Over a decade of building capacity
To improve literacy achievement through whole-system change
The Ball Foundation’s history of supporting education began with two of G. Carl Ball’s passions: respect for the teaching profession and fascination with literacy development. From 2000-2012, Education Initiatives partnered with mid-size urban school districts to build the capacity of educators to increase literacy achievement for every student. We invite you to explore the outcomes of and lessons learned from this work.
On February 29 and March 1, 2012, the foundation brought together representatives from five of its current and former school district partners to share their experience and knowledge about what makes an impact on student learning. The conversations and interviews featured in the videos below came from that meeting.
The video on the left shows excerpts from a World Café conversation process, during which educators from the partner school districts talked about the following question: "In terms of professional learning, instructional leadership, collaboration, and system-wide approaches to change, what would you tell the broader world of education about what makes the biggest impact on learning for every student?" In the video on the right, educators describe a capacity-building approach to improving schools and student outcomes. Such an approach fosters collaborative cultures where teachers and those in roles supporting instruction work together, thereby building what Michael Fullan calls "collective capacity" (opens video of Fullan in new window) for changing education practice and improving student learning.
This report, Lessons Learned: Partnering with Mid-size Urban School Districts (PDF), is based on the work that Education Initiatives conducted during 2001-2012. During that time, the foundation funded partnerships with mid-size urban school districts to improve literacy through systemic capacity building with the school district as the unit of change.
Comparing What We Have to What We Need (PDF) is an addendum to the Lessons Learned report. It describes the conditions of the current system of schooling and compares these to the conditions to make learning the focus of schooling.