120 leaders assembled with 11 of 16 Albuquerque Public School board candidates for a civic academy on Alliance Schools, small group conversations and pointed questions to the candidates about supporting the development of Alliance Schools in the district. To the person, each of the participating candidates pledged to directly support Alliance Schools and to help build support with the Superintendent.Read more
Their volunteers then went door-to-door, garnering support and hosting school meetings to find out what parents and teachers wanted in a school. They reached 90 percent of the school's households and got 99 percent support from parents and 97 percent support from staff...."Read more
'It's a real democratic process that empowers the parents, empowers the teachers, empowers the students,' said Britt Adams, a special education teacher at the school."Read more
"Travis Heights is looking to partner with Education Austin and Austin Interfaith to start an in-district charter model allowing the school to have more autonomy. The school would focus on curriculum with its dual-language program, service learning model and a piloted blended learning program that incorporates digital media, Carstarphen said. 'They're not asking for more money; they're asking for more flexibility....'"Read more
The Alliance Schools Initiative grew out of relationships between member institutions in the local Texas IAF 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 IAF 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 IAF 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.
Independent Studies:Organized Communities, Stronger Schools: Impact of Community and Youth Organizing on Public School Reform, Annenberg Institute (May 2009).
In the Words of Executive Director Ernesto Cortes, Jr.:
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).
Click here for further reading on W/SWIAF school strategies