a national technical assistance center that builds whole system capacity —state, district, school, and community—to provide academic, behavioral, social, and emotional support to improve outcomes for students, especially those who are marginalized.

Boy in front of locker at school
female teacher and girl student laughing

Passion Experience Commitment

With a research-based approach, SWIFT is a catalyst for bringing meaningful and sustainable changes for equity and justice in your schools.

SWIFT bird in flight

2005 - 2012

SWIFT’s story began with a project that moved a Kansas City, Kansas school from being one of the lower performing to one of the top performing elementary schools in the Midwest in five years. The model employed in this school was expanded to whole districts in East Palo Alto, California, focused on a predominantly Latinx population; District of Columbia Public Schools, focused on a Black student population; and post-Katrina New Orleans, with a population in extreme crisis.


2012 - 2016

From the robust foundation established in the prior decade, SWIFT established the organizational capacity to serve schools across the nation through a $24.5 million U.S. Department of Education award to integrate students with disabilities into grade-level curriculum and learning in 64 schools in Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Vermont.



With a growing national reputation for raising equity, inclusion, and academic outcomes for traditionally marginalized students, SWIFT partnered with Orange County Department of Education and Butte County Office of Education in a $30 million statewide effort in California to scale-up the use of Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS) in more than 11,000 schools.

SWIFT’s technical assistance and professional learning work continued through partnerships in Orange County (CA), Oregon, Vermont, and other states and districts across the nation.



The data gathered during the preceding years showed a strong, positive association between improved student outcomes and implementation of the SWIFT Framework, with MTSS as the driving force. Analyses showed that Leadership was important to the implementation process, which led to a US Department of Education award for a $10 million, four year program of study to develop the capacity of principals to lead high-need schools to equity through MTSS. Our partners were Cumberland County (NC) Schools, San Diego (CA) Public Schools, and Teton County (WY) Schools.

SWIFT began new partnerships in Oklahoma, Washington, California, and Idaho, as well as with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


2022 to present

SWIFT continues its work with a $10 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs to lead the National Center on Inclusion toward Rightful Presence, a technical assistance center that will demonstrate the effects of Equity-based MTSS for students who receive the most intensive support to achieve at grade-level or alternative grade-level standards. Another $3 million grant through the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences will evaluate the efficacy of a tool to systematically intensify support for students with or at-risk for disabilities exacerbated by pandemic conditions.

SWIFT’s focus on equity is bolstered by a $10 million Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant that focuses on equity leadership and educator well-being with over 50 principals and their leadership teams in schools that serve Black, Hispanic, and Native American communities. Further funding through the Oak Foundation is supporting SWIFT’s work to develop and test the technical adequacy of a suite of Equity Tools for individuals, schools, districts, and state agencies to understand their own equity story and reflect on how to advance equity in their communities.

SWIFT continues to work with a variety of partners to implement evidence-based practices to improve outcomes for students across the country.

Staff Spotlight

 “I believe that we have an opportunity, one we can’t pass by, to transform education. I’m proud to work with SWIFT and our partners to make schools into places where students and adults are empowered and where we center equity in everything we do.”

Michelle Dunn, Leadership Development & Research Project Director

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Our team makes

the difference.

We are a group of people who are passionate about transforming U.S. public education so that students are welcome, valued, and have a sense of belonging in their community’s schools, and that they are well supported to achieve in age-appropriate general education classrooms. We work at The University of Kansas Lifespan Institute.