The Best of Both Worlds: Boundary Spanners & Co-location

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Monday, August 31, 2015

The Best of Both Worlds: Boundary Spanners & Co-location

CRPE has produced two new reports on district-charter collaboration.

District-Charter Sector Boundary Spanners
A growing number of districts are moving away from the idea that charter schools are the enemy. Instead, districts are breaking down barriers and openly discussing how to share resources, responsibilities, and knowledge of what works. This report explores a lesser-known form of knowledge transfer: superintendents looking beyond the usual candidate pool and hiring administrators who have seen strong successes in the charter sector. Through interviews with superintendents, the “boundary spanners” they hire, and their co-workers, we explore one creative and efficient way to bring innovation into traditional districts and bridge the divide between sectors.

Can District-Charter Co-Location Be a Win-Win?
What happens when district and charter leaders approach co-location as a tool to promote school improvement, rather than simply a real estate deal? Based on fieldwork in four improvement-focused co-locations, this report shows that, even with strong district and charter leadership, teachers can struggle to understand the goals of improvement-focused co-locations. Cross-pollination around school culture can be a productive starting point, but collaboration on instruction is much harder to achieve. With considerable effort and resources, district and charter schools can peacefully coexist, but using co-location for school improvement is a daunting task whose full costs and benefits are, to date, still uncertain.

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