The Bridgespan Group, NewSchools Venture Fund, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have been working individually and collectively with a wide range of school development organizations to increase the number of high-performing centers of learning.
In the process, we have identified two levers that play critically important roles in determining how quickly and consistently successful schools and design models can be replicated. One is the degree of managerial responsibility, support, and control the organization chooses to exercise. The other is related to specificity of school design. Leadership’s choices about each will affect not only how quickly the model can be deployed, but also the human and financial capital required – and ultimately the likelihood of achieving consistent high-quality results.
This paper examines the school development landscape in the context of these levers, with examples of organizations that have chosen different paths with different tradeoffs and outcomes.