Schools for the Future Launches in Massachusetts


BOSTON, Mass. – Monday, June 22, 2015 – Schools for the Future, a special project of School & Main Institute in Boston, is proud to announce that students in our new school in Detroit posted record gains on their ACT benchmark assessments this year. Students gained an average of 2.5 years across all four tested subjects – including a remarkable 5.6 year gain on English Language Arts. As a means of comparison, these impressive jumps in ACT benchmark assessment growth for SFF students break longstanding records held by the top charter systems in America.  Read more.
Schools for the Future is now launching in Massachusetts and is interested in working with districts looking for more systemic strategies for serving overage, undercredited students using a performance-based advancement approach that spans traditional grades 7-12. SFF/SMI is an approved MA ESE turnaround operator. 



5 Years of Success with MassGrad!



On May 6th, 2015, School & Main Institute came together with MassGrad to celebrate 5 years of success. In Massachusetts, we reduced the annual dropout number by over 3,700 students (cutting the number in half) compared to 5 years ago. And we increased the number of students graduating by nearly 4%. That's big news! The MassGrad Showcase highlighted the great work done across the Commonwealth over the last five years to dramatically decrease dropout rates and increase graduation rates. The Showcase presented a variety of strategies , from grade 8/9 transition approaches, alternative pathways, graduation coaches, credit recovery, community partnerships, dropout re-engagement (and much more!) to lessons from district leaders about how to move dropout prevention and re-engagement into the heart of "how we do school." Districts small, medium, and large made big progress.


School & Main Institute has been the technical assistance provider for MassGrad and have been a proud partner with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and over 30 communities across  Massachusetts in this effort.



Fall River Parent Academy



School & Main Institute is pleased to announce that it will work with leadership and staff of the Fall River Public Schools and community partners to design, plan and ultimately develop the Fall River Parent Academy.  On March 26, 2015 SMI facilitated a community forum for the Fall River Parent Academy, with over 90 educational professionals and members of community-based organizations in attendance.

Research tells us that if parents are actively engaged in their children’s education – their children achieve at higher rates. If we provide parents with both the knowledge and experiences that build their capacity to support not only their child’s learning but their own personal growth, they become more invested and intentional in supporting their children in ways that result in improved student achievement and overall school success.

While the Academy’s ultimate goal is to improve children’s academic performance, our vision for Fall River is an Academy that not only provides core classes and workshops for parents to help their children, but also includes classes and workshops that are growth courses for parents to learn new skills and opportunities, and certification opportunities whereby parents can increase potential employment and career development.

Fall River Public Schools will be at the forefront of this effort. School & Main is delighted to engage in this work and look forward to the future with Fall River Public Schools.





We can’t get great learning outcomes and fully address significant achievement gaps without paying attention to the social emotional needs of students and the non-academic barriers they face.

On December 11, 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education kicked off the development of a new Urban Leaders Network on School Culture and Student Support with over 30 participants from around the state. Currently, the Department convenes five “urban networks” for district leadership (mathematics, literacy, and science, ELL directors and superintendents). This is the first network focused on the non-academic challenges students face. School & Main Institute is very excited to be the technical assistance provider to the state and the network as it grows its work around social emotional supports, school climate, student support, parent and family engagement, wraparound services for students or families, local and state level accountability and related areas. This network will continue to be open to anyone from an urban or Gateway city that oversees or coordinates strategies related to student support, social-emotional aspects of learning, school climate and culture, or wraparound services for students or families. The next meeting is May 14 at Worcester Career and Technical High School.


Patricia A. Spradley, 2015 EdWeek Leaders to Learn From

Patricia A. Spradley, Chief of Parent and Community Engagement, Springfield Public Schools


School & Main Institute is delighted to learn that Patricia A. Spradley, was recently recognized for Leadership in Parent Engagement by EdWeek’s 2015 Leaders to Learn From.

SMI, working in partnership with Pat and the Springfield Public Schools, built the Springfield Parent Academy for which Pat was honored in DC.

School & Main Institute wishes to honor Pat for her tireless commitment and energy in the work of supporting parents, grand-parents, siblings, and other caregivers and helping them connect with their neighborhood schools and advocate for themselves and their children.



The full EdWeek article is here.

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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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