A new guide in Education Resource Strategies’ series Practical Tools for District Transformation looks at district operations and practices that perpetuate traditional school structures, creating barriers to innovative schools that can meet the unique needs of particular students. These misalignments are unintentional, but at a time of crippling budget cuts, resources should be put where they really matter. The guide offers examples of districts that are similar in demographics to their neighbors but consistently outperform them, and elaborates the strategic design of certain schools that facilitate academic excellence. The guide offers a Self-Assessment to help administrators determine if their district is achieving the goals of strategic school design and managing their “portfolio”—the number and sizes of schools, the costs of different schools and programs, the use of school facilities, and the locations of specialized programs. Through worksheets, the guide helps district leaders to apply a methodology to figure out the extent of misalignments in a district, and identifies corrective actions to take. It also helps leaders determine priorities for reallocating resources and leveraging federal dollars.
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