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Publications & Media

Learn more about Bellwether’s work by reading our publications, news articles, press releases, and case studies.

  • Publication
    Kelly Robson
    Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
    Phillip Burgoyne-Allen

    "Staking Out the Middle Ground: Policy Design for Autonomous Schools" provides state and local leaders with key insights into the various contours of autonomous school policies. Two research briefs drawing from the full report provide specific summaries of Recommendations for State Leaders and Recommendations for Local Leaders. The report also surfaces lessons and recommendations from in-depth Profiles of Autonomous School Policies in Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, and Massachusetts.

    Cover image for Bellwether publication Staking Out the Middle Ground: Policy Design for Autonomous Schools February 2020

  • Publication
    Bonnie O’Keefe
    Brandon Lewis
    Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
    Jason Weeby

    School Performance Frameworks: Lessons, Cases, and Purposeful Design is a deep dive into how local education leaders can create, implement, and sustain effective SPFs. The report details established, locally focused SPFs in New York City, Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C., and draws on research and interviews with SPF experts across the country.

    Title image for Bellwether publication

  • Publication
    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 an effective school performance framework (SPF).

    Title image for Bellwether website

  • Publication
    Phillip Burgoyne-Allen
    Bonnie O’Keefe
    Jennifer O’Neal Schiess

    In “Intersection Ahead: School Transportation, School Integration, and School Choice,” we identify three school choice models that focus on creating integrated schools, provide case studies for each, and examine their implications for school transportation and offer key recommendations for policymakers and other education leaders include:

    Cover of "Intersection Ahead: School Transportation, School Integration, and School Choice" by Bellwether Education Partners, August 2019

  • Media

    EdNC -- The North Carolina General Assembly should revisit pre-K funding as it rewrites the recently vetoed state budget bill. The state could and should more fully leverage this valuable asset to drive improved outcomes for North Carolina’s children.

  • Publication
    Phillip Burgoyne-Allen
    Katrina Boone
    Juliet Squire
    Jennifer O’Neal Schiess

    In this slide deck, "The Challenges and Opportunities in School Transportation Today," we examine the scope and importance of the school transportation sector, analyze the challenges that districts and contractors face when providing transportation services, highlight the critical decisions system leaders must make in allocating limited resources, and identify opportunities for improving service and reducing costs.

    Title image for Bellwether publication

  • Publication
    Kelly Robson
    Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
    Justin Trinidad

    Addressing the needs of students in this region requires deeper understanding and nuanced solutions that respond to the diversity of populations, geographies, urbanicity, and resources at work. "Education in the American South: Historical Context, Current State, and Future Possibilities", a comprehensive slide deck, aims to kick-start this discussion.

    Title image for Bellwether publication

  • Publication
    Max Marchitello
    Jennifer O’Neal Schiess

    "California's Special Education Funding System Creates Challenges and Opportunities for District and Charter Schools" looks at several features of California’s special education funding system which make it difficult for districts to serve students with disabilities and limit the ability of some charter schools to make decisions about the programs and services they offer for students with disabilities. Title image for Bellwether publication

  • Publication
    Chad Aldeman
    Anne Hyslop
    Max Marchitello
    Jennifer O'Neal Schiess
    Kaitlin Pennington

    The 2015 passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) ushered in a new era for state accountability systems. ESSA provided states an opportunity to help all students succeed by rethinking both how they identify schools that need to improve, and how those schools might be improved. The law requires states to submit a formal plan to the Department of Education for peer review and then begin implementing that plan in the 2017-18 school year. Read our findings after reviewing the accountability plans for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

  • Publication
    Jennifer O'Neal Schiess
    Phillip Burgoyne-Allen

    Every day, nearly 25 million students ride a big yellow bus to school. These iconic vehicles are so entrenched in American school culture that their likeness is the predominant symbol for education.

    There’s good reason for this. Since the yellow school bus came on the scene decades ago, almost nothing has changed about the vehicles or how school systems use them to transport students.

    But do school transportation systems still meet the needs of current students, families, and schools? In "Miles to Go: Bringing School Transportation into the 21st Century,” we analyze school transportation on a national scale through multiple lens.

  • Publication
    Jennifer Schiess
    Carolyn Chuong

    Around the country, a growing number of schools and districts are leveraging personalized learning — an instructional model centered around student needs and customization to meet individual skill levels, learning styles, and interests. Although the approach is gaining traction, efforts to develop high-quality personalized learning models have largely been concentrated in urban schools. For most of the nearly one in five students attending rural schools in America, the schooling experience has yet to embrace these promising innovations in teaching and learning.

    This is a missed opportunity for rural areas, where schools face significant challenges — both similar to those in urban contexts and unique to rural communities. Many rural students face bleak postsecondary outcomes, and rural schools frequently confront geographic isolation, human capital shortages, and a rapidly changing economy. Personalized learning could help overcome some of these challenges by increasing student access to highly effective teachers and specialized coursework and by deepening the connections between K-12 schooling and postsecondary opportunities.

    This paper, "The Promise of Personalized Learning in Rural America,” explores the application of personalized learning in rural schools, discusses and proposes solutions to the practical and policy barriers to implementation, and shares lessons learned from early adopters, including three case studies from rural communities in different parts of the country. The paper also addresses policy challenges, particularly around testing and accountability structures that may be incompatible with personalized learning, and funding constraints that challenge the transition to a new model.

  • Publication
    Andrew J. Rotherham
    Jennifer O'Neal Schiess

    Education is not getting much attention on the presidential campaign trail, but that doesn’t mean the next administration won’t face a variety of opportunities and challenges in the education sector.

    16 for 2016: 16 Education Policy Ideas for the Next President offers a set of innovative, provocative, and forward-looking policy ideas addressing different aspects of the education world from thinkers and doers with a range of backgrounds and experiences.

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