Portfolio Districts: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Interesting, succinct summary of the Portfolio School Districts Project’s latest meeting, organized by Paul Hill’s, now Robin Lake’s, Center for Reinventing Public Education. Big takeaways: the importance of having a “portfolio mindset,” of innovating from the school level up, and of working together, traditional districts and public charters, as part of the same urban portfolio. We think of them as accountable clusters, organized around high schools and feeders.

Turnaround, done well, offers just those kinds of opportunities — The flexible working conditions needed to attract great school leaders and help them thrive, and a mini-district clustering approach that fosters accountable collaboration and scalable efficiencies among several schools in the same community.

A central challenge facing all reformers: attracting and developing enough leadership and instructional talent. Our Lead Partner strategy is one innovative approach, offering a pathway for the best principals to manage multiple schools, but from the ground up, not buried within a huge central office bureaucracy. We’ll be writing a lot more about this issue in coming weeks.