The Strength through Schools research network is part of an identically named joint initiative by the federal government and states to support schools in socially disadvantaged locations. The initiative aims to offer the best possible educational opportunities for students from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. To achieve this, schools and researchers work together cooperatively. The initiative is set to run for 10 years and is jointly funded by the federal government and the states. In the first phase (2021 to 2025, development phase), appropriate measures and development approaches for the 200 participating schools are developed and directly tested. In the subsequent second phase (2026 to 2030, transfer phase), the concepts and strategies will be introduced to other schools in Germany so that as many students as possible can benefit from the initiative. The scientific monitoring and support of the schools in the development phase is carried out by the Strength through Schools research network under the overall coordination of DIPF | Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education. The research-based and practice-oriented support seeks to develop teaching (with a focus on German and mathematics teaching), to professionalize teachers and other educational staff (in the subject-related and interdisciplinary areas), to further develop school development capacities, school culture, and leadership in a targeted way, and to expand and strengthen networking in the socio-spatial environment of the schools.
The Educational Psychology departmental unit at the University of Potsdam is responsible for the “Alignment and Transfer” metacluster together with the University of Heidelberg and the University of Mannheim. The aim of the sub-project is to develop joint communication and implementation strategies for the implementation of the measures at the individual schools and in the respective school systems—at regional and state level. This entails close cooperation with the research network’s four content clusters. The metacluster also ensures that approaches to school and teaching development are not detached from each other but are developed and implemented in an aligned manner. The implementation process is considered both from the perspective of the individual schools and from the perspective of key actors such as school supervisory bodies or school management. This ensures that the measures and interventions are aligned in meaningful ways and are perceived as coherent by the involved actors.