Accelerate Academic Success

Coherent instructional systems produce better student outcomes

The global pandemic continues to cast a long shadow on schools. To accelerate student academic success for students farthest from the standards, school systems will need to reimagine their (often disconnected) student and educator supports into coherent instructional and talent systems. Education First partners with local school systems and state education agencies to advance teaching and learning coherence across these agencies, with schools and with your external partners. We apply our own experience as educators and system leaders and we center the perspectives of current students and educators to help build more coherent instructional systems. Such systems are rooted in bold academic strategies integrated with social and emotional learning, intentional decluttering of local assessments, and aligned professional learning and talent policies that get the most effective teachers to the students who need them most. We also support policymakers, advocates and funders to re-envision systems of local, state and federal assessment and accountability to balance the use of data for equity and transparency with data that drives instructional improvement. Education First:

  • Guides school systems and states toward instructional coherence across core instruction, intervention and out-of-school learning to bring all students to grade-level standards
  • Reimagines academic strategies, including the selection and use of high-quality instructional materials, evidence-based and culturally inclusive teaching practices, especially in literacy, mathematics and science
  • Integrates and aligns social and emotional learning development with academic strategies to improve student attendance and engagement, improve learning conditions and increase academic success for students and educators
  • Designs effective educator-support systems and structures, including curriculum-based professional learning, innovative talent development pipelines and strategic school staffing policies and funding
  • Spurs next-generation systems of formative, interim and summative academic assessments and school conditions measures while helping leaders to declutter and focus on fewer and better measures
  • Improves accountability system designs to measure what matters and drive local school improvement

Academic Success Experts

Education First is a seasoned team of trusted advisors to the leaders responsible for delivering what many Americans want most: public education that effectively prepares all students for success in college, careers and a world of constant change.

Jenn Vranek professional headshot
Jenn Vranek
Founding Partner
Ila Deshmukh Towery
Ila Deshmukh Towery
Sheila Briggs
Sheila Briggs
Principal Consultant
Khaled Ismail
Khaled Ismail
Principal Consultant
Learn about our people

Recent clients

Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)

Education First has been a key leader of one of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) academics and equity initiatives. CCSSO runs the IM-PD Network that supports more than a dozen states to increase the number of districts selecting high-quality, standards aligned instructional materials and increase the number of pre-service and in-service teachers receiving curriculum-based high-quality professional learning. Education First provides thought partnership and coaching to state leaders in Arkansas, Delaware and Maryland, resulting in significant strides in spurring the adoption and use of great materials, especially in classrooms serving students of color and students experiencing poverty.

San Bernadino County Superintendent of Schools

We are partnering with San Bernardino County Schools to support a three-year, integrated systems initiative to improve student behavioral health and well-being through the coordinated implementation of California’s Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP) and the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI).

Silicon Schools Fund

We serve as the measurement and evaluation partner to Silicon Schools Fund for the Elevate initiative, which connects technical assistance TA providers with participating charter networks and districts to provide instructional coaching to educators to implement HQIM. We designed a research process to assess the early impact of Elevate and we conduct virtual observations of classrooms, review lesson plans and analyze student work samples. Using data from these evidence sources, the team provides the Fund with reports showing areas where instruction is improving in Elevate schools and areas where educators need additional support from their instructional coaches and the TA providers.

Texas Education Agency (TEA)

As a TEA-approved provider in the Resilient Schools Support Program, we provide 1:1 coaching to multiple Texas school systems to build their capacity for academic recovery from COVID, implement HQIM and improve the quality of professional learning systems and structures. Education First has been advising Longview ISD’s central office administrators, principals, and academic deans to increase the implementation of their ELA curriculum. As a result, during SY22–23, teacher use of the ELA HQIM went from almost zero use in observed classrooms to over 50 percent of observed classrooms teaching a high-quality lesson using the adopted materials.

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