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National Urban Alliance for Effective Education (NUA)

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CASDA is proud to announce a new partnership with the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education (NUA). Led by President and Founder Dr. Eric Cooper and visionary Senior Scholar Dr. Yvette Jackson, the NUA and it’s dynamic team of scholars, researchers and consultants have empowered schools throughout the country to close opportunity gaps helping educators implement culturally responsive instructional practices rooted in Dr. Reuven Feurerstein’s research on cognitive modifiability. Since their founding in 1989 at the Columbia’s Teachers College and The College Board, the NUA has been guided by “the irrefutable belief in the capacity of all public school children to achieve the high intellectual performance demanded by our ever changing global society.” 


Three core principles animate all aspects of the NUA’s work: 


  • Intelligence is modifiable;

  • All students benefit from a focus on high intellectual performance;

  • Learning is influenced by the interaction of culture, language and cognition.


Dr. Eric Cooper expressed a vision for the partnership rooted in these foundational principles and emphasized the potential for transformative change in schools:  


“The CASDA and NUA partnership is based on a belief that with powerful education, all students are capable of the highest academic and occupational trajectories when provided pedagogical interventions informed by neuroscience and culturally responsive instruction.  The qualitative and quantitative data we and others have been compiling should strip ideology of its influence over public policy and funding.” 


The implications of these ideas are profound. Deficit-driven determinism about the capacities of students of color, their families, and communities that is so prevalent in education is disrupted and replaced with an emphasis on cognitive strategies that help students connect their interests and experiences to classroom content and achieve at high levels. This framework has produced astounding results over the organization’s 30-year history. Case studies on their website detail growth in districts across the country including Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Bridgeport, Connecticut and Albany City School District.


Dale Getto, CASDA consultant and former Principal at North Albany Academy, a neighborhood K-8 school, and Albany High School collaborated with the National Urban Alliance to empower teachers and help students develop cognitive strategies to direct their own learning. She recalls: 

While principal of an urban PK-8th grade neighborhood school the NUA was the unifying force behind all aspects of learning.   I can think of countless examples where  teachers led development sessions at faculty meetings and national conferences as well as, opening their classroom doors to share, learn and grow along-side each other as  educators and learners.  This is why I think there is no better time for CASDA to partner with NUA as a way to support teachers and leaders in regaining their confidence as they navigate asynchronous and hybrid learning environments.  


As an aside, I have remained in contact with some of the faculty, staff, students and families from “back in the day” and know that for several of our cohorts who were exposed to NUA’s methods, high school graduation outcomes far exceeded historical averages. One student graduated Siena College with an applied math bachelors degree in three years followed by a masters degree in civil engineering from Union College! Another moved to Texas with his grandmother for high school and earned a bachelor's degree from a small private college in 4 years and Shadaysia, a student who didn’t begin to read until the 4th grade, has a degree from HVCC and is gainfully employed in her chosen field!  These are but a few stories about young learners who needed to be stretched and taught to think deeply  in order to achieve as adults.   

Dr. Michael Piccirillo, CASDA’s Executive Director sums up the potential of a partnership that can bring transformative change to schools: “At CASDA, the central focus of our work is equity. Therefore, we look forward to partnering with the NUA to bring equity-focused professional development to our member districts driven by the NUA’s core principles accompanied by efforts to empower families and communities to shape the educational institutions that serve their children.” 

For more information about how this partnership can benefit your district, contact CASDA Executive Director Michael Piccirillo at 518-442-5045 or email

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