Innovative Models & Programs

Since our inception in 2011, Afton has been the national thought leader in financial planning for education innovation. Afton works with Districts, Charter networks, State Education Agencies, funders, and other stakeholders to deeply understand how innovative education models and strategies can be developed and implemented in a financially sustainable way. Our approach promotes a partnership between academic and financial leaders at both the school and system levels to understand the key design elements of a successful model, quantify the resources required, identify realistic funding alternatives, and embed innovative approaches in financial policies and systems. The intent of this work is to support lasting, meaningful change for all students.

Areas of Expertise

Innovative Models & Programs

Policy development

Current financial policies and their resulting structures, systems, and processes can inhibit, and possibly discourage, scaling meaningful changes to pedagogy. Policies regarding funding, school autonomies, procurement, and financial reporting, among others, should be developed to support innovation, rather than suppress it. Our years of work in innovative education models coupled with our expertise in financial policies makes Afton uniquely qualified to support smart policy change.

Funding systems and mechanisms

As educational models evolve, funding mechanisms must change as well. Afton supports States, Districts and other policy makers in understanding the impact of funding education based on student outcomes, such as competency or completion based funding, rather than static, input-based structures such as seat-time and staffing.

Impact studies and cost analyses

Afton works with academic and financial leaders to develop detailed cost analyses and impact studies to shape future policy and direction. We work alongside teachers, principals, and others closest to students to understand, document, and quantify resources needed to implement key design elements, as well as identify opportunities to improve effectiveness and efficiency. Through this work, we aim to make recommendations for systemic improvement with an eye toward long-term sustainability.

Funder guidance and applicant support

Afton has significant experience supporting public and private grant program funders that seek to make large-scale change. We provide support in development of application requirements, applicant coaching, and evaluation of applicant submissions. Our goal is to ensure that investments will benefit students for years to come, outliving the initial infusion of resources. Afton is also available to assist grant or authorization applicants in development of strategic sustainability plans often required for applications.

Cohort trainings & facilitation

Afton has facilitated dozens of large and small group in-person and virtual convening and webinars to support innovative school models. Sessions typically include sharing of key concepts and lessons learned along with hands-on, immersive learning experiences. Our intent is to deeply engage, and leave education leaders with tools, practices and strategies to financially support innovative school models in the long-term.