Our Work

School & Main Institute is a nationally recognized training and partnership development organization. We help organizations work together – across institutional lines or in “uncommon” coalitions – to improve their communities and the lives of young people living in them. 

Just as our name suggests (think: School & Main streets ), we love "intersections"-- the places where lines meet. Policy and practice. Rhetoric and reality. Converging interests.

The services School & Main Institute provides take many shapes and forms:

  • Comprehensive technical assistance programs for state, regional or community-based teams engaged in education, youth development, or workforce development efforts – particularly those requiring interagency or community collaboration
  • Summits, forums, training institutes, peer learning exchanges, and skill-building workshops
  • Collaborative services design, e.g., the Springfield Parent Academy and Rhode Island Collaborative Case Management model
  • Strategic planning for partnerships and organizations
  • Facilitated meetings and strategy sessions
  • Program evaluation and sustainability studies
  • Individual and team coaching
  • Organizational development
  • Project management

Not matter what form, you'll quickly experience what sets SMI apart:

  • Collaborative approach where SMI is not only your intellectual partner but is hands-on and ready to help with the heavy lifting
  • Proven methodologies for developing and managing strong collaborative efforts
  • Nationally recognized expertise with interagency and public-private sector collaboration
  • Deep experience in the fields of education, youth development, workforce and college transition, health and other community issues
  • Intensive, high-quality training methodology
  • Profound commitment to personal and community capacity building
  • Keen focus on results - collaboration as more than "proposal partnerships" and meetings!

School & Main Institute staff and faculty have years of expertise as organizational leaders, program developers, trainers, and facilitators working at the intersections of community life, where the systems that support young people connect - or should.  We have experienced the rhetoric of community change initiatives and know how to help people who manage the reality of them.

Over the years, SMI has been recognized for the extraordinary effectiveness of our work in communities by a variety of national organizations, including FORTUNE Magazine, the US Chamber of Commerce's Center for Workforce Preparation, the Council on Aid to Education and the American Youth Policy Forum. 

Examples of SMI Clients & Projects

Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
  • MTSS Leadership Institute
  • Leading with Access and Equity Conference
  • Massachusetts Wraparound Zone Initiative and Wraparound Replication Cookbook
  • Urban Leaders Network for School Culture & Student Support and Systems for Student Success Districts
  • Turnaround Leadership Teams Development
  • Parker Elementary School Turnaround/Receivership, New Bedford
  • Massachusetts Schools for Tools Clearinghouse
  • MassGrad Initiative and Community Coalition Challenge (Federal High School Graduation Initiative)
  • Online Learning Initiative for At-Risk Youth 
  • Alternative Program Network

Annie E. Casey Foundation

City of Somerville
Federal Shared Youth Vision Collaborative
  • Federal Shared Youth Vision Partnership Development: U.S. Department(s) of Labor, Education, Justice, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Corporation for National and Community Service, Social Security Administration  
  • Statewide Efforts: New Hampshire, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Rhode Island, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Utah, Arkansas, Vermont, Ohio, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina, Kansas, Delaware, New Mexico
Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training
  • Collaborative Case Management Initiative
  • World of Work Initiative
Rhode Island Department of Education
  • Confab on Adult Education Partnerships
  • Work-Based Learning Manual
Children's Behavioral Health Initiative / Massachusetts Department of Health & Human Services
  • Strategic Partnering - Systems of Care Committees 
Springfield (MA) Public Schools
  • Organizational Development - Parent and Community Engagement Office
  • Springfield Parent Academy 
Texas Workforce Commission
  • Training/Technical Assistance  (retreats, coaching, content sessions) for all 28 Workforce Boards across the state 
  • Development of 12 Training Guides 
Workforce Solutions, State Department of Labor, New Mexico 
  • Reorganization of Leadership Team
  • Department-Wide Planning Summit 
Westerly Public Schools, Rhode Island
  • Westerly Parent Academy 
US Department of Labor/New England Region
  • New England Young Adults Confab
  • Youth Investment Summit
  • Peer to Peer Learning Exchange 
City of Mobile, Alabama 
  • Youth Investment Summit 
Arkansas Department of Education
  • Strategic Planning – Career Academy Development Process
  • Statewide Career Academy Institute 
Mississippi Department of Employment Security 
  • Partnership Development Series 
  • Statewide Training Institute 

Other examples: 

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.

Read more about what we are currently working on >

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