The Partnership Zone Initiative
Building the District Capacity for a Lead Partner Unit
Building the local capacity for a Lead Partner unit is the cornerstone of establishing an in-district Partnership Zone. The School Turnaround Group (STG) works with a small number of reform-minded districts to establish the conditions and capacity necessary to sustain academic results in turnaround environments.
What Are Lead Partners?
Lead Partners are in-district organizational units - either independent non-profit organizations or subunits of the district central office - that oversee the turnaround process in a cluster of low-performing schools. Some strong Lead Partners already exist, like the Academy for Urban School Leadership in Chicago and the Friendship School in Maryland. Lead Partners share four critical characteristics:
They provide core academic and student support services in turnaround schools
They sign a 3-5 year performance contracts to improve student achievement
They assume authority for critical components of school change, including “people, time, money, and program”
They maintain a consistent and productive presence in turnaround schools (at least 5 days a week)
Recruiting and Growing Local Capacity
Given both the short timelines of the federal School Improvement Grant program and the urgency for change in low-performing schools, STG provides strategic consulting services for districts that want to leverage the capacity of Lead Partners. When working with districts we always take the following steps:
- 1. Build the capacity of the District Turnaround Office;
- 2. Create district-wide Partnership Zone conditions, including those related to human capital and collective bargaining; and
- 3. Analyze the local partner marketplace to identify gaps between district need and current capacity.
Organizations interested in collaborating in this work should contact Chris Maher at 617-778-1500 or firstname.lastname@example.org