September 30 – October 1
Union League Club – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Co-hosted by Delaware Valley Grantmakers
and Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust (CEE-Trust)
How can a philanthropist increase the number of great K-12 options in their city? Donors from across the country examined the most promising strategies to grow what works in all of a city’s schools—charter, district, and Catholic/private—and explored the challenges and benefits of a city-based, multi-school sector strategy. How can donors increase a city’s total number of high-quality K-12 seats, regardless of the school sector(s) they fund? We discussed investments that hold the promise of improving multiple types of schools and learned how donors are uniquely positioned to accelerate city-wide student achievement.
Monday, September 30
10:00 a.m. Registration open
12:00 p.m. Site Visits*
Mercy Vocational High School
A twist on the rigorous academic program and strong moral preparation Catholic schools are known for, Mercy Vocational provides all students with extensive, hands-on training in culinary arts, carpentry, nursing, and other gainful professions. The only Catholic co-ed vocational school in the country, Mercy is helping students develop skills that will serve them after graduation, regardless of whether they immediately enter the workforce or pursue a post-secondary degree.
Mastery Charter Grover Cleveland Elementary
The nationally-recognized, 15-school Mastery Charter School Network has earned a reputation for dramatically improving achievement in some of the city’s lowest-performing schools through an intensive “turnaround” process. Grover Cleveland Elementary, an open-enrollment neighborhood school, is now in its second year under Mastery management. Learn how Mastery’s turnaround process has affected the school, what makes this turnaround model so successful, and how philanthropists can transform the lowest performing schools in their cities.
Experts from Philly’s ambitious cross-sector investment effort, the Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP), lead donors through a special discussion of investment strategies targeted at expanding great schools, including district, charter, and private/Catholic. During these small group discussions, PSP opened their investment playbook to teach attendees how their team evaluates school growth investments, monitors and supports the progress of schools in their portfolio, and spearheads a citywide effort to ensure quality educational options in every neighborhood..
*Roundtrip transportation will be provided from the Union League Club
4:15 p.m. Special Session (optional)**:
Not Business As Usual: How Executives are leading Catholic School Reform
Recently, several cities have begun implementing groundbreaking governance arrangements that allow independent management, and in some cases ownership, of a diocese’s Catholic schools. Prominent business leaders from these cities explored the role of lay leadership and philanthropy in developing innovative new Catholic school models that promise substantive reform and offer the possibility of economically sustainable Catholic schools.
- Fr. Brendan McGuire, vicar general, Diocese of San Jose
- Ed Hanway, chairman, Faith in the Future Foundation
- John Kaneb, chairman of the board of directors and CEO, HP Hood
- Darla Romfo, president, Children’s Scholarship Fund (moderator)
** This was a joint session with the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management (NLRCM).
6:00 p.m. Opening Reception
Tuesday, October 1
8:00 a.m. Breakfast Roundtable Discussions
Attendees had the option of joining one of the following informal conversations during breakfast.
Developing blended learning entrepreneurs in every city
- Andy Calkins, deputy director, Next Generation Learning Challenges
Helping children from high-poverty, high-stress homes thrive at school
- Pam Cantor, president and CEO, Turnaround for Children
Compete with free? Framing the value of urban Catholic schools
- Casey Carter, CEO, Faith in the Future Foundation
Dispatches from Pennsylvania: Creating a policy landscape for better educational option
- Jonathan Cetel, executive director, PennCAN
Can third-party operators faithfully manage Catholic schools?
- Jack Donnelly, founder, Donnelly Foundation
How can excellent early literacy programs reach students in all schools?
- Kelly Hunter, executive director, Children’s Literacy Initiative
Strengthening charter school governance and building better school boards
- Carrie Irvin, president, Charter Board Partners
Facilities strategies to support rapid charter school growth
- Matthew Randazzo, president and CEO, Choose to Succeed
What we’ve learned: Lessons from the Gates Foundation’s District-Charter Compacts
- Adam Tucker, senior program officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
9:00 a.m. Welcome:
- Adam Meyerson, president, The Philanthropy Roundtable
Ethan Gray, executive director, Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust (CEE-Trust)
Opening address: Growing what works in Washington, D.C.
Katherine Bradley, president, CityBridge Foundation
All of the above: How donors can expand a city’s great schools
How can philanthropists from around the nation dramatically expand the number of excellent school options in their cities? While this question is not new, a number of the strategies in pursuit of high- quality growth are. Donors in Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C. and elsewhere are asking: Can philanthropists help coordinate and spearhead a sustained citywide effort to expand the highest-performing K-12 options in all school sectors, including district, charter and Catholic/private? Four seasoned education funders explored the most promising strategies for increasing the number of high-quality school seats in a city, discussed investments that can drive across-the-board quality improvements, and examined how complex, lengthy reform efforts involving numerous partners and allies could endure and thrive in cities of all stripes.
- Katherine Bradley, president, CityBridge Foundation
- Katie Everett, executive director, Lynch Foundation
- Jeremy Nowak, president, J. Nowak and Associates
- Joe Siedlecki, program and policy officer, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (moderator)
10:45 a.m. Strategic Interactive Discussions
These strategic discussions were in-depth, Socratic-style conversations that focused on philanthropic leadership of a key area for improving citywide K-12 performance. Each discussion topic also fit within a broader strategy of “harbormastering” K-12 reform, in which a central organization helps coordinate many different investments and actors around a central mission to move a city forward.
How do we build stronger teacher and leader pipelines in a city?
- Layla Avila, executive vice president, TNTP
- Lisa Daggs, chief program officer, Doris and Donald Fisher Fund
How can blended learning play an important role in citywide K-12 reform?
- Carrie Douglass, deputy director, CEE-Trust
- Greg Klein, director of blended learning, Rogers Family Foundation
How can we incubate new schools and attract top school networks to bolster citywide K-12 quality?
- Ken Bubp, executive vice president, The Mind Trust
- Maura Marino, principal, NewSchools Venture Fund
How can we foster public demand for citywide K-12 reform?
- Tonya Allen, CEO, The Skillman Foundation
- Brian Rogers, executive director, Rogers Family Foundation
How can “harbormaster” philanthropists skillfully lead citywide reform efforts?
- Ethan Gray, executive director, Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust (CEE-Trust)
- Mieka Wick, executive director, CityBridge Foundation
How can we strengthen school choice across an entire city?
- Fawzia Ahmed, senior program officer, Walton Family Foundation
- Mark Gleason, executive director, Philadelphia School Partnership
12:30 p.m. Lunch
1:00 p.m. Bold Thinking, Broad Impact: Four Big Ideas for Citywide K-12 Reform
- Debra Kahn, executive director, Delaware Valley Grantmakers
The most effective “harbormaster” philanthropists don’t just focus on the ideas and organizations currently at work—they find and develop some of the most promising new ones. Learn about the ambitious ideas that four talented education reformers are developing and implementing and how these new ideas for education reform have the potential to transform a city’s educational options and quality:
Amy Hertel, director of education, Minneapolis Foundation
Mapping a city’s education organizations to uncover new leverage points for K-12 investments
Marc Holley, evaluation unit director, Walton Family Foundation
Using value-added school data to better identify top schools and inform investment decisions
Alex Johnston, philanthropic advisor
Building authentic demand for expanded school choice
Andy Smarick, partner, Bellwether Education
Rethinking the urban school district in the age of portfolio management
Mike Petrilli, executive vice president, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation (moderator)
2:15 p.m. Meeting concludes
Union League Club of Philadelphia
140 S Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
This solicitation-free event was open to individual donors, private foundation trustees and staff, and corporate giving staff who annually distribute at least $50,000 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 Anthony Pienta, deputy director of K-12 programs at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (202) 822-8333.