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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

August 5, 2020
Bill Durbin, Sherri Geng, Jeff Schulz
With school opening just weeks away in many parts of the country, leaders need a detailed level of support — and a plan — to start the school year in...
June 12, 2020
Hailly T.N. Korman, Michael Johnson, Max Marchitello
The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black people, often by law enforcement, have added momentum...
May 14, 2020
Tresha Francis Ward, Stephanie Spangler
In April, we released a four-phase strategic planning tool to support the COVID-19 education response, providing a framework for leaders responding...
May 11, 2020
Indira Dammu, Max Marchitello, Hailly T.N. Korman
This document will be updated regularly with new resources and materials. With schools closed due to COVID-19, online learning and instruction are...
April 7, 2020
Tresha Ward, Stephanie Spangler, Katie Rouse, Eleisha Nelson-Reed
The past few weeks have been uniquely challenging for education and nonprofit leaders across the country as they navigate the unfolding coronavirus...

Op-Eds

July 3, 2020
Data shows that children are at the lowest risk for catching or spreading COVID-19 so its time to get them back to school.
June 10, 2020
The killing of George Floyd is rightfully sparking a hard and overdue look at the American relationship with law enforcement, in particular, about...
June 2, 2020
As school districts begin to announce their plans for the fall without clarity on how many students are likely to enroll or whether teachers will...

Blog Posts

March 9, 2022
Indira Dammu
English learners (ELs) are an incredibly diverse group of students, representing about 400 languages spoken, and a wide range of ages and...
November 16, 2021
Bonnie O'Keefe
Bellwether Education Partners’ series Splitting the Bill: Understanding Education Finance Equity gives advocates a crash course in the...
November 2, 2021
Bonnie O'Keefe
Bellwether Education Partners’ series Splitting the Bill: Understanding Education Finance Equity gives advocates a crash course in the...