is an intergenerational team of researchers from Make the Road New York & the Public Science Project. Our team is made up of organizers, researchers, and students from Bushwick and other New York City neighborhoods who are working together to address the concerns of long-time residents of Bushwick, a gentrifying neighborhood with longstanding community of Puerto Ricans and Latino immigrants.
Growing out of our work with the Researchers for Fair Policing, BARC initially aimed to explore young people’s experiences of policing and harsh zero-tolerance discipline policies in their schools, like the overuse of suspensions and the presence of School Safety Agents, metal detectors, and surveillance cameras. Overtime, we decided, with the leadership of young people in our group, that it was not enough to document the negative aspects of existing schools: we needed to imagine the kind of schools we want, need, and deserve in our communities. We devoted the rest of our resources and time together developing research and collecting data in those areas.


About Make the Road New York

Make the Road New York (MRNY) builds the power of Latino and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services. MRNY’s youth programs reach the low-income youth most at risk and support them in becoming effective thinkers, leaders and decision-makers. Make the Road combines arts, education, community engagement, and community responsibility within their campaigns—a multi-pronged approach that is carried into our research partnership. MRNY grassroots campaigns give young people—many of whom feel powerless and alienated—a voice in policies that affect them. MRNY programs provide academic and emotional support, cultivate creativity and critical thinking skills, and helps students seize educational opportunities. MRNY youth members have done extensive research and outreach, educating their peers and adults on policing and civil rights, and organizing young people to stand up for their rights—in school and in their communities.

Sarah Landes, Director, Youth & School Partnerships
Jaritza Geigel, Organizer, Youth & School Partnerships
Youth activists and co-researchers from MRNY Youth Power Project

Participatory Action Research

Our intergenerational research team engaged in a participatory action research project to explore a range of questions about youth experiences with school discipline and surveillance, young people’s educational desires, and community concerns.

PAR provides a critical framework for making science—systematic inquiry and analysis—a public enterprise. Allied with feminist, critical race, and indigenous theory, PAR is an approach to research that values the significant knowledge people hold about their lives and experiences. PAR positions those most intimately impacted by research as leaders in shaping research questions, framing interpretations, and designing meaningful research products and actions.

About Public Science Project

The Public Science Project is dedicated to the advancement of participatory action research as a strategy for a more just world. With a deep commitment to democratizing the systematic production of knowledge, we collaborate with communities to design research that examines the impact of policy and structural injustice.

Caitlin Cahill, PhD, Pratt Institute (Co-Principal Investigator)
Brett Stoudt, PhD, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY (Co-Principal Investigator)
Amanda Matles, PhD student, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Talia Sandwick, PhD student, The Graduate Center, CUNY
María Elena Torre, PhD, Director, Public Science Project, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Context for our work

Mayor de Blasio community school initiative

In late 2014, Make the Road was chosen to help develop one of the first 45 community schools under a new initiative of Mayor de Blasio and the NYC Department of Education. This community school initiative relies on vibrant partnerships between schools and community organizations to develop a more holistic approach to education by providing comprehensive services and supports to students and building stronger relationships with students’ families and the community as a whole.
As the official community partner of the Bushwick Campus high schools, MRNY will assist in the transformation of the Campus into “community schools,” creating a supportive educational space that is integrated into student’s lives, families, and the community in meaningful and generative ways. The community-based participatory action research documented on this website will support this process of transformation, providing the foundation of an
evidence base that can directly inform the new community schools.


We are incredibly grateful for generous support from the Taconic Fellowship Program, Pratt Center for Community Development and the Institute for Human Geography.


Website design and development: Amanda Matles
Assistant web graphic design: Tania Lili Santamaría
Research Assistant: Elma Djokovic
Research Assistant: Sheri-Ann Sebro, Make the Road
Home Page Animation: Mary Valiant

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