Preventing Missed Opportunity-Data Section. Attendance Works.

Ransom, J., Griffis, H., Eder, J., Byrnes, V., French, B., Balfanz, R., MacIver, D., (Support), T. J. H. U. (2015)., A Promise Worth Keeping: Advancing the High School Graduation Rate in Philadelphia (pp. 23). Philadelphia, PA: Project U-Turn.

Balfanz, R et. al. (2014)., Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenges 2014.

Balfanz, R. & V. Byrnes (2013)., Meeting the Challenge of Combating Chronic Absenteeism: Impact of NYC Mayor’s Interagency Task Force on Chronic Absenteeism and Its Implications for other Cities. Baltimore: Everyone Graduates Center.

Balfanz, R. et. al (2013)., Building a Grad Nation 2013: Progress and Challenges in Ending the Dropout Crisis. Baltimore: Everyone Graduaets Center.

Balfanz, R. (2013)., Overcoming the Poverty Challenge to Enable College and Career Readiness for All: The Crucial Role of Student Supports. Baltimore: Everyone Graduates Center.

Balfanz, R. (2012). Doing it All: Raising Graduation Rates and Standards. In Anne Hyslop (Ed.), Getting to 2014 (and Beyond): The Chocies and Challenges Ahead (pp. 10-13). Washington DC: Education Sector.

Balfanz, R. & V. Byrnes (2012)., The Importance of Being in School: A Report on Absenteeism in the Nation’s Public Schools (pp. 44). Baltimore and New York: Everyone Graduates Center and Get Schooled.

Balfanz, R., Fox, J. H., Bridgeland, J., Bruce, M. (2012)., Building a Grad Nation 2012: Annual Report to the Nation (pp. 107). Baltimore and Washington DC: Everyone Graduates Center and Civic Enterprises.

Balfanz, R. et, al, (2009) Graduating American: Meeting the Challenge of Low Graduation Rate High Schools Everyone Graduates Center and Jobs for the Future.

SELECTED RECENT GRANTS AND SPONSORED RESEARCH

Grants
MacIver, D. (Co-Principal Investigator), Lofton, R. (Co-Principal Investigator), Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Arnold MBK Evaluation,” Sponsored by Laura And John Arnold Foundation, Foundation, $1,372,005.00. (December 6, 2016 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Building a National Network to Develop and Spread Student Success Indicator and Response Systems,” Sponsored by Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation, Foundation, $1,994,006.00. (November 23, 2016 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Support for Feeder School Students to Transition to Frankford H.S.,” Sponsored by William Penn Foundation, Foundation, $380,324.00. (August 15, 2017 – Present).

MacIver, D. (Co-Principal Investigator), Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Extending the Evaluation of the Talent Development-Diplomas Now Model,” Federal, $2,792,695.00. (October 1, 2015 – Present).

MacIver, D. (Co-Principal Investigator), Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Validating the Talent Development-Diplomas Now Secondary Schools Turnaround Model,” Sponsored by Us Dept Of Education, Federal, $32,792,695.00. (October 1, 2010 – Present).

MacIver, D. (Co-Principal Investigator), Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Completing and Leveraging the Diplomas Now Randomized Field Trial,” Sponsored by Hrj Consulting, Ltd., Foreign Private Profit, $850,000.00. (July 1, 2015 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Diplomas Now at Frankford High School (Philadelphia),” Sponsored by At And T Foundation, Foundation, $500,000.00. (June 30, 2016 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Freshman Seminar Pilot Project in Detroit Public Schools,” Sponsored by United Way For Southeastern Michigan, Private Non-Profit, $167,842.00. (May 1, 2017 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Consultancy on multi-year business plan,” Sponsored by Edna Mcconnell Clark Foundation, Foundation, $337,000.00. (January 11, 2017 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “STF Support Miami – United Way,” Sponsored by United Way Of Miami-Dade, Private Non-Profit, $182,000.00. (July 1, 2016 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Fannie Lou Hamer Middle School,” Sponsored by New York City Department Of Education, Local Government, $1,353,021.00. (May 15, 2015 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Holcombe L. Rucker School of Community Research,” Sponsored by New York City Department Of Education, Local Government, $1,117,500.00. (May 15, 2015 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Martin Van Buren HS,” Sponsored by New York City Department Of Education, Local Government, $2,737,500.00. (May 15, 2015 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “EMCF – TDS Youth Development Fund Award,” Sponsored by Edna Mcconnell Clark Foundation, Foundation, $4,000,000.00. (June 15, 2014 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Talent Development Support during Randomized Control Trial,” Sponsored by Laura And John Arnold Foundation, Foundation, $3,693,484.00. (July 1, 2015 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Listen for Good,” Sponsored by Fund For Shared Insight, Private Non-Profit, $60,000.00. (February 1, 2016 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Core Support Grant – TDS,” Sponsored by Ford Foundation, Foundation, $500,000.00. (October 1, 2016 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “The Atlantic Philanthropies,” Sponsored by Atlantic Philanthropic Service, Foundation, $1,000,000.00. (January 1, 2014 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Talent Development Support during Randomized Control Trial – Year 2,” Sponsored by Laura And John Arnold Foundation, Foundation, $1,193,484.00. (July 1, 2016 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Tulsa FY17,” Sponsored by Growing Together, Private Non-Profit, $899,492.00. (July 1, 2016 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “School Success Mentor Initiative,” Sponsored by Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Foundation, $500,000.00. (November 1, 2015 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Analyzing Longitudinal data to Identify Post-Secondary Readiness and Completion Indicators and Benchmarks,” Sponsored by The Boston Foundation, Foundation, $37,500.00. (November 15, 2016 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Planning Phase – MBK Student Success Mentor and Student Support Initiative,” Sponsored by Laura And John Arnold Foundation, Foundation, $150,000.00. (February 1, 2016 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Gates Foundation,” Sponsored by Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation, Foundation, $275,000.00. (October 6, 2015 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Diplomas Now – Schusterman Match,” Sponsored by Schusterman Family Foundation, Foundation, $350,000.00. (June 30, 2015 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Diplomas Now – Schusterman Match,” Sponsored by Schusterman Family Foundation, Foundation, $1,350,000.00. (July 1, 2014 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “DN – Miami and NYC,” Sponsored by The William R Kenan Jr Charitable Trust, Foundation, $1,500,000.00. (July 1, 2014 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Wm Penn – Instructional Support for Four I3 Philadelphia Middle Schools,” Sponsored by William Penn Foundation, Foundation, $175,000.00. (July 1, 2014 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “CAP Tulsa, Kaiser Family Foundation,” Sponsored by Growing Together, Private Non-Profit, $3,042,041.00. (March 15, 2013 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Develop & Implement a Communications Strategy for TDS,” Sponsored by Edna Mcconnell Clark Foundation, Foundation, $35,000.00. (July 1, 2015 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Support for July 9-10, 2015 DNSI Training – Kaiser,” Sponsored by Kaiser Family Foundation, Foundation, $25,000.00. (February 25, 2015 – Present).

MacIver, D. (Co-Principal Investigator), Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Scaling Up Diplomas Now – Bridge Funding,” Sponsored by Pepsico Foundation, Foundation, $1,000,000.00. (July 1, 2013 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “FY15 Operating Support for Talent Development Secondary,” Sponsored by Schusterman Family Foundation, Foundation, $500,000.00. (August 1, 2015 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Gates Foundation,” Sponsored by Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation, Foundation, $487,071.00. (November 15, 2013 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Talent Development Secondary – Ford Foundation,” Sponsored by Ford Foundation, Foundation, $100,000.00. (July 1, 2014 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “GSK Charitable Grant for Philadelphia,” Sponsored by Glaxosmithkline, Private Profit, $350,000.00. (March 1, 2012 – Present).

Davis, M. (Co-Principal Investigator), Mac Iver, M. A. (Co-Principal Investigator), Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “An Efficacy Study of Two Graduation Coach Strategies,” Sponsored by Institute Of Education Sciences, Federal, $2,753,788.00. (July 1, 2011 – Present).

MacIver, D. (Co-Principal Investigator), Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Diplomas Now: Completing and Extending a randomized Field Trial of a New Modle for High Poverty Secondary Schools,” Sponsored by Carnegie Corporation Of Ny, Foundation, $500,000.00. (July 1, 2014 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “PYN Unfulfilled Promises,” Sponsored by Philadelphia Youth Network, Private Non-Profit, $75,000.00. (April 1, 2013 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Turning to a New Purpose,” Sponsored by Carnegie Corporation Of Ny, Foundation, $618,800.00. (January 1, 2012 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Symposium on Mindfulness and Learning,” Sponsored by Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation, Foundation, $10,000.00. (September 29, 2014 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “AT&T Aspire Local High School Impact Initiative,” Sponsored by At And T Foundation, Foundation, $271,249.00. (August 1, 2012 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Schusterman Family Foundation,” Sponsored by Schusterman Family Foundation, Foundation, $2,000,000.00. (July 1, 2013 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “United Way of Greater Los Angeles-2014,” Sponsored by United Way Of Greater Los, Private Non-Profit, $113,000.00. (July 1, 2013 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Edna McConnell Clark Foudation,” Sponsored by Edna Mcconnell Clark Foundation, Foundation, $250,000.00. (July 15, 2013 – Present).

MacIver, D. (Co-Principal Investigator), Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Scaling Up Diplomas Now,” Sponsored by Pepsico Foundation, Foundation, $6,000,000.00. (January 1, 2011 – Present).

MacIver, D. (Co-Principal Investigator), Davis, M. (Key Personnel), Mac Iver, M. (Key Personnel), Legters, N. (Co-Principal Investigator), Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Action Evaluation of the American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen Initiative,” Sponsored by Corporation For Public Broadcasting, Private Profit, $375,001.00. (June 1, 2012 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “NYC Mayors Task Force on Chronic Absenteeism Report and Data Analysis,” Sponsored by State Education Dept Of New York, State, $25,000.00. (January 10, 2013 – Present).

Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “An Implementation Plan for Diplomas Now Detroit High School,” Sponsored by Michigan Future Inc, Private Non-Profit, $408,628.00. (May 9, 2011 – Present).

Mac Iver, M. (Co-Principal Investigator), Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Technical Assistance for Dropout Prevention and Recovery,” Sponsored by Jobs For The Future, Private Non-Profit, $139,097.00. (October 1, 2011 – Present).

Mac Iver, M. (Co-Principal Investigator), Legters, N. (Co-Principal Investigator), Balfanz, R. (Principal Investigator), “Technical Assistance to Reform and Improve High-Poverty High Schools,” Sponsored by Jobs For The Future, Private Non-Profit, $140,952.00. (October 1, 2011 – Present).

SERVICE

Department Service
Associate Director of Center for Social Organization of Schools. (January 2006 – Present).

College Service
Committee Member, Doctoral Committee. (January 2012 – December 2012).

Professional Service
Task Force Member, Aspen Institute-National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. (March 2017 – Present).

Reviewer, Ad Hoc Reviewer, United States Department of Education. (September 2012).

National Governor’s Association, Dropout Prevention Advisory Panel, 2008.

Advisory Panel, College and Career Transitions Initiative, U.S. Department of Education.

Maryland Mathematics Commission 1999-2000.

Editorial Board Member, NCTM, Math in the Early Years, 1996-1998.