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.
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.
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.
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.