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School Districts

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) sought to return responsibility for educational decision-making to the local level and give school districts greater flexibility in many areas, including how they respond to chronically low-performing schools, how they evaluate their teachers, and even how they spend federal dollars. Districts can use this flexibility to innovate and improve student learning, but there is also the risk they will maintain a status quo that underserves some student populations.

Bellwether has a deep understanding of the challenges that districts and their students face and extensive experience with supporting work at the district level. Our Policy and Evaluation team conducts research and analysis on many of the key challenges and opportunities facing school districts, including teacher evaluation, changing student demographics, personalized learning, education finance, pensions, and portfolio approaches that increase quality school options available to students and families. Bellwether’s Strategic Advising teams has significant experience in supporting mid-size to large high-need urban districts as they develop strategies in response to new demands and opportunities, structure their organizations to implement those strategies effectively, and deliver quality services and oversight to students and schools. We support comprehensive strategic planning efforts, financial analysis, initiative design and implementation, regulation development, and grant writing.

The content below reflects our work on this issue:

Publications

December 4, 2019
Kelly Robson, Phillip Burgoyne-Allen, Juliet Squire, Jeff Schulz
Fourteen percent of the nation’s population lives in rural communities, and one in five K-12 students attends a rural school — a substantial...
October 22, 2019
Bonnie O’Keefe, Brandon Lewis, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess, Jason Weeby
In the past decade, school performance frameworks (SPFs) have become an increasingly popular way for school districts to measure and communicate...
October 11, 2019
Bonnie O’Keefe, Brandon Lewis, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
SchoolPerformanceFrameworks.org is a new website from Bellwether Education Partners designed to help local education leaders design, use, and sustain...
August 27, 2019
Phillip Burgoyne-Allen, Bonnie O’Keefe, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
Today, more states and districts are attempting to address segregation and inequity among schools by expanding families’ ability to choose from a...
August 27, 2019
Alex Spurrier, Bonnie O’Keefe
In 1969, more than half of students walked or biked to school, a little more than a third rode on a school bus, and relatively few rode to school in...

Blog Posts

May 9, 2019
Bonnie O'Keefe
In February, Bellwether published “An Uneven Path: Student Achievement in Boston Public Schools 2007-2017.” Boston was in the midst of a...
March 14, 2019
Allison Crean Davis and Jason Weeby
This post is part of a series about Bellwether’s recent work on school governance and school board effectiveness. Those who govern our...
May 4, 2017
Phillip Burgoyne-Allen
UPDATE: As of May 2018, the social media story tool Storify, which we used at the end of this post, no longer exists. That section of this...