This article is part of a Bridgespan Group research project that focuses on exploring the design features of “Innovation Zones” around the country including efforts in Springfield and in Denver where Empower served as a design and launch partner.
An excerpt from the report:
The Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership, formed in 2014, demonstrates a collaborative approach to turning around lowperforming schools. The state, the Springfield Public Schools (SPS), and the teachers union formed a voluntary partnership that aims to dramatically improve outcomes in a cluster of the district’s middle schools.
The partners designed the zone with sustainability and accountability in mind. Schools have guaranteed autonomy and a renewable contract with the school district that creates a sustainable funding plan and sets clear accountability goals. As SPS Superintendent Daniel Warwick explained: “What we were doing before was not working for these schools and we needed try something different. We wanted schools to have flexibility and accountability but we needed to do it in partnership with the state, union, and community. And we did.”
Read the full report from Bridgespan here.