• The Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership (SEZP) is an attempt to create a zone within the Massachusetts public school system using conditions which make charter schools successful. Springfield’s is one of a small number of similar efforts countrywide to create serious autonomy and accountability conditions in district schools.
• SEN supports key strategic priorities of the SEZP by conducting an annual set of School Quality Reviews (beginning Spring 2018). This SQR process yields written reports for each school to inform school-level improvement planning, as well as data sets which help the district plan supervision and support across schools.
• SEZP schools are moving in a positive direction. Compared to baseline SQR data from Spring 2018, nine of 10 participating schools made progress in all turnaround practices of SEZP’s Roadmap for Student Success framework.
• SQR recommendations have been formally rolled into the annual strategic planning process across the district and feed into each principal’s performance framework.
• SEN now provides the Massachusetts Department of Education with a comprehensive, statewide package of support and school monitoring visits which includes the generation of goals and benchmarks to guide school improvement work.
• Families’ demand for charter seats in NYC continues to exceed supply, with more than 48,000 children on wait lists. This need is concentrated in neighborhoods with a dearth of options. In partnership with the Walton Family Foundation, SEN both designed and launched the NYC Charter Leader Fellowship (est. 2016) to identify and mobilize NYC’s next cohort of visionary charter school leaders.
• SEN recruited entrepreneurial leaders and coached them through the three-year process of writing charters, planning for opening, and launching new schools. Through the fellowship, each aspiring leader was guided to generate a clear mission and vision for both instruction and school culture and to then build a detailed school design for bringing their vision to life. This program also focused on helping them develop the leadership skills needed to effectively build a new school and manage a staff to high standards of quality.
• Brooklyn Emerging Leaders Academy (BELA), a STEAM-focused high school for girls, opened in Brooklyn in 2017. From within BELA’s inaugural class, 93% of students earned the required number of credits to graduate with a NYS Regents Diploma.
• A second CLF school, Elm Community Charter School, opened in Queens in 2018. A NYCDOE survey shows that 95% of teachers responded positively to questions about effective school leadership and that 95% of families feel the principal works to create a sense of community in and around the school.
• Two additional fellowship schools opened in 2019: Hellenic Classical and University Prep. Another is slated to open in Fall 2020: Walkabout High School.
• Michigan Governor Rick Snyder created the Education Achievement Authority (EAA), in 2011, with the aim of revitalizing Michigan’s most persistently failing schools.
• One of the EAA’s main strategies was to identify and train the state’s greatest educational leaders in order to dramatically improve outcomes in related schools.
• During SYs 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, SEN launched a Leadership and Design Institute which prepared leaders and turnaround teams to launch Small Learning Communities (SLCs) in chronically failing schools.
• The establishment of a career ladder complemented these efforts by recognizing and training outstanding teachers across the district, using them to staff turnaround teams, and creating long-term stability by preparing developing leaders for the future.
• Identified leaders were trained to generate “reset” moments and replace entrenched cultures of low expectations with effective, sustainable structures and practices.
• SQR data reported by Class Measures for SYs 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 showed steady improvement for all school quality scores across all 11 EAA schools.
• Between 2015 and 2017, the percent of EAA students meeting their growth targets on the NWEA assessment increased substantially, rising from 43% to 55% in math and 44% to 51% in reading. Furthermore, average growth in the percent of students meeting their NWEA targets was even stronger for SLCs–rising from 42% to 62% for math and 42% to 58% in reading.
• As part of the Systems of Great Schools (SGS) initiative, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is supporting participating districts as they expand the number of high-quality seats through the design and launch of new schools. TEA sought out SEN to design and launch the New School Design Fellowship to ensure aspiring leaders get superior support for school design. The first NSDF cohort was launched in Fall 2019 and participating districts are expected to open new schools in August 2020.
• Districts recommended applicants to the NSDF program. Applicants moved through a rigorous selection process based on SEN’s leadership competencies.
• SEN is currently training a select group of NSDF fellows in Texas to design innovative schools. In addition to supporting the new school design process, SEN helps those future leaders develop and hone their leadership and change management skills for maximum benefit to and impact on their assigned school communities.
• Participating districts support each new school by ensuring key autonomies, providing facilities, and facilitating startup funding. In addition, they provide supervision and support aligned with the design and expectations for the new school model.
• Four of the five participants in the first NSDF cohort are each on track to complete a high-quality School Design Guide and to open a new school in Fall 2020.
• Based on the success of the pilot so far, TEA plans to open up the program to all districts in Texas and to require any districts opening new schools to send identified leaders through the NSDF. Recruitment and selection for the second NSDF cohort will begin in April 2020–with cohort size expected to approximately double.
• In line with its mission to create 25,000 quality seats by 2025, Detroit Children’s Fund created the DCF Team Fellows program to help leadership teams raise the bar for student achievement and rise among Michigan’s top-performing schools.
• DCF chose to partner with SEN to offer an intensive development opportunity for select school leadership teams.
• SEN selected three schools on the cusp of strong performance and worked with their existing leadership teams to move their students’ growth from “good” to “great.”
• SEN coaches conducted baseline SQRs and led the development of comprehensive Achievement Plans outlining ambitious goals connected to school leadership, culture, and improved instruction–along with actions steps and benchmarks.
• Mumford Academy (a school SEN helped launch in 2016) had an average SAT score of 822, which put it above all other non-selective Detroit high schools. Student behavioral reports entered for positive actions grew 17%, the school saw a 39% decrease in student referrals, and overall student attendance climbed to 91%.
• Based on NWEA assessments, between fall 2018 and spring 2019, the percent of Detroit Achievement Academy students performing at grade level or above increased substantially, rising from 24% to 49% in math and 37% to 43% in reading.