K-12 School Improvement Tools and Resources

Educational Alignment for Young Children: Profiles of Local Innovation (2012)
This case study report highlights an emerging city strategy for ensuring that more young children are poised for educational success: the alignment of early care and education programs with K-12 education systems. The report identifies five cities that are on the leading edge of efforts to create a seamless educational pipeline for children ages 0-8.  Innovative alignment strategies in Boston, Hartford, San Antonio, San José and Seattle aim to ensure that more children are succeeding in school and reading at grade level by the end of third grade. 

Expanding Options: City Roles in Creating High School Alternatives for Struggling Students (2010)
This report draws upon lessons learned from a YEF Institute project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in which five cities - Corpus Christi, Texas; Hartford, Conn.; Phoenix, Ariz., San Antonio, Texas; and San Jose, Calif. - increased the choices available to students who struggle in traditional high school settings or are at risk for dropping out.

Association for High School Innovation Policy Database
This searchable online database contains examples of policies that can facilitate the growth of high-quality alternatives for high school.  The Association for High School Innovation (AHSI) Policy Database is accessible to all city leaders and is designed to help them make the case for local, state and federal policy and funding changes to expand alternatives and options for students who struggle in traditional high school settings. 
AHSI policy database | AHSI policy framework 

The State of City Leadership for Children and Families: Innovations and Trends in Education (2009)
The YEF Institute's first-ever report on The State of City Leadership for Children and Families identifies the nation's most cutting-edge city strategies to help children and families thrive.  This chapter highlights the broad range of innovations and trends in municipal leadership around education. 
Full report (PDF) | Education chapter (PDF) 

Setting the Stage for New High Schools: Municipal Leadership in Supporting High School Alternatives (2007)
This report outlines seven key policy conditions that facilitate the expansion of alternatives and options for dropouts and other students who struggle in traditional high school settings, as well as promising collaborations among mayors, school district officials, and alternative high schools program innovators.  The report showcases examples of municipal leadership in Atlanta, Boston, Corpus Christi, Hartford, Phoenix, San Jose, and Seattle. 

City Education Snapshots (2007)
These "snapshots" provide a glimpse of how 30 cities partner with local school districts to improve education.  The document provides an overview of city initiatives to support student academic achievement, the top challenges faced by each city, partnerships with school districts, and school governance structures.

Engaging Cities: How Municipal Leaders Can Mobilize Communities to Improve Public Schools (2006)
This report published by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University in cooperation with the YEF Institute and its Mayors' Education Policy Advisors Network (EPAN) highlights five cities - Denver, Akron, Long Beach, Nashville, and New York - where mayors have engaged the public and built civic capacity around education reform, using the leverage of their offices in strategic ways.

Stronger Schools, Stronger Cities (2004)
The first in the YEF Institute's series of reports documenting "lessons learned" from technical assistance projects, this report describes insights and strategies from the six cities that participated in the Municipal Leadership in Education (MLE) project.  The report highlights the efforts of city leaders to improve public schools in Charleston, S.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Lansing, Mich.; New Haven, Conn.; and Portland, Ore.
Full report (PDF) | Summary of lessons learned (PDF)

Action Kit on Improving Public Schools (2002)
This action kit outlines a wide range of ways that municipal leaders, working in partnership with school officials and the community as a whole, can help ensure that our public schools work for all children.  Strategies include: using data to frame the challenge, building coalitions for change, promoting adequate school funding, removing obstacles to achievement, sharing information and resources, and supporting learning.