State Partners


Ensuring every school has the right structures in place to support every student requires us to radically transform our nation’s traditional schooling model. State leaders—including state education agencies (SEAs), governors, legislators, advocates, and nonprofits—play a critical role in creating the conditions that enable such transformative shifts in schools and districts. 

With a deep history and expertise partnering with district leaders, we’re well-positioned to support state leaders in promoting innovative and strategic school- and district-level practices. Specifically, we support state leaders by helping them use three levers to drive change: 

  • Guidance and accountability 
  • Incentives and technical assistance 
  • Statewide data tools

What We Do

We work hand-in-hand with state leaders to identify the specific needs of districts and schools in their state and implement innovative solutions that improve student and teacher experiences.

See our work in:

In partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), we’re leading a cohort of 40 team members across seven high schools through a strategic redesign process. Our goal is to expand equal access to college and career pathways and better support multilingual learners (MLL).  

Together, we’ve helped team members name key strategic decisions and tradeoffs and consider change management approaches. Our suite of scheduling tools and enabling conditions analyses will enable school and district leaders to determine how to use state-level redesign policies to their benefit. So far, we’ve been able to: 

  • Create seven school-level data dashboards and lead a root-cause analysis to inform schools’ scheduling priorities. 
  • Offer a variety of differentiated supports and one-on-one coaching for school leaders.  
  • Receive positive feedback in our post-session surveys: 100% of cohort participants believe this work will lead to positive student outcomes, and 100% left the sessions with more ideas for evolving their scheduling and staffing to meet student needs.

We partnered with Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) to create a professional learning community to support TN district leaders in implementing the state’s new student-based budgeting model. We provided guidance and resources to these leaders to help them reflect on their overall goals, align their budget priorities, and learn from one another. To accomplish this work, we: 

  • Facilitated six full-group sessions on targeted topics, including applying a “Do Now, Build Toward” mindset and creating System Strategy ROI structures to evaluate investments. 
  • Facilitated four office hours focused on answering technical questions about TISA.  
  • Connected districts who are engaged in similar investments to enable collaboration and shared learning. 
  • Received positive qualitative feedback in post-session surveys, with participants scoring an average nine out of 10 on “Today’s session has developed/changed my understanding and/or my future actions” and “The opportunities to engage with other district leaders in today’s session provided valuable learnings, insights, and reflections.” 

In 2022, we partnered with the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) to support districts in using time effectively and strategically in elementary grades. We helped leaders assess current school design practices to identify areas in need of more tangible staffing and scheduling support. Specifically, we: 

  • Helped adjust statewide support and tools for elementary school leaders. 
  • Created a new, redesigned Elementary Scheduling Guide, which was published alongside NDE’s suite of NeMTSS materials.   
  • Provided NDE with a rollout plan that helped ensure widespread distribution of the guide and opportunities for embedding it into upcoming professional learning sessions for leaders in more than 2,000 districts. 

We created a cohort of Maryland district leaders to focus on staff support and retention in the context of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which mandates higher pay, schedule changes, and career ladder adjustments for teachers. The cohort helped districts across the state understand the opportunities the Blueprint offers and the steps they can take to implement high-impact strategies to improve the teaching job — such as innovative compensation models, differentiated teacher roles, teacher residency models, professional learning structures, and schedules that enable teaming. 

These cohorts helped districts leaders: 

  1. Build a deeper understanding of the unique strengths and challenges of staff support and retention in their districts. 
  2. Explore specific areas of the teaching job vision to identify concrete “Do Now, Build Toward” steps that address their unique context. 
  3. Craft action plans that leverage this unique moment to make concrete and bold changes to the teaching job. 

We support SEAs in developing resource allocation review (RAR) processes for district partnerships. By training SEA staff to lead these conversations, we help enable leaders to undergo fruitful RARs that generate targeted resource use recommendations. 

See our work in: 

Using our ARE framework to guide the review design and training process, we supported the South Carolina Department of Education’s Office of School Transformation (OST) in conducting these reviews by:   

  • Leading a three-part training series on resource equity to help build the team’s understanding and capacity to lead RAR discussions with district leaders. 
  • Using existing state data to develop school funding analyses for districts and providing them with workbooks that auto-populated metrics for other resource dimensions. 
  • Developing a custom RAR discussion protocol that their team could use to guide district discussions about resource allocation trends, barriers, and opportunities. 

To help leaders in North Carolina better assess specific dimensions of equity in different types of public-school units across the state, we conducted a resource equity training series tailored to their needs. We developed custom protocols, training materials, and resources to support SEA staff in collecting public-school data from their RAR pilot, and we analyzed the data on their behalf to lessen their administrative burden. 

We regularly collaborate with the U.S. Department of Education’s National Comprehensive Center (NCC), a federally funded initiative that provides technical assistance and capacity building supports to state and regional education agencies, insular areas (Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, etc.), tribal education agencies, and local education agencies to improve student experiences and outcomes. Since 2023, we’ve engaged in a targeted initiative with NCC to assist states in navigating fiscal sustainability planning beyond ESSER. This collaboration has included: 

  • Delivering webinars identifying the most effective ESSER-funded policies and programs, strategizing for fiscal sustainability post-ESSER, and leveraging school funds effectively under the Every Student Succeeds Act. 
  • Facilitating cross-SEA discussions and providing platforms for in-depth exploration of specific topics. 
  • Leading a cohort of seven LEAs in partnership with the Alabama State Department of Education to plan for post-ESSER fiscal sustainability. 

SEAs across all 50 states and insular areas can access the insights and resources generated through this collaboration. 

Reach out to learn how we can help you support the districts in your state.

Additional Resources

The State Leader’s Role in Reimagining the Teaching Job
State education leaders have a critical role to play in supporting district leaders and ensuring the teaching job is dynamic, rewarding, collaborative, sustainable, and diverse. 

What States Can Do to Support Districts Through the COVID Recovery Window to Accelerate Student Learning:

Due to the policy, funding, and regulatory levers they have at hand, states are uniquely positioned to provide districts with the resources and tools they need. To learn more, download our new brief, which outlines potential actions states can take to support districts as they approach the fiscal cliff in 2024. 

Opportunity to Promote Resource Equity through Resource Allocation Reviews:
Under the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), state education agencies must conduct Resource Allocation Reviews (RAR) to support targeted, high needs districts and the schools they serve. Learn how ERS has supported SEAs in conducting RAR in a strategic and comprehensive way.

GET IN TOUCH!

We welcome the opportunity to partner with your district to better align resources and generate a significant impact for your students, your schools, and your communities.

 contact@ERStrategies.com

 617.607.8000