Milestones

1992- 93

  • Julien Phillips, a former McKinsey & Company partner, leads a team including Rhodes Scholar Kim Grose that authors the Commission on National and Community Service’s first report to Congress, “’What You Can Do for Your Country.”

1993- 94

  • Julien Phillips and Kim Grose create what they hope will become a model AmeriCorps program devoted to helping public schools in low-income communities deliver on the promise of equal opportunity for all. They establish Partners in School Innovation (initially called Innovation Partners in Schools) to demonstrate that capable and committed young AmeriCorps Members can provide support to schools that results in positive long-term change.
  • Partners in School Innovation holds an initial orientation and training of the first nine Partners (Aug. ‘93), and embarks on a long and essential journey to eliminate the achievement gap. The organization’s Partners commit to two years of service and are paid a yearly stipend of $15,000.

1994- 95

  • Partners in School Innovation is selected as one of the first AmeriCorps programs in California and awarded a minimum of $100,000 for training expenses and AmeriCorps living allowances. We expand from our original three partner schools (Hawthorne Year-Round Elementary School in Oakland, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Middle School in San Francisco, and Turnbull Elementary Learning Academy in San Mateo) to eight partner schools, and from nine to 21 AmeriCorps Members.

1995- 96

  • At its Annual Assembly (May ’96), the Bay Area School Reform Collaborative (BASRC) recognizes Partners in School Innovation as its Outstanding Support Provider of the Year.

1996- 97

  • We adopt BASRC’s Cycle of Inquiry among other tools, and over the next few years develop it into our distinctive Results-Oriented Cycle of Inquiry (ROCI).

2000- 01

  • Our work lays the foundation for extending our service to San Jose and Silicon Valley.
  • We develop a new business plan for Partners in School Innovation that calls for greater and more systematic applied R&D over the next three years than we have previously engaged.

2001- 02

  • Partners takes key steps to becoming a full Bay Area reform organization by partnering with two schools in the Oak Grove District (San Jose) and choosing a third in San Jose Unified School District for partnership in 2002-03.

2002- 03

  • We launch our first-ever district-level work, which is a partnership with San Francisco Unified School District, where we co-design and lead their Instructional Reform Facilitators network. This work plants the seed for the integral role that networks later play within the broader district support strategies that Partners employs.

2004- 05

  • Working to strengthen our continuous improvement approach by increasing emphasis on teacher collaboration, data-driven instruction and results-oriented leadership, our team completes a new Resource Guide (Oct. ‘04). This handbook offers over 200 pages of research- and experience-based content describing how to improve low-performing schools and gives guidance for hands-on implementation of the continuous improvement approach. It forms the basis for training staff and AmeriCorps Partners and is referenced across all partner schools.

2005- 06

  • We transition from being an AmeriCorps program, leveraging the talent and commitment of recent college graduates, and launch a two-year School Improvement Fellowship (SIF) program, in which experienced teachers work intensively in our schools as our front-line change agents. These Fellows are later called School Improvement Partners, or SIPs.

2008- 09

  • Partners releases the School Transformation Framework and Rubric, tools that specify research-based best practices in instruction, teacher professional learning and leadership. These provide a roadmap for the work that school leaders and teachers undertake to improve their instructional programs continuously. This framework is based on a careful analysis of the most successful schools, making sure to ground and frame the experiential knowledge of Partners’ staff in the most up-to-date research on effective teaching and leadership practices.

2009- 10

  • Although initiated in 2008, Partners begins to standardize its school transformation approach through a Field Guide, doing so in order to strengthen the consistency of its impact across partner schools.
  • Partners establishes a Performance Management System and prepares the first annual Evidence of Impact Report.
  • Leveraging the role and new home base of a Partners’ alumna (formerly a District Partnership Director), we initiate an engagement in Chicago, which is our first work beyond California. Later, in 2010-11, Partners will work with the Chicago Public Schools Area 9 leaders and coaches through a series of professional development sessions.

2010- 11

  • Having recognized a clear need, in 2010 we decide to adapt and pilot our transformation approach in middle schools, arguably an urban school district’s greatest challenge.

2011- 12

  • The W.K. Kellogg Foundation awards Partners in School Innovation $1.7 million over 30 months to bring the organization’s proven school transformation model to Michigan, first in Battle Creek. With this grant, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation becomes Partners’ anchor investor for scaling impact nationally.

2012- 13

  • Partners celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2013 and launched onto the national stage of education reform with its first gala event in San Francisco. Themed “Celebrating Impact-Transforming Futures,” the event brought 260 guests together and raised more than $125,000 to support better student achievement outcomes in support of Partners’ mission.
  • The organization also continued to scale its impact nationally, moving beyond its work in Battle Creek, MI to Grand Rapids and beginning work in the Mississippi Delta through a generous grant by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This grant helped support improved educational and learning outcomes for vulnerable children at elementary and middle schools in Indianola and Sunflower County school districts.
  • Partners implemented its District Transformation Review (DTR) in three districts including Alum Rock and Franklin-McKinley in East San Jose and Battle Creek in Michigan.

2013- 14

  • Work to transition schools to the Common Core State Standards deepened across all Partners’ districts. Staff worked in intensive partnerships in San Francisco Unified, Alum Rock Union Elementary School District, Franklin-McKinley School District, Battle Creek Public Schools and Grand Rapids Public Schools.
  • The Kellogg Foundation supported an additional discrete engagement in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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  • Upcoming Events

    1. Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS) – First Day of School

      September 2 @ 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
    2. Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) – First Day of School

      September 2 @ 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
    3. Common Ground for Practice & Research: Targeted Improvement Initiatives Conference

      September 4 @ 8:00 am - September 6 @ 5:00 pm
  • The Partners working at my school have been the most significant catalyst in my professional growth this year in my developing leadership role in a turnaround school. They give me feedback in a way that is direct and honest yet truly motivating, always guiding me towards self-propelled improvement. In every situation they demonstrate tenacious dedication to students and an unwavering commitment to the success of the entire school community. They are incredible models of the simultaneous patience and persistence required to successfully navigate the often-times choppy and unpredictable waters of transformational school reform.

    I'm consistently amazed and thankful for the opportunity to learn from their patience, sincerity, integrity and humility. Thank you, Partners!


    Megan Williams, Instructional Reform Facilitator at Paul Revere College Preparatory K-8 School, SFUSD