Thursday, February 13, 2014

CRPE Highlights The SKY Partnership

The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) held a Portfolio School District Network Meeting in Houston last month.   The meeting brought together district leaders from around the country and focused on the importance of public engagement in the school improvement process.

Spring Branch Independent School District (SBISD) was featured as a public school system focused on narrowing up the educational gaps among student groups.  SBISD has set forth an aggressive goal, known as Spring Branch T-2-4, to double the number of students completing a technical certificate or military training, or a two-year or four-year degree following high school graduation.

SBISD has taken steps towards reaching this goal through an innovative partnership with two of the nation’s highest performing public charter management organizations, KIPP Houston Public Schools, and YES Prep Public Schools.  This partnership, known as SKY (Spring Branch ISD, KIPP Houston and YES Prep) provides students and their families with an additional high-quality school choice option within the district.

Mr. Davenport and Ms. Munger teach
band to Landrum Middle and KIPP Courage students 
CRPE conference attendees from across the U.S. visited Landrum Middle School, one of the SKY sites, where both KIPP Courage and Landrum Middle students, teachers and staff co-locate.  In the SKY Partnership co-location model, SBISD schools share physical space, elective classes, best practices between both organizations and sports.  (Click here to gain more insight about this district-charter collaboration as written by Sarah Yatsko, Senior Research Analyst, CRPE.)

The three-day conference offered participants breakout sessions on topics ranging from the basics of portfolio strategy to a consultancy session that helped district administrators work on solutions for specific concerns within their schools, districts or communities.  Portfolio strategy is a model in which districts manage a portfolio of schools as part of their continuous improvement efforts.

SBISD Superintendent of Schools Duncan F. Klussmann, Ed. D., Community Relations Officer Linda Buchman and SKY Partnership Project Manager Mandelé Davis were key presenters who shared their expertise around strategies for public engagement, building support for new ideas and empowering key community stakeholders.

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