At Work At School

An Afton Partners Blog

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The State of Early Childhood Education Funding in America

A growing body of research on the benefits of early childhood education has put public funding for pre-kindergarten (“Pre-K”) in the spotlight across the country. With more total funding and more students served than ever before, it’s an exciting time for Pre-K education in America. Various mechanisms are used to fund Pre-K at the federal,… Continued

Deriving Value from ESSA’s Site-Based Expenditure Reporting

Afton has partnered with the Illinois State Board of Education since Summer 2017 in developing and implementing its plan to meet the site-based expenditure reporting requirement of ESSA. Currently in Illinois, as in most states, public education finances are reported at the local education agency (LEA) / school district level.  With the implementation of ESSA,… Continued

Defining “Principal Autonomy”

School systems we work with here at Afton are increasingly including “autonomy” policies for principals in their strategic plans for academic achievement – meaning giving them more decision making authority. Often, this is in the form of bounded or earned autonomy, wherein principals receive additional decision making authority based on demonstrated readiness. For example, a… Continued

Defining Financial BOLDNESS in Innovative School Plans

School teams around the country are creating and implementing innovative academic models, bringing a personalized approach to student learning. Afton has engaged with hundreds of schools as they build these plans, encouraging innovative financial thinking alongside. In many competitive public and philanthropic grant programs, one of the rubric components that Afton has used is for… Continued

The School System Financial “Playbook”

Afton’s work with public schools around the country has allowed us to surface simple best practices to help school system leaders confidently lead and oversee the fiscal aspects of running a school system. Now, we are sharing what we have learned by developing a diagnostic tool and providing actionable recommendations for each part of the… Continued

2018 iNacol Panel Outcomes – Sustaining a Breakthrough School Model

For the second consecutive year, Afton’s Scott Milam and Katie Morrison-Reed hosted an expert panel on sustaining innovative public-school models.  This panel discussion built upon the discussion from a year prior at iNACOL, as four of the six panelists had previously shared their experiences and thoughts on sustainability on the prior year’s panel. As personalized… Continued

Improving Federal Funds Allocations to LEAs

In 2017, Afton worked with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to improve the agency’s process to allocate Title I Part A funding to its 400+ LEAs, and Afton shared its learning here. Since this initiative, Afton’s team has delved into federal funding allocation processes and identified common challenges in multiple states across over a… Continued

RBL Part 3 – Year 1 Cohort-Level Financial Analysis

This is the third installment of Afton’s blog series, “Lessons Learned from the Raising Blended Learners Initiative in Texas,” where we share our experiences, findings, and thought evolution over the course of the RBL initiative.  A detailed analysis of sources and uses of funds for the first year of the Raising Blended Learners grant program reveals: Sites plan… Continued

RBL Part 2 – Working Together: Supporting Grant Applicant Teams Through the Application Process

This is the second installment of Afton’s blog series, “Lessons Learned from the Raising Blended Learners Initiative in Texas,” where we share our experiences, findings, and thought evolution over the course of the RBL initiative.  After reading this blog, the reader will: Understand the benefit of providing in-person financial workshops to grant applicants Understand how finance involvement in… Continued

RBL Part 1 – Finance and Innovation: The Role of Finance in the Early Stages of Academic Innovation

This is the first installment of Afton’s blog series, “Lessons Learned from the Raising Blended Learners Initiative in Texas,” where we share our experiences, findings, and thought evolution over the course of the RBL initiative.  Engaging Finance early in the development of new school models allows school design teams to: Empower school leaders with financial data to… Continued