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PERTS by Tides Center

PERTS empowers educators to enact evidence-based practices in order to advance social equity. Over a million students have been reached with evidence-based resources as a result of our engagement with schools, teachers, and other educational organizations.


The Client: PERTS


2022 Elevate Showcase: Centering Student Experience to Advance Equity presentations

Work Done

UX/UI Designer and hired to investigate increasing traffic and implemented new education concepts and web development


4 months

March 2023 - on going


PERTS, or the project for education research that scales was born in San Francisco to improve underrepresented diverse community education program

Desktop application


The Problem

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Analytics PERTS Acquisition Overview by Google Analytics


  1. Schools didn’t know how to implement mindset interventions

  2. Schools didn’t know whether mindset interventions would work for their students.


Current website doesn't clearly show how to navigate three main concept : elevate, ascend, catalyze.

User retention rates are severly lower than the competitors in the market


Learning friendly education program and improe website navigation.

Collaborations with educators, parents, and researchers who share our passion for increasing student equity and our goal of improving millions of student lives around the country.


The Founder

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Dave Paunesku is co-founder and executive director of PERTS.

PERTS translates research findings into concrete practices that educators can immediately apply on a large scale.

Dave went to Stanford University to learn from two of the world’s foremost experts on the topic: Professors Carol Dweck and Greg Walton. Two years into his doctoral studies, he founded PERTS with friends and colleagues Carissa Romero, Chris Macrander, and Ben Haley.



Mission for PERTS

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Leading Organizations use PERTS

What we provide?

Despite notable pockets of excellence and equity, our education system chronically fails to scale up effective strategies to reach the students who need them most. That needs to change.

PERTS (Project for Education Research That Scales) helps educators apply evidence-based strategies in order to advance educational excellence and equity on a large scale. We believe that properly scaling educational research can empower schools to reduce inequality and create better experiences and outcomes for students and teachers alike.

How might we improve engaging learning access for teachers, parents, and organizations?

To accomplish this, PERTS plays three main functions in the field of mindsets and in education more broadly.

  • Translate research insights into concrete practices educators can practically implement.

  • Enable improvement of education programs and practices at scale by developing formative feedback systems that enable educators to identify what’s working and what opportunities exist to better support equitable student success.

  • Drive adoption of research-based practices by building partnerships with schools, colleges, and other organizations that can influence students’ learning experiences on a large scale.

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PERTS has over $11 million in funding from various foundations and agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences, the Raikes Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Overdeck Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation.


Overview of 3 Education Learning System

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Ascend is a free, data-driven professional learning program that enables college instructors and administrators to learn how their students are experiencing courses and what they can do to make those experiences more equitable, more engaging, and more supportive of student success.

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Elevate builds on decades of research which shows that positive learning conditions. Students are more engaged and successful in class when key conditions are present. Elevate helps educators optimize those conditions through:

The Elevate community is working together to apply this research across the nation.

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Create organizational conditions that optimize professional learning and practice changes.

>>Learn more about Practice Guide

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The Statement

" I wanted to get authentic feedback from my students to help better my craft, and to better help them in the learning process. "


(Staci Durnin ,6th grade teacher)


Overview of 3 Major Improvement



Consistent Typography

Insights into concrete practices educators can practically learning and typography impacts on learning ability.



Iconography Improvement

78% of students from elevate are from middle to high school.

We needs to target the main traffic and be familiar with illustrations that can be familiar with students.



Readability and Legibility Improvement

Research-based practices by building partnerships with schools, colleges, and other organizations that can influence students’ learning experiences on a large scale.


Information Architecture Issues

Why Information architecture matters?

A strong information architecture will enable users to quickly and intuitively find familiarize themselves with the digital environment and to find what they are looking for and complete on boarding donation process. Optimizing a sitemap for a website or mobile app also helps visitors to find information quickly.

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Website color contrast was not aligned with WCAG guidelines and the overall design has lots of room for improvement and readability.

Information Architecture was revamped based on the education platform for diversity communities and more

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The home page shows broken links for three main concepts for students, teachers, and organizations. Also about us page, contact, research, and donation page were improved and updated based on recent WCAG guidelines and web trends.

I added up illustrations and updated stock photos from user based real-photos and research.

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The footer was hard to recognize because of the color contrast and duplicated contents in the sitemap.

Sitemap was completely updated based on the stakeholder guideline and complied with WCAG guidelines. I've also updated social media icons and the overall style guide, illustrations, and spacing for the rest of the staff members.

Also, the website instruction Google documents has been revised for non-technical staff members and copywriters.


There is no call to action button yet because this is working in progress and not fully clickable prototype and expect to change.

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Click any devices on the top. It will connect you full Figma file to review



Using Google Analytics and Semrush Marketing reports,

I found out about the huge social impact of keyword variations within several months. It is a very early stage, however, I can see drastic changes in user engagement, user completion of elevate rates, and decreasing user drop-off on the onboarding process. This currently kept ongoing and I can't wait on how I can make the world a better place. I expect to see an increase in user retention in target age of 15-19 and engagement rates would be 10-15% increased by month.

Change in Learning conditions can contribute to social, and economic impact on the underrepresented community and room for growth.

This social economic impact is already proven by stanford university research team records and numerous sponsors including the gates foundation and Joyce Foundation.


  • The New York Times — Conquering the Freshman Fear of Failure

  • The Wall Street Journal — New Ways to Fight ‘Imposter Fears’

  • Stanford News — Online ‘Mindset’ Interventions Help Students Do Better in school, Stanford Research Shows

  • Center for American Progress — Learning Mindsets and Skills: An Opportunity for Growth with the Every Student Succeeds Act

  • Mind/Shift — How a Bigger Purpose Can Motivate Students to Learn

  • EdSurge — Growing a Mindset with the Right Words

  • Education Week — Could Parents Be Allies in Schools’ Efforts to Build Growth Mindsets in Students?

  • Education Week — New Resources Developed to Help Mentors Encourage Growth Mindsets

  • Mind/Shift — New Research: Students Benefit from Learning That Intelligence is Not Fixed

  • USA Today — Short Videos to Teach ‘Growth Mindset’ to Students, Teachers

  • The Atlantic — How to Motivate Students to Work Harder



PERTS Research team produces groundbreaking research that sheds light on the insights and practices educators can leverage to promote equitable student success. We continue to validate and test these findings in all of the work that we do. This is currently on going project and constantly updated from the stakeholders and researchers from organization.


Get In Touch

For more work inquiries, or grab a coffee, email me at

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