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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 Thought Leadership 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

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...
April 25, 2018
Kelly Robson, Hailly T.N. Korman
At any given moment in time, our nation’s social service agencies are caring for approximately 5 million children and youth. These children show up...
November 15, 2017
School buses might not grab headlines, but they are a critical part of American K-12 education, providing millions of kids with a safe way to get to...

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...