- View a case studyAchieve, Inc.
Served as facilitators/policy advisors to more than 20 states in the American Diploma Project (ADP) Network, including six College and Career Ready Policy Institute states, and advised on all aspects of the ADP Network. We also produced case studies and reports about education reform in Indiana, Massachusetts and North Carolina; advised on a major assessment and accountability project for Achieve and the Education Trust and authored a report on transforming high school assessment systems. Most recently we developed a new strategic plan clarifying Achieve's role in Common Core State Standards and assessment implementation and national leadership of the college and career readiness agenda.
- View a case studyAdvance Illinois
Advised on all aspects of start-up of new statewide advocacy organization, including policy agenda for new organization; served on national policy steering committee; developed an evergreen report for the organization's launch; and wrote a comprehensive policy agenda that resulted in several new state laws.
- View a case studyAFT Innovation Fund
Developed a business plan detailing the new fund's management plan, theory of change, grantmaking areas of interest, and measurable outcomes it will accomplish.
- View a case studyASSET Initiative
Helped Nashville (Tennessee) school district leaders, stakeholders and educators develop an integrated, high-functioning human capital system focused on improving and aligning teacher preparation, recruitment, induction, professional development, evaluation, retention and rewards.
Analyzed and identified college- and career-readiness policies, teacher professional development opportunities, school turnaround strategies and state-level political realities in Ohio and Tennessee to enable rapid and strategic program expansion in those states.
- Baltimore City Public Schools
With support from the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, helped to facilitate the early stages of a workgroup charged with developing a request for proposals to find an appropriate partner to examine the district's per-pupil funding of charter and non-charter schools.
- Bartlesville Public School District
We supported the district in developing an actionable and practical strategic plan by outlining a theory of action, renewed goals, outcomes and interim indicators and a new set of strategies and activities.
- Battelle Multi-State STEM Network
Facilitate the development of and manage relationships for the Battelle Multi-State STEM Network, an emerging group of states working together to advance STEM teaching and learning and drive STEM talent development.
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Conducted policy and political due diligence research for 35 states; developed State of the States online tool to compare and enable searches through the findings; developed strategy to network together eight southern states around the Foundation's investment areas; piloted policymaker roundtables to consider strategic finance reallocation; and supported program oficers and advocacy consultants in 10 states with regular research, coordination and communication.
- Boston Plan for Excellence
Conducted a communications audit for this Boston-based non-profit and assisted with early-stage planning for the organization’s relaunch and messaging.
- California State Senate
Conducted research and policy analysis to support the California Senate President on key education issues, including teacher evaluation systems, statewide STEM initiatives, standards and assessments, and early warning systems.
- The Chalkboard Project
Reviewed the CLASS Project's efforts to support the design of new teacher compensation and support systems in Oregon districts, recommended course corrections based on emerging research, and developed a prospectus communicating the project's early successes to policymakers.
- Chattanooga Public Education Fund
Supported the creation of a five-year strategic plan to better support teachers and have a greater impact in public education in Chattanooga.
- Cleveland Foundation and George Gund Foundation
Developed a comprehensive report for Cleveland district leaders engaging in school turnaround efforts, including recommendations for how to frame, lead and engage a sustained communications and outreach effort to provide crucial support for these difficult reforms over time.
- The College-Ready Promise
Helped coalition of five high-performing charter school organizations in Los Angeles who are working to co-design new teacher and leader evaluation, support and compensation systems successfully apply for a federal Teacher Incentive Fund to underwrite their efforts.
- Colorado Department of Education
Researched lessons learned in state provision of technical assistance to school districts to define the principles of effective technical assistance; how exemplar jurisdictions structure, finance and deliver technical assistance; and what key stakeholders believe are the strengths and weaknesses of the technical assistance currently provided to districts and schools in Colorado.
- Colorado Legacy Foundation: Race to the Top
Supported the Colorado Department of Education in writing the state’s successful Race to the Top Round 3 application.
- Community College Consortia: C3T/U.S. Department of Labor Grants
Provided support and consultation for community college consortia from 10 states to apply for federal C3T funds to increase the number of trade-impacted and similar workers achieving certificates and degrees with value in the labor market.
- Complete College America
Provided recommendations and support for organizational start-up, facilitated marquee events and state policymaker academies and helped design elements of the Completion Innovation Challenge grant program.
- Credit Suisse Americas Foundation
- Data Quality Campaign
Developed a three-year strategic plan that clarifies the organization's roles, establishes short-term and long-term outcome goals, updates the organization's theory of action, and implements an effective governance and staffing structure. We also developed a set of communications tools to enable state leaders to talk the same language and to communicate more broadly about how the effective use of high quality data can be help to improve public understanding and student learning. Tools included a glossary, set of key messages, conversation guides and value proposition statements.
- Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation
Designed the strategy and initial grantmaking decisions underpinning the foundation's new College Ready Communities Initiative in New York City, which is working to build a bridge between community revitalization efforts and education reform in low-income neighborhoods.
Conducted a feasibility study for this Boston-based non-profit interested in partnering more deeply to help low-performing schools improve.
- The Efficacy Institute
Provided a range of writing services to support Massachusetts-based national organization dedicated to finding ways to get all children to proficiency.
- Excellent Schools Now: People's Plan for Education Reform
Developed a comprehensive 10-year plan to reform Washington state's schools, emphasizing innovation zones for low-performing schools, effective teachng and leadership, early learning, college completion and school finance and governance reforms. The plan was developed on behalf of more than 30 funders, education advocacy and children's organizations.
- Grantmakers for Education
Produced a summary report from the organization's 2011 Education Grantmakers Institute at Harvard University; the report synthesizes high-level takeaways about grantmaking strategies for supporting successful implemention of new public policies.
- Hawaii Department of Education
Presented to the Hawaii Department of Education on cutting edge examples of teacher leader evaluation, professional development and pay and tenure reform.
- View a case studyHawai`i Department of Education: Race to the Top
Designed process and supported all aspects of planning and development of the state's Phase 2 award-winning Race to the Top application, and led all aspects of the state's interview preparation. Supported "First 100 Days" launch of the grant with project management related to governance, SEA talent search, communications strategy and stakeholder engagement.
- Hawai`i P20 Partnerships for Education
Developed a strategic plan to identify the council's next phase of work, including facilitating meetings, collecting stakeholder input, conducting research and recommending new strategies and activities.
- Helios Education Foundation
Supporting the Foundation to research, identify and co-develop a new theory of change for its postsecondary strategy.
- Hope Street Group
Developed a new strategic direction for the organization's education program to expands its role in promoting teacher engagement in teacher evaluation design to enable them to become the national leader in bringing together policymakers and practitioners to develop and implement teacher effectiveness reforms. Interviewed key policymakers and stakeholders in Colorado and Louisiana, compared each state’s evaluation statutes/policies, and summarized findings in a memo. We also helped Hope Street Group draft a strategic plan for expansion, apply for external funding, and create content for its online teacher evaluation Playbook.
- Internationals Network for Public Schools
Mapped a growth plan for this network of 12 innovative high schools that serve recently arrived immigrants by helping organizational leaders identify strategies for strengthening existing schools and opening more schools, disseminating its model to other cities around the country, and advocating for policies to transform ELL services and supports.
- Kaiser Family Foundation: OK Race to the Top
Helped Oklahoma officials outline the state's Race to the Top application by staffing work groups of teachers, principals, state leaders and union representatives charged with developing the key components for each of the four assurance areas.
- Kansas City Education Funders Collaborative
Provided strategic planning and research support to a collaborative of four Kansas City foundations seeking to develop a joint grantmaking strategy to improve public education.
Education First staff researched and wrote an extensive executive brief: Mayoral Control of School Districts: Options and Limitations which outlines the pros and cons of mayoral control and lists examples of cities where this authority exists. We also offered recommendations for ways that mayors can increase their involvement and support for local school districts without legislated mayoral control.
- Lumina Foundation
Supported the foundation's college preparation team with research, analysis and strategy development to craft plans for engaging higher education systems in implementation of new Common Core standards and assessments, strengthening high school programs that accelerate students' academic success, and improving financial aid participation.
- Maryland Business Roundtable
Produced research and strategic recommendations related to content development, governance, funding and communications to support an integrated online portal ("STEMNet") to improve STEM teaching and learning in Maryland.
- View a case studyMaryland Department of Education: Race to the Top
Supported state leders in the development and writing of the state's Race to the Top application and interview preparation. After the award was granted we also provided agency-wide start-up implementation planning, facilitation and support.
- Nashville Collaborative Compact
We worked closely with the Compact, one of twelve nationwide aimed at building relations between charter and traditional schools and improving all schools in the process, to develop a performance framework. Drafted a report with recommendations and conducted interviews with stakeholders to provide feedback for the framework. After testing with schools’ data, we developed a communications and roll-out plan.
- National Governors Association Common Core Implementation Toolkit
Developed a toolkit to help governor's advisors assess the policy needs in their states to ensure the effective implementation of the Common Core State Standards.
- National State Teachers of the Year
Supported state teachers of the year to develop a strategic plan to engage in effective teaching policy debates, define and spread effective teaching practices and serve as ambassadors for the profession.
- North Carolina Education Cabinet
Supported the development of North Carolina's legislatively-required STEM plan through collaboration with stakeholders, making connections between education and economic development, and benchmarking policy and practice in other states.
- Ohio College Access Network
Provided strategic analysis, counsel and facilitation services to help strengthen the organization's network functionality, member relations and state-level advocacy efforts.
- View a case studyOhio Grantmakers Forum: Race to the Top
Supported leaders in the development and writing of the state's Race to the Top application by providing content expertise, facilitation and advising on interview preparation.
- Ohio Teacher Evaluation System
Reviewed and recommended changes to draft teacher evaluation system for Ohio State Board of Education, Department of Education and Educator Standards Board.
- Partnership for Learning
Advised executive director, provided extra capacity, developed legislative agendas, wrote policy briefs and website content, and facilitated the development of the organization's strategic plan.
- Raikes Foundation
We are assisting the Foundation in finding opportunities across the nation for grantmaking and developing partnerships on developing agency in early adolescents.
- Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors/Core to College
Core to College is an effort of five major funders and partners to assist 10 states in aligning their Common Core implementation efforts between the K-12 and higher education sectors. The 10 states form a Learning Network, which Education First supports by providing technical assistance, tool development, meeting organization, research, and strategic advice to assist the states in implementing their Core to College goals. The Learning Network is a three-year effort that will help states focus on transitioning to new Common Core-aligned assessments, creating a common definition of college readiness, and aligning other education policy efforts with Common Core implementation.
- Seattle Public Schools
Supported the development of district-wide college-ready academic standards, curriculum and graduation requirements in English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and world languages. Provided extensive professional development to teacher leaders from all high schools.
- SEED Foundation
Prepared a prospectus in support of replicating the SEED Foundation’s college preparatory boarding school model for under-served students in Cincinnati (Ohio), explored federal funding opportunities and conducted an analysis on the potential return on investment.
- Sinclair Community College
Worked with the higher education leadership in Ohio to explore where the state fits in the national higher education picture, and to discuss potential changes in policy that could impact the state's college completion agenda. Also supported the preparation and execution of the state's Completion by Design site visit.
- Stand for Children
Supported a panel of exemplary educators to design policy recommendations for Washington state in the areas of early learning, longitudinal data systems and effective teaching and leadership. As part of this work we produced a multi-year policy agenda for the organization.
- View a case studyState of Tennessee: Race to the Top
Supported all aspects of planning with a senior team led by the governor, wrote the state's Phase 1 award-winning Race to the Top application, and led interview preparation. Facilitated the statewide Teacher Evaluation Advisory Committee to design and implement performance evaluation policy, including Growth Measures Development Teams that convened groups of educators in 13 non-tsted subjects and grades. Helped to jump-start comprehensive First to the Top implementation with on-the-ground execution, strategy, project management and communications support.
- Tennessee Business Roundtable
Facilitated campus teams at the 2011 and 2012 Tennessee College Completion academies.
- Tennessee STEM Innovation Network
- View a case studyTennessee Teacher Evaluation Advisory Committee
Facilitated the development of the state’s new teacher and principal evaluation framework, which incorporates student growth and achievement measures and observations of teacher practice, as part of the state’s First to the Top reform initiatives; also supported the state’s identification of student learning growth measures for educators without value-added scores.
- Texas High School Project
Assisted with the development of a "road map" for a statewide STEM expansion strategy in Texas.
- Texas Teacher Commission
We are working closely with Educate Texas, a public-private initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas, to support the work of the Texas Teaching Commission (TX TC). The TX TC has been charged with making statutory and regulatory recommendations that would improve and align the human capital continuum for teachers in the state. It has also been asked to provide best or promising practices to districts for each of the buckets within the continuum. Education first has conducted a nationwide scan of human capital continuum policies, challenges and best practices and produced a document highlighting the most effective models in 3-4 states. We have also produced various highlight documents that show the current status of state policy within each of the continuum buckets and how it aligns with the other buckets. Finally, we are supporting and often facilitating monthly full-day Commission meetings and will prepare a report at the end of 2012 to inform the 2013 legislative session.
- Thomas B. Fordham Insitute: Policy Innovation in Education (PIE) Network
Piloted PIE Network in five states, bringing together legislators, governors' offices, educators and advocates to learn about promising practices. Developed the strategic plan that lauched the PIE Network as a national learning network for third-party education advocacy organizations.
- Transition Mathematics Project
Helped position this statewide collaboration of community colleges, baccalaureate colleges and K12 agencies for future funding and work to develop common placement standards and close remediation gaps in mathematics.
- W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation
Designed and facilitated the annual convening of the foundation’s education grantees, and prepared a report summarizing the best practices for using evaluation for program improvement and increasing impact.
- View a case studyWashington State Board of Education
Wrote a report on state approaches to high school assessment and best practices nationwide.
- Washington STEM
Supported all start-up aspects of statewide, business-led STEM initiative in Washington state, including meeting facilitation for funders and business leaders, research, design, development of communications materials and organizational launch. After the launch, planned and facilitated a Learning Tour for WA STEM network leadership in Dayton, Ohio and Kinston, NC.
- View a case studyWilliam and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Helped Education Program staff track progress, make course corrections and respond to unanticipated challenges as the foundation implemented a new grantmaking strategy to help schools provide "deeper learning" to more students. Also over a two-year period, tracked ten grantees who were awarded $3 million by the Foundation to study the impact and the reach of federal education “stimulus” funds authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. We conducted interviews with grantees to gather input for a dashboard to measure progress and identify indicators of success. Produced reports at key milestones to update the Foundation on grantee successes and challenges.