SCHOOL DISTRICTS, STATES, AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

Cross & Joftus conducted a fiscal analysis for the district in partnership with Education Resource Strategies. Our firm reviewed data on expenditures to understand how spending patterns in key function areas compared with other districts; how resources are distributed across schools and students; how staffing resources are distributed across schools; how class sizes effect expenditures; and how professional development dollars are being spent.  Our firm also provided recommendations that allowed the district to better direct resources toward education priorities.

Cross & Joftus worked with the Arkansas Department of Education and a consortium of six Arkansas districts to improve the use of data and technology in fostering whole-system improvement. Our firm conducted an evaluation of district and state implementation of and satisfaction with the statewide data system and provided recommendations to all stakeholders for improvements, including how to use data more effectively to inform the teaching and learning process.

Cross & Joftus is currently conducting a study of the supply of and demand for after school and summer programming in the Reading school district.

Under a contract from Say Yes to Education, Cross & Joftus conducted a comprehensive review of the district’s human resources, special education, and curriculum and instruction systems (which included systematic observations in over 100 classrooms). We provided a report that summarizes key strengths and challenges and recommendations for improvement. C&J is now working with the district to implement key recommendations in the area of district leadership, human capital, and school improvement and turnaround.

Cross & Joftus, again with support from Say Yes, then supported district implementation of several key initiatives of the superintendent, including action planning with the cabinet, evaluation of the cabinet staff, central office reorganization, and development of the district’s “earned autonomy” model of school improvement. With support from Say Yes, the Oishei Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo, Cross & Joftus provided the district with an interim deputy superintendent, who supported the rollout of the district reorganization, coordinated school turnaround efforts, and helped to identify a permanent deputy. BPS then retained C&J to continue its support. C&J’s interim deputy superintendent transitioned into the role of leadership consultant, providing systemic supports that include coordinating the implementation of the district’s reorganization, helping to guide the new system and processes for school support and turnaround, and coaching senior district staff.

Cross & Joftus worked with a state-wide task force on special education whose mission is to transform education to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. Cross & Joftus synthesized the work of the task force and its subcommittees and prepared a vision statement, a report of findings, and recommendations for policy, practice and legislative reform that will guide the future delivery of special education in the state.

In addition, Cross & Joftus consultants helped the California Department of Education, and its key partners, create a cutting-edge web portal that will put high quality, innovative standards, as well as research-based materials and resources, at the finger tips of the state’s educators. This tool will enable teachers, principals, and, eventually, all education stakeholders to communicate, share, and network with their peers in other buildings and districts across the state and, later, across the nation. Our consultants coordinated the project from the research and development phase through pilot implementation. This included providing expertise and leadership in project management, fundraising, and strategic planning and curriculum development. It also includes facilitating and building relationships among multiple stakeholder groups and partners statewide.

The California Department of Education also selected Cross & Joftus to provide services for districts in the state that have been identified for improvement.

In partnership with our good friends at UPD, we helped the Camden, NJ Board of Education craft a 5-year Strategic Plan. To arrive at such a plan, we provided:
• Research on exemplar models of education
• Recommendations of new programs/revisions to existing programs
• Financial modeling
• Recommendations regarding data use and technology
• Facilities planning

The final deliverable, the strategic plan, included district vision, mission, goals, objectives and strategies as well as recommended metrics for determining whether the strategic plan is successfully being executed as designed.

Led by former partner Monica Rosen, Cross & Joftus supported the development of the principal pipeline strategy for CMS. Work included support for the Network Superintendents, or principal supervisors, as they redesigned their principal screening process. This work included a revamping of the district’s principal competency framework to reflect new district priorities and the design and implementation of a competency-based screening process.

Previously, working with the American Institutes for Research and a community stakeholder group chaired by a former mayor, Cross & Joftus led a wide ranging data collection effort, including community meetings, interviews, surveys, and data analysis. The work deflected pressure to break up the county-city school district, while providing guidance on ways to better support all schools and engage all stakeholders. The work and resulting report laid the groundwork for significant improvement across the district. According to recently retired superintendent, Peter Gorman, “When I was appointed superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, The Findings and Recommendations of the Citizens’ Task Force on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools prepared by the American Institutes for Research and Cross & Joftus provided a great roadmap for reform. Many of the recommendations helped put the district on the path to winning The Broad Prize For Urban Education in 2011.”

On behalf of the mayor’s office, our firm analyzed governance and management systems of the School District of Philadelphia and provided recommendations for improvement to a city task force.

On behalf of the Ellis Center for Educational Excellence, we conducted, with support from WestED, an evaluation of the district’s effort to implement comprehensive, systemic reform that will result in increased student achievement and a narrowing of achievement gaps.

Cross-State Learning Collaborative

C&J worked with Widmeyer Communications to provide the six members of the CSLC – Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, and Tennessee – with communication support to strengthen the states’ education departments’ leadership and communications teams’ ability to communicate about college readiness to a broad range of audiences. C&J and Widmeyer provided strategic communications support, shared and created tools and resources, and served as coach and counselor to the department leadership and communications teams. CSLC was funded by the New Schools Venture Fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Cross & Joftus conducted a comprehensive needs assessment of the school district and facilitated the development of a five-year strategic plan with the goal of helping to make the school district one of the best in the country.

Led by former partner Monica Rosen, Cross & Joftus supported the district under a grant from the Wallace Foundation to design and implement a new approach for principal recruitment and screening. The tools, implemented with Cross & Joftus’s support since early 2013, have boosted the district’s ability to ensure that Instructional Superintendents and school communities are able to identify the best principal to meet each school’s needs.

C&J was contracted by Raise DC, a cross-sector partnership of DC stakeholders, to conduct qualitative research that explored factors that enable “recovery” students to graduate from high school on time despite falling dangerously behind as ninth graders.

Previously, Cross & Joftus helped the district develop a number of documents that describe the purpose and components of its accountability system to communicate with a variety of stakeholders. We evaluated effectiveness of school-based programs, including planning, formative assessment programs, and reading initiatives. C&J also help the district write its Race to the Top application.

For three years (2015-2017), C&J worked with OSSE to implement the Learning Network model that we created and implemented for the state of Kansas (see below). C&J worked with OSSE, DCPS, and the Public Charter School Board to coach and support 28 schools in 2016-17 after working with 21 schools in 2015-16 and eight schools in 2014-15.

Previously, OSSE contracted with C&J to provide coaching and support to LEAs (DCPS and charter schools) out of compliance for serving students with disabilities. Services included coaching on the root cause analysis process, school improvement planning, and improved coordination between LEAs and OSSE. C&J also provided support to OSSE as it planned for improving the supports and services related to Common Core and PARCC implementation provided to all LEAs.

C&J is developing a multi-year school readiness strategic plan for Fairfax County’s Office for Children and the County’s School Readiness Community Collaborative Council. The plan will allow the County and its partners to solidify and build on their existing efforts to ensure that children and families can access a network of high-quality early learning programs and related supports.

C&J was contracted by the district to conduct a comprehensive review of its special education system as well as general education practices that support students with disabilities.

C&J, working with UPD, conducted a comprehensive needs analysis for the district and provided the new superintendent with recommendations for his entry plan.

C&J conducted a comprehensive review of the district for the new superintendent and facilitated the development of a five-year strategic plan. We are also working with the district to ensure that all principals are outstanding instructional leaders by leading a summer institute and providing ongoing coaching.

Cross & Joftus, led by former partner Monica Rosen, supported the Gwinnett County Public Schools for two years through the review, continued improvement, and planned sustainability of Gwinnett’s principal pipeline initiative. Work included meeting with district, school, and aspiring leaders to understand the core strengths and opportunities of Gwinnett’s renowned Quality Plus Leader Program. As a result of the work, the district established its priorities around aligning its competency model with the new Georgia state standards and worked to improve its curriculum to emphasize cultural competency, achievement focus, and vision and communication skills. In addition, the district added competency- and performance-based screening activities to improve its understanding of QPLA candidate strengths and development needs.

Cross & Joftus helped the district improve its process for upgrading curricula and determining professional development needs.

Led by former partner Monica Rosen, Cross & Joftus worked with the Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE), through funding from the Castle Foundation, in the development of its principal supervisor development and supervision model. Principal supervisors in the HIDOE are titled Complex Area Superintendents (CASs). C&J helped HIDOE plan for monthly development gatherings between the Deputy Superintendent and the CASs and served as a critical friend to the Department as they took stock of their principal pipeline strategy called the Leadership Institute. As part of this work, C&J helped HIDOE strengthen their leader recruitment and development strategies and improve the design of their principal preparation curriculum.

Previously, in partnership with UPD Consulting, C&J supported the development and implementation of an employee performance and evaluation system. In the first year of the engagement, C&J led the training of pilot-school administrators to ensure that results from teacher observations were reliable.

Former C&J partner Monica Rosen served as a strategic advisor and thought partner for Highline Public Schools over the 2014-2015 school year. Through the support of the Gates foundation, the C&J team supported the district’s strategic redesign of the human resources function, establishing a Staffing Needs Assessment process where HR staff met with district principals to understand their anticipated HR needs. C&J also facilitated the reorganization of HR to better align HR staffing roles with the strategic priorities of the department and support improved recruitment, screening, and selection for the district. C&J’s work has included the clarification of the role of the principal supervisor, called Instructional Leadership Executive Director (ILED) and the role of HR in supporting principals to make effective human capital decisions. This work has included an assessment of the technology and data capturing systems utilized to support the monitoring and tracking of effective human capital decisions, and the redesign of critical HR business processes.

Led by former partner Monica Rosen, C&J supported Hillsborough County Public Schools in developing a comprehensive principal recruitment strategy and new principal pipeline screening and selection processes. C&J facilitated design sessions with a Leader Standards Committee to develop a set of core principal competencies that serve as the foundation for all strategic talent management efforts aimed at ensuring an effective principal is at the helm of every school in the district.

C&J also developed a vacancy model to help the district anticipate principal openings, projecting both the quantity and characteristics of vacancies and identify gaps in the pipeline based on their anticipated needs.

C&J recently supported the district’s work to align the principal preparation curricula with the district’s competency model, launching professional development for principals to provide feedback and support for their Assistant Principals aligned to the district’s competency model. C&J also supported the district’s principal supervisors, Area Leadership Directors, developing a new competency framework to better define their role and supporting and training them as they work to assess their principal landscape and make strategic decisions about how to support, develop, retain, or plan for the succession of principals in each region.

C&J worked with Hillsborough’s Student Services division to understand key opportunities to improve the division’s services to schools. The Student Services division coordinates all school psychologists, nurses, and guidance counselors for the district. This work included providing support for the division’s director as she established the vision and theory of action for the group, developing a revamped organization design, and training her staff to provide improved customer service for the department. In addition, the division completed a survey of all principals and school-based student services staff to understand the perceived strengths and opportunities of the department.

Under a contract from The Broad Center, Cross & Joftus conducted a review of the district’s special education system, including an analysis of leadership, culture, and instructional practices and provided recommendations for improvement.

In partnership with UPD Consulting, C&J conducted a comprehensive needs assessment of the school district and facilitated the development of a new five-year strategic plan. C&J was also approved by the district as a provider of professional development to all schools in the district.

In 2008, C&J partnered with the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) to rethink the state’s approach to school reform and in doing so, increase capacity to raise achievement and close significant gaps in student learning. The result of this partnership was the Kansas Learning Network, an approach that includes a comprehensive needs assessment, the establishment of strategic priorities, targeted technical assistance, and collaboration with peers across the state. For four years, C&J worked with all districts and schools in Kansas that had been identified as on improvement, corrective action, or restructuring as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act. Evaluations of the Kansas Learning Network found that the model was highly valued by district and state administrators and, more importantly, had made a significant impact on student achievement in participating schools and districts.

Cross & Joftus supported the transition to and implementation of the Common Core in 12 districts across the state of Kansas. Support included access to Common Core Central, a curated bank of resources including videos, research reports, frameworks, and presentations. More information about Common Core Central can be found here.

Led by former partner Monica Rosen, C&J supported KIPP San Antonio through the assessment of their human resources operational structure and provided guidance for the use of an outsourced HR function and operational partnership with KIPP Houston. Results included tactical resources, such as a personnel file audit and reference sheet for which documents should be maintained in human resource files, a drafted Memorandum of Understanding between KIPP Houston and KIPP San Antonio, guidance for the best day-to-day management of KIPP San Antonio’s human resources work, and associated human resources support for KIPP San Antonio school leaders.

In partnership with UPD Consulting, C&J conducted a comprehensive needs assessment of the school district and facilitated the development of a new five-year strategic plan.

Cross & Joftus trained staff on using our research-based classroom-walkthrough model and participated in a program review of a juvenile facility to determine the educational needs and to make recommendations for improvement. Later, we conducted a review of special education services being provided by the county to schools and local districts.

Cross & Joftus was awarded a contract to work with 168 charter schools in Los Angeles Unified School District. The primary focus was to examine the extent to which supports and services for special needs students were in place, and whether those services were high quality, effective, and research based. Gaps in services and quality were addressed by developing and implementing programs to serve a more comprehensive set of students with disabilities, including those students with more extensive needs. The scope of this work required the collaborative identification of needs and the design of creative service models that meet legal requirements. The project design and its outcomes have the potential to become a model that may be used in other systems, both traditional and charter, and is a new approach to school organization that recognizes the unique nature and potential of charter schools and CMOs/EMOs in providing for the needs of students with disabilities.

Under the leadership of former partner Monica Rosen, C&J began working with Madison Metropolitan School District in the fall of 2013.  The team completed a review of the district’s recruitment, hiring, and induction programs and later supported the district’s leadership team through a redesign of the district’s principal pipeline strategy.

Work has included a revamped principal recruitment, screening, and selection processes, the development of new preparation partnerships, and a design of induction and on-the-job development programs for the district’s principals. C&J also helped the district redesign its teacher recruitment, screening, and hiring processes, resulting in earlier teacher hiring, improved satisfaction among principals in teacher screening processes, and improved diversity of teacher hires. The project resulted in a revamped internal transfer process, a hiring toolkit for principals, and interview tools that were driven by teacher competencies but easily customized at each school site. C&J supported Madison Public Schools through the study of a new compensation model for administrators, teachers, and non-union professionals. The work included national research on innovative compensation models, the review and analysis of key human capital data, and an assessment of the technology systems that support compensation practices.

Under our contract with the Reform Support Network, C&J produced a series of curriculum mapping tools to support Massachusetts’ implementation of college-ready standards.

Cross & Joftus is currently helping the district’s board of education develop a tool and process to evaluate the superintendent. C&J is also helping the board conduct an assessment of its own effectiveness and will be providing training based on the results of the assessment.

C&J supported the 22,000-student district in further developing the coaching capacity of the district’s principal supervisors.

Cross & Joftus chairman Christopher Cross served as the senior adviser and counselor to the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Education. The task force, led by Elaine Wynn, director of Wynn Resorts, and Dan Klaich, Chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, guided the development of Nevada’s Race to the Top Application and also made recommendations to the legislature and governor for major changes in state policy for K-12 education. With few exceptions, those recommendations were adopted in the 2011 legislative session and were signed by Governor Brian Sandoval on June 15, 2011. The changes include governance, educator evaluation, alternative sources for licensure and support of charter schools.

Working as a subcontractor to Cambridge Education, Cross & Joftus assisted the state by providing training and tools for principal evaluators. Specifically, C&J consultants helped to develop and implement a participant-centered case method training plan for principal evaluators; design, develop, and produce learning materials and resources for principals and principal evaluators; provide statewide training using a train-the-trainer model; and design training services for administrators and principals to develop and implement Student Learning Objectives as part of principal evaluation.

C&J assisted the Superintendent of Omaha Public Schools as he developed and then implemented a new role within OPS titled Executive Director (ED) to support principals. The role was new to the district, and C&J facilitated early leadership discussions about how the role would support principal success and how other central office teams would support and interact with the Executive Director role. Support also includes strategic coaching on site with the Executive Directors.

Under the leadership of former partner Monica Rosen, C&J also supported the assessment of the district’s human capital work and the development and implementation of a new principal pipeline strategy. This work has included a structure and tools for planning for school leader succession, a revamped screening and selection process for principals, and the design of a new principal preparation model for the district.

Previously, in partnership with UPD Consulting, C&J conducted a comprehensive needs assessment of the school district and facilitated the development of a new five-year strategic plan. C&J and UPD also provided follow-up implementation support by periodically reviewing implementation of the strategic plan and by training staff to use a data-based performance-management system.

On behalf of the Broad Foundation, we advised the district’s new superintendent and senior staff on how to use the No Child Left Behind Act to leverage educational improvement.

Scott Joftus was the founding director of this effort by the federal government to support states that won a Race to the Top grant. The RTT TA Network was designed to help states implement Race to the Top reforms and achieve dramatic improvements in student outcomes. The Network was demand-driven and flexible to support state and federal goals and needs, and adapted over time to ensure ongoing quality and relevance of services and resources. The Network ensured intensive and high-quality technical assistance for RTT states while also supporting reform efforts in all states.

Funded by New Schools for New Orleans, C&J supported the district as it develops a continuum of services for students with disabilities from across New Orleans by conducting policy and demographic analyses.

On behalf of the Rogers Development Foundation, Cross & Joftus conducted a comprehensive needs analysis and developed a strategic plan for Rogers School District, a rapidly growing and increasingly diverse school district serving 13,000 students. The needs analysis engaged district administrators and community leaders in a process of inquiry that modeled a process of continuous improvement and resulted in the identification of strengths and weaknesses related to the district’s management and governance systems. The strategic planning process used the results of the needs analysis and to develop short- and long-term goals, measurable objectives, and actionable strategies that should result in systemic improvement. We will be working with the school system and foundation to help implement the strategic plan during the next few years.

Cross & Joftus provided the Juvenile Court and Community school programs and special education departments with the following services: (a) reviewed and conferred on State and Federal compliance within Juvenile Court schools, Community schools, and special education department; (b) evaluated effectiveness of current database systems and the impact of data on instructional programs; (c) provided a protocol of best practices in serving high-risk youth that could be utilized as a template with other county offices of education; and (d) provided training to staff on using classroom observations to evaluate past professional development efforts and plan for future ones.

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 conducted a review of the district’s special education program, including an assessment of the quality of instruction and services to students with disabilities and those considered at risk of academic failure. C&J identified strengths and challenges and made recommendations for improvement. Cross & Joftus also conducted a review of the district’s human capital policies, systems, and practices.

Led by former partner Monica Rosen, C&J also completed an analysis of the SCSD’s human resources and talent management practices in the fall of 2011. The report highlighted findings and recommendations related to district recruitment, professional development, evaluation, compensation, and retention. Over the 2012-2013 school year, C&J helped the district recruit and select a new Executive Director for Talent Management; design and implement teacher and principal recruitment and selection and strategic retention strategies; redesign the district’s HR organization; and improve financial and HR system monitoring.

Cross & Joftus was contracted to provide coaching and support to the district’s new executive director for special education so that she may meet the district’s goals for serving students with disabilities.

C&J was contracted by the district to support the transition of its schools into community schools. To meet this objective, C&J conducted a comprehensive analysis of current student needs, school offerings, district and community resources, and the district’s strategic priorities and facilitated the development of a plan to provide students and their families with integrated services that will enable them to meet high academic standards.

Cross & Joftus was selected by 5 of the 6 Wallace Foundation Principal Pipeline Initiative grantees to complete a documentation of the change process at each district in 2013:  New York City DOE, Prince George’s County Public Schools, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Denver Public Schools and Hillsborough County Public Schools. As a result, C&J was able to report on how five urban districts have established their priorities to build a strong principal pipeline model, including establishing the competencies for an effective principal, preparing, recruiting, screening and selecting, and developing effective principals in every role.

Cross & Joftus has worked for the past seven years with seven Wayne Township schools (6 elementary schools no smaller than 625 students, and 1 high school serving 10th-12th grade students with a population of 4300 students) all of which are on Program Improvement for students with disabilities. Cross & Joftus has provided evaluations of student data systems and services, integration of services with intervention programs currently in place, support for leadership at each of the schools, in-service and professional development opportunities for staff, and individual counseling and coaching for district office staff and school site teams. Of the six elementary schools served, five are currently off PI status, and the sixth has made AYP for the first year. The high school has reevaluated and reorganized its services and administration and is moving forward with improvements in AYP, attendance, and graduation rates for students with disabilities.

For the Wyoming legislature, Cross & Joftus conducted a study of state-level educational governance in the state. The study focused on the relationship between the allocation of responsibilities and accountabilities and engaged stakeholders across the state in discussions of organizational structures that will support strong leadership, clear guidance, and effective, timely support to schools and districts. As educators work to meet their objective of educating all children to high standards, the Legislature is seeking to ensure that the governance structure supports their efforts and creates a strong foundation for the future of the state.