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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

May 15, 2019
Alex Spurrier
Many of California’s urban public schools, both traditional and charter, have seen dramatic changes in enrollment during the past two decades. These...
February 26, 2019
Bonnie O'Keefe, Melissa Steel King, Chad Aldeman
An Uneven Path: Student Achievement in Boston Public Schools 2007-2017 finds that Boston students outperform their peers in other cities on...
October 23, 2018
Lynne Graziano, Jason Weeby, Tanya Paperny, Sara Mead
How do you build a continuously improving system of schools? Eight Cities is a new website from Bellwether Education Partners that provides stories...
August 22, 2018
Max Marchitello
What effect does spending on educator benefits, such as pensions and healthcare, have on district and state K-12 education budgets? In a new report...
May 9, 2018
Kaitlin Pennington, Alexander Brand
As school districts across the country report various kinds of teacher shortages, how to retain teachers has emerged as a key area of interest for...

Blog Posts

January 22, 2020
Alex Spurrier
Leading a large school district is a complex endeavor. Your days are spent managing thousands of employees charged with educating tens or...
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...