In October, Carnegie Corporation of New York awarded ERS a two-year, $1,500,000 grant to help us support district partners to fundamentally transform school systems for each and every child. We are more than grateful for the support of The Corporation, whose 2013 Opportunity by Design report was a clarion call for the field to redesign schools and systems to reach today’s higher educational standards.
Our work on this new grant continues to answer that call through what we call Strategic School Design: Schools and districts developing a strong vision aligned to students’ needs, and organizing school budgets, staffing plans, and schedules around that vision to improve student achievement.
This project will support district and state partners to fundamentally transform systems for each and every child. First, we will deepen our work in a small number of strategically selected districts to enable them to take on difficult transformational work in a timely fashion, creating proof points for the field. We will also work to create, improve, and expand tools and resources that meet and grow demand for supports to organize resources differently across the field. Finally, we will develop a collective learning agenda for ourselves and our partners about the phases of this work and supports needed to move through them.
We believe that this is a critical, urgent moment for this work. The passage of ESSA is pushing responsibility to states for ensuring equitable distribution of resources and effective support for the lowest-performing schools. At the same time, schools are being challenged to reach new, rigorous standards in a climate of continued budget pressure. We are optimistic about how our work can take root in this environment and impact students across the country.
Seeking District Candidates for the School Design Innovation Project
As described above, this grant provides us the opportunity to support deeper, multi-level district partnerships to derive maximum benefit from strategic school design. The School Design Innovation Project partnerships will include four main strands of work designed to enable scale and sustainability of strategic school design work. ERS will work with partner districts to:
Redesign the school planning process to support strategic data-driven decision-making at the school level.
Develop districtwide professional learning strategy and resources to support school leadership teams in strategic design decision-making.
Redesign key district-level structures and policies to improve enabling conditions for fast scaling of strategic school design.
Create in-district proof points that solve for the most significant districtwide opportunities to improve school designs.
If your district is interested in exploring a School Design Innovation Project collaboration, please contact Kristen Ferris.
Explore our many tools and stories and discover all that school leaders can do to improve teaching and learning through Strategic School Design.
Carnegie Corporation of New York has supported ERS School Design, Communications, and Tool Development for several years.