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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:


April 14, 2017
U.S. News & World Report -- The mistakes that sank Republicans on health care plague education reform, too.
December 5, 2016
Kaitlin Pennington, Sara Mead
In 2012, as states and districts were in the trenches changing teacher evaluation policy, Bellwether Education Partners released The Hangover, a...
September 21, 2016
Jason Weeby, Kelly Robson, George Mu
Innovation is critical to advancing any sector. It increases the productivity of organizations, tests the merit of new ideas, and phases out...
July 17, 2016
U.S. News & World Report -- Districts plan everything from providing meals and transportation to organizing sports, so instruction suffers.
July 28, 2015
Sara Mead, Chad Aldeman, Carolyn Chuong, and Julie Obbard
After years of cuts to the teaching workforce, California districts are beginning to hire again. This positive change is offset, however, by the fact...

Blog Posts

December 20, 2016
Kaitlin Pennington
Teacher evaluation was one of President Obama’s signature policies, and a controversial element of education reform during his tenure. With...
December 13, 2016
Bonnie O'Keefe
When DC Mayor Muriel Bowser recently announced she was nominating Oakland, CA Superintendent Antwan Wilson to succeed Kaya Henderson as DC...
July 7, 2016
Sara Mead
My colleague Andrew Rotherham has a great piece up at U.S. News & World Report arguing that our current educational system ask school...