View our resources for: Effective Organizations and Investments

Funder Collaborations – Flourish or Flounder?

Given the complexities of changing education systems, funders regularly collaborate to leverage their influence, channel their funding and mobilize grantees in the same direction. But many well-intentioned collaborations fall short of expectations. So what actions and approaches might lead to...
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New ESSA Tools for District Leaders

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides an important opportunity for district and state leaders to pursue their visions for equity in education. To help them take full advantage of that opportunity, we partnered with the Aspen Institute Education & Society Program,...
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Whatever Happened to All Those New & Better State Tests?

In 2010, 46 states joined together in two different consortia (PARCC and Smarter Balanced) to create higher-quality, next-generation state summative assessments. Though these new tests were highly rated and received significant attention at the time, today only 20 states are...
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Making District Budgeting Easier. . . And Even Fun

Creating a school district budget isn’t easy. Especially in a time when many districts are dealing with limited resources, difficult tradeoffs are inevitable. How can district leaders know which decisions are in the best interest for students? Education Resource Strategies...
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Our GSD List for 2016

Happy New Year from Education First! We hope you had a restful, joyous and peaceful holiday season. Now that the champagne bottles have been recycled, we are focused on what the future holds for students, educators and school systems in...
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Race to the Top: Following Through on What We Started

With the Obama administration’s signature education initiative, Race to the Top, officially concluded, states and districts should resist the temptation to try new reforms and should focus on improving implementation of the initiatives adopted to increase student success and close...
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Planning and Managing Effective Networks

Since its founding in 2008, Education First has helped numerous partners – from funders, to nonprofits, to the Federal Government – establish and facilitate networks of grantees, districts and educators. Effective collaboratives, communities of practice and grantee networks are a...
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Education First Strategic Planning Overview

In any strategic planning project, our task is to help the organization leaders and staff develop a blueprint that will guide their organization for several years. The organization’s ideas, values and activities must be knit together into a coherent strategy....
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