Current Projects

Early Childhood

Best Place for Working Families and The Miles Foundation

CORE is partnering with the Best Place for Working Parents and The Miles Foundation to understand and document how BPWP’s Top 10 Policies are implemented across varied business environments and what effects the policies may have on both employee and business outcomes.

Child Care Associates

CORE provides comprehensive early learning assessment, reporting, and evaluation services to Child Care Associates (CCA), located in Fort Worth, Texas. CCA provides high-quality early learning experiences to young children, delivers child care financial assistance and other vital resources to parents, and offers professional development opportunities to educators. CORE has been partnering with CCA since 2016. CCA is an innovating and learning organization, seeking to consistently improve implementation & outcomes. CORE provides twice-annual CLASS assessments and reporting for CCA classrooms, evaluates program impact on students, and provides general consultation and evaluation of innovations being implemented by CCA. In 2019, CORE was named the recipient of the CCA North Texas Early Childhood Leadership Award.

CLASS© Regional Data Partner


CORE serves as a data partner to multiple early childhood organizations utilizing the CLASS© tool to improve classroom instruction. CORE trains observers on the CLASS© observation system, maintains secure data, and develops formative reports and presentations for the district, feeder patterns, individual schools and individual teachers as well as non-profit partners and funders. Partners on this multi-faceted project include DallasISD, RichardsonISD, MesquiteISD, Early Matters Dallas/the Commit partnership specific to the TEA RECESS grant, Child Care Group, Child Care Associates, the Early Learning Alliance and Ft. Worth ISD, Uplift Charter Schools, and the Community Action Corporation of South Texas. CORE serves as a data partner to community organizations using the CLASS tool, and is also conducting federally funded research about the effects of high-quality instruction on student outcomes and on effective strategies for achieving high quality instruction at scale.

CLASS©in Dallas ISD

DallasISD’s Early Learning Department and CORE are engaged in a longitudinal research-practice partnership aimed at supporting quality early childhood educational experiences. CLASS© observations are conducted by CORE, and rapid feedback of actionable data is allowing the Early Learning Department, instructional specialists and campus leadership to provide targeted coaching to early elementary teachers (PreK to 2nd grade). This ongoing data collection also allows CORE to document how quality is changing semester over semester and year over year and to document the longer-term implications of sustained early childhood quality for student outcomes.

Back to top


The All Stars Project

The All Stars Project, Inc. provides innovative, performance-based programming to youth and focuses on promoting development. CORE has previously partnered with the All Stars Project to write an original evaluation plan and accompanying tools to measure processes and potential developmental outcomes. After establishing that ASP programs increase youth development, CORE and ASP continue to partner to shape how out-of-school time non-profits and evaluators can establish collaborative partnerships and work to develop state of the art evidence.

Catch Up and Read

Catch Up and Read (CU&R) CORE is analyzing extant data from Catch Up and Read in order to determine overall effectiveness of programming on students’ reading outcomes. The focus of the current evaluation is on developing CAR capacity to better understand how the specific components of the CAR program model drive teacher and student outcomes. CORE and CAR continue to refine our understanding of how and why CAR shapes and develops more knowledgeable, skilled and ultimately effective teachers.

College Access Programs

CORE partners with the Simmons School’s College Access Programs to build evaluation capacity and data interoperability as well as to evaluate outcomes of key programs. This collaboration is aimed at increasing College Access’s ability to conduct rigorous analyses as a supplement and extension to existing evaluation activities and to build research infrastructure within the center as part of SMU’s overall Road to R1 status. Specifically, the focus of the collaboration is on increasing and improving existing data infrastructure such that additional analyses can be conducted, especially any efforts that can lead to the ability to complete comparative analyses and increase the rigor and generalizability of evidence about college access initiatives.

The Morris Foundation Literacy Project

CORE is serving as an evaluation partner to The Morris Foundation (TMF) in order to examine associations between literacy enrichment programming and student outcomes for Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) students in the early grades (K-3). Using student-level data from FWISD as well as dosage and other programming data from the literacy programs, the resulting series of reports for TMF will contextualize student literacy development for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years.

Principal Impact Collaborative at UNT Dallas (PIC)

CORE is working with Principal Impact Collaborative at UNT Dallas to refine an existing evaluation of their principal professional development program, with the goal of increasing level of available evidence for impact. The evaluation aims to identify improvements in wellbeing and leadership skills among participating principals, as well as distal effects on school culture and student achievement. CORE and PIC staff are working collaboratively to refine an existing logic model, to build out additional data collection strategies and to articulate a multi-phase approach to building evidence.

Teach For America

CORE is a long-term research, evaluation and thought partner for Teach For America (TFA). CORE conducted an initial impact evaluation of Teach For America’s impact in Texas sites in 2019. CORE and TFA have leveraged those data to provide technical assistance to Texas regions, and to support a number of strategic initiatives.

West Dallas STEM School

CORE serves a critical operations and support role for the West Dallas STEM School Project, a signature collaboration between Simmons School of Education and Human Development, DallasISD, and the Toyota Foundation to plan, implement and support a PreK-8 STEM School in West Dallas. This work is supported by grants from Toyota USA Foundation, the Truist Foundation, the Constantin Foundation, and Carter Creech. CORE’s Executive Director has served in a strategic leadership role, helping to shape the collaboration from its inception. CORE’s primary role on WDSS is supporting data access and data collection, ensuring that the research, evaluation and continuous improvement activities of the partnership are supported.

Back to top

Professional Development

Bishop Scholars

CORE is collaborating with Simmons School of Education and Human Development faculty to evaluate the Bishop Scholars scholarship program. The scholarship program is designed to meet a critical need for bilingual and Special Education certified teachers to Dallas ISD.

The George W. Bush Institute

CORE is engaged in a long-term evaluation partnership with the George W. Bush Institute related to their Presidential Leadership Scholars program. CORE’s major efforts involve ongoing monitoring and reporting of survey data from active scholars as well as alumni and collaboratively refining the PLD theory of change and evaluation strategy to accommodate sustainability and additional attention to race, diversity, inclusion and equity.

Walton Family Foundation

CORE received a planning grant from the Walton Family Foundation to co-develop the aims and parameters of a possible new Fellowship program hosted by SMU. The Fellowship will focus on the unique professional and personal skill sets that exist at the intersection of evaluation and philanthropy. The inaugural Fellowship, planned for 2022, will have five key components: guided supervision, mentorship, project work, conference presentations, and an individual capstone project.

Learn more advancing evaluation in philanthropy
Download the press release

Back to top

Out of School Time and Informal Learning

Big Thought, Dallas City of Learning (DCOL)

Big Thought’s Dallas City of Learning initiative is helping to coordinate a network of out of school time providers to enhance the number and variety of learning opportunities available to youth. CORE is currently conducting initial evaluation planning, determining feasibility of metrics and data collection, and collaborating with Big Thought to envision long term outcomes.

Clayton Youth Enrichment Services

CORE is working with Clayton Youth Enrichment Services to develop an evaluation of their afterschool program with a social-emotional learning focus. The study will investigate the links between professional development and support offered to staff, program implementation, and student social-emotional outcomes. The evaluation is being piloted during the 2021-2022 school year, and the anticipated launch of the full evaluation study is the 2022-2023 school year

Dallas Afterschool

CORE and Dallas Afterschool have maintained a long-standing evaluation partnership that has evolved over multiple years of collaboration. Initially, CORE and DAS worked to establish impacts of quality afterschool programming on students’ academic, social & emotional well-being. Together, we added to the existing evidence showing positive impacts from afterschool for student academics. Currently, CORE and DAS continue to collaborate to disseminate knowledge about what works for promoting quality OST programming. DAS and CORE are partners along with Big Thought and DallasISD on the Expanded Learning Information System.

Extended Learning Information System (ELIS)

ELIS Spring 2022 handoutCORE is partnering with Big Thought, Dallas Afterschool and Dallas ISD to develop and pilot the Expanded Learning Information System (ELIS), a shared data system that streamlines data collection and data exports from after and summer school sites across the city of Dallas. This work is supported in part by a grant from the Better Together Fund.

Texas Women’s Foundation

CORE is conducting a participatory, developmental, and formative multi-year evaluation and research study of the Texas Women’s Foundation Dallas Young Women’s Initiative (Dallas YWI) Program. Working closely with Fellows, CORE has co-reported individual and collective benefits to the young women of color participating in the program and how their advocacy and leadership around local and national issues has led to better outcomes for other young women of color in our community. The Dallas YWI program is poised to expand to Houston and CORE will serve in a lead evaluator role.

Dallas Young Women’s Initiative: Year One Evaluation Summary
Dallas Young Women’s Initiative: Year Two Evaluation Summary
Dallas Young Women’s Initiative: Year Three Evaluation Summary

Back to top

Previous Projects

Achieving Community Transformation

Aiming to reduce crime, ACT partners closely with neighbors to pursue legal means to evict problematic residents or tenants. CORE collaborated with ACT to accurately measure ACT’s specific interventions, and examined the immediate impacts of ACT involvement for neighbors, including psychological sense of community, sense of safety, etc. Through this process, CORE assisted ACT with developing an internal system for monitoring which activities are provided to whom.

After 8 to Educate

After8 to Educate is a nonprofit that aims to serve homeless students in DallasISD by providing drop-in, shelter, and academic services. CORE was the evaluation consultant for After8 and its partners as they determined the parameters of their work, operationalized how they would collaborate to provide services to students, what the outcomes of the work would be, and how it would be measured and sustained.


The AT&T Performing Arts Center implemented the ArtsBridge project which aimed to bring art and culture programming to West Dallas. CORE served as an evaluation consultant aiming to grow ATTPAC’s evaluation capacity over time.

Bachman Lake Together / Zero to Five Funders’ Collaborative

The Zero to Five Funders Collaborative supports a collaborative network of early childhood providers in the Bachman Lake area. CORE helped both funders and program staff look at kindergarten readiness, longitudinal academic impact and how to use data to guide community-wide programming. CORE utilized Brigance assessments and monitoring Dallas ISD academic indicators along with parent survey data in order to monitor program impact and to help guide decisions about program expansion.

Caruth Clinic & Institute

SMU’s Dedman School of Law hosts the Caruth Clinic and Institute. The clinic and institute focus on legal advocacy for youth in the foster system. Through a series of coursework, training opportunities, and convening of stakeholders, the Clinic and Institute seek to train a cohort of graduates who will work in the field of advocacy for foster youth and to identify and influence policy. CORE’s evaluation included a range of data collection, including surveys, interviews, review of activity logs, and solicitation of expert review.

Caruth Institute of Engineering Education - Hamon Summer Camps

Caruth Institute of Engineering Education (CIEE) provides a range of educational and outreach opportunities through SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering. CORE partnered CIEE to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of a series of summer camps for middle and high school students in a program funded by the Hamon Foundation.

Center for Transformational Leadership

CORE worked with the Center for Transformational Leadership (CTL) to identify features of a professional development leadership program that would be most useful. CORE provided information about usability, satisfaction, and appropriateness of the module for current or aspiring leaders in independent schools in the Dallas area.

Child Poverty Action Lab

CORE served as a formal thought partner and evaluation consultant to the Child Poverty Action Lab as they worked to implement a risk terrain modeling project in Dallas aimed at preventing child maltreatment.

City Year

City Year is a national initiative, part of AmeriCorps, with a presence in DallasISD. CORE served as an evaluation partner and examined how students and entire schools participating in the Dallas-based initiative compared to similar students and schools and examined which aspects of City Year’s activities made the most difference.

The Concillio

CORE evaluated The Concilio’s PASE program, which focuses on parent education and advocacy to support student academic achievement. CORE collaboratively developed a theory of change and used multiple data sources to establish impact on parental attitudes and behavior, student engagement and academic efficacy, and to monitor potential long-term impacts on academic achievement.

Dallas Arboretum

The Dallas Arboretum provides a range of educational programs for youth and families. CORE evaluated a three-year program, funded by United Way, to provide afterschool learning opportunities to students. Teacher and student attitudes and student pre-post knowledge gain were measured. Students who participated in Dallas Arboretum afterschool programs only gained more knowledge than students with no access to afterschool programs, and students who visited the Arboretum’s Rory Meyers Children’s Garden, in addition to the afterschool programming they received, gained most of all.

Dallas Heritage Village

Dallas Heritage Village and Vogel Alcove received an IMLS Community Anchors grant to provide Vogel’s youngest students access to Dallas Heritage Village grounds and to quality early childhood experiences. COREworked as an evaluation partner and assisted both organizations in monitoring sustainable increases in the provision of quality early childhood experiences for Dallas Heritage Village visitors and changes to the community that result from this collaboration over time.

Dallas Holocaust Museum

CORE partnered with the Dallas Holocaust Museum for Education and Tolerance as they redesigned educational programming in their new museum space. Following an evaluation planning period, CORE worked to evaluate the extent to which educational programs achieve the museum’s overarching civil rights aims. Though the bulk of this work was interrupted by COVID-19 closures, CORE continues to serve as a thought partner to the Museum.

Dallas Zoo

CORE worked with the Dallas Zoo’s education department to take stock of the wide range of evaluation data that is collected across projects and to synthesize the information into a more streamlined evaluation strategy.

Family Wellness Dallas/Safe Conversations

Safe Conversations provides workshop-format relationship counseling. As a research partner, CORE designed and administered pre, post and delayed-post surveys to workshop participants to help determine short, medium and longer-term outcomes. Initial results showed that Safe Conversations participants experienced a significant decrease in anxiety, and that relationship satisfaction, dyadic adjustment and family functioning were improved after six weeks. Parental stress also decreased.

Frazier Revitalization, Inc.

Frazier Revitalization is part of the Dallas Afterschool network and is leveraging partnerships to increase access to high-quality afterschool programming in the Frazier & Dolphin Heights areas. CORE helped Frazier build evaluation capacity, collect initial planning data about community conditions, assess partner perspectives, and begin tracking student outcomes.

Frog Street

CORE had multiple ongoing evaluation projects with Frog Street, Inc., a developer of early childhood curricula and assessment tools. CORE examined the relative effectiveness of the curriculum in relation to overall classroom quality.

Galápagos Conservancy

The Galapagos Conservancy partnered with the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education to provide a comprehensive professional development intervention consisting of bi-annual training institutes, instructional coaching, and facilitation of learning circles. CORE collaborated with multiple international partners to design and execute an evaluation plan and accompanying tools to measure the quality of delivery of these initiatives and their emerging impact on instructional practices across the Galapagos Islands.

Good Local Markets

Good Local Markets, a Dallas-area farmer’s market, received SAID funding to pilot a SNAP intervention where federally funded food assistance recipients were incentives to spend SNAP dollars at local markets. CORE collected SNAP expenditure data, vendor characteristics and sales figures, and customer attitude survey data and determined that the majority of Good Local Market’s grant goals were met or exceeded.

Hewlett Foundation

CORE collaborated with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to explore and document participatory grantmaking activities and processes through a qualitative study to develop a shared understanding of participatory grantmaking and to facilitate peer learning about the conditions under which equitable and participatory methods are most successful.

Jubilee Park & Community Center

CORE helped Jubilee plan and execute an evaluation of a summer camp for students with special educational needs, focused on literacy gains. CORE utilized an innovative design in order to accommodate a small sample size.

Just Say Yes (Youth Equipped to Succeed)

CORE partnered with Just Say YES to evaluate their Students Teaching About Relationships and Success (STARS) Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program. The mentoring program trains high school juniors and seniors to mentor incoming freshmen who may have several risk factors for dropping out of school. CORE observed programs, collaborated with staff to develop a logic model and evaluation plan, and designed instruments.

KERA Website

KERA launched a Learning Media website designed for use by local teachers, librarians, students, and parents alike. The platform has a STEM focus and links to other available PBS web resources such as PBS Learning Media and other sites of local interest. CORE helped to collect planning and evaluation data, including pre and post launch focus groups with potential users and surveys.

Learning Paradigm

CORE provided evaluation consultation services to the Learning Paradigm to assist the organization in initial evaluation planning, logic modeling, and planning for data collection over time.

Leadership ISD

CORE worked as an evaluation consultation with LeadershipISD to help codify the intervention and development of a long-term outcome evaluation plan.

Life School

Life School network of charter schools partnered with CORE to investigate the impacts of Life School’s teacher incentive pay system. Using a 360-degree approach, CORE collected a range of data to help describe the Life School’s climate and culture, instructional practices, professional development strategies, and student achievement.

Lumin Education

CORE worked with a Simmons Faculty Principal Investigator and Lumin Education to carry out two main project aims: 1) to demonstrate Montessori impacts by answering research questions about academic achievement, social-emotional learning, and executive function; and 2) to build Lumin’s capacity by organizing and warehousing all their existing data and CORE created an interactive dashboard to understand key student outcomes.

National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) - Mesquite ISD

NAPE provided Micromessaging training to all teachers at West Mesquite High School over a three year roll out. CORE designed student and faculty surveys, administered throughout the roll out, which monitored how a culture of belonging that ultimately enhances learning could be created through these trainings. Other data collection included student enrollment, focus groups, and peer observations.

National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) - ESTEEM-II ATE

NAPE partnered with community college sites to provide Micromessaging training. CORE and The Allison Group are shared evaluation responsibilities. CORE focused on the process evaluation, determining what supports for implementation at each college site may enhance or prohibit NAPE Micromessaging strategies from being fully realized. This work was supported by an NSF grant.

National Council for La Raza

NCLR supports the provision of Padres Comprometidos parent education program focusing on educational outcomes to dozens of sites nationwide. CORE designed an evaluation plan and related tools to measure PC program fidelity, parent attitude and behavioral change, and student attitudes toward school. Data was collected and a report created on parent and student outcomes. National Council for La Raza is now UnidosUS and CORE continues an evaluation partnership with the organization.

North Texas Cares

CORE is participated in local COVI-19 response by supporting the North Texas Cares team. CORE reviewed and synthesized incoming requests for grants related to the coronavirus pandemic to generate actionable knowledge about emerging needs and solutions. The project acknowledged that incoming grant applications represented unique and timely data about the needs catalyzed by the pandemic. CORE and North Texas Cares partners have presented on the findings multiple times to local and national funders.

On the Road Lending

On the Road Lending (OTRL) provides deep sub-prime clients with affordable loans for reliable cars. CORE partnered with OTRL to operationalize and assess their program. CORE completed an initial planning evaluation phase that included interviews and focus groups with clients, and document and data review to propose a best-fit evaluation plan for a future Phase 2. The evaluation plan identified client outcomes, under what conditions they happen, plausible client impact, and how the unique OTRL lending approach contributes to these outcomes.


Safe Haven of Tarrant County provides a range of violence prevention activities including an in-school bullying prevention campaign, PALS. CORE worked with PALS to review curriculum materials, assess best practices, revise a logic model, and develop a data collection plan.

Parish Episcopal School

CORE served as an evaluation partner to Dallas’s Parish Episcopal School. On a rolling basis, CORE revisited Parish’s strategic plans and available data and re-calibrated data collection to help answer timely questions and provide relevant, formative data. Data collection included: observations, extant data review, student and parent surveys, focus groups, and follow up phone calls with alumni.

Perot Museum

CORE partnered with the Perot Museum of Natural Sciences to analyze timing and tracking data the museum had collected to monitor visitor movement through their exhibits.

Project Transformation

Project Transformation is a summer school provider, partnering with college students to provide summer learning opportunities for low-income children that focus on literacy and social-emotional learning outcomes. CORE helped design a theory of change, a data collection plan, pre-post surveys, and accessed existing literacy data.

Save the Children

The Save the Children Skills to Succeed (S2S) evaluation included a review and synthesis of program documentation, program monitoring and quantitative outcome data and qualitative key stakeholder interviews with S2S youth alumni, teachers, employers and S2S program staff. CORE reviewed and revised the evaluation design, conducted qualitative analysis using data from four countries, and presented a final report to stakeholders.

Texans CAN Academies

Texans Can Academies provides flexible and/or fast-paced high school courses designed to support non-traditional students toward high school completion. CORE supported the Academies in developing data collection strategies and meaningful calculation of graduation rates.

Texas College Access Network

The Texas College Access Network (TxCAN) connects and supports college access initiatives across Texas, with the goal of increasing access to college and certificate programs. CORE and TXCAN staff collaborated to develop an evaluation design that would accurately capture TxCAN’s broad coalition building and college access initiatives. CORE’s evaluation focused on formative and process evaluation strategies associated with early phases of coalition work.

Texas Partnership for Out of School Time

CORE partnered with the Texas Partnership for Out of School Time to conduct an initial landscape analysis to determine how providers across the state of Texas conceptualize and measure quality of OST programs and student outcomes. CORE continues to serve as a thought partner, connecting local and statewide OST evidence and opportunities for improvement.

Trinity River Audubon Center

The Trinity River Audubon Center, partially funded by the Boone Foundation, provided Schoolyard Investigations programming in DallasISD elementary schools and offered a Summer Trek program to high school aged youth to go on a multi-day camping trip. Both programs aimed to increase environmental stewardship and knowledge. CORE collaborated with TRAC to write grade-level appropriate pre and post surveys to measure attitudes and knowledge.

Truth Racial Healing and Transformation - Dallas

CORE served as an initial evaluation partner to the Dallas-TRHT initiative which seeks to create a radically inclusive city by addressing race and racism through narrative change, relationship building, and equitable policies and practices. D-TRHT hosted nearly 30 community sessions to understand the topics and areas that the community wants to address moving forward. CORE captured qualitative data and contributed to TRHT’s community indicators report.


CORE collaborated with UnidosUS for an evaluation capacity building initiative. As part of this initiative, CORE developed evaluation guidelines that were being implemented across several grants and projects with UnidosUS. In addition, CORE provided a range of technical assistance, grant supports and professional development including conducting a series of webinars for building internal evaluation capacity, and developing a guide for best practices around internal data management to support monitoring, evaluation, learning and improvement. CORE also partnered with UnidosUS to explore the lasting impacts of COVID-19 on Affiliates.

Uplift Education - Meridian Project

CORE served as an evaluation and thought partner to the Miles Foundation and Uplift Education ;on a number of initiatives including an investigation of trends in student outcomes in neighborhoods where charter schools are built and operated.

Back to top