Strategic Grant-Making & Impact Investment

4 copy.png

Content Area Analysis & Expertise

NewSchools Venture Fund Summit 2015 Content Development »

Client: NewSchools Venture Fund

“We absolutely loved working with CA Group on our annual conference! We turned to Cat and her team to provide extra capacity developing content and project management support. CA Group went over and above throughout the entire project – quality was always at the forefront, they were great communicators, and helped keep the work driving forward. Their deep expertise in education reform, broad network and understanding of the key players in the space were invaluable for content creation.” -Jessica Henry, Senior Analyst, NewSchools Venture Fund

The Challenge

NewSchools Venture Fund (NSVF) is a nonprofit that raises philanthropic capital to invest in education entrepreneurs transforming public education. Since 1999, NSVF has held an annual NewSchools Summit, an invitation-only convening of a broad community of partners working to reinvent public education. In 2015, NSVF anticipated approximately 1,000 attendees at the Summit; an event of that size and of such an ambitious scope requires considerable time and energy to coordinate, and CA Group was brought in to seamlessly integrate with the NSVF team to bring the event to life.

Our Solution

CA Group served to expand NVSF internal team capacity by providing critical research support and contributing key education reform subject matter expertise to lay the groundwork for efficient planning for the event. Reflecting lessons learned from research on past Summits and incorporating the newly refined strategic vision of the NSVF team, CA Group supported all aspects of event planning, logistics, and coordination, including:

  • Pre-event operational and logistical support;

  • Designing, planning, and confirming Main Day breakout sessions;

  • Coordinating logistics with keynote speakers;

  • Designing, planning, and confirming Community of Practice Day breakout sessions;

  • Supporting the education technology showcase; and

  • Providing on-site coordination support during the Summit, including room set-up, logistics troubleshooting, and ensuring events ran to schedule.

Outcomes

NSVF Summit 2015 was held May 5-6, 2015 in San Francisco, with over 950 attendees representing 578 organizations in attendance. The event featured a wide range of education innovation thought leaders, who raised key topics and presented intriguing perspectives in education reform. For more information, visit the Summit 2015 website, or view videos captured at Summit on the NSVF Vimeo page.

Partner

  • Blueprint Education Consulting

CA Group Team Members & Collaborators

  • Cat Alexander
  • Kristen Buri
  • Bebe Ryan
  • Kirsten McKone
  • Denise Wesalainen

State-Level Personalized Learning Landscape Analysis »

Client: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Challenge

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is committed to creating a future in which at least 80 percent of students complete their K-12 education prepared to succeed in college, and the foundation views personalized learning as a key lever in accomplishing its goal. While currently active in supporting the organizations leading the way in personalized learning, the foundation was also interested in discovering and learning more about organizations, teams, and individuals with whom they were unfamiliar, in order to inform future investment opportunities.

Our Solution

In partnership with Nina Lopez, CA Group conducted analyses of personalized learning in four states: California, Colorado, Florida and Tennessee. First, CA Group explored the current status of personalized learning efforts in the largest and most influential districts and charter networks in each state. In addition, CA Group identified other notable innovative practices, promising opportunities, and general trends in personalized learning and competency-based initiatives.

Concurrently, CA Group identified effective, local technical assistance providers and teacher networks involved in similar initiatives in each state. CA Group also noted key organizations and individuals advocating for progress in innovative education and designing policy in support of personalized learning. Finally, CA Group synthesized the philanthropic and business community’s focus on and involvement with these initiatives in the state, and identified notable local thought leaders on programmatic and policy issues.

Outcomes

In addition to informing internal strategy, this work led to the creation of a state-level database describing instances of personalized learning in critical areas of the K-12 ecosystem, including schools, advocacy, policy, technical assistance providers, and local funders. Additionally, CA Group created state-level strategic presentations synthesizing research findings and making investment recommendations.

Collaborators

Nina Lopez Consulting

CA Group Team Members

  • Cat Alexander
  • Bebe Ryan
  • Becca Bunn
  • Kristen Buri

Personalized Learning Working Definition »

Client: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Challenge

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aims to support innovation that can improve U.S. K-12 public schools and ensure that students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college. To accomplish such a dramatic increase in college readiness, particularly among low-income and minority students, the foundation believes that personalized learning must be the norm for all students in all content areas. While innovative education organizations are iterating on cutting-edge ideas across the country, the Gates Foundation realized that the sector lacked a coherent and consistent definition of personalized learning.

Our Solution

The Gates Foundation brought in CA Group to shepherd the process of developing a Personalized Learning Working Definition in conjunction with schools implementing personalized learning and other thought partners across the country. To inform the foundation’s process, CA Group hosted two operator workshops with schools and other education organizations in the personalized learning space and conducted workshop calls with other thought partners, such as CSGF and Silicon Schools. Additionally, CA Group pressure-tested the working definition through a set of tools to determine how well the definition mapped to schools currently utilizing aspects of personalized learning.

During the development of the Personalized Learning Working Definition, a “Community of Innovative Practice” (CIP) formed, comprised of some of the most innovative organizations in personalized learning. This CIP meets biannually for a two-day convening, and the Personalized Learning Working Definition continues to drive the conversation about personalized learning and the development of tools and resources aimed at supporting schools in making the transition to personalized learning in their classrooms.

Outcomes

The Personalized Learning Working Definition continues to evolve based on school, thought partner, and research feedback. It has been featured in Gates Foundation Next Generation Learning Challenge materials, research documents, and articles including:

Collaborators

  • Blueprint Education Consulting
  • gravitytank

CA Group Team Members

Cat Alexander