The 2014 National Forum on K–12 Philanthropy
The State Room • Boston, Massachusetts
How can philanthropists drive dramatic growth of excellent education organizations and improvement strategies before the decade is up? Join us in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 6-7 as we bring top donors and leading K-12 experts from around the nation together for two days of lively and thought-provoking conversation. In addition to exploring some of the Boston area’s most innovative and effective schools, we’ll delve into the efforts and tactics that are improving K-12 academic performance, the practical and political barriers to progress that philanthropy can effectively address, and how donor-led efforts can increase school quality across cities.
Tuesday, May 6
8:00 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. School Site Visits
Itinerary A: Exploring the Lawrence Public Schools Turnaround
- Stop #1: Unlocking Potential
- Stop #2: Guilmette Elementary School
Discussion and lunch
Itinerary B: How Boston’s Best-in-Class Charters Prepare Their Own Teaching Force
- Stop #1: Edward Brooke Charter School
- Stop #2: Match Education
- Discussion and Lunch
3:00 p.m. Special session
Session #1: Five Developments and Opportunities in Blended Learning
Blended learning – the combination of individualized, adaptive computer-based learning with traditional in-person teaching – is one of the fastest-moving, most dynamic areas of education. As such, the last year has produced a broad wake of changes, providing donors with new opportunities for investment. Regardless of whether you’re a newcomer to blended learning or a virtual guru, join two of the field’s true experts for a discussion of recent developments, current challenges, and key opportunities for philanthropists looking to expand blended learning’s role in education.
- Brian Greenberg, Silicon Schools Fund
Michael Horn, Clayton Christensen Institute
Session #2: The Common Core Debate
As the Common Core moves towards becoming the practiced set of educational standards across 45 states, disagreement continues about the utility, rationale, and likely outcomes of these standards. Proponents argue that Common Core standards will strengthen the international competitiveness of education in America by raising the bar of what schools are expected to teach and students are expected to learn, particularly in math and reading. Critics fear that the Common Core will weaken state and local autonomy in education decision-making, and that its standards are academically weaker than those of high-performing states such as Massachusetts. Two seasoned thinkers with opposing opinions about Common Core discuss how donors should react to these standards and how, in cooperation with or in spite of Common Core, philanthropy can increase student academic achievement.
- Sol Stern, The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
- Jim Stergios, Pioneer Institute
Marina Ballantyne Walne, EduStart (moderator)
4:30 p.m. Evening Plenary Discussion
MBA-Style Case Study: How Boston Built the Nation’s Strongest Charter School Sector
Boston is America’s highest performing charter city, bar none. According to Stanford’s 2013 CREDO study, 83 percent of Boston charter schools led students to significantly more positive learning gains than district school peers in reading and math, and no Boston charter schools suffered lower learning gains than peer schools. We’ll work through an MBA-style case study to explore Boston’s charter sector, including the factors and decisions that allowed the city’s charters to grow with consistently high quality.
- Jim Peyser, NewSchools Venture Fund
Stig Leschly, Match Education
5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Networking Reception
- Jeff Raikes, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Drinks and hors d'oeuvre will be served
Wednesday, May 7
7:45 a.m. Breakfast Roundtable Discussions
Attendees may elect to join a breakfast table discussion focusing on a topic of their choice, or may dine at a table without a preset discussion topic. Discussion leaders include:
- Matthew Greenfield, Rethink Education
- Jesse Solomon, Boston Plan for Excellence
- Beth Anderson, Phoenix Academies
- Ethan Gray, CEE-Trust
- Susan Stevenson, Flamboyan Foundation
- Caleb Dolan, KIPP Massachusetts
- Kristi Kimball, Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation and Brian Greenberg, Silicon Schools Fund
- Jack McCarthy, AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation
- Candice Santomauro, GreatSchools
8:45a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Welcome
- Paul Grogan, The Boston Foundation
Adam Meyerson, The Philanthropy Roundtable
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Opening Plenary Discussion
Focus, Commitment, and Scale: How Savvy Philanthropy is Transforming Education Across Memphis
Hundreds of genuinely excellent schools and programs proliferate in cities and towns around the nation, and dozens of strategies prove effective for dramatically improving educational attainment. How can a disciplined and bold donor take these pockets of excellence to scale in their city before the decade is up? One example of ambitious, effective philanthropic leadership comes from Barbara Hyde, a donor who has played a pivotal role in transforming education in Memphis and throughout Tennessee. We’ll explore lessons applicable to all philanthropists about how Barbara and her fellow donors set the stage for, and are working towards, exponential grow of what works in Memphis.
- Barbara Hyde, Hyde Family Foundations
Marc Sternberg, Walton Family Foundation
10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Experiential Sessions
How are some of America’s best-in-class K-12 organizations driving school improvement and earning excellent results for students? Each of the sessions below will offer opportunities for participants to experience through simulation a discrete component of what makes these organizations highly effective. Donors will select one small group session to participate in, each of which is capped at 25 attendees max.
Session #1: Utilizing data to improve school culture and bolster student achievement
Mora Segal, Achievement Network
Session #2: Recruiting and selecting successful school founders
Linda Brown, Building Excellent Schools
Session #3: The Writing Revolution: Teaching students to think and write analytically
Peg Tyre, Edwin Gould Foundation
Session #4: Vetting district, charter and Catholic schools for citywide growth investments
Mike Wang, Philadelphia School Partnership
Session #5: Opportunities for system-wide reform of teacher preparation [discussion based]
Julie Mikuta, Schusterman Family Foundation
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. General Session: Three Strategies for Lasting School Transformation
Turning failing schools into thriving schools is a herculean task often met with lackluster results. Yet a handful of organizations and individuals are transforming even the poorest performing of schools into academic exemplars. What conditions make this transformation possible, how can donors ensure the greatest probability of successful turnarounds, and can this hard-won progress be sustained over time?
- Scott Given, Unlocking Potential
- Jeff Riley, Lawrence Public Schools
- Josh Biber, Teach for America Massachusetts
Joanna Jacobson, Strategic Grant Partners (moderator)
Alternative Session: Mapping the Gap in Talent
Talent is the scarce resource that may define the success or failure of the growing nationwide effort to empower innovative, accountable, autonomous schools. Yet when philanthropists speak about talent, they often focus solely on teachers and school leaders. What other types of talent are in short supply? There is a real threat of a talent gap in numerous crucial fields including, but not limited to, advocacy, technology, data analytics, instructional coaching, and marketing. What is the expected talent gap over the next 10 years, in which areas will it be most acute, and what steps can philanthropy be taking now to address this problem before it staunches the growth of great schools?
- Kathleen deLaski, deLaski Family Foundation
Jimmy Henderson, EdFuel
12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Closing Luncheon Plenary
Building Strong Political Constituencies for Education Reform
It has become abundantly clear that meaningful reforms to the education system rarely transpire without significant support from parents, powerbrokers, politicians and philanthropists. Building a potent political constituency for these reforms is no small task, but donors are increasingly finding it’s a requisite for lasting change. Journalist and education advocate Campbell Brown will discuss with the dynamic and effectual Eva Moskowitz, as well as the seasoned political strategist Tom Carroll, how donors can help education and community leaders develop strong constituencies for reforms.
- Eva Moskowitz, Success Academy Charter Schools
- Tom Carroll, Foundation for Opportunity in Education
- Campbell Brown, journalist (moderator)
This solicitation-free event is open to those who annually distribute, or intend to distribute in the near future, at least $100,000 in charitable donations. There was no fee to attend. For more information on attendance qualifications, click here.
For additional information about the content of this program, please contact Dan Fishman, director of K-12 programs at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (202) 822-8333.
Family foundations may wish to learn more about the National Center on Family Philanthropy’s national meeting, to be held directly following The Roundtable’s meeting in Boston. More information can be found here.