The Alliance Schools Initiative grew out of relationships between member institutions in the local Texas Industrial Areas Foundation organizations and the public schools in their neighborhoods. The Texas Network took relational organizing principles into low income communities to engage parents and community in the transformation of their schools to improve student achievement. Texas Industrial Areas Foundation Network leaders built on the success of the Alliance Schools strategy to create the Investment Capital Fund, a $9 million competitive state grant to support school restructuring in collaboration with community organizations.
This model of school organizing has been replicated by other West and Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation organizations, and has been widely recognized by both the public and private sector as a successful strategy for community engagement and student achievement. Most recently, a study by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University credits Austin Interfaith's work with area Alliance Schools for increasing student achievement on standardized tests by an average of 15-19%, as well as for improving professional culture and parent involvement at the campuses. In fact, the Annenberg study found that Austin Interfaith's work with the schools benefited not only those particular campuses, but resulted in substantial new resources for all high poverty, low-performing schools in the district.
Organized Communities, Stronger Schools: A Preview of Research Findings, Annenberg Institute (May 2009).
In the Words of Executive Director Ernesto Cortes, Jr.:
Plenary speech on "Community Organizing, Democracy and Education" at 'Match on Dry Grass' Conference at Harvard University (2012). Part 1, Part 2
Metis and the Metrics of Success I Used to Thinkâ€¦And Now I Thinkâ€¦ Edited by Richard Elmore. Cambridge: Harvard Education Press (2011).
Quality Education as a Civil Right: Reflections Quality Education as a Constitutional Right: Creating a Grassroots Movement to Transform Public Schools. Edited by Theresa Perry, Robert Moses, Joan Wynne, Ernesto Cortes, Jr. and Lisa Delpit. Boston: Beacon Press (2011).
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