What are the supports that school leaders need to create transformative change in their districts?
Race and class remain the most reliable predictors of students’ academic achievement. School leaders have the will to make changes, but often do not have ready access to the support that they need to begin to “move the needle” on student experiences and outcomes. The BELE Network is working to dismantle structural inequality in schools and create equitable learning environments where all students have the agency, opportunities, and tools they need to thrive.
In addition to implementing, testing and learning from strategies to transform systems and influence policy, Shift worked to develop concrete tools for practitioners to utilize as they work to develop equitable learning environments. By working with school support organizations, school leaders and policy makers, the BELE Network seeks to illuminate the path to creating more equitable learning environments while also ensuring that those most impacted - students and their families - are supported to actively participate in the design, implementation and evaluation of structures, policies and processes to meet their needs.
Shift joined the BELE Network team initially to coach school intermediary organizations (referred to as School Support Organizations or SSOs) in using improvement methods across their networks. The focus of this first stage was to provide coaching for the SSOs as they designed and implemented interventions according to their specific aims and theories of change. Shift and The National Equity Project convened the SSOs in a learning lab to identify opportunities for their organizations to draw on improvement methods and to network schools together to accomplish aims focused on equity.
As the partnership continued, Shift’s role in the BELE Network grew to leading collaboration across partners to capture lessons from the first four years of BELE and create resources to scale the vision to wider audiences. This partnership led to co-creation of the BELE Network theory of change and facilitating the creation of tools such as the BELE Framework.
National Equity Project (NEP), UChicago Consortium on School Research, PERTS, CASEL, Billions Institute, Kingmakers of Oakland, Equal Opportunity Schools
This work was funded by the Raikes Foundation.