Great Schools Partnership—What We Do

The Great Schools Partnership provides a variety of services and technical assistance to districts, schools, organizations, and government agencies. We understand that no single school-improvement model will be a perfect fit for every school, and that no two great schools need to look alike. While maintaining fidelity to our vision, mission, and beliefs, we are continually refining and adapting our strategies—which are based on sound research, field experience, and the specialized needs of our schools and partners—to achieve measurable gains in student aspirations, achievement, and educational attainment.

If you are interested in learning more about our work, send us an email.

School Coaching Expertise

  • Evidence-based, goal-driven school improvement
  • Long-term strategic planning for schools and districts
  • Change leadership, shared leadership, and leadership-team development
  • Communications and messaging strategies for districts and schools
  • Professional learning community implementation and facilitator training
  • School- and teacher-driven professional development
  • Action-plan development, implementation, and evaluation
  • Classroom observation and instructional auditing
  • Policy auditing and development
  • Program auditing and resource alignment
  • School-performance analysis
  • Community- and parent-engagement strategies
  • School-board engagement and education
  • District consolidations and strategic planning
  • Tool and resource development

Instructional and Programmatic Expertise

What Is a School Coach?

One of the primary services provided by the Great Schools Partnership is broadly known as school coaching. A school coach’s primary role is to keep a school community intensively focused on achieving its goals regardless of the obstacles that arise or the setbacks that occur. Unlike some consultants and support organizations, the Great Schools Partnership does not have a prepackaged improvement program that we “sell” to a school. We recognize that every school is a complex, interdependent learning ecosystem, each with its own unique teachers and students, qualities and characteristics, strengths and weaknesses. While every school-improvement plan is developed in collaboration with administrators and faculty, our coaches utilize a repertoire of research-based techniques and strategies that have moved schools from underperforming to excelling. Every action plan is based on specific organizational and student needs, existing resources and capacity, and the school’s vision, mission, and goals. Many of our school-coaching relationships last multiple years, since it takes time to gain a deep understanding of a school, establish trusting relationships with the faculty and community members, and build the internal expertise needed to sustain the challenging work of school improvement over time. Despite being invested in the school and its goals, our coaches remain “critical friends” who offer objective professional insights and perspectives informed by years of experience. If the school-improvement process becomes sidetracked by unforeseen issues, budgetary concerns, or internal tensions, for example, the school coach can step in to help make sure that discussions and actions remain focused, productive, and goal-oriented. Finally, a school coach works closely with school leaders to build a sustainable school-improvement model. From policy and budgeting to professional development and instructional practices, our goal is to equip schools with the resources, knowledge, and know-how they need to achieve their goals.

 

Strategic Planning for Districts

Long-term strategic planning is increasingly on the minds of superintendents and school boards who are looking to utilize resources effectively, determine priorities, and set a direction for the future of their districts. Recognizing the complexities of leading public-school systems in challenging times, the Great Schools Partnership has developed a strategic-planning process that helps districts and schools create a comprehensive five-year plan that puts student learning needs first. Acting as moderators, facilitators, and experienced guides, our associates work closely with administrators, school boards, parents, community leaders, and students to engage and survey their community, review existing programs and performance, determine needs and priorities, and craft a customized strategic plan that is based on proven strategies and guided by long-term goals.

The action-oriented strategic plan outlines clear priorities that will ultimately be adopted by the school board and then implemented by administration and staff. The priorities are accompanied by the development of a set of leading measures for establishing baseline performance, tracking progress, and reporting on the effectiveness of the district’s education system and improvement plans.

While each strategic plan is unique, the Great Schools Partnership brings expertise in the following areas:

  • Vision and mission statements and core beliefs
  • Baseline performance data and leading measures of effectiveness for tracking performance
  • Professional development planning and the improvement of teaching and learning
  • Recruitment, development, retention, and evaluation of staff
  • Financial planning and oversight
  • Facilities planning and management
  • Public engagement and communications
  • Development and alumni relations
  • District and school consolidations