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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Partners In School Innovation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Educational Services, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Literacy

Mission: Our mission is to transform teaching and learning in the lowest-performing American public schools so that every child, regardless of background, thrives.

Results: Between 2011 and 2012, Partners’ schools: • Significantly increased the percentage of students who scored Proficient or Advanced on the CST-ELA by 5.7 percentage points, nearly double the growth rate of 2.9 percentage points seen in the rest of California • Are increasing the percentage of Proficient and Advanced students more than 2 times faster than a matched cohort of schools in the state that serve similar students (5.7 percentage points vs. 2.6 percentage points) • Significantly decreased the percentage of students who scored Far Below Basic or Below Basic on the state exam by 4.5 percentage points, more than double the state decrease of 1.9 percentage points, and by 2.6 percentage points in a matched cohort of schools that served similar students Partners’ schools also saw outstanding results in the Academic Performance Index (API): • On average, our partner schools more than tripled statewide API growth. Growth across all grades statewide was only 10 points. The average 2012 API growth experienced by our partner schools was 32 points • 87% of our 15 partner schools with valid 2012 API growth scores (13 total) experienced double-digit growth on the API • Our 10 partner elementary schools with a valid 2012 API growth score increased their API scores by an average of 24 points. Statewide growth for grades 2-6 was 7 points

Target demographics: We accelerate the academic achievement of low-income students of color and renew the promise of public education.

Direct beneficiaries per year: more than 30,000 students

Geographic areas served: SF Bay Area, Michigan and across US

Programs: Partners forms multi-year partnerships with urban schools and districts to implement a continuous school improvement process that dramatically improves the quality of teaching and leadership in low-performing schools.

Community Stories

44 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 3

school facilitation support.
to buy land & support the most needy children.

Donor

Rating: 5

I'm so happy to be able to donate money to an organization that is fulfilling its goals. I really like their mission statement and think that their work to transform schools and education is very important for our country's future. I hope that they can continue to work with more schools both in California and around the United States.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a current Board Member of Partners in School Innovation and have been nothing but impressed by the organization's mission, professional staff, and ability to achieve results. The fact that PSI strives to implement sustainable and transformational solutions by empowering both schools and teachers resonates with me. The organization has SIPs that work on-site, hand-in-hand with teachers to help them transform teaching and learning so that every student in their classrooms can thrive. They customize their results-oriented-cycle-of continuous improvement to address the needs of each stakeholder that they work with. I admire that PSI tackles systemic issues and seeks to address the root of problems and obstacles in our public education system, not just the symptoms.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Partners serves its mission of renewing the promise of public education by hiring the best staff possible, staff who are data-driven and compassionate leaders. Our children are lucky to have Partners working hard to ensure that their educations are not predetermined by their zip code!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Partners is all about learning. Learning for all...for all students AND adults, including themselves. As we know, the best learning is learning by doing. PartnersSI guides people, big and small, to learn and do, and as a result have deep, meaningful experiences that creates ownership and sustainability.

The beauty of their approach is that they are not content experts who come and tell us 'WHAT to do'. They help with the 'HOW to do it.' When you don't know 'WHAT to do', they help you figure out HOW to figure that out.

Previous Stories

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Partners puts people first. Partners recognizes that our educational system is made up of people and through them, improvements can happen. Partners finds ways to help more of those people improve through intentional and strategic systems developments that help adults learn HOW to help students. They do not just help schools and districts with WHAT to do, but help to provide a HOW that fits with your current structure and system. All the while, ensuring that they can work themselves out of a job becasue in everything they do, capacity building is imbedded. Having worked with other non-profits in other parts of the country, PartnersSI is a model for what all should be able to do.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a board member at partners for a number of years and am constantly impressed with how the organization combines urgency to address the most intransigent problems facing public education with a steady and thoughtful commitment to learning. This combination puts partners among a very few organizations that are undertaking sustainable work to get better outcomes for low income students and students of color.

cathorn

Board Member

Rating: 5

I just attended a Program Committee meeting at Partners. One of the things I admire most about partners is how central performance data is to their decision making. We looked at very informative data about Partners performance. The program team laid out how professional development was developed and delivered to address every issue where performance lagged below desired levels. The transparency around performance and a laser-like focus on the organization's internal accountability is something that distinguishes the Partners approach. The "eat their own cooking."

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've worked with districts and third party organizations for over 20 years to use data to improve practice. In particular, I've been concerned about the quality of school and district coaching - a critical role in carrying out improvement. In addition to board meetings, I was able to attend all-day coach training this summer. That was the best adult learning experience I have every experienced. It was challenging, exciting, and changed my thinking about the problem we were studying.
I believed in the work when I joined the board. My experience this summer confirmed for me that this is the right way to spend my time and effort.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Partners has been working with my school for the last two years. I cannot express how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to work closely with a PSI during our grade level meetings. We have been able to grow professionally with the help of our PSI and her support and expertise. Their mission states exactly what they are helping us (teachers and administrators) do... to transform teaching and learning so that every child, regardless of background, thrives. What a wonderful organization!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Partners has served the school I teach at for the past 5 years. Their systems and support has equipped the leaders at our school to truly embrace change and achieve high standards for all students. Working one-on-one with a a SIP at my grade level has allowed me to grow professionally and personally. I am better able to serve my students having worked alongside the Partners staff.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Partners has been working with my school for the past few years. Partners has been an amazing organization to work with. Their ability to have high expectations and set goal s and then help guide us in creating systems to meet these goals has been a tremendous help in meeting the needs of all the students in the school.

Kelly128

Client Served

Rating: 5

Partners works directly with the school I am at. It is because of Partners that the leadership team is as strong as it is - they are a guiding light for the leadership and the school at large. The school has made incredible strides with the help of Partners - from one the lowest in the district to the highest! Monique and her team are absolutely AMAZING!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've worked with Partners for close to two years now in various capacities - every one of their staff that I interact with is dedicated, passionate, and capable.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked with the core team at Partners for about six months and in that time I got to know them quite well. I've never met a group more dedicated to their mission - they are passionate, capable, and razor sharp. And they are absolutely committed to achieving results in the schools they partner with.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was impressed how Partners came into our school and tried their best to help in a difficult year for us. I am especially thankful to our School Innovation Partner who took the time and energy to do one-on-one work with me.
Dennis Klein
Teacher, Bret Harte

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've had a really positive experience in working with Partners in School Innovation and would strongly recommend them to other schools participating in a large scale change model.
Math Coach, Carver Elementary School
Elizabeth MacNab

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Partners team working at my school has been the most significant catalyst in my professional growth this year, especially in my developing a leadership role in a turnaround school. They give me feedback in a way that is direct and honest yet truly motivating, always guiding me towards self-propelled improvement. However I feel I've learned the most from them by watching them - every minute that either one of them is present, I learn so much by what they model. In every situation they demonstrate tenacious dedication to students and an unwavering commitment to the success of the entire school community. They are incredible models of the simultaneous patience and persistence required to successfully navigate the often-times choppy and unpredictable waters of transformational school reform. I'm consistently amazed and thankful for the opportunity to learn from their patience, sincerity, integrity and humility. Thank you, Partners!
Instructional Reform Facilitator, Paul Revere
Megan Williams

Client Served

Rating: 5

I truly believe that Partners has transformed the way we work at Chavez, especially in our instructional leadership team. As an ILT team, we have built more authentic relationships through not only getting to know one another as better educators but also as people. We have spent more time this year discussing our beliefs and how they impact our action in the classroom and at our school. Although we still have more work to do in the area of equity, Partners has equipped us with tools to engage in courageous and risky conversations. As a result of developing more more authentic relationships more teachers are collaborating organically.
Reena Patel
Teacher, Chavez

Client Served

Rating: 5

At the beginning of this school year, I had never heard of Partners and had no idea what they offered to education. I had never heard what a Theory of Action was or an Instructional Leadership Team, or School Transformation Review, or ROCI...but in only one full school year with Partners, I have grown so much and feel better prepared to support the teachers at my school. I can not see myself ever again facilitating a Teacher Collaboration Meeting without following the ROCI Cycle. I know that there is a lot more to learn from Partners that I can't wait for next school year.
Maria T. Manzanedo
Resource Teacher, San Antonio

Client Served

Rating: 5

I’m a fan of Partners because what they do works. Partners helped us build our infrastructure so that regardless of where our funding comes from going forward, we’ll be successful.
Richard Curci
Principal
San Francisco Unified School District

Client Served

Rating: 5

I appreciate that Partners works with schools’ existing human capital; it’s respectful of schools’ existing strengths. Just as Partners believes that all students can learn and improve, it also believes that all adults in schools can improve as well.
Linda Greene
Education Consultant

Client Served

Rating: 5

What I appreciate about Partners is its focus on results and how it helps schools backward-map how to get there.
Scott Gaiber
Director of Recruitment and Human Capital Support
San Francisco Unified School District

Client Served

Rating: 5

When you have a theory of action and you implement it, which Partners helps schools do, not only does achievement go up in the short run, but the whole culture of the school improves.
Guadalupe Guerrero
Deputy Superintendent of Instruction, Innovation and Social Justice
SFUSD

Client Served

Rating: 5

Partners is our most valuable external partner because the team brings system-level thinking to the work; they’re not focused on just one narrow issue. Partners is a great thought partner, one that helps us develop our capacity.
Tom Green
Director of School Transformation
ARUESD

Client Served

Rating: 5

One of the strengths of Partners is that it makes the cycle of continuous improvement very visible throughout the work, so it’s not just in people’s minds, where it can get lost. It’s in everything they do.
Stephen Fiss
Superintendent
ARUESD

Client Served

Rating: 5

I don't believe our school would be as successful as it is without the help of Partners in School Innovation. With the help of Partners we shifted the focus of our work to the California state standards, using them as the anchor of our work. They also instilled the cycle of inquiry in all the work we do at our school. We thank them for the support they provided and will continue the mindset they have instilled in our teachers and leaders.

Howard Greenfield
Principal
Fischer Middle School
ARUESD

Donor

Rating: 5

Our Foundation has been a supporter of Partners in School Innovation for many years. Partners helps teachers excel in their profession and learn the best way to help all students succeed in school. We are proud to support Partners' important work.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am the former executive director and a former board member of Partners in School Innovation. I've spent the past 17 years working to improve the quality of public schools locally and nationally and I've found that Partners in School Innovation has an unparalleled approach to the most powerful levers of school change: improving teaching quality and improving school and district leadership in ways that sustain results for kids. Partners' approach transforms schools from the inside out. The work is complex and multi-faceted, and the Partners team brings not only best-in-class knowledge about school and district transformation, but they bring it with a humility, a respect for the kids and families they serve and commitment to partnership that is unique. I'm proud to have been associated with an organization that is making a decisive difference for children living in poverty around the country.

6

Former staff

Rating: 5

I was an Americorps partner with Partners the year after I graduated from college. My experience there was absolutely eye-opening and the professional development I received continues to shape my current outlook on education and society. Partners in School Innovation takes their mission very seriously, and they are constantly trying to improve, grow, and learn. Because the people there are passionate, courageous, and forward thinking, this organization is changing education for students, teachers, principals, and districts across the bay area!

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

I worked with Partners in School Innovation for several years first as a literacy coach and then as a principal. Partners helped us evolve into a district that saw instruction in an entirely different way. We became stronger teachers, principals and administrators due to the thinking that Partners brought to our schools. It was a great learning experience and in the end our students benefited the most.

10

Former staff

Rating: 5

I participated in a 2-year fellowship with Partners in School innovation and left my experience more prepared and skilled to work as an urban school administrator than I ever imagined possible. The level of talent and cultural competence of my colleagues consistently pushed me to learn and grow every day as a professional working to close the academic achievement gap in high needs schools. Partners in School Innovation yields results, and does an incredible job capturing and strengthening the work to sustain and empower school communities long after the partnership is over.

9

Former staff

Rating: 5

I worked with Partners during its initial growth period. I learned a great deal about educational policy and the need for systemic change. And now fifteen years later I'm in Asia working with various governmental agencies on ESL curriculum. I credit my professional development to Partners and all the work they do.

16

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was lucky enough to spend a little bit of time here last summer helping on a few projects, and I came out of that experience just blown away and impressed. First, this place is like the Yankees of school reform: the talent there is incredible. Even better, their theory of action is clear and effective: if you you believe that reform can happen in an urban district and you provide teachers with the strategic thinking, data, guidance and resources to close the achievement gap, then great change can happen. Luckily, it does! We will be hearing about this organization A LOT in the coming years....

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

Teachers are the most important resource in the educational enterprise, and the staff at Partners works directly in schools with teachers. Many well-meaning people have opinions about improving education generally, but few have the focus and courage to stay in the daily work of the classroom. This highly-charged and very enterprising staff is focused, hard-working, and serious about meeting literacy development goals in some of the most challenging schools in the Bay Area. The districts they serve are better because of their work.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am very thankful that Partners was at our school for the past two years. We were very disappointed to find out that they were not returning with us this year due to money of course. Partners had a huge impact on my teaching instruction. I have become a stronger teacher with more knowledge on assessment and the ROCI process. Partners employees have worked with our school and was passionate about seeing our children achieve. They went above and beyond their job. I was able to bring much more to my curriculum with their ideas and help. I received tools for teaching vocabulary and many other tools for improving my students test scores. They also worked very hard to help my students fluency scores improve, which they did! I will continue to use the tools and ideas they gave me to better my instruction. They have so much knowledge and so many resources to help support teachers and students. The only complaint I have is that we lost them this year because of money! Our school will miss their energy and knowledge.

6

Donor

Rating: 5

The spirit and accomplishments that I've seen at Partners in School Innovation have not only changed the lives of hundreds of underprivileged children, but I've also been swept along in that change. For many years I thought the problems that are rampant in schools comprised primarily of poor minority students were intractable, and not something that I or anyone else would be able to impact. I fell into the common excuses...kids are too far behind by the time they start school, parents aren't reading to them...which naturally means they won't be able to learn at the same level as privileged kids...no doubt you've also heard this line repeated over and over again. I'm sure glad that a group of extremely bright, passionate individuals refused to believe my defeatist story. Instead, they took on the extremely tough challenge of closing the achievement gap of rich/poor and white/color - and have attained a remarkable degree of success. The team brought a level of skill, energy, humility, respect and teamwork to addressing their mission. Members of the Partners in School Innovation staff have one common purpose: they believe that every person has value and that each individual should be given the support to reach his/her potential. Their work reminds me that good and amazing things are possible, and that respect, creativity and tenacity are the only ingredients really needed to create life-giving social change.

6 Susan

Donor

Rating: 5

I first became familiar with Partners as a Program Evaluator over ten years ago. I have watched their work supporting school improvement become more strategic and focused over the years. This year I observed a grade level meeting in which teachers worked together to review student data and discuss how to target their literacy teaching to specific under-achieving students, all of whom spoke English as their second language. Partners supports teachers to learn how to accelerate the learning of their most challenging students by evaluating the effectiveness of their instruction against actual student outcomes and sharing effective practices and challenges among colleagues.