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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the last three years, Bellwether supported IDEA Public Schools in developing a five-year strategic plan to broaden and deepen impact by opening more schools, partnering to develop successful Race to the Top District and i3 applications, yielding over $35 MM, supporting Race to the Top and i3 implementation and project management, and developing a detailed financial model to support IDEA’s growth.
In 2009, the Foundation Trustees decided to establish a new Strategic Initiative to drive greater impact in an area of particular priority for the foundation and selected education as the focus for that initiative. Bellwether worked with Stranahan Foundation staff and trustees to help them identify and articulate the Foundation’s priorities for strategic investment in education, attract a high-quality pool of potential grantees, select the most promising grantees from that pool, and monitor the impact of their grantees' work and overall foundation investment strategy.
In 2011, Bellwether Education Partners analyzed 5 states’ laws against a set of criteria that we believe reflect a high-quality law. In 2012, we expanded this analysis to include 22 states that passed legislation or established significant new regulations from 2010-2012.
In 2011, Bellwether Education Partners published “Location, Location, Location,” a paper that analyzed the finances of a large, high-performing charter school management organization, and compared how that network’s model would perform financially under cost and funding conditions in different states.