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Case Studies

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Case Studies

Bellwether Education Partners particularly values innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to solving education problems. The following case studies highlight examples of the work we have completed and the impact we have achieved.

  • 2022
    Policy & Evaluation

    by Thomas Gold & Melissa Steel King

    When learning pods first came into public consciousness across the United States in 2020, they were mostly associated with wealthy families who could afford to hire their own teachers during the pandemic. A recent project in Boston, supported by Bellwether’s evaluation team, demonstrates how pods have actually been used to address equity gaps in education for students of color.

  • Strategic Advising

    Deciding where to go to college can be overwhelming, particularly for students from low-income backgrounds and those who are the first in their family to attend college. Research shows that students from low-income families are more likely to attend less selective institutions than what their hard-earned GPA and ACT/SAT scores would otherwise allow, a phenomenon known as “undermatching.” The problem with this is that less selective institutions often have less financial aid to give, offer fewer academic and social supports for students, and see lower graduation rates. Put simply, “undermatched” students often face longer odds to completing a postsecondary degree or certificate.

    To support equitable postsecondary access for underserved students, we need to build systems and processes that enable them to make informed choices. Increasingly, high school counselors and frontline staff in college access programs are using the concepts of “match” and “fit” to combat undermatching in the college-going process. In “Incorporating Match and Fit Into Postsecondary Advising Practices: Lessons from Achieve Atlanta,” Nick Allen and Jeff Schulz examine a recent initiative led by Achieve Atlanta and supported by Bellwether Education Partners to implement match and fit into college advising practices across 17 high schools in Atlanta Public Schools. Bellwether provided strategic advice and design support for the initiative, and this case study offers an overview of the work along with a set of recommendations for other schools, districts, and nonprofits that are interested in incorporating match and fit best practices into their postsecondary access efforts.

  • Policy & Evaluation

    El Dorado County, a small, rural community in northern California, partnered with Bellwether Education Partners over a two-year period to better support children who are experiencing significant barriers to their education due to foster care placement, homelessness, involvement in the juvenile justice system, unmet mental/physical health needs, or other drivers of chronic instability.

  • 2020
    Strategic Advising

    Logo for Galileo Learning

    In 2019, Galileo Learning, which offers fun and educational Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) summer programming for students in California and Illinois, announced that they had reached a record-breaking scholarship goal, offering scholarships to upwards of 15% of their campers. In an online posting, CEO Glen Tripp thanked Bellwether Education Partners for our critical role in helping shape their model so more low-income students can attend these innovative summer camps, which have been shown to “improve kids’ persistence and collaboration skills” and help participants persevere “in the face of failure.”

    This all started in 2016, when Galileo engaged Bellwether as they devised a strategy to make their programs significantly more accessible to low-income students. Over the next several months, we worked together to develop a three-pronged strategic plan: 1) increase scholarships to attend Galileo camps, 2) build strategic partnerships to extend Galileo’s approach to new educational settings, and 3) leverage Galileo’s existing corps of teachers to infuse innovation thinking into their school-year classrooms. As of 2019, Galileo has increased the percentage of students receiving scholarships and is on track to provide scholarships to 22% of campers in 2020, equaling about 20,000 kids.

    Read more about our collaboration with Galileo in this conversation with Glen Tripp on our blog, Ahead of the Heard.

  • Strategic Advising

    Over six months, Bellwether collaborated with Kansas City Teacher Residency's senior leadership team, Board, and key advisers to address some of KCTR’s key priorities: reducing the ongoing fundraising need, strengthening partnerships with schools and universities, optimizing KCTR's expenditures, exploring new earned revenue opportunities, and scaling the number of residents to increase impact. Kansas City Teacher Residency logo

  • Strategic Advising

    It’s a question the education sector grapples with every day: how do we equip teachers to engage students in deep, meaningful learning on a broad scale?

    Unfortunately, the answer is — with some exceptions — we don’t really know.

    Even the best instructional materials are often not enough. Schools and districts spend a fortune investing in professional development for teachers.

    One organization is piloting a new approach to professional development for teachers, taking a bet that an intensive, job-embedded approach paired with a specific, rigorous, engaging curriculum — and training around implementing that curriculum — can meaningfully improve teaching and learning. If it succeeds, it will be at a scale that will really matter not just for one or two schools, but for teachers and students across the country.

  • Strategic Advising

    How do you encourage and prepare talented, committed people to engage in a teaching career? There are a number of promising teacher preparation organizations tackling this challenge, but few have solved the puzzle of building a quality program and a sustainable business model to support it. Urban Teachers is one exception.

  • 2014
    Strategic Advising

    Having successfully implemented its previous growth plan, Harmony partnered with Bellwether to develop a strategic plan for its next five years, focusing on balancing continued growth with deepening impact in cities with already-established schools.

  • 2013
    Policy & Evaluation

    In 2012, the Walton Family Foundation asked Bellwether to conduct an analysis of the pipeline of school leaders for new schools to inform its investment strategy in educational leadership.

  • 2011 to 2012
    Strategic Advising

    Given rapid changes to the data-driven instruction landscape (including the advent of Common Core), The Achievement Network partnered with Bellwether to develop a five-year strategic plan that responds to market and customer needs and builds on existing core competencies.