Aims and Scope

The aim of this new journal is to create a scholarly forum among educators at these school levels for the exchange of site-based action research findings demonstrating data-based improvement in the operation and outcomes of their school communities. In the process, Best Practices seeks to construct a virtually non-existent and much needed knowledge base focused on 'what works on the ground' in attaining the successful education of today's diverse student populations in these critical foundational grades. This journal is based on the assumption that practitioners at these school levels not only possess a wealth of untapped practical knowledge and professional expertise that is seldom systematically tested, validated, and disseminated beyond the walls of their own classrooms, local schools, or school communities, but that they also have the best knowledge of the real-world learning challenges and educational needs of the 'new' majority students' in our schools today. Best Practices seeks to give these educators public recognition for professional scholarship on these students' instruction and learning. 

Toward these ends, Best Practices seeks scholarly articles, written in every-day professional language, unobscured by and largely free of the esoteric theoretical rhetoric that has characteristically discouraged educators at these levels from both consuming and contributing to traditional scholarly journals. Privileging instead deep 'insider' descriptions of local schools and the context-specific realities of the problem solving process, it is hoped that this format will encourage the reporting of site-level inquiry and problem solving conducted by these practitioners, as well as their open discussion of this practical scholarship.  Best Practices extends this forum to an international audience and contributor base.   

Priority is given to site-level team-based, representative school-wide, or collaborative research inquires among schools focused on the educational and societal advancement of historically undereducated and underachieving student populations, as well as evidenced-based, critical professional commentary on institutional policies and practices that impede local educators' efforts to advance these students' achievement.   

Articles accepted for inclusion in Best Practices must be deep descriptions of a school's or educator-team's inquiry and problem solving process, fully supplemented by data. All research studies must utilize some form of mixed method design, i.e., employ both qualitative and quantitative assessments, intended both to statistically support and explain or interpret the process and reported outcomes of these inquires (see below for specific author guidelines).  By privileging this design format, the journal seeks to 1) address the research standards and needs of a broad range of educational stakeholders (from the professional and practical concerns of local teachers to the data oriented demands of governmental and administrative agencies); 2) provide educator/ readers with ample contextual and process detail to aid in reader comparisons and decision-making on the likely generalizability of particular inquiry findings to other school contexts; and 3) bridge the current research divide and debate on the greater appropriateness of quantitative (scientifically-based) versus qualitative research for use in school improvement. 

Finally, it is hoped that Best Practices will be a catalyst in a movement for change in the education and knowledge creation processes.  It, thus, aspires to encourage and reward teacher ownership and responsible control over their work practices and the learning outcomes of their students; to focus long absent positive attention and prioritize research study on the academic success of historically underachieving student populations; to demonstrate the legitimacy and value of practical knowledge and the scholarly work of non-university based educators so as, ultimately, to alter the extant knowledge creation hierarchy through the development of a practitioner-initiated knowledge base that can serve as a field tested foundation for the construction of educational and cognitive theory.