At Work At School

An Afton Partners Blog

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Planning for “Re-Entry”: What public school systems can learn from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

This is truly a unique and unprecedented time for society. For us, the two of us in our respective roles in public education, it’s eerily similar to the days and weeks in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. While the scale and expansiveness of COVID-19 is different than Hurricane Katrina, we find some uncomfortable similarities in the immediate situation… there are scarce resources and no playbook, and we have an urgent, moral imperative to provide for students and their families. Beyond the immediate similarities, there are some lessons from the “re-entry to school” in New Orleans that we share below that we hope are useful for school systems now as they are planning to one day “re-open”. Continued

Afton’s Charter Management Organization Cash Planning Best Practices In Response to COVID-19

Amid the uncertainty brought about by the Coronavirus, Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) are faced with many daunting challenges, and at Afton Partners we understand that the most pressing challenges involve ensuring the safety of employees and students while continuing to provide quality education. And the broader impact of the virus will include financial challenges and… Continued

Getting the Most Bang for the Education Buck

At a recent conference hosted by AEI and the Fordham Institute, experts, including Afton’s Scott Milam, gathered to share their thoughts on how to “Get the Most Bang for the Education Buck”. Through three panel discussions, the experts unpacked topics such as the “why” behind funding and budget challenges, how to stretch the school dollar,… Continued

Finance for Equity & Outcomes: Afton’s Discussion with the Broad Academy Fellows

In September 2019, Afton’s Carrie Stewart and Katie Reed had the opportunity to discuss resource allocation as a lever for equity and driving student outcomes with fellows in the Broad Academy and their finance leads through The Broad Center. This group of highly motivated, accomplished education sector professionals are driving excellence and equity on a daily… 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

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

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