Many of the things to know about Education Resource Strategies are that ERS empowers school system leaders to make transformative shifts in resources, structures, and practices so that all students especially those with the greatest learning needs and those furthest from opportunity attend a school where they can learn and thrive. We partner with district teams, expand leaders’ knowledge and skills, and share lessons and tools with the field.
Historical Role of ERS
For nearly 20 years, ERS has empowered school system leaders to make transformative shifts in resources, structures, and practices so that all students—especially those with the greatest learning needs and those furthest from opportunity—attend a school where they can learn and thrive.
Grounded in our work with districts across the country and what we’ve heard from the field, we’ve created tools and resources designed to help district leaders take action to transform schools for good. Get started with our updated ESSER Toolkit.
ERS Core Values
One of the important things to know about Education Resource Strategies is grasping one of the core values of the ERS:
- ERS strives to incorporate core values into everything we do: THEIR work with ERS partner districts and fellow reform organizations, as well as within the organization.
- ERS is passionate about transforming school systems so that every child—especially those furthest from opportunity—attends a school where they can learn and thrive. Potential for lasting impact guides their work and priorities. It also accelerates their impact by leveraging research and building from the experience and expertise of the ERS team and their school system partners.
- ERS approaches their work with humility, respect, and an acknowledgment of the broader context they are stepping into. We center the wisdom of those closest to the challenge. It accepts responsibility in sharing challenging insights to advance excellence and equity.
- ERS also collaborates in and across teams to maximize impact. It organizes to optimize our time and create inclusive spaces that honor their diverse knowledge, skills, perspectives, and lived experiences to ensure that together, ERS believes they are greater than the sum of their own parts.
- ERS engages with each other as “people first,” valuing each other’s contributions, identities, and lived experiences in service of our mission. It prioritizes work-life balance and flexibility as foundational to sustaining their energy and maximizing their collective impact.
- ERS learns from every experience. It organizes to capture and share our learning with each other and our partners in the field, and also invest in practices and relationships that enable them to approach their work with curiosity and openness to new understanding, approaches, and feedback.
ERS Engagements and Impact
As part of the business of analyzing the things to know about Education Resource Strategies, we have to make you understand that ERS has three tiers of engagement: Partnerships, DIY Tools and Research, and Workshops.
Partnerships with districts and states
- 5% -10% of district budgets identified for savings or reallocation from Strategic Resource Map projects. In these districts, this translated to $30M and $70+ million. After a resource map, 70% of ERS partners in the past three years have renewed the engagement to focus deeply in a specific area.
- Increased equity and support for principal autonomy. In Cleveland, for example, we helped design and implement a student-based budgeting model where dollars are allocated based on student enrollment and need. School leaders control 71% of their school budgets, vs. 2% previously, and have significantly more flexibility in how they use their resources.
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- New “smart” schedules. In Oakland, for example, our analysis revealed in 2015 that half of the district’s high schools had schedules that prevented a typical student from taking the courses needed to graduate on time. We supported OUSD in changing the master schedule so that every student in Oakland today can access the courses required for graduation.
- Data and analysis to advocate for crucial support. In Baltimore, for example, our work was instrumental in making the case in 2017 for a city and state deal that infused $180 million of funding over three years to offset the district’s significant budget gap and enable the district to make strategic investments.
DIY Tools and Research
- Research Briefs to build understanding
Their applied research efforts result in publications that impact for the field with more than 10,000 copies downloaded every year.
- Influencing the national conversation
They publish regularly in national outlets such as Education Week, Kappan, Educational Leadership and School Administrator.
- ERS Accounts support district work
Hundreds of ERS account users return repeatedly to use their online tools such as Budget Hold’em or our Professional Learning tool. For example, in Marysville, Michigan, the superintendent used Resource Check, their web-based tool that allows groups to rate district practice across transformational strategies and analyzes responses to show areas for improvement to publish his strategic plan.
- Annual summits for district teams in School Design and Budgeting
The 2017 School Design Summit hosted 50 people representing 6 cross-functional district teams to identify actions to scale strategic school design for every school in the district.
- Districts leaders work with ERS to redesign compensation
In Tennessee, for example, ERS held workshops for 32 districts to help redesign their teacher compensation systems to incorporate teacher performance. Now, 83% of these districts offer differentiated roles and pay for their teachers.
- Districts leaders work with ERS to redesign school support
In Philadelphia, after ERS two-day budget partner retreat focused on the link between strategy and budgeting, the budget office updated their school budgeting tool to emphasize the connection between spending and academic achievement.