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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

July 23, 2019
Phillip Burgoyne-Allen, Katrina Boone, Juliet Squire , Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
Every day, America’s fleet of roughly 480,000 school buses transports about a third of students to and from school. This fleet is more than twice the...
May 22, 2019
Kelly Robson, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess, Justin Trinidad
Any movement serious about improving outcomes for underserved young people must include the South. It is the fastest-growing region in the country...
May 15, 2019
Max Marchitello, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
Tight budgets are a reality for many school districts across California, leading some to believe that a growing charter sector is squeezing the...
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...

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...