Cross & Joftus authored policy briefs describing state-by-state analyses of the economic and social benefits that can be expected as a result of improving America’s high schools and producing more high school graduates.

C&J gave ongoing guidance and feedback to Hillsborough County Public Schools and Jefferson Parish Public Schools teams developing Race to the Top-District (RTT-D) applications. Superintendents from these districts were part of a select group receiving America Achieves’ support in the development of their RTT-D applications. C&J partners also participated in an initial meeting to support these and other superintendents in their early application designs.

Our firm conducted a needs analysis and helped develop a strategic plan for a new nonprofit organization that will provide technical assistance to and advocate on behalf of public charter schools and small, rural, traditional public schools. The plan resulted in a $3 million grant from the Walton Foundation.

Our firm is a partner in the design, facilitation, and direction of the Senior Congressional Education Staff project, a series of seminars and meetings intended to increase understanding of education policy issues among key congressional staff members.

Our firm drafted recommendations for two policy action briefs. The first focused on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act to improve outcomes for youth in foster care. The second focused on reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act to improve outcomes for children and youth in foster care.

Former partner Monica Rosen led a review of Catapult Leadership’s work to develop and support school leaders in the Denver area. Results included the following:

• Identified and assessed Catapult’s core competencies in school leadership development
• Identified the unique role Catapult plays in leadership development in the Denver landscape
• Studied Catapult’s effectiveness, greatest strengths, and areas for improvement, including strengths
that present as opportunities for expanded reach in the school leadership space
• Proposed refinements that would strengthen Catapult’s core competencies and clarify its niche in the
school leadership landscape

Cross & Joftus wrote a chapter each year for three years on teacher quality for the organization’s annual report on the of the No Child Left Behind Act. We also conducted case studies of district implementation of NCLB.

Cross & Joftus conducted an evaluation of the Texas Institute for School Boards, a four-day training for new local school board members in Texas.

We provided strategic communications and policy analysis support to the Center’s School Finance Redesign Project.

Working with Change the Equation, C&J is developing links between major California school districts and companies that support high-quality programs in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and math), with the specific objective of increasing the numbers of women and other underrepresented groups in these disciplines.

Our firm conducted research on trends, new research, and policy changes at the federal and state levels on child care, early childhood education, and after-school programs for the organization’s State of America’s Children Report.

Cross & Joftus authored a policy paper on converting large high schools into smaller schools as well as a policy brief describing the low graduation rate in Colorado and proposing local and state recommendations. We wrote a policy paper summarizing findings of and suggesting implications for evaluations conducted of Manual High School’s efforts to create small schools. The firm also wrote a report for the Colorado Commission for High School Improvement outlining recommendations for high school reform in the state. In addition, we authored a paper, High School Reform in Colorado: A History of Efforts and Lessons for the Future, on the history of high school reform in Colorado.

Cross & Joftus has provided support to Communities in Schools (CIS) to help them better understand the challenges and opportunities in the current financing climate to support sustainability of current affiliates and further expansion of their model. This involved identifying financing issues affecting current affiliates and analyzing the implications of these issues for CIS’ plans to expand to new states and districts; identifying promising financing strategies that CIS affiliates can adapt and replicate; and building a forecasting model that the national office and its board will use to assess opportunities for growth and expansion over the next decade based on a set of economic and policy variables that can be adjusted as new information becomes available. Recently, we developed a set of budgeting principles and corresponding budgeting tools for CIS affiliates to use to improve financial practices and support. Currently, we are supporting the national office in developing and updating costs estimates for CIS services.

Our firm helped the organization’s technical assistance team collect feedback from stakeholders about how to improve services. We also drafted a proposal soliciting funding from major foundations to support a program to help build the capacity of state education agencies to improve low-performing high schools.

Cross & Joftus worked with the CEO to develop a strategic plan to enhance the role of education commissioners and helped the Education Commission of the States (ECS) implement a long-term strategy that collectively engages state policymakers in leading education transformation. Toward that end, the approach would be to leverage successfully the ECS compact and commissioner infrastructure—both within and across state lines—and to work with ECS to secure initial funding for enhancing collaborative action among state education policymakers.

Harvard Afterschool Initiative

Cross & Joftus conducted analyses of data collected to support the evaluation of this afterschool program.

To support their i3 grant, Higher Achievement engaged Cross & Joftus to redesign their after-school Math and ELA curriculum for 5th-8th grades to align with the Common Core State Standards. C&J is also providing training to HA staff on how to deliver the new curriculum.

We worked with the Hunt institute to advise them on a number of major program areas including the implementation of common core standards in the states, the development of a fellows program for state leaders and a tri-state initiative to integrate services in support of disadvantaged children.

In collaboration with the Institute for the Future and the Enterprise Development Group, Cross & Joftus is partnering with the San Jose Unified School District to develop lighthouse schools of the future. The objective is to support school teams in creating schools that will graduate students with the skills and knowledge to succeed in the fast changing and dynamic world of the mid-twentieth century.

Cross & Joftus developed and facilitated meetings with Learning Point Associates and several states on issues affecting the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act and its effect on students who are covered by provisions under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Many of the changes identified were subsequently reflected in the IDEA reauthorization. We authored a newsletter on ways to reallocate resources to support school reform strategies. Finally, our firm wrote a paper on “Using Expanded Learning to Support School Reform” for a volume that was distributed at a National Press Club event in January 2009.

Cross & Joftus developed a sustainability plan for Louisville BLOCS to chart a course for their work over the next 3 years. The sustainability planning process helped BLOCS to review and update key strategies and lay out a plan for a revised governance structure. The plan is already making a difference in Louisville by attracting the attention of new partners and funders.

Our firm provided strategic consulting services for the Strategic Education Research Partnership (SERP).

Cross & Joftus wrote a series of policy briefs about a range of issues affecting charter schools nationally.

We developed a methodology and collected information to assess the supply and demand for summer programs in a variety of locations, including the state of Maryland; Marion County, Indiana; and eight cities in California. The data is being used to inform investments in summer programs in states and districts.

We conducted research to develop six finance profiles of Expanded Learning Schools that focused on how schools/districts are financing their longer days. These profiles focused on high-poverty schools that have expanded the school day for all students adding more than 300 hours of time. We also produced a summary that looks at findings across the six schools.

We helped design and facilitate the organization’s process to develop a vision and plan for improving the development and use of knowledge in education. Our firm wrote a paper on the topic for use with the organization’s stakeholders.

Cross & Joftus evaluated the center’s work to help states develop sound policies related to public school choice. Our firm also conducted an evaluation of the Phase II Honor States grant program that aims to help 17 states redesign their high schools. Our firm developed a compendium of promising state practices for high school reform in connection with Virginia Governor Mark Warner’s high school initiative. Finally, we developed an overview of states’ progress in implementing high school reforms.

National High School Alliance

Cross & Joftus conducted an analysis of foundations’ giving for high school improvement and offered advice on whether to create a High School Funders’ Collaborative.

Cross & Joftus authored a series of policy briefs for the National League of Cities to help mayors mobilize resources to support expanded learning opportunities. Some of the topics included Strengthening Partnerships and Building Public Will for Out-of-School Time Programs and Expanding Programs for Older Youth.

Cross & Joftus, in partnership with Priscilla Little, conducted background research to inform the development of a set of financing and sustainability strategies as part of a larger strategic plan.

Our firm assisted the New Teacher Center and the Joyce Foundation in the development of a regional conference bringing together leaders from three states to develop policies for advancing high-quality teacher induction programs in those states, with particular emphasis on the establishment of programs in the major cities.

Newark Out-of-School Time Network

With support from the Prudential and Victoria Foundations, Cross & Joftus is developing a strategic plan to help formalize an out-of-school time network that brings together public and private partners across Newark.

Cross & Joftus provided tactical guidance on budgeting and sustainability so that PASA is in a better position to take advantage of new funding opportunities moving forward. This work was part of a larger strategic planning process to set the course of the organization for the next three years.

C&J has been contracted by Raise DC, a cross-sector partnership of DC stakeholders, to conduct qualitative research that will explore factors that enable “recovery” students to graduate from high school on time despite falling dangerously behind as ninth graders. C&J will also be examining DC high schools that manage to graduate higher than expected numbers of students with multiple risk factors.

Our firm conducted a strategic planning session to help inform the organization’s advocacy efforts.

Cross & Joftus designed, developed, and managed an evaluation to better understand the needs and behaviors of educators utilizing Smithsonian digital museum content. The DLR project was a collaboration between the Smithsonian, the California Department of Education, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the Pearson Foundation. The principal aim of the evaluation was to transition the Smithsonian from being a provider of digital educational content to being a “facilitator for user selection and creation of content.”

Cross & Joftus facilitated strategic planning sessions for the organization that manages the Intel Talent Search, which had recently received a significant grant from Intel. We also helped the organization to develop standards, and plans for implementation, for local science fairs competing in the Intel Talent Search Competition.

We supported United Way staff in developing strategies and resources for the organization’s new education initiatives that focus on older children and youth with an emphasis on dropout reduction. This involved collecting and analyzing data on the current activities and capacities of local United Ways and developing strategies to expand this work over the next five years. Our firm also developed and implemented a strategic plan for linking schools and community partners to expand learning from preschool through college.