Catalpa Ltd. was founded "to bring professional practice into focus." This has been key to Catalpa's success in developing, testing and implementing new methodologies and technologies to strengthen the performance of professional service institutions. Catalpa Ltd.'s 15th year is 2011.
Catalpa's most important achievement is improving the quality and utility of information that Practice-Based Inquiry makes available for school practitioners, policy makers and the public about the performance of public schools. Catalpa Ltd. offers schools and other institutions a set of tools to evaluate and strengthen the effectiveness of the professional services they provide. These tools establish a process of rigorous inquiry that produces legitimate conclusions about the quality of the actual, daily professional practice of an organization.
Catalpa has won international acclaim for its ground-breaking work that has established Practice-Based Inquiry as a legitimate research methodology for organizations that provide professional services. Practice-Based Inquiry has significantly improved the quality and utility of rigorous information that is available about schools. It is of particular value to independent schools, state departments, accrediting associations and school improvement projects.
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Catalpa was incorporated in February 1996 by the state of Rhode Island. The IRS considers Catalpa Ltd. a Sub-chapter S corporation. Catalpa has been approved to manage foundation grants.
Catalpa grants and contracts
The fifteen years of work on Practice-Based Inquiry has been supported by a mix of contracts and foundation grants. Grants from IBM, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Joyce Foundation, the Lilly Endowment, and the Rockefeller Foundation supported the research on English school inspection and its early implementation in American schools.
The LAB at Brown supported the research and development work for the Secondary Schools Commission of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Long-term contracts with the Rhode Island Department of Education funded Catalpa's work with SALT.
Other contracting organizations include AdvancED (Atlanta), National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), Network for College Success (University of Chicago), the Chicago Schools Alliance (Business and Professional People for the Public Interest), Coalition for Improving Education in South Shore (Chicago), SchoolWorks!, Minneapolis Public Schools, Illinois State Board of Education, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform.