ERS's new School System 20/20 case study of Denver Public Schools

Over the last decade, Denver Public Schools (DPS) became one of the fastest-improving large districts in the country. DPS raised student achievement across all student subgroups by putting in place system-level conditions that enabled growth for all. This meant integrating charter schools and innovation schools into the systemwide improvement strategy. In a world rocked by the school choice debate, the DPS transformation story is illustrative for districts across the country.

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Lessons from Lawrence, Aldine, and Denver 
In 2015, ERS studied rapid district turnaround in Massachusetts' Lawrence Public Schools ; in 2016 we focused on long-term reform in Aldine Independent School District outside of Houston, TX. With the addition of our new case study on Denver Public Schools, we see that while each district addressed different contexts with different strategies, they shared four principles:
  1. A clear vision of system-level change
  2. A commitment to transformational changes
  3. A strategic investment in people
  4. Accountability and continuous improvement
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A key component of systemwide reform

All three School System 20/20 case study districts invested in developing their people at all levels. In  The 74 , ERS's Karen Hawley Miles and Ross Weiner of the Aspen Institute spotlight DC Public Schools and argue that school systems must set up conditions to connect professional learning to teachers' daily work - by rooting it in high-quality curriculum, supported through collaboration and feedback. Leading Educators explores how DC Public Schools identifies and supports the teacher leaders who guide professional learning. 

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What We're Reading: 
Because our children deserve more than a few great schools.

Ensuring college and career readiness for all students, especially lower-income students and students of color, requires redesigning school systems to enable new ways of organizing schools for student and teacher learning. School System 20/20 is our vision for transforming school systems so every school succeeds for every student, because of the system - not in spite of it.



Education Resource Strategies (ERS is a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming how urban school systems organize resources - people, time, and money - so that every school succeeds for every student.

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