Community-driven leadership development in education, health, and employment.

Tools & Resources

IEL produces a wide variety of resources and tool kits for diverse audiences. Below are some of the most current, significant, and popular items organized by IEL's three pillars of success: connecting families, schools, and communities; building pathways to adulthood; and preparing leaders.

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Connecting community with public education to support the learning and development of young people.

IEL strives to involve the broader community with public education to support the learning and development of young people. This means helping bring families, schools, and community resources together as partners for the common good. IEL’s work helps ensure students and families have access to effective, integrated academic, youth development, and health and social services within and linked to public schools, the only viable public institution in a growing number of disadvantaged neighborhoods. IEL leads the Coalition for Community Schools, an umbrella group of more than 200 local, state, and national partners that advocate for more coordinated, efficient, and effective delivery of opportunities and supports to students before, during, and after school and on weekends. Research and evidence from the field show community schools help ensure students enter school fully prepared to learn; develop improved work habits, efforts, and attitudes toward learning; improve grades and test scores; bolster retention and graduation rates; and provide society with a strong return on investment.

  • Scaling Up Guide Icon: A assembling buildings to integrate community partnerships (stylized)

    Community Schools Scaling Up Guide

    This online guide builds on both practice and research to describe the what, why, and how of system-wide expansion of community schools.

  • Patterns of Practice Icon: overlapping pastel geometric shapes form a pattern

    Patterns of Practice

    This report highlights the importance of early childhood education and family engagement in community schools and provides case studies of the efforts of nine different communities.

  • Equity Framework Icon: a cartoon boy climbs stairs labeled with the words

    Community Schools Equity Framework

    This draft framework is a work in progress to articulate IEL's beliefs and plan of action towards an equity agenda for the community schools movement.


Building more effective pathways into the workforce to help all young people transition to adulthood.

IEL improves the capacity of policymakers, program administrators, and youth service professionals in the education and workforce development systems to provide comprehensive, coordinated services to all youth, including youth with disabilities, and create high-quality, individualized pathways to adulthood. IEL distills and synthesizes research to highlight innovative strategies and influences policy and practice related to youth transition to adulthood. IEL uses research to design and support programs that leverage the expertise of local businesses, community organizations, and schools to open career pathways for disabled, disengaged, and disadvantaged youth.

  • Guideposts for Success Icon: A Sign Post with Five Arrows

    Guideposts for Success

    This research- and practice-based framework outlines what youth, including youth with disabilities and disconnected youth, need to transition to adulthood.

  • Three circles feature adults learning, a young black girl writing, and a young white boy reading.

    Opening Doors, Changing Futures

    Opening Doors,Changing Futures tells the story of an ARC initiative – The Appalachian Higher Education Network―to increase postsecondary education attainment in a region in which 54+% of the workf

  • Stylized human walking up a puzzle piece bridge into the sunlight

    Individualized Learning Plan Guide

    This guide is for schools, educators, and other professionals who assist youth with college and career readiness and transition planning.


Preparing generations of leaders to drive cooperative efforts at all levels.

IEL prepares generations of leaders to work across institutional boundaries to improve policy, practice, and partnerships at the local, state, and national levels. IEL provides leadership, policy, and networking experiences for a wide range of professionals in early childhood development, K-12 and higher education, and children- and youth-related policy. IEL also works to grow youth, family, and community leaders. IEL’s leadership work focuses on fostering skills related to coalition building, advocacy, communication, cultural competency, and content knowledge.

  • Detail of report cover: stylized woman carrying water in front of silhouettes of hands.

    Community Story-Mapping Guide

    This guide, "Community Story-Mapping: The Pedagogy of the Griot," outlines the process of uncovering, recovering, telling, and retelling stories in a community to develop a road map for action and adv

  • Publication Cover Thumbnail: Preparing Cross-Boundary Leaders: By Design. Leadership Matters

    Preparing Cross-Boundary Leaders

    This report summarizes research-based, practical strategies and tools for developing cross-boundary leaders from IEL's Education Policy Fellowship Program.

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    KSAs for Youth Service Professionals

    This brief identifies the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) and professional development that youth service professionals need to be successful.