Moving from a Portfolio of Schools to a Portfolio of Student Opportunities

November 2018

CRPE originated the portfolio strategy as a solution to many of the challenges facing public education. The key pillars of that strategy—a diverse set of learning opportunities for students, choice and agency for parents, autonomy for educators, a commitment to equity, accountability, and continuous improvement, and attention to systemic functions like information and transportation—remain more important than ever. But the lens must shift from schools to students. Policymakers and educators must now focus on developing and sustaining a portfolio of broader student experiences, to create an agile education system designed to innovate, bend, and stretch to meet the needs of every student, including the most complex learners.

This essay offers meaningful yet manageable steps that communities can take now to move in this direction, including:

  • Examining data to identify which students aren’t getting what they need.
  • Inventorying community-based learning opportunities and resources, as well as the extent to which they are accessible to all students and families.
  • Identifying gaps, including needed learning opportunities and supports, as well as early identification and intervention strategies.
  • Examining the infrastructure required for families and students to make informed decisions about learning pathways and access them.
  • Considering funding streams and models that better support each student’s individual needs, including noneducation funding that could help support their learning objectives.
  • Seeking and investing in innovative proposals, particularly those that address complex learning needs with new school designs and teacher training.
  • Breaking through boundaries with cross-sector initiatives such as industry apprenticeships, new pathways, microschools and credentials, and individualized supports.
  • Identifying meaningful metrics, including less extensive “gateway” assessments, more helpful parent information systems, and more intensive supports for schools that need them the most.

Explore other essays in this collection: Thinking Forward: New Ideas for a New Era of Public Education

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