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140 Clarendon Street Suite 305, Boston, MA 02116

3. Effective use of data to improve instruction: intentional systems to use data to drive decisions about curriculum, instruction, and interventions.


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2. Meaningful teacher collaboration: the involvement of teams of teachers and school staff in analysis of data and related decisions regarding curriculum, instructional practice, and student supports, as well as sufficient time for teachers to plan collaboratively.

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1. Strong leadership and shared ownership: distributed leadership grounded in shared accountability between administrators and teachers toward a goal of instructional excellence and increased student achievement.



The five key practices driving the work of the Improving Schools Initiative are:


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If low-performing schools implement key practices identified through School on the Move and other school improvement research with depth and fidelity, coupled with targeted external support, then schools will experience accelerated improvement and student outcomes will improve.





Key Practices for School Improvement Five key practices and essential conditions for rapid school improvement form the foundation for the Improving Schools Initiative, based on EdVestors’ research. In addition, the key variables distinguishing schools that improve from schools that do not are fidelity of implementation and effective execution. EdVestors’ strengths in tactical support and implementation are well-suited for a deep, multi-year improvement partnership to accelerate each school’s change process. Following a thorough feasibility study including interviews with state and district leaders and other school-change and turnaround partners both in and outside of Boston, the ISI was designed to improve outcomes for children by changing teacher and leader practice, using this theory of change:

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In Spring 2012, EdVestors announced its new Improving Schools Initiative (ISI), an intensive three-year school improvement partnership designed to raise student performance and accelerate each school’s improvement trajectory over a three-year period. Our goal is to demonstrate an effective and sustainable tactical support system that can be extended to more Level 3 schools over time. ISI is grounded in six years of research identifying a common set of best practices utilized by the most rapidly improving schools in Boston through EdVestors’ School on the Move Prize. Our findings resonate with national research as well as school improvement strategies outlined by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).


About Improving Schools Initiative (ISI)

4. Academic rigor & student support: a student-centered approach balancing high academic and behavioral expectations with integrated academic and developmental supports tailored to student needs.

5. Effective family and community partnerships: a school climate that is welcoming and engaging for students and families, supported by strategic partnerships aligned to school improvement goals.

EdVestors is a seasoned school change organization dedicated to accelerating improvement in Boston’s schools. EdVestors serves as a catalyst for change in urban schools by identifying and shaping the most effective improvement initiatives, partnering with donors to invest in these efforts, and supporting education project leaders with our hands-on expertise. Since 2002, EdVestors has directed more than $16 million in private philanthropic investments to fund improvement efforts in BPS, including the Urban Education Investment Portfolio, the Thomas W. Payzant School on the Move Prize (SOM), and the BPS Arts Expansion Initiative.

EdVestors’ Improving Schools Initiative (ISI): How it works

Launched in Spring 2012, the Improving Schools Initiative (ISI) is an intensive multi-year school improvement partnership between EdVestors and three low-performing elementary schools in Boston. ISI is designed to raise student performance and accelerate each school’s improvement trajectory over a three-year period (2012-2015). The three schools selected for the first ISI cohort are: the James F. Condon School in South Boston, the William E. Russell School in Dorchester and the Ellis Mendell School in Roxbury. Selected schools and EdVestors co-developed a targeted improvement plan addressing key areas of practice with the participation of the majority of each school’s staff. Schools receive tactical support from the ISI team at EdVestors along with financial and programmatic resources tailored to each school’s improvement plan. Progress for all three ISI schools will be measured by changes in adult practices as well as student achievement outcomes, tracked against annual benchmarks. EdVestors is working in close collaboration with district to build capacity and leverage lessons learned for wider impact. An independent, third-party evaluator has also been engaged in ISI to conduct a formative evaluation, implementation study, and evaluate the impact of the work over the three year period.

ISI School Priorities Condon Elementary School Improvement Priorities:

Mendell Elementary School Improvement Priorities:

Russell Elementary School Improvement Priorities:

1. Reading Instruction:

1. Increasing the Rigor of Core Instruction in ELA:

1. Meaningful Teacher Collaboration:

• Strengthen core classroom instruction (Tier 1) as well as targeted interventions (Tier 2 & 3)

2. Teacher Collaboration: • Utilize common planning time more effectively • Make teacher collaboration more meaningful

3. Academic Rigor and Student Support: • To improve academic achievement and school climate, create and promote school-wide academic and behavioral expectations for all students

• Strengthen the instructional core in ELA (Tier 1 in the RTI Framework) • Provide increased rigor and academic challenge through a strategic alignment to the Common Core Standards and the three major shifts

2. Differentiating Instruction: • Differentiate instruction to ensure that ALL learners achieve at high levels • Strategic use of Tier 2 and 3 academic supports AND inclusive practices

3. Effective Use of Data (with Meaningful Teacher & Staff Collaboration): • Strategically use data to identify, intervene with and monitor students in need of Tier 2 and 3 supports • Monitor the effectiveness of the instructional core frequently in order to make necessary instructional changes

• Develop protocols and identify and create opportunities to collaborate face to face and use technologies • Develop shared approaches to student learning and school practices

2. Academic Rigor and Student Support: • Staff will all assume responsibility for the academic progress, behavior, and well-being of every child

3. Vocabulary and Comprehension: • Intentionally integrate these skills in all our work and coordinate these efforts across grades and subject areas

Edvestors Improving Schools Inititative