FAQ

General Information

What does Partners in School Innovation do?

Partners in School Innovation (“Partners”) works shoulder-to-shoulder with teachers and leaders to strengthen teaching, learning and achievement in under-performing schools and districts. For more than twenty years, our partnerships have supported capacity building for teachers and leaders so that students from low-income communities achieve school and life success. At the heart of our efforts is our sustainable, adaptable approach to continuous improvement that is both equity-focused and results-oriented.

How did Partners in School Innovation get its start?

In 1993, Julien Phillips, a former Peace Corps volunteer and McKinsey & Co. partner, and Kim Grose Moore, a Rhodes Scholar and social justice advocate, created what they hoped would become a model AmeriCorps program devoted to helping public schools in low-income communities deliver on the promise of equal opportunity for all. They established Partners in School Innovation to demonstrate that capable and committed young college graduates could provide support to schools that resulted in positive long-term change. By bringing their passion and business acumen in facilitating change to education efforts, Kim and Julien set in motion work that is now becoming recognized as a national model for education reform. Watch this 4-part video series taken from a candid conversation between Julien and Kim in 2008 to learn why the organization was created and some founding principles that continue to shape our work today.

Over the years, our partnerships expanded from school-level to district-level with rapidly increasing annual investments from district and funding partners, and we transitioned from being an AmeriCorps program to working with experienced former teachers and educators. Learn more about our history on our 20th Anniversary Timeline.

How can I learn more about Partners in School Innovation?

Our website is the most comprehensive source of information about Partners in School Innovation. It contains descriptions of our programs, staff blog posts, past annual reports and our most recent audited financial statements. You can also sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you are getting all the latest news and information.

How can I get involved?

There are many ways you can support our work. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Share Partners’ posts with your friends and family.
  • Check our Events page for upcoming opportunities to meet our staff and learn more about our approach.
  • Volunteer with Partners. Email us a cover letter and resume describing how you are interested in supporting our mission. A Partners representative will contact you should there be a good match.
  • Make a donation – and, if possible, get your employer to match your donation.
  • If your organization has a foundation or charitable giving program, make an introduction.
  • Help us recruit new staff members.

Program

What is the Partners in School Innovation approach?

We work shoulder-to-shoulder alongside school and district colleagues, typically over a 3-5 year period, at three levels:

  • Classroom: building a strong core instructional program in literacy and English Language Arts to ensure that all students learn at high levels;
  • School: developing the systems and structures that foster teachers’ professional learning, thus enabling all teachers to deliver excellent instruction; and
  • District: strengthening results-oriented leadership so that staff can carry out the daily actions required to be successful in school and district improvement efforts.

Learn more about our Theory of Impact to see how our approach drives student achievement.

What makes the Partners approach unique among other education reform efforts?

Partners provides  a codified, research-based approach to continuous improvement. Developed over 20 years, our approach is data-driven and results-oriented. Our Program Development & Support team stays apprised of current research, continually updating our approach with  current best practices.

Another unique aspect of our approach is the length and intensity of our partnerships. Systemic change requires persistence over time. By working in schools 3.5 out of 5 days per week over a 3-5 year period, Partners provides critical support to ensure transformative change lasts.

Partners in School Innovation has garnered national attention. In 2012 the organization was ranked by Philanthropedia as one of the top Bay Area Education nonprofits by industry experts. Partners has also received a Top Non Profit Award by GreatNonProfits.org in 2013 and a Guidestar Gold distinction. Among other awards, Partners has received the notable distinction of being recognized for its partnership with Applied Materials by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP). This award is among the most distinguished awards in the field of effective corporate societal engagement programs in the world.

What happens after an engagement ends?

Our approach focuses on building school and district capacity to implement and sustain the work. Once our engagement with a partner school or district ends, the leaders and teachers in our schools/districts are fully empowered to continue their transformation journey leveraging the skills, tools and processes we have helped them to develop.

Can I sponsor a particular school or SIP?

You can help finance or raise funds for a particular school or district. You can note this when you make an investment via our Donate Page.

How do you choose the districts and schools in which you work?

Our team takes great care in identifying each partner school. We conduct a needs assessment alongside local school district leaders to select those schools that have the greatest need for our support and are ready to engage in the intense work of school transformation. The most important factors we consider are:

  • History of low performance
  • Large population of students from underserved backgrounds (e.g., African Americans, Latinos, English Learners)
  • Large population of students eligible for free/reduced-price lunch
  • School leaders and teachers who are willing to roll up their sleeves and work alongside us to do the hard work of school transformation

Because we work with public schools, the local school district must approve sites before the partnership begins. Learn more about where we work.

What other districts and schools do you plan to expand into?

In April 2012, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded Partners in School Innovation $1.7 million to bring the organization’s proven school transformation model to Battle Creek, Michigan. Based on demand, Partners swiftly expanded to the nearby Grand Rapids Public Schools district. In addition to discrete engagements in the 2013-14 year in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Mississippi Delta, Partners has now begun a phase of discovery work with the School District of Philadelphia.

Can you start working in my district or school?

Contact Emily Schriber, Director of National Customized Support, for more information about designing an engagement that meets the needs of your district or school.

Can I see your work in action?

Yes! We offer selected opportunities for group Site Visits in each district for our investors and partners. Our site visits typically last 1 to 3 hours and include a chance to meet our program staff. Email Renee White, our Chief Advancement Officer, for more information.

Monitoring & Evaluation

How does Partners monitor and evaluate its programs?

A critical component of our approach and of our success is our commitment to improvement science. We have a committed Performance Team charged with building and managing the systems and metrics required to measure, monitor, improve and report on program effectiveness. Based on our Theory of Impact, this team evaluates program implementation and capacity built in schools and districts as they align with the goal of driving student achievement. Please visit our Impact section to learn how we measure progress towards our goals.

How many children are impacted by your work?

In the 2014-15 school year, we impacted more than 30,000 students. Of these students, 94% were either Latino or African American, 35% were English Learners and 84% were eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

Donations

How can I donate to Partners in School Innovation?

Thank you for investing in Partners! Please visit our Donate page hosted by CommitChange to make a contribution. CommitChange assesses a 1.5% processing fee per transaction. We kindly ask that a check is considered for larger contributions as they incur no processing fee.

Can I donate stock?

Absolutely! To make a stock gift to Partners in School Innovation, please contact donations@partnersinschools.org.

How do we know that our funds are going to the intended projects?

Our Board of Directors provides fiscal and legal oversight to ensure the transparency of our operations. We provide regular reports to funders and frequently share our results via our website and newsletters. Specific project reports are also available upon request.

Finance & Accounting

Where do you get your funding?

Partners in School Innovation has a diverse funding base. In 2014-15, the breakdown of support between sources was as follows: 27% School Districts, 70% Foundations and 3% Individuals. Visit our Financials page to learn more.

How efficiently do you spend the money your investors give to you?

We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and take great pride in our financial efficiency, our accountability to donors, and our transparency. We work to use every dollar contributed as efficiently as possible. During fiscal year 2014-15, Partners in School Innovation spent 77 cents of each dollar on program services.

Careers

Where can I find out about job opportunities at Partners in School Innovation?

You can view a list of current job openings on our Join Our Team page.

Do you offer internship or volunteer opportunities at Partners in School Innovation?

At this time, we are accepting interns or volunteers based on a match between skills and our needs. Please contact us if you are interested in supporting our work.

Does Partners in School Innovation provide sponsorship to candidates without United States work authorization?

We require all candidates to have legal eligibility to work in the United States.