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DC Public Schools: Strategy and Organizational Alignment

Case Overview

FSG was engaged by the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) to help improve the strategy and implementation plan for the district’s whole school reform models.

The Challenge

DCPS leadership identified a focus on developing and expanding innovative whole school reform models as an important lever to increase student achievement across Washington, DC. Whole school models offer compelling options to meet a range of student needs by providing rigorous academics, strong student supports, and a variety of engaging themes throughout a school. These models support the district’s overall student achievement goals and address other needs such as boosting enrollment through theme-based instruction, providing greater autonomy for individual schools, and emphasizing integration of special education students. DCPS engaged FSG to help improve the district’s strategy for and ability to implement these whole school reform models.

Approach & Solutions
As part of a four-month project, FSG conducted multiple on-site working sessions with the DCPS team; spoke individually with DCPS staff; surveyed principals from 58 schools within DCPS’s whole school reform models; and interviewed over 40 stakeholders including DCPS leaders, school principals and staff, funders, and program partners. Through this research FSG solicited feedback on perceptions of DCPS, and vetted ideas on strategic priorities and organizational effectiveness. Recommendations included proposed metrics to measure success against DCPS’s goals, a more formalized process for interacting with DCPS central staff and principals, and proposed options for internal knowledge sharing, data-driven decision-making, and peer learning.

About the DC Public Schools

The DC Public Schools is committed to ensuring academic achievement of students in Washington, DC. DCPS serves 45,000 students through 4,000 teachers, 125 principals, and 2,300 classroom aides, social workers, counselors, and other support staff.

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