College? YES! Initiative hits Springfield, MA

Mayor Dominick Sarno (above) addresses a large crowd of students, educators, parents, community and business leaders at the launch of the College? Yes! initiative in Springfield MA.

College? YES! is a city-wide effort to inspire and support higher education aspirations for Springfield families so that attending and graduating college becomes a realistic and attainable goal for all students and adults. A weekend of activities kicked off the effort – starting with a City hall Rally that drew over 300 attendees – continuing with age and stage appropriate programming in schools, after school programs, community based and faith based organizations, with a rolling rally across the city on Saturday a highlight of activity.

School & Main institute was the planning facilitator with the schools and community to develop the College? Yes! model and as you can see by the smiling faces below – there is great promise in the work ahead.



Secretary Paul Reville speaks at Wraparound Zone's Leadership & Learning Exchange

 On October 1, nearly 100 leaders in the MA DESE Wraparound Zone initiative came together in Worcester to discuss utilizing district “systems of support” to grow wraparound zone strategies over the next two years.   Andy Beck (from SMI) and Rebecca Shor from the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education opened the meeting with a focus on how wraparound zone ideas and efforts can integrated into the way schools do businesses. They were joined by Secretary of Education, Paul Reville, who spoke to the critical need to address the social/emotional needs our students have if we hope to ensure that all of our children reach proficiency and are prepared for the 21st century workforce. Educators and community partners from around the state  shared what success in WAZ could look like and how leadership can support district systems this year and next.  There were seven district presentations, which focused on a particular "district system" emerging locally. Go to for more information about wraparound zone efforts in MA.


College? Yes! City organizes campaign to promote higher education

On October 26‐28, people across the city of Springfield will be sporting their college t-shirts and sweatshirts everywhere they go - at school, church, work, recreational events - as a way to promote higher education and talk about their college experiences with young they got into college, what they studied (or wished they had!), and what it was like. It's all part of the College? Yes! campaign which also includes college information and readiness sessions for parents and students. SMI is facilitating the team leading the campaign.


Westerly Parent Academy launches September 2012

On September 15th, the community of Westerly, Rhode Island, gathered to officially launch the Westerly Parent Academy - the first academy of its kind in the state of Rhode Island. Read the Westerly Sun article about the event. School & Main Institute has been working with Westerly partners over the past year to develop the academy and its curriculum using SMI's unique collaborative "community as the campus" approach. Learn more about the SMI Parent Academy approach. 

Read this editorial, Showing Kids We're all Students, in the Westerly Sun.



Schools for the Future selected as Next Generation Wave III awardee

We're thrilled that Schools for the Future (SFF), a special incubator project of SMI, has been selected as a Next Generation Learning Wave III awardee! Read more about the NextGen award in the press release. Schools for the Future is a highly innovative school model for "far off track" students. Our longtime colleague Ephraim Weisstein, nationally known for his work in the area of competency-based education, is heading up this exciting initiative. The new SFF Detroit school opens its doors in September 2012. SFF is also an Investing in Innovation (i3) finalist...the application is in and we have our fingers crossed. Visit the SFF website to learn more about the project. To learn more about competency-based education, visit Competency Works.

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In a Nutshell

Founded in 1985 at Brandeis University’s Heller School of Social Policy and Management, School & Main Institute (SMI) has grown into a nationally recognized, independent non-profit training and partnership development organization that has worked with organizations and state agencies in more than 35 states.


School & Main Institute staff and faculty have years of expertise as organizational leaders, program developers, trainers, and facilitators in the fields of education, workforce preparation, youth and community development.

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