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Resource Guides in Yahoo! News

ERS partners with Education Week to deliver strategic tools for assessing and improving use of district resources.

WATERTOWN, Mass., Sept. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/—Education Resource Strategies, Inc. (ERS), a non-profit leader in transforming public school districts for improved student success, in partnership with Education Week, today launched a new online resource—Practical Tools for District Transformation—at edweek.org.

Developed over decades of work with leading urban districts nationwide, the ERS tools are designed to help districts fundamentally transform themselves by aligning resource decisions with strategies for success. Specifically, the tools are designed to help districts:

    Clearly define their strategic priorities Assess how well their resources—people, time and money—align with those strategic priorities Make resource decisions that drive improved student performance and equity

“School districts today are squeezed between severe budget constraints and pressure to transform themselves to achieve higher performance. Accomplishing both imperatives demands a fundamentally different approach than the traditional line-item, efficiency-oriented budgeting process most districts have always used,” said Karen Miles, Executive Director of ERS. “This new collection of tools provides a practical framework for realigning resources of people, time and money with 21st century strategies for driving transformation and student achievement. We are excited to partner with Editorial Projects in Education to make these tools available online.”

“Whether it is in the pages of Education Week or online at edweek.org, we at Editorial Projects in Education are committed to providing education leaders with the news, information, and resources that will help them promote meaningful change in the nation’s schools,” said EPE vice president Christopher B. Swanson.  “We view the partnership with ERS as an important opportunity to connect district decision-makers with the kind of practical, actionable intelligence that will help them do their jobs better.”

Funded by grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Noyce Foundation, Practical Tools for District Transformation provides frameworks, principles and specific techniques for evaluating opportunities for transformation and communicating clearly and effectively with stakeholders. In the Practical Tools series, ERS draws on more than a decade of experience to provide insights on common mistakes and smart action steps for improving resource use. District leaders can engage these strategies by downloading one of the in-depth guides and go further by taking the interactive online self-assessment built around each guide. Resources launched today include:

Seven Strategies for District Transformation, a guide outlining seven key strategies for districts to improve student performance at scale.

Plus ResourceCheck, an online self-assessment tool that helps district leaders measure current resource use relative to best practices.

Turnaround Schools: District Strategies for Success and Sustainability, a step-by-step guide providing a practical framework to help ensure that efforts focused on improving the worst performing schools lead to sustainable improvement for all students.

Plus an online Turnaround Self-Assessment.

School Funding Systems: Equity, Transparency, Flexibility a step-by-step guide on how to achieve equity, transparency and flexibility in funding practices.

Plus: an online School System Funding Self-Assessment.

Additional tools focusing on School Design and Teaching will be released later in 2010.

“At ERS, our partnerships with urban districts have taught us so much about what districts need to do to improve student learning,” said Karen Baroody, ERS Managing Director and lead writer of the guides. “Our hope is that having these tools available online at edweek.org will make this knowledge available to more districts, including small districts, giving them a starting point for taking action to improve resource use.”

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